Relationship anxiety describes someone’s anxiety towards romantic partners, family members, or even platonic relationships (though it’s not a formal diagnosis). You may look for ways to keep the other person close by clinging to them, or you may push them away, unsure if they feel the same way you do. Therapy and stress management techniques can be effective in reducing the levels of anxiety people experience about their relationships.

Dating someone with depression and anxiety

What’s it Like to Date Someone With Depression and Anxiety?

Dating someone with anxiety is not unlike dating someone without anxiety. Some people are funny. Some people are smart. Some people are fun to be around. Even though the anxiety may feel like it has a heavy presence on your dating life (and there may be days where it does), the dating process of feeling out each other and seeing if you have a connection is no different.

Where anxiety tends to affect relationships has to do with how the couples support each other when a person has an anxiety disorder. When you’re dating a man with anxiety, for example, you may find he’s sensitive about it, since many men are taught that they have to be brave and anxiety is a sign of weakness. If you’re younger and dating a girl with anxiety, you may find she’s still coming to terms with her own anxiety among other stressors, like college life.

Common relationship challenges with anxiety and depression

Anxiety can influence every aspect of a person’s life, including romantic relationships. “Activities and situations that might bring ease, joy, and comfort to one partner might cause spiraling thoughts and sweaty palms to the other,” says Alter.

She explains that it can sometimes be difficult to enjoy social outings or activities together because one partner wants to leave early or not go at all, which may cause both partners to feel frustrated or helpless.

READ ALSO: LOVING SOMEONE WITH (DEPRESSION):THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN LOVING SOMEONE WITH DEPRESSION

Challenges may arise if the partner with anxiety experiences fears related to the relationship itself.
Some words/question they think/ask may include

What if I love them more than they love me?
What if they cheat on me?

Are they lying to me?

Do they like someone else more than they like me?

Are we going to break up?

Is my anxiety or depression going to ruin our relationship?

What to Say When Your are dating someone with Anxiety and depression

When you are in the moment, helping your partner manage an anxiety episode, you may be unsure of what to say. You don’t want to say anything that will make your partner more anxious, after all.

Here are some ideas of what to say in these moments:

“I’m here and I’m listening.”

“I know you are feeling overwhelmed.”
“It’s going to be OK.”

“That’s a lot for you to deal with right now.”

“I know how strong you are.”

“Would you like me to sit with you?”

“I am here, and you are not alone.”

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

What to say when dating someone with depression and anxiety

What Not to Say when dating someone with anxiety

At the same time, there are some things you might feel tempted to say which aren’t helpful at all, and might even add to your partner’s anxiety.

Here are the types of things to avoid saying:

“Don’t be so scared of everything.”

“That makes no sense.”

“Calm down!”

“You’re freaking out for no reason.”

“Here’s what I would do if I were you …”

“What you’re feeling isn’t rational.”

“This is all in your head.”

How to Support a Partner who has Anxiety and depression

When you are around someone with an anxiety disorder, you may feel at a loss for how to help them. Often, you know that what they are experiencing is irrational and that their perception of reality at the moment may not be entirely accurate. Do you tell them this? How do you make them feel better without minimizing their emotional experience?

1* Understand That They Have Certain Triggers

Getting a handle on your partner’s anxiety means understanding their triggers. Usually, someone with anxiety knows the kind of things that set them off into an anxiety spiral.

It’s not your responsibility to shield them from every single trigger, but helping them navigate their lives more sensitively around those triggers can be helpful. It can also help you to understand why your partner’s anxiety is heightened at different times.

2* Drop the Blame Game

Remember, anxiety has genetic, biochemical, and environmental components, so your partner did not choose to feel this way. Anxiety also isn’t something that they are adopting to be manipulative or to ruin plans.

People who experience anxiety wish it to be gone as much as you do, but having an anxiety disorder is not something that is within someone’s control.

How to Build a Healthy Relationship When Someone Has Anxiety and depression

The healthiest things you can do for your partner are to encourage your partner to get professional support from a therapist or mental health source, listen to them without judgment and without trying to fix things for them, and encourage them to develop self-soothing skills, Jenkins says.

READ ALSO: HOW LONG DOES RELATIONSHIP ANXIETY LAST, HOW ANXIETY AFFECT OUR RELATIONSHIP

You also want to be aware of your own limits and bandwidths. In the quest to be a supportive partner, you shouldn’t let your partner’s anxiety take over your life. It’s important to have a gauge of your own emotional bandwidth and what is realistic for you to do in supporting your partner, Jenkins adds. “You need to be comfortable stating that you need some downtime,” Jenkins explains. You shouldn’t be your partner’s sole source of comfort, as that dynamic isn’t healthy for either of you.

What not to say when dating someone with depression and anxiety

Depression is a mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a type of mood disorder.

Although some people use the word “depression” informally to describe feeling sad, depression as a medical condition is different.

People with depression can experience a number of persistent mental and physical symptoms, including:

feeling sad, worthless, or guilty

feeling irritable or angry

low self-esteem

tiredness and fatigue

difficulty concentrating or making decisions

eating more or less than usual

sleeping more or less than usual

loss of interest in enjoyable activities, such as hobbies or socializing
loss of libido, or sex drive

suicidal thoughts

These symptoms can range from mild to debilitating. To receive a diagnosis of depression, these symptoms must occur most of the day or all day, nearly every day, for a consistent period of time.

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