How to handle anxiety in a relationship

This article was posted on 22 August 2016

Posted in Health Cover

My son has social anxiety disorder

Anxiety can be described as a mental disorder where feelings of distress about future events and being overly concerned about current events causes an emotional imbalance that causes physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations and sleeping problems.

With all the daily drama and pressure that relationships go through, having to deal with a partner who suffers from anxiety disorder can add to the pressure of making a relationship work. Feeling like there is nothing that you can do while your partner suffers daily can be emotionally draining for you as well but there is a few things that you can try and understand, and do in order for you to help your partner to deal with these challenges.


People who suffers from anxiety disorder normally have ways of coping with their feelings and emotions but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are in total control of handling it. No single person who suffers from this wants to hear how it is their own fault that they are feeling the way they do or experiencing what they do when they are in an anxious situation. The best way you can handle someone who’s experiencing feelings of angst is by being sympathetic to them and their situation.

Try to understand what is it that causes them to experience these feelings of fear and distress and in what scenarios they get anxious. If you as a partner know what it is that causes them to react the way they do in situations that stresses them out, you are better adapt to alleviate the problem. For instance if your partner gets anxious when having to attend a social event, try to find out who will be attending, where it will be and what it is about so that they can have more piece of mind and control over knowing what to expect.

Always talk about and discuss what exactly it is that your partner is afraid of or what situations it is that triggers their anxiety. Discussing this shows that you are interested in your partner and their feelings and by regularly asking questions it gives you more insight and understanding on the disorder which can only strengthen the relationship. As mentioned earlier, try talking about what may or may not happen in the case of situational anxiety as it shows that you have sympathy with what they’re going through.

Aside from them suffering from this disorder, try to focus more attention on who they are when they are not feeling anxious. Yes, you cannot look past the fact that it is real and can happen at any time in any situation but don’t allow this state of mind define who they are as a person. Like any other human being they also have other, more positive attributes that defies their character as a whole.

People who suffer from this disorder usually enjoy spending time with themselves. When this happens allow for them to have their ‘me-time’ wheter it be physically or mentally. They will, when they’ve dealt with whatever it is that they needed time for, show you by talking to you about where they were or why they acted the way they did. This also shows that they do indeed appreciate you, though difficult for you to understand.


Overcoming an anxiety disorder takes time, a lot of encouragement  and tolerance but it most certainly can be done.

- Enzo Leigh Botes

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