Relationship anxiety can show up in different ways.
Most people feel a little insecure about their relationship at some point, especially in the early stages of dating and forming a commitment. This isn’t unusual, so you generally don’t need to feel concerned about passing doubts or fears, especially if they don’t affect you too much.
But these anxious thoughts sometimes grow and creep into your daily life.
Here’s a look at some potential signs of relationship anxiety:
Wondering if you matter to your partner
“The most common expression of relationship anxiety relates to underlying questions of ‘Do I matter?’ or ‘Are you there for me?’” Robertson explains. “This speaks to a fundamental need to connect, belong, and feel secure in a partnership.”
For example, you might worry that:
- your partner wouldn’t miss you much if you weren’t around
- they might not offer help or support if anything serious came up
- they just want to be with you because of what you can do for them
Doubting your partner’s feelings for you
You’ve exchanged I love you’s (or maybe just I really, really like you’s). They always seem happy to see you and make kind gestures, like bringing you lunch or walking out of their way to see you home.
But you still can’t shake the nagging doubt: “They don’t really love me.”
Maybe they’re slow to respond to physical affection. Or they don’t reply to texts for several hours — even a day. When they suddenly seem a little distant, you wonder if their feelings have changed.
Everyone feels this way from time to time, but these worries can become a fixation if you have relationship anxiety.
Worrying they want to break up
A good relationship can make you feel loved, secure, and happy. It’s perfectly normal to want to hold on to these feelings and hope nothing happens to disrupt the relationship.
But these thoughts can sometimes transform into a persistent fear of your partner leaving you.
This anxiety can become problematic when you adjust your behavior in order to secure their continued affection.
For example, you might:
- avoid bringing up issues, such as frequent lateness, that are important to you in a relationship
- ignore when your partner does things that bother you, such as wearing shoes inside your house
- worry a lot about them getting mad at you, even if they don’t seem angry
Doubting long-term compatibility
Relationship anxiety can make you question whether you and your partner are truly compatible, even when things are going great in the relationship. You might also question whether you’re actually happy or if you just think you are.
In response, you might start focusing your attention on minor differences — they love punk music but you’re more of a folk-rock person — and overemphasize their importance.
Sabotaging the relationship
Sabotaging behaviors can have roots in relationship anxiety.