Dating alone could be a challenge but how does it feel when you’re dating someone with an anxiety disorder? Well, it could be a little more challenging if you end up doing all the wrong things. This is why it is important to know these things if you’re dating someone with anxiety.
Anxiety could come in different ways but to one endpoint. You know that feeling you get when you’re anticipating a callback or a text from someone? And it stresses you out so much, you can eat or think properly. So many scenarios come to your mind and it could make you feel nauseous? For someone with anxiety, this occurs a lot more than average.
If you’re dating someone with anxiety, chances are you already know what these feelings are. You might also get frustrated because you wonder why you can’t take it away or make them feel better. So many people feel people with anxiety canceling a date because they got overwhelmed is always the case scenario but do you know it could be a lot more than that? It could be you to cancel the date.
What Else Could It Be?
Here’s an example to reflect on. You set up a date with someone with anxiety and everything seems to be going fine but at the last minute you seem detached and you proceed to cancel the date. That could trigger a lot of thoughts in their minds. “Why did he cancel the date?” “Does she ever wanna see me again?” Etc.
It could also be a breaking point for someone with anxiety especially if they spent all their time fighting themselves to not cancel or get overwhelmed only to have you do the canceling. Now I’m not suggesting you put your whole life on hold on someone else. This is to let anyone reading this know that it goes a lot deeper than you’d think.
If you’re someone dating another person with an anxiety disorder and you’re looking to save the relationship, here are a few ways to help.
Do Your Research on Anxiety
You can’t completely understand what a person with anxiety goes through but you can get an insight. If you’re dating someone with anxiety, find out more by doing your homework. Reading about anxiety, watching videos and if possible, conversing with professionals. It’ll help you understand somethings the average person doesn’t know. Did you know there were different types of anxiety?
There’s the general anxiety disorder which is mostly the uncontrollable worry and the thought of your fears being manifested in your everyday activities. Then there is the panic attack which is a crippling swarm of emotions that can leave you in not just a flight/fight mode but could lead to immobilization and other forms of escape. We also have social anxiety. It is estimated that almost 7 percent of adults living in the United States battle with social anxiety.
Anxiety could come with phobias, PTSD, OCD, a depressive disorder, etc. so as you can see, it’s very much complicated but knowing these are a thing is a great step in being there for your partner.
Sometimes All You Need to Do Is Listen
That’s right. Sometimes listening is all you need to do. Just as you learn what goes on in your partner’s life and their battle with anxiety, listening to them talk could be the best solution. Ask them what they feel, what they would want people to understand. Ask them what it means to them without implying you know. Anxiety comes in different ways. The only way you can understand your partner is by knowing what theirs is.
Now you might want to have it in mind that they may not want to tell you. People with anxiety could feel like they are placing a burden on you and they wouldn’t want that to be so. However, you have to make them feel heard and accepted by showing them love and being patient.
Find Out Their Triggers
Asking your partner their triggers is an important thing if you’re dating someone with anxiety. Everyone has a trigger. It could be more than one so finds out more from them. You and your partner should discuss things or events that set their anxiety off. Be calm and listen to all they have to say. Also, find out what helps them cope.
As they give you a clear picture of what anxiety is to them, you’ll find out more about their experience and how they’ve been managing it. You also should know what a panic attack looks like for them. A few questions you can ask are:
- How do you feel?
- When does it get really bad and uncontrollable?
- How do you manage it?
- In what ways can I help out?
- How can I make it better?
Understand It’s Not Always About You
Sometimes their triggers could be anything outside your relationship. Sometimes it’s just not about you. Plus during panic attacks your partner may seem overwhelming by crying, yelling, talking in circles, etc. you mustn’t let it consume you. Most times they hate themselves after an episode. You have to try to remain as calm as you possibly can. Don’t tell them they are behaving like a child or they are behaving crazy. It just makes things a whole lot worse.
Also, find ways to protect your sanity because anxiety can be transferable. You must stay focused to be supportive. Another important thing to know if you’re dating someone with anxiety.
Be There for Them
It is important to know that you are not their therapist. Instead of, you can be as supportive as possible. Be the one they can talk to and be their true self in front of. But you have to also understand that it’s not your duty to manage their anxiety for them. You can’t be an entire support system but you could be their friend.