A new relationship can be intense and unpredictable and can trigger stress and anxiety for many reasons. This relationship anxiety may be more common for people with anxiety or who have been hurt in the past. We look at some tips to overcome these fears in new relationships.
Starting a new relationship can be intense and, while it is often joyful, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. At the first sign of anything wrong, this feeling of panic can be worse for people with anxiety disorders or individuals who have had negative past experiences. However, you must learn to control these responses so that they don’t dominate your relationships.
How you respond to a new relationship can also be impacted by your attachment style or your childhood influences. For those with a fear of commitment, new relationships may cause them to panic. They may feel more comfortable looking for casual relationships on hookup sites.
If you’re experiencing frequent stress in a new relationship, you should know you’re not alone. New relationship anxiety is something that is relatively common and is well understood by psychologists. We take a look at some of the most common new relationships questions and some reasons that you may experience panic when starting new relationships.
What Causes New Relationship Anxiety?
Relationships require extreme vulnerability. This can be exciting and life-affirming, but it also involves a degree of compromise and trust. Everyone has different emotional styles and processes things in unique ways. Therefore, it can be hard to accurately read your partner or deal with disagreements, especially early on.
This constitutes a normal level of new relationship stress and is something that most couples experience. It is part of the process and getting to know a new person, understanding their boundaries or weaknesses, and discovering your own. However, certain people and personality types are more prone to panic in relationships. Some examples are:
- Those With An Anxiety Disorder
For people who suffer from an anxiety disorder, a new relationship can feel extra intense. Anxiety sufferers can often be hypersensitive to other people’s moods and can anticipate and imagine problems, even where none exist. This is not something that can be easily controlled and is a common part of the disorder.
Anxiety sufferers often have a negative perception of the future and will often believe that it is inevitable that something will go wrong in their relationship. This may lead them to misinterpret their partner’s moods or read into things that are not reflections of reality. They may also have low self-esteem and question their partner’s decision in choosing to be with them. Small conflicts or misunderstandings, which are common in early relationships, may cause them to panic.
- Those With a History of Bad Relationships
Similar to those with anxiety, people with a history of negative relationships may be more likely to panic over seemingly trivial occurrences. They may take every little thing as a sign that history is about to repeat itself. This is because surviving toxic or traumatic relationships can erode self-worth and make us feel that we are unlovable. Therefore, we believe that any partner we have is bound to leave us eventually.
Experiences that may cause this include being cheated on, being left abruptly, or being repeatedly lied to. The pressure of a new relationship can draw these old fears to the surface. We may even feel it is safer to push our partner away than to risk being hurt.
- Those With a Fear of Commitment
If you’re feeling insecure in new relationship territory, it may not manifest as a fear of your partner pulling away. Instead, you may unconsciously pull away and feel a sense of panic about commitment, even when you genuinely love your partner. This type of behavior is often the result of an insecure attachment style.
Attachment styles develop primarily in early childhood and are affected by your relationship with a parent or caregiver. An insecure or avoidant relationship style typically develops if your main caregiver was distant from you or often avoided showing affection. This can lead people to feel a yearning for connection but a deep fear of intimacy at the same time. Ultimately, this can lead you to panic in a new relationship where your emotional needs are being met, resulting in self-sabotaging behavior.
How to Deal With Panic in a Relationship?
If you have identified your sense of panic in relationships, you have taken an important first step. So, how do you move forward? These new relationship tips can help when you’re feeling overwhelmed:
- Don’t Project Your Feelings
It’s important to separate your feelings of stress and anxiety from your partner’s actions. Unless your partner is displaying red flags in a new relationship, like being threatening and aggressive towards you, you should not assume that they are angry or upset with you. Silence or a withdrawn mood can signal many things and may have nothing to do with your relationship.
Inadvertently, anxious people make this situation worse as they tend to pursue their partner to find out what is wrong. While they only want to solve the problem, they may make their partner feel unsupported – their problems trigger your anxiety and lead to them having to comfort you. This may cause your partner to hide their feelings in the future or pull away further.
- Learn to Sit With Discomfort
Instead of constantly relying on your partner for emotional support, you should learn how to sit with discomfort. This process is called self-soothing and allows you to gain a sense of internal stability, rather than reliant on your partner’s approval or support. Next time you feel your partner is distant from you, resist the urge to pressure them into sharing their feelings.
Instead, offer them support, then remove yourself if they do not respond. Try to distract and calm yourself in the meantime by doing an activity you enjoy. This process will get easier over time.
- Keep the Past and Present Separate
Remember, we cannot predict the future. Although the present may feel like the past repeating itself, this is not necessarily the case. Remember, you are not who you were in a prior relationship and should trust that you have learned and grown stronger through the experience. Similarly, your partner is someone totally new and may behave completely differently to your ex.
Seeking new relationship advice can be tricky, and you may feel ashamed if you perceive yourself as needy or overly dependent on your partner. However, if you’re struggling with anxiety in a new relationship, you are not alone. Try seeking specialist support for anxiety disorders or communicating your fears to your partner. We hope these tips have helped!
Final Call: Do you often experience anxiety in your early relationships? What types of scenarios or conversations trigger you? Have you developed any self-care techniques that help you feel calm? Share your experience in the comments!
Rebecca Shinn is a freelance writer and dating and relationship expert with a Psychology degree. Her field of expertise is relationship, dating, and marriage. The important part of Rebecca’s practice is to help couples with communication skills, problem-solving skills, stress management, or finance skills.
Rebecca started writing 2 years ago to inspire and help people to have a better dating life, strong relationships, or find a way to keep a marriage strong for long years.
With all said above, Rebecca is proud to be a mother and a wife so she doesn’t only use her knowledge for helping others but keeping her family strong and happy.