Dating Someone with Anxiety – What You Should Know
When dating someone with anxiety, one of the most important steps is to ensure honest and clear communication. This would help you and your partner to be more aware of your interpersonal and personal challenges. Subsequently, you are able to build the boundaries that will promote healthy relationship dynamics.
Nick and Julia started dating and everything was going well at first. Then, here comes change of moods and withdrawn disposition from Nick. At first, Julia reacted negatively by being all to herself each time Nick puts up his moody and out-of-this-world’s disposition.
But, thankfully, Julia decided to face the issue head on by constructively confronting Nick about the sudden changes in his mood. Again, thankfully, Nick admitted he’s aware of the complications and admitted he was diagnosed of anxiety few years back. They talked things over and Nick agreed to get professional help, while Julia went out of her way to be supportive and understanding. As a result, the relationship thrived and progressed well.
The above scenario typically illustrates and buttresses the importance of clear and honest communication when you’re dating someone with anxiety. Remember that the key is being constructive when calling the other person’s attention to his or her constant anxious state.
Here are additional helpful tips on how to date an individual with anxiety;
Tip #1: Get to Know the type of Anxiety Disorder Your Partner is Suffering
Knowing the specific anxiety disorder of your partner will help you know the most suitable approach to adopt in dealing with the issue. Typical examples of specific anxiety disorders include the following;
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Social Anxiety
- Panic Disorder
- Obsessive compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Each of the above specific anxiety disorders come with varying triggers, symptoms, as well as treatment approaches. So, you need to look for helpful resources on the type of anxiety plaguing your partner. Subsequently, you can learn about the triggers of the anxiety and how to avoid/handle it.
Encourage Your Partner
Tip #2: Encourage Your Partner to Get Professional Help
Part of your support when dating someone with anxiety is to encourage your partner to seek professional help, especially if they are yet to do so. Many people do not like to seek treatment, but you can encourage them to start out with their regular doctor, to make the process less intimidating in terms of seeing a mental health expert first.
You should wear a tone that would help convince your partner to seek professional help. For instance, instead of saying “you need mental health treatment’, tell the person that everyone needs to take care of their mental health just as they would do with their physical health. In addition to encouraging your partner to seek treatment, you should also encourage the person to stick to treatment as prescribed by the health professional.
Tip #3 Help Your Partner Worry Less about the Condition
When you date a boy or girl with anxiety, help your partner worry less about the condition. One of the key ways to achieve this as mentioned before is open and honest communication. You should try within reason to make your words and intention clear, especially when your partner rashly concludes matters or think the worst.
For instance, if the person is expecting you at a particular time, call or send text to let them know you may be late or may not come and why. However, you should enforce reasonable boundaries and limit. For instance, you shouldn’t allow the ‘pesting’ kind of disposition where the person wants to control your life and the things you do.
Tip #4: Learn How to Handle Conflict
When you date a partner with anxiety, you should learn how to handle conflict by balancing honesty and compassion. Don’t go bottling up your complaints, instead bring them up, and learn to be constructively direct with your anxiety stricken partner. It’s best to avoid sharp criticisms; instead, be gentle and avoid using the accusation method.
Here’s an instance; Ricky is dating Lisa who has anxiety. Lisa would call up Ricky every now and then while he’s at work. But, Ricky can’t be distracted while at work, so he picks up the call once, explains politely that he’s at work and would see her after work. Then, he refuses to pick subsequent calls from her.
Lisa is upset and says, ‘why are you not picking my calls?’ Ricky simply and politely says, “I may be queried at work for taking constant calls while on duty”. Please don’t take it personal and don’t get angry, try and understand my situation and call me at work only when it is very needful”.
Lisa instantly understands and has a clearer picture of what her constant calls my cause Ricky. As a result, she ceases to call frequently and only calls him at work when it is really needful.
Tip #5: Learn to Meet Your Own Needs
You should learn to pay attention to your own needs when dating someone with anxiety. Pursue your personal hobbies and interest. It doesn’t stop you from being a supportive partner. Your partner should also make attempt to support your personal interests and not to loathe them because they trigger the anxiety.
For instance, if the person you’re dating has social anxiety disorder, that shouldn’t stop you from going out and socializing with others. You don’t have to give up your social life because being in a public place triggers your boyfriend or girlfriend’s anxiety. Your partner should also learn to give you reasonable space, as long as you’re not using the freedom to cheat or consciously hurt the person.
Finally, while you should be understanding and stay supportive to a partner with anxiety, you should learn to know when things are off limit so that you can play safe. For instance, if your partner’s anxiety is transiting to a serious mental health challenge that makes him or her abusive or violent, you should play safe.