Is anxiety a red flag in a relationship?

If you’re highly sensitive or anxious, pairing up with someone who’s insensitive to your needs can increase anxiety. Also, be careful of partners who “breadcrumb,” giving you small morsels of attention and hope to get you hooked.

These red flags aren’t necessarily deal-breakers, but it is important to recognize them and communicate with your partner honestly and regularly.

1. You’re afraid to talk about it

People with anxiety often suffer in silence because they don’t feel comfortable talking about their feelings. This can create a barrier to healthy communication and can lead to miscommunication. If you feel like your partner is stonewalling you when you bring up your anxiety, this could be a sign that they aren’t interested in helping you overcome it.

There are many different types of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder (intense fear and feelings of dread that trigger a physical response such as pounding heartbeat or chest pain), social anxiety disorder (intense self-consciousness in everyday social situations) and specific phobias. Symptoms may also include post-traumatic stress disorder (upsetting memories and flashbacks), depression and sleep problems. These can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, traumatic life events and stress.

2. You’re afraid to ask for help

In a healthy relationship, you should feel comfortable sharing your feelings. But if you find yourself hiding your emotions or feeling stonewalled when bringing up concerns, it may be time to consider the impact this is having on your mental health.

While it’s normal to spend more time with a partner at the beginning stages of a relationship (and consequently less with friends or family), if your partner is constantly angry, jealous or critical of you spending time with your friends or family or giving up things that were once important to you like a dance class or your plans to go back to school, this could be a red flag.

If you are worried about the impact your relationship is having on your anxiety, talk to a therapist. Harley Therapy connects you with top London talk therapists and enables you to book online from the comfort of your home.

3. You’re afraid to share your feelings

It’s normal to feel nervous in the beginning of a relationship but if you are feeling anxious far into the process and are having a hard time sharing your feelings with your partner, it’s a red flag. This can indicate that they are not a good fit for you or they lack respect and trust for your feelings.

Anxiety in relationships often stems from either witnessing a loved one’s downfall or from negative personal experiences with relationships in the past. This can lead to a deep-rooted belief that all relationships are difficult and full of turmoil, making it difficult for someone with anxiety to believe that they can actually be in a healthy relationship. Practicing mindfulness and reminding yourself that your feelings are not facts can help ease your anxieties.

4. You’re afraid to trust your partner

People in relationships experience highs and lows, but if you feel like the other shoe is always about to drop, that could be a sign of relationship anxiety. This can manifest as a constant low hum of insecurity, or a feeling that your partner isn’t happy enough or content to stay long-term.

This may also be a red flag if they’re quick to anger or switch from happiness to rage, as this can indicate that they lack emotional regulation skills. It’s important to note that these signs don’t necessarily mean they’re going to walk away forever—they can often be addressed and mend the relationship. But it’s also important to recognize when you should be cautious and trust your intuition.

5. You’re afraid to be yourself

Feelings of anxiety, worry and fear are a normal part of being human. They’re our brain’s way of preparing us for danger or stress by releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. But when these feelings are out of control, it’s a sign that you may be in an unhealthy relationship.

While it’s natural to feel nervous when dating someone new, if you continue to feel this way long after you start spending more time together, it’s a red flag. This could indicate that your partner isn’t the right fit for you or is struggling with their own anxiety issues.

To help manage anxiety, try practicing mindfulness techniques or using a gratitude journal to practice positive thinking. Spending time with friends and keeping active can also help reduce stress.