If you’ve ever wondered how to help your partner with anxiety, you’ve come to the right place. Being in a relationship with someone who suffers with anxiety is no easy task. It takes an ample amount of support, patience, and understanding – understanding of a disease that often makes no sense to someone who doesn’t suffer themselves. The mind is a powerful place and it can turn a “normal” relationship into one with many road bumps. But love can overcome anything, and if the relationship is meant to be, it will be.

How, you ask? If someone has your best interest in mind, they will take the initiative to learn more about the disease so they can help you overcome the struggles. Here are some things every partner should know about the anxious-mind within a relationship. It’s all about learning how to say the right things at the right times.

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In a relationship, someone with anxiety thinks…

1. You can do better

One of the first things anyone who suffers from anxiety experiences within a relationship is the feeling that their partner can do better. Anxiety sufferers have been trained to think they’re a nuisance, an inconvenience, a “fake” illness, of lesser quality – thanks to society and the negative stigma attached to mental health. As such, no matter how wonderful they are, they will think it’s never enough simply because they have panic attacks.

How to help my partner with anxiety

When dating someone with anxiety, learning how to help your partner with anxiety is all about learning how to spot their moments of weakness so you can give them the reassurance they need. Let them know that their anxiety doesn’t negatively affect the relationship and assure them that dealing with the panic attacks is nothing compared the all the other amazing moments you have together.

 

2. You deserve better

Due to the negative stigma of mental health, someone with anxiety is convinced that they’re never good enough. They’re convinced that their mental illness is a big, dark cloud that will forever remain – and jeopardize – the relationship. An anxiety suffered will often wonder why their partner is with them when they can just go and be with someone else without all the struggles.

How to help my partner with anxiety

Similar to the prior, it’s important to let your partner know how happy you are and how this relationship is worth every moment – the good, the bad, and the anxious. Reassure them that your partner is the best for you and that you’d never give it up.

 

3. Their disease lowers your quality of life

At one point or another, all anxiety sufferers feel like they have absolutely no control of their life; that their anxiety determines when they can, when they can have fun and how often they can be happy. They’ve experienced so much fear in their life that they now avoid certain situations, places, people, areas, things, etc. Often times, these situations are completely harmless but in the mind of an anxiety sufferer, they’re terrifying. So, situations that are fun and exciting to you aren’t always the same for your partner with anxiety, which can result in you doing them yourself or with your friends instead of your partner. As a result, your partner feels like their mental health lowers your quality of life because they can’t do “normal” things with you.

To put it into perspective, eating in restaurants has always been a huge trigger for me. My boyfriend enjoys eating out at restaurants but going to eat in a restaurant with me isn’t enjoyable because I barely eat and I just can’t wait to get out of there. So, I feel like he hates that he can’t enjoy a nice dinner with me in a restaurant like “normal” couples do.

How to help my partner with anxiety

In these situations, the best thing you can do is to encourage your partner to do the things they’re scared of but also be just as understanding. Avoiding situations is only going to make the anxiety worse, so it’s important to be the backbone your partner so-desperately needs in situations like these. If they have to leave randomly, let them know that it’s okay; if they have to take a couple of minutes of deep breathing to walk into someone’s home, wait their with them with the utmost patience. The worst thing you can do is make them feel like their anxiety is a nuisance. Encourage them, support them, be understanding, and eventually, the situations they’ve avoiding for so long won’t be so terrifying. One day, you will be able to enjoy them together without any anxiety at all but you have to make sure they feel safe with you in those places before you get to that point.

 

4. You’ll give up on them at any second

With all the prior mentioned,  anxiety sufferers think you can do better; they think you can go and be in a relationship without these struggles. After all, why would someone choose to deal with this mental illness when they don’t have to?

How to help my partner with anxiety

The answer? Because you love them. Let your partner know that you’re not going anywhere; that the ups and downs are part of a relationship, and you’ll ride it out to the end with them.

 

5. They’re a failure and disappointment

Feeling like a failure and disappointment is all-too-common for anxiety sufferers. The world has taught them to feel this way. When they have an attack and have to excuse themselves, leave someone or cancel their plans, they feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. Instead of simply feeling bad about leaving or canceling, they feel like they’ve let everyone down, and that they’ll never be “normal”.

How to help my partner with anxiety

Reassurance and support. I can’t say it enough. If something happens where they have to cancel or leave, be understanding. Even if you are disappointing, show your support. You can explain how you wish they came or stayed longer, but show more support than disappointment. This will help them in ways you can’t even imagine and eventually, the canceling and leaving early will decrease with the more support and understanding you provide. If your partner fears disappointing you, it’ll make them cancel or become “no-shows” more often as they’ll then feel like they can’t leave if they have to, which will make the anxiety worse.

If you struggle with saying the right things or communicating your feelings appropriately, read Magic Relationship WordsIt’s a communication God. 

 

6. Everything is the end of the world

Whether it’s a fight, a disagreement, a cough or cold, it’s the end of the world. Everything is more heightened in the mind of anxious mind, and everything is always seems worse than what it really is. In the mind of an anxious person, every fight will lead to a breakup, every cold will leave to pneumonia, every disagreement means their misunderstood, etc. This can sometimes make you feel like you can’t win, but you can.

How to help my partner with anxiety

In these situations, insecurities will rise.  Reassure your partner that the worst isn’t going to happen. Tell them that couples fight, people disagree, people get the cold and flu – whatever it is, and let them know that what they’re experiencing is normal but they don’t have to worry.

 

7. You think they’re dramatic and irrational

Someone suffering from anxiety is always going to think other people think they’re dramatic and irrational. The reality is, their mental illness is dramatic and irrational; the things people with anxiety do are as well, and your partner knows this. However, what they don’t know is that their dramatic and irrational fears and illness doesn’t define their characteristics and who they are.

How to help my partner deal with anxiety

Let your partner know that anxiety isn’t who they are; that it doesn’t define them and more importantly, never tell them their being dramatic or irrational. It will only further their idea that they’re a good-for-nothing, irrational, abnormal person.

 

The things people with anxiety do may not always make sense to someone who doesn’t have the mental illness. However, they’re real in the anxious mind.

If you’re serious about helping your partner overcome their struggles, it’s important to understand what’s really going through their mind in times of extreme panic and fear. Reassurance, support, love, and understanding can go a long way and the more you encourage your partner that you’ll be by their side, the better their anxiety will be.