How to Support a Partner Who Deals with Anxiety
Anxiety impacts people in many different ways. When you’re in a relationship with someone who struggles with it, it’s essential to be there for them any way that you can.
More importantly, to support a partner who deals with anxiety, you have to understand more about the disorder itself.
For starters, anxiety doesn’t typically go away on its own. It takes professional help to deal with it and manage the symptoms. Throughout the treatment process, though, you can support a partner by helping them manage the impact of the disorder throughout their everyday lives.
So, what can you do to support a partner struggling with anxiety?
Understand That You Can’t “Fix” Them
It’s not easy to see someone you love struggling with fear and anxiety. However, you can’t change it for them or “fix” them. Trying to do so will only make things worse.
You can support them, listen to them, and try to understand their irrational fears. But, you won’t can’t tell them why they shouldn’t fear anything or how they should calm down. Not only are people with anxiety unable to do that, but it can make them feel guilty, especially in a relationship.
An excellent way to support a partner is to listen to what they’re going through without telling them what they need to do.
Be Open and Honest
People with anxiety are prone to worry. One way you can support your partner is to try to alleviate as many of those “what ifs” as possible.
It could be something as simple as letting them know you’re going to be late one night. If you don’t, they might start to think the worst—maybe you got in a car accident, perhaps you’re cheating on them, etc.
While those aren’t situations that might typically cross your mind, it’s normal for someone with anxiety to overthink things and let their fears take over. Something as simple as sending them a text with information about your whereabouts can alleviate some of that fear.
When you can ameliorate some of the worries of your partner, you’ll foster a more secure environment within your relationship, which brings us to our next point.
Create a Safe Place for Them
To fully support a partner with anxiety, you have to make them feel safe. It isn’t always easy, and it might feel impossible at times. Letting them know you’re there for them and you’re there with them goes a long way to warding off anxiety.
Most people with anxiety realize that they’re struggling and that their fears aren’t necessarily rational. As a result, they might start to worry about losing you or pushing you away. Let your partner know you’re not going anywhere. Just being there as a branch of support for them can make a big difference.
Not Sure How to Help? Ask.
If you’re still not sure how to support a partner who deals with anxiety, don’t be afraid to ask them what they need. In doing so, you’ll let them know that you’re there for them. That reassurance alone can offer a lot of peace and comfort.
Again, everyone deals with anxiety differently. Asking your partner what you can do for them might be a big help, and it will make it easier for you to understand what they’re going through.
If you have a partner who deals with anxiety and you’re in Oakland, CA, feel free to contact me for more help or visit [specialty page/link] to learn more. Together, we can work on different ideas to support your partner and strengthen your relationship.