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Extreme Anxiety in my relationship

Community Member

Hello everyone,

I've started getting extreme anxiety within my relationship. I have been with my partner for a year now, he's 28 and I'm 25 and for the most part we have had a very loving, supportive relationship. He is incredibly trustworthy and genuinely an awesome guy, I love him very much.

About 6 months ago however, I started to have doubts about him. He's really good looking and I started to think about whether I was good enough for him. I started thinking that he didn't love me and that he wasn't happy. Constant reassurance therefore, is a huge part of our relationship. Recently, this has developed into thoughts that he's cheating on me. I started to look through his phone and emails without him looking until he eventually caught me/ I gave myself away. I found some emails from a colleague (in hindsight nothing too bad) but now it's in my head that he's spending time with her. I also get very bad panick attacks when he goes out with friends or on work trips which makes me feel controlling. I don't want (or even need!) these things in our relationship.

whats even more surprising is I have the past in cheating. I got with him whilst I had a boyfriend. I feel guilty a lot and wonder if this is all to do with self-trust and self-love issues.

My head is constantly telling me that my boyfriend is going to hurt me or betray me although i have no real evidence he is going to do that. I just want this cycle to stop or else I'm going to destroy something that means the world to me.

Has anyone experienced something similar or can help me with how to stop or relieve these thoughts? Appreciate any help.

Thanks x

9 Replies 9

Community Member
Char, I cannot tell you how similar your situation is to mine. You are not alone!
I am 29 years old, am in a loving relationship with a 26 year old. We met 2.5 years ago when we both started as graduates at the primary school we both still work at. We've been together for 1.5 years and are very vulnerable with each other. Her smile, beauty, and her groundedness lights me up. She's overcome a mental illness in the past and loves herself deeply, and therefore she glows. I think the world of her.
Like you, I also feel that I am not good enough for her. Over time, particularly the last 6 months, my feeling of 'not good enough' have spiraled small niggling thoughts and insecurities to full blown panic attacks. I freak out that she's attracted to other guys, that she flirt with them because I'm not enough, and that she will end up cheating on me.
This torrent of thoughts means I struggle to hide how I feel so she knows what I'm going through when she sees me. As open as we are, and as loving as she is, she knows she needs trust in a relationship. She trusts me with all her heart. As a result, my partner has become very uncomfortable in our relationship. She feels she has to be extremely self-conscious around me or when I'm in the room. She has said that she feels she can't be herself and is losing connection in our relationship.

I know that my feelings of being undeserving of her are at the root of this. I also know that the days where I check in with myself moment-by-moment, accepting exactly how I am, and love myself, are the days these small things don't get to me.
Recently I've been reading a book that my partner gave me, it's on bulimia recovery. It's a recovery guide and it's amazing how well it parallels my situation. The core of bulimia is a lack of self-love and deprivation of food through dieting. This enters into a nasty cycle: dieting, binge eating, purging. Repeat.
I've seen I'm doing that cycle in my relationship. I'm very needy because I deprive myself of self-love. Therefore I binge on my partner's love and purge through the negative self thoughts and actions that come up. It's a horrid cycle that's only gotten worse.
You might be able to relate. I've heard that you can only love someone as much as you love yourself. Likewise, if you are centered and trust that you are worthy of love, trust would come naturally.
I can say there have been days where I do trust her. I've got a long way to go but I think that you can improve too.

Community Member
Also, I've found constantly (moment-by-moment) asking myself these questions helps:

Am I loving myself right now? Do I feel loved now?
How am I feeling right this moment? (Feel it, as it is. It's reality.)
How can I use this to grow? What will this growth look and feel like?

Let me know if you'd like other strategies that I've use that help. I can also pass you the bulimia recovery guide... you'll be surprised at how well it fits our situation and how quickly it might just become your favourite book. It has for me.


thank you so much for your reply, you have no idea how good it feels to know that this isn't just me going completely crazy!

