It’s the question that wakes you up on the middle of the night. It’s the question that gnaws at your gut and makes your stomach drop with roller-coaster fear. It’s the question that Googled you to many sites and articles that confirmed your biggest fear, and ultimately led you here, to my virtual doorstep. It’s the question: Is my anxiety/doubt a evidence that my truth is that I’m with the wrong partner or does it mean something else?
The culture says: Doubt means don’t. It’s as simple as that. The culture, by which I mean mainstream films, articles, blogs, and the ephemeral message that travels through the ether of the collective unconscious, says that if you’re feeling anxious about your relationship – anxious that you don’t love your partner enough or don’t have that magic spark or aren’t attracted or… – it’s clearly and obviously because you’re with the wrong person. When you search for reassurance you usually find that your anxiety is amplified tenfold. When you dare to talk to people you trust, risk to share the innermost fears that are lurking in your mind, they, too, are mouthpieces for the mainstream and do little to reassure you. Nobody wants to come right out and say, “If you’re having so much doubt maybe you should leave,” but sometimes they do. And then you go home and cry.
You cry because you don’t want to leave your loving, healthy partner. You cry because you don’t want to leave the one person with whom you feel safe and secure. You don’t want to leave that sparkly smile, the undercurrent of ease that keeps you afloat (even if it’s not always easy). Something keeps you in. Something prevents you from running. Can you trust that something? The anxious voices fed by the culture pipe up in loud chorus, as they have a lot to say about that: “You’re only staying because you feel safe! You’re only staying because you’re scared to be alone! You’re only staying because you’re scared to hurt him/her!”
The culture says doubt means don’t, but those who are steeped in the world of intimate relationship say something entirely different. Those of us – clergy, therapists, seasoned couples who view marriage as a crucible – who walk these slippery and tricky terrains every day, who dive into the deep waters where the unconscious stories and fears live, know that when anxiety shows up in a loving, solid relationship it’s an invitation to grow. And we know how tricky and convincing anxiety can be. We know that it can throw every roadblock in the book at you to try to convince you to leave. We know that fear is one of the sneakiest opponents of the mind we will ever encounter, and that love and fear live in the same chamber of the heart (grief lives there, too). We know that nearly everything you’ve ever learning about love, romance, attraction, and sex is based on false fantasy and faulty information that, when followed, lead to unstable relationships.
We know that if you want to have a loving, stable relationship, you have to fight for it. You have to learn how to work with your thoughts and feelings effectively. You have to learn how to show up for yourself in a solid, loving way, perhaps for the first time in your life. You have to be committed to deconstructing the fantasies you’ve absorbed over a lifetime of living in a culture that upholds the romantic ideal as the pinnacle of love. You have to steep yourself in accurate information, swim in a sea of loving voices who will support you as you struggle to stay afloat, and learn effective practices that will not only help you break free from relationship anxiety and intrusive thoughts, but will help you navigate through the rest of your life with grace and confidence.
This is what those of us who walk in the world of two psyches colliding know well. And this is what I’m thrilled to share with you through my new course, Break Free From Relationship Anxiety. The course is now available. Your freedom and clarity await.
P.S: If you’re wondering about the difference between Break Free From Relationship Anxiety and Open Your Heart (the next round starts on October 24th), please click here.