Is Anxiety Affecting My Relationship

Written by Jim Folk
Last updated October 3, 2021

Video Transcript

Is my anxiety affecting my relationship, or is my relationship affecting my anxiety?

Most often, it’s both.

Here are three reasons why:

First, behaving in an apprehensive manner creates the state of being anxious (anxiety). Worry is an example of apprehensive behavior.

Whenever we are anxious, the body produces a stress response. The more anxious we are, the more stress responses we experience.

Since stress responses push the body beyond equilibrium (its balance point), stress responses stress the body. The more stressed the body becomes, the more symptomatic it can become.

When the body becomes overly stressed and symptomatic, it can affect how we think and feel about ourselves, others, and how we relate to others. In this case, overly apprehensive behavior can affect our relationships.

Visit the "Mood/Emotions" section on our Anxiety Symptoms article for more information about how anxiety symptoms can affect how we think and feel.

Second, a struggle with problematic anxiety is almost always caused by unhealthy underlying factors. These include unhealthy behaviors such as people-pleasing, unrealistic expectations, unhealthy boundaries, low self-esteem, perfectionism, all-or-nothing thinking, catastrophizing, and a host of other behaviors that create anxiety and relationship problems.

In this case, our relationships are going to be affected by anxious behavior.

And third, because of our unhealthy behaviors, anxious people often get into unhealthy relationships (unhealthy people generally attract unhealthy people). Stormy, unpredictable, insecure, and unrewarding relationships are notorious for causing angst and lots of stress.

So, in this case, our relationships can be overly stressful and a major source of anxiety.

To improve the quality of our relationships, which can dramatically reduce the amount of angst and stress coming from them, it’s best to identify and successfully address the underlying factors of problematic anxiety. Doing so will not only eliminate a struggle with problematic anxiety but will also revolutionize your relationships, making them more enjoyable, rewarding, fulfilling, and successful. And far less stressful.

As you know, unless the root of the problem is addressed (anxiety’s underlying factors), it’s unrealistic to expect to experience a healthy outcome.

Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety’s underlying factors.

So again, yes. Anxiety can affect your relationships, and your relationships can affect your anxiety.

Becoming psychologically and emotionally healthy and then choosing a partner who has also done this work will eliminate this two-fold problem.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions archive. Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including this Frequently Asked Anxiety Question.