My Partner Has Anxiety When Talking About Our Relationship
Helping a partner to relax and open up when talking about your relationship can improve the bond you share. Anxiety about relationship discussions could stem from a fear of commitment, insecurity about a partner's feelings or even simply feeling awkward or uncomfortable about the topic. Whatever the cause of the anxiety, keeping things light-hearted and being flexible in how you start the conversation will ease her nerves.
1 Afraid of Commitment
A person who has had a traumatic relationship experience or troubled childhood, such as being abandoned by a parent or a partner, will have trouble trusting again and may be anxious about making a commitment, writes psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith on "Psychology Today" online. If your boyfriend was betrayed by a partner in the past, he may be afraid to allow someone else to get close -- out of fear that he will be hurt again. Also known as an "anxious attachment style," this manner of relating can leave him needing reassurance, assert therapists Carista Luminare and Lion Goodman on YourTango. Help him trust again by being consistent, stable and caring. Approach conversations with comforting words such as, "I really care about you and would like to be able to talk about our relationship."
2 Awkward or Uncomfortable
Your partner may also have anxiety talking about your relationship simply because it makes her feel awkward or uncomfortable. Perhaps this is the first time she has been serious about someone and doesn't have much experience talking about her feelings and emotions. Help her to feel less nervous by giving her time to open up, as well as letting her know you understand how she feels. Say something like, "I know it can feel awkward talking about the two of us. I am a little nervous too, but I think it is important that we are able to discuss these things."
3 Getting Started
If your partner still feels anxious talking about the relationship, perhaps he needs a way to organize his thoughts first. Writing in a journal or talking to a best friend first might be a way to feel less nervous and more confident discussing the relationship with you. If talking to you in person is too nerve-wracking, offer to start the conversation using the written word -- either through handwritten notes, emails or texts. If he still becomes overly nervous in person, suggest taking a break from the conversation; in these situations, coping strategies such listening to music or taking a walk together can reduce anxiety, writes licensed social worker Nancy Travers on 4Therapy.com.
4 Keeping Things Light
Help your partner to see that there is no reason to be anxious discussing the relationship, suggests therapist and author Kate Thieda, as cited on Psych Central. Don't fuel her anxiety by sending a message that talking about the relationship is an overly serious matter -- instead try to keep things light-hearted and fun. Say something like, "We don't have to have a serious discussion. I just want us to be able to talk about the relationship so we can both enjoy each other more." Keep things laid back and relaxed, and your partner will have an easier time opening up when it comes to talking about your relationship.