Your partner seems in a similar situation to mine, he has been brought up to love himself and be proud of who he is, something that I struggle with perhaps because I don't have that myself. I love this trait in him but too often I find it contributing to my anxiety - am I good enough? Am I the person I was when I met him? Will other women possess a similar outlook to life to him that's more attractive? Not only is it awful but exhausting for us both. I'm sure you know the situation.

What particularly strikes me from what you say is that your partner can tell from the way you look what thoughts are going through your mind. It's the same with me, no matter how hard I try to conceal things he can see the worry. I fear that this pushes him even further away.

I would love to know your techniques on how you handle all of this. How do you feel your going now that you recognise that these things are just in your mind? I find it a struggle but it's comforting sometimes to know that my thoughts are just thoughts and not reality. The book you mentioned also sounds interesting, what's the title?

Have you read anything on mindfulness? I find that breathing and learning to watch my thoughts instead of buy into them is helpful. It doesn't always work but day to day it can be helpful.

do you have an open relationship with your partner? Can you talk to her about how you feel? My partner knows all about what I go through but recently he has took on a new approach (he refuses to reassure me anymore on things he feels I know already) to all of this which can leave me even more nervous or thinking bad things. He's trying to do a good thing but it's hard.

thanks again for your reply,


Hi Char.

First things first, YOU are NOT crazy!!! And you are definitely not alone.

I too have struggled in the past with anxiety and i didnt realise how long i had been carrying it around either. I had this constant fear of my partner leaving me, usually with him falling for someone else. It is crippling and it can feel like you're going mad but you're not.

I saw a psychologist to help with my anxiety. It'll help you work through your thoughts, behaviours and past influences.

Read alot!!! Practice mindfulness but i use a meditation app called "calm". Its excellent. Different programs for different things and it'll help you work on yourself outside your appointments with the psychologist.

This might sound odd but try to spend some time by yourself and be ok with doing things on your own. I learnt a great amount of things about myself.

Ipromise you that even if things dont workout you will be ok and remember thoughts will come and go. Think of your thoughts like logs floating in a river and youre the bystander on the bank. Watch them come close then float by you and disappear. Meditation teaches you to not grasp onto these thoughts.

I hope my advice helps and yes, constant reassurance just enables your negative thought patterns. But talk to your dr about seeing a psychologist first. The rest will follow.

My thoughts are with you.

Hello Pennywise,

Thank you so much for your reply, your advise is so helpful and it's great to know that I am not alone with this issue.

I really like your comment on spending time on my own. Although I like to see myself as strong, I realise that I do depend on my partner quite a lot and I can be uncomfortable spending time alone. I am from England originally and do not have many friends or family here so I think I lean on him to be all of these people for me. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I'm having to have a break from my career which is forcing me to be alone quite a bit. From your comments, it seems that this may be a good thing to explore myself a bit more.

Im seeing a psychologist at the moment (through Salvation Army as I can't afford a mental health plan) which I hope will help and will absolutely download the app you mentioned.

thanks again for your kind words, I hope that this viscous cycle for you has also calmed and you are seeing thoughts for what they really are! X

Hi Char,

So here are a list of small things that I felt have helped. Some better than others at one time and then less so at another.

Checking in
The most effective strategy I've experience so far. It's basically mindfulness practice targeted at emotion. "How am I feeling right now?", "Do I feel loved?". (Those question from my last post have been a godsend).

I've used journal to do a number of things. Writing positive messages to myself, particularly in regards to my self worth as a person is a huge thing. Learning to say "Evan, you know what mate, I love you and care for you". It sounds daggy be learning to say it with sincere care allows you to be there for yourself. Give yourself that permission. If you need to place your hand on your heart or literally hold your own hand. You are a person too!! I'm sure you treat your partner with such care and affection. Do it to you! This practice has extended to me looking at myself in the mirror, smiling, and being supportive in response to any negative thoughts. "Evan, I will be there for you, even if you are balding"... I can't help but laugh happily just being able to say that to myself.
(Brene Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection, is great for this. ),
I also use journaling to give my gremlin thoughts a voice. Mainly to see just how damn ridiculous they are. When said aloud, they seem nonsensical, but whispered in the back of your mind, and not acknowledged, they have an impact.
I also use it to write short thank you notes to people. I don't give them the note but it helps me see how much I have to be grateful for, as opposed to how much I don't have.

