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experiencing relationship anxiety and fear of abandonment

ivyrose
Community Member

Hello,

I have been in a loving relationship for almost a year now, prior to that I was single for 6 years (I hadn't met the right one, I knew what I was looking for). but I honestly believed that I would single for the rest of my life and I was ok with that. I did not expect to meet this beautiful man who treats me well, he is loving and caring, tells me how he feels, and shows it in his actions. No matter how hard things get, he stays. but I'm experiencing increased anxiety in this relationship and a great fear of abandonment from time to time, it's not constant it comes and goes, but lately, I've been feeling so anxious and scared (at times I look too far into a text message or if I don't receive a text in the morning/night time or hear from him in a certain amount of time I get anxious - its like I need constant reassurance but then on the flip side I like my space & there at times when I'm calm and doesnt bother me if I dont hear from him til the end of the day).

Has anyone experience this? what coping strategies did you use?

Thanks for reading!

6 Replies 6

Gabs_
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Ivyrose,

The answer is yes....I understand where you are coming from. I was single for some time and although I was lonely and craved some for of close intimacy (not just physical intimacy), I also did not want to let my guard down. Then, when I met my lovely partner, I found myself falling into a cycle of anxiousness because I would let my guard down and feel calm, but as soon as he would leave, I was like "omg; why did I say that?"; "omg, how can he like me when I said/did X, Y and Z". I constantly questioned why he liked me and thought there was an ulterior motive to why he liked me.

Firstly - Have you done any reading on attachment theory and attachment styles? I think if you look into anxious attachment, you might find some things that resonate with you. There is a really good book called "Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - and Keep - Love" that might be a good start. Otherwise, there are many online resources and podcasts that can help you look into your attachment style.

Secondly - the way you work through this? 1. I would recommend speaking to a psychologist. But also 2. Unfortunately, communication is key (which means being vulnerable with your partner - sorry, but as scary as it can be, it will help you get through feeling this way). It's letting your partner know that "when you do X, it triggers me to react like X and what I need from you is to reassure me or understand that I need X to help soothe me". When you start to say these things out loud, you can also start to notice when those triggering issues/behaviours pop up and you can start calling them out and question the logic behind the anxiety. Eg. "He hasn't texted me, maybe he is [insert negative thought]", stopping yourself and questioning why this thought has appeared and what you can do to cut it off before it spirals and engaging in soothing behaviours to provide comfort to you .

The moment I sat down with my partner and started talking about the anxiousness that is associated with some of his actions that trigger me (without blaming, just open and honest), I went "ok, when you don't text until lunch when you are traveling for work, it triggers some abandonment issues I have", he was like "cool, I'm just forgetful sometimes - I'll make an effort to text you to meet your needs, you need to make the effort to trust in me and my love". Communication and understanding each others needs is the key.

I hope this helps. Big hugs,

Gabs

Katyonthehamsterwheel
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi ivyrose

I always feel a bit better when other people are having similar experiences as me, so I just wanted to add "yes, me too". My last relationship I experienced this intensely. It's really difficult and unpleasant, so I hope you find ways to manage it. I didn't. Gaby has given some great advice, and my thoughts were related to attachment theory also, so that sounds like interesting reading. I agree that the more open you can be about what's happening for you, the easier it will be for your partner to work with you (mine didn't want to).

My friend recently gave me some tools she uses in counselling her clients, around challenging your thoughts. I'm sure you'd be able to find some online. It's really helpful to be able to put it on paper, as it reinforces new ways of thinking. I also find meditation to be helpful, there are apps you can download, just to bring more calm into your life in general.

Kind thoughts, Katy

Leesi
Community Member

Hey Ivy Rose

I have experienced it in past relationships and this anxiety and fear of rejection/abandonment has stopped me from being able to be in another relationship. Your story has inspired me though 😊

Juliet_84
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi ivyrose,

I think it’s pretty common to feel this way. Some people experience anxiety and fear of abandonment, other people experience jealously etc. The thing is that you really care and so you are worried that it may end and are thus a bit overly protective. But the problem with anxiety and insecurity is that it makes us act in ways that increase the likelihood of us behaving in a negative way so as to drive the other person away. I think in this instance you’d be best to talk to your guy, tell him that you care for him and that you are feeling a bit of anxiety, which means that you like him etc, and allow him to reassure you.

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Ivyrose, and a warm welcome to the forums with all the replies back to you have been excellent.

Along with what has been said can I ask you to type 'intrusive thoughts' into the search bar at the top of this page or in your search browser and read the comments made by other people which may help you understand what you are struggling with and would love to hear back from you when you're available.

Geoff.

Guest_3256
Community Member

Hi ivyrose.

WOW! This is me.

I feel this time to time and to get past these unreal thoughts, I think to myself "these thoughts are not real, I don't need to feel this way," I smile at myself and keep moving along. It's hard but once you begin to manage your thoughts, apparently after 21 days, things will begin to be easier. I also remind myself (internal talk) that I love myself and I don't need to be attached to the hip of my partner, that having some space (while we are at work) is the best form or balance. It's about being in a relationship and being independent at the same time - which is kind of attractive in a partner.