About Ella

Ella is a social worker who is passionate about mental health. She loves writing, hiking and watching movies. You can read more of her work at her blog Mind Balance Café.

How I Overcame My Relationship Anxiety and Doubts

“To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure. But risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in my life is to risk nothing.” ~Leo Buscaglia It was the day after my boyfriend proposed and I felt sick with anxiety. I couldn’t understand this feeling. I loved my boyfriend; we were living together, and I didn’t want to break up with him, so why was I so anxious? I googled furiously in search of answers. I worried this was a sign that the relationship wasn’t ‘right,’ and this made me feel even more anxious. I worried that it was my gut instincts speaking to me and I would regret it if I didn’t listen. But there was another part of me that didn’t want to leave the relationship. That was very confusing. “Maybe I am just afraid to be alone,” I thought. However, as someone with a tendency toward anxiety I also wondered if this was just another expression of that. Finally, after about a month of sleepless nights, worrying, and googling, I came across a forum that mentioned relationship obsessive compulsive disorder (ROCD) or relationship anxiety. What is ROCD? “Relationship OCD (ROCD) is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in which the sufferer experiences intrusive, unwanted, and distressing thoughts about the strength, quality, and ‘true nature’ of their love for their partner. Obsessions in ROCD include a preoccupation with a partner’s appropriateness as a mate, overall level of attractiveness, sexual desirability, or long-term compatibility, and often arise in otherwise entirely healthy relationships.” (Center for OCD Los Angeles) It gave me a huge sense of relief to know that what I was experiencing was indeed anxiety-related and I didn’t need to leave my lovely fiancé. I took a relationship anxiety course and it was of enormous help to me. I learned so much about myself and am now able to enjoy my relationship again. I want to share what I learned in the hope that it will help someone else. The Difference Between Anxiety and Gut Instincts My main concern before and after learning about ROCD was “What if this is actually my gut instincts telling me that I need to leave?” This is a scary question, and a very common one for sufferers of ROCD. There is also no definitive way of answering this question, which is frustrating. Anxiety hates uncertainty. One thing that helped me was to remind myself that I have worried obsessively about lots of things for most of my life. For instance, when I was single, I wanted to know with absolute certainty that I would meet someone and be happily married one day. I would seek reassurance from friends and family and worry about it endlessly. This anxiety felt similar to that. If I’d worried unnecessarily in the past, it stood to reason I could be doing the same thing in my relationship. Fear of Conflict [...]

2020-03-23T17:31:54-07:00 By |