Independent Activities
Like Pennywise said, allow yourself a chance to spend time with you. Do things you enjoy and do it alone. I initially had a fear of missing out on spending time with my partner, but as my self-love and self-acceptance grew, so did my independence and my trust for my partner (which is all still a work in progress). I enjoy hiking on lovely days, walking my partner's dog, Milo, self-dating at my favourite restaurants, and heading into the city on Saturday nights to draw the buskers. You'll grow a little more in self-confidence and realize that you can do such things and are a capable person.

Maintain a good Friendship group
Support. Bonding. Perspective.

I've come back to your comments many many times over the last few months. Thank you Evan. I'd love to know the title of the book about bulimia and anything else you can recommend... unfortunately my trust issues are still in mine and my partners life - it's a very difficult habit to attend too.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Char2344~

I'd like to welcome you back to the Forum. Are things any better at all for you now? I know you say the issues are still there.

If you are like me anxiety will not really allow rational explanations to be accepted, the thoughts just ignore them and keep going their own way. I guess your partner having tried to reassure you tried the opposite as nothing seemed to do the trick. Unfortunately that repetitive lack of trust can be very wearing on everyone.

I've found trying to deal with such thoughts I could not do it head on, it had to be an indirect approach, basically improving the overall stress levels in my life, doing things that enhances my self esteem and sense of accomplishment, plus of course meds, therapy and the support of my partner.

Add to that distraction and doing things one enjoys - like Pennywise I read, plus using mindfulness as a means of breaking thought trains. I use the free Smiling Mind app.

Dealing with panic attacks - truly horrible and frightening things - has been described both in The Facts menu above and also by users' experiences here in the Forum. Controlled breathing seems to work for me, together with the knowledge I've been there before and I will survive.

I'm not sure how much your own past activity in leaving your boyfriend comes into it, I suspect you might feel as you do anyway.

Evan John mentions Brene Brown, who has a fair number of free videos on the web, try Googling her name plus 'trust'. Then again she is sensible on many things and well worth a look.

Do you mind if I ask if you are under treatment at the moment? As I said I needed medical help to get as well as I am now, there is no way I could have done it by myself.

In your previous posts you said you had to leave work for a while. This can have a great effect on one's sense of self-worth, even if not warranted, as you can imagine. Have you been able to return?

I do hope now you are back you continue to post


Community Member

Hello Croix and thank you for your very thoughtful and helpful message.

No my trust issues don't seem to have gone away. I have very good weeks and then I have very bad weeks. A continuing aspect of my relationship is that I keep looking through my partners phone and emails - I am convinced he's doing something behind my back. My partner has a 'colourful' past and we met at work, so I've internalised how we met and all of his past into something that may happen to me. If I am honest, its the disrespect and the dishonesty that kills me the most - I always imagine, what if I let go and trust this person and he does something behind my back? I know deep down that this is due to many personal issues of not feeling good enough, not being independent and not feeling pretty enough that's why I find your post so comforting.

I'm starting to spend heaps more time on my own and doing activites like Yoga and walking and spending time with friends. My partner just moved to Sydney - I will be in Melbourne for two weeks before I go up there with him, so I have time to myself and focus on me. I will look at Brene Brown's books absolutely.

I'm not on medication. I'm not seeing a councillor. I have seen three people in the last 4 years but I don't really get anywhere. I try to read a lot and I try to learn new lessons from myself. Perhaps I need to go back but I'm sick of councillors telling me that its my parents or its my friends and that I need to forgive myself and people who have hurt me. I know that - I know it deeply to my core that my past is why I am like this, I just never seem to get the tools I need to get better.

It sounds like you have come a long way - congratulations and well done you. How amazing it must feel to be able to manage this and feel great about yourself. Thank you for sharing your story - I will continue to write 🙂