Home Romantic Relationship What is Relationship Anxiety? Causes, Symptoms and Possible Treatment Methods

What is Relationship Anxiety? Causes, Symptoms and Possible Treatment Methods

Relationship anxiety includes feelings of intense worry about a romantic or friendly relationship. While healthcare professionals are aware of this type of anxiety, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not include it.

Relationship anxiety encompasses some of the features of social anxiety disorder and causes the person to experience severe discomfort with rejection. While many people may worry about relationship acceptance and the reciprocity of feelings, people with relationship anxiety tend to develop anxiety when the person experiences extreme fear or anxiety.

In this article, we will examine the symptoms and causes of relationship anxiety and some treatment options for couples.

Do you have relationship anxiety? Here are the symptoms!

Researchers identify three common symptoms of relationship anxiety:

  • Excessive seeking of reassurance
  • Do not silence yourself and prioritize the wishes of the other person
  • Adapting to the constant partner

Excessive seeking of reassurance

Excessive reassurance seeking is also common in social anxiety disorder and depression.

Excessive reassurance-seeking is often associated with interpersonal dependence. This dependency means that the person constantly relies on others to accept himself and his thoughts.

Don’t mute yourself

A study published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology showed that women who are sensitive to rejection might tend to self-mute to please their partners.

The person tends to engage in self-mutilation behavior to appear similar to those they want to be accepted and avoid rejection. They do not express their tastes, ideas, or feelings to their partner. They always feel the tendency to make sacrifices for the other person.

Adapting to the constant partner

The person tries to adapt to the other by ignoring his wishes. This effect is higher in people with OCD.

Treatment methods

Experts recommend couples therapy, such as couple-based psychoeducational sessions, to help treat and manage relationship anxiety.

Different types of couples therapy include:

  • Behavioral couples therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral combined therapy
  • cognitive existential couples therapy
  • psychodynamic psychotherapy

Because relationship anxiety shares similar symptoms with other anxiety disorders, some doctors may recommend working only with the partner who has the pressure. They can recommend effective treatments for anxiety disorder, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance-commitment therapy, and mindfulness.