If you’re reading this, you probably suffer with attachment anxiety or you’re in a relationship with someone who does. Whatever the reason is, there’s one underlying factor – attachment anxiety isa bitch!
Attachment anxiety can mean being fine one minute, looking forward to the day ahead when your partner mentions doing something without. BOOM, happiness zapped. The next few hours seem like the hardest hurdles you’ve ever faced, your heart pumps at a fast and your brain starts thinking of every reason why your partner is about to run to the hills far, far away from you. The made-up arguments in your head start running around like some addictive whirlwind you can’t stop listening to despite thoroughly trusting your partner and knowing there is nothing to worry about.
If you’re with someone who suffers from attachment anxiety, life can seem fine one minute when you’re asked out for the evening and your stomach drops… the anticipation of yet another argument boils in your gut. You call or text your partner to let them know the plan and five minutes later, the relationship becomes very hard work.
So… what is attachment anxiety? According to Psychology Today, ‘an anxious person makes insistent attempts to obtain reassurance and love from others, partly because of the person’s self-doubts about his or her worthiness. Anxiously attached people are preoccupied with rejection fears.’ This can be a real issue in relationships but fear not couples! There’s a way to move past this and be happy. But how, I hear you ask, when your life is consumed with this torment?
Find the reasons of attachment anxiety
First thing’s first, get to grips with why this happens. This is a thought process which has developed over time, not naturally. For some, it could be a very rocky life growing up but for others, it’s the result of a horrible experience in a relationship. If, after some thinking, you can’t get your head round why this is happening to you or your partner, it might be worth seeing a professional like a therapist. However if you’re against spilling your heart out to a very caring stranger, have a look online to see what triggers attachment anxiety and you might find the answer. Having said that, talking to someone professional really does help and if you’re at a point where anxiety attachment is a real issue and it’s beginning to take over, you may need guidance to work through it.
Talk to your partner
In a healthy relationship talking to your partner shouldn’t be an issue. Whatever side of you’re on, talking is key and not talking will only result in misunderstandings and arguments so it’s best to talk when neither one of you is uptight, anxious or angry. Explain how you feel when the anxiety enters the relationship and what would be best for you both in that situation. Unfortunately, an anxious person will more than likely be looking for a form of validation of their partner’s love but don’t give into this, either of you! Reassurance can become addictive and it’s not healthy. Listen to any concerns your partner has and then explain how it is from your point of view and what you think would be best. Understanding that your partner doesn’t feel the same as you and that’s OK is key to a better understanding.
Spend time with your friends and family
Keeping yourself busy when your partner isn’t with you is a great way to start dealing with this. Spend time with people who make you laugh and if possible, lose track of time. Not sitting at home with your own thoughts is strongly recommended in the early days. Your friends will be a massive support to you when you decide to work through this, whether you decide to discuss it with them or not. Just knowing you have plans will make you feel better and like you’re not totally alone. Get into the habit of thinking that when your partner is busy, this is the time to get together with friends and family.
Unglue that phone from your hand
Taking your phone out of the equation will mean that you can focus on you for a while and if you’ve lost track of time suddenly panic because they haven’t messaged you. Loosing yourself in simple phone games is also not advisable. Ever noticed how much you focus on random thoughts whilst blasting your time away with that infuriatingly addictive, virtually impossible past a certain level ‘match 3’ game on your phone? Yeah? Well, imagine that when you’re not feeling in control of your own thoughts. It will also mean not seeing something on social media which could be taken totally wrong out of context. During your time of concern, keep it out of reach and focus on the task at hand – being happy and enjoying some ‘you’ time.
Even good plans may fall through and you may find yourself on your own without anything to do when your partner is otherwise engaged. Depending on the level of attachment anxiety that you have, it may be quite tricky to deal with this. My advice is be prepared. Your brain will fall back into the old thought habits without much prompting, despite your hard work. Your heart will race and it will feel like the world is closing in. But getting past this on your own will feel like a huge achievement. When the day is over, you will feel like you’ve ‘passed the test’ and may even have a form of boosted confidence.