Everyone with anxiety is different, but if they’re anything like me, here are some things you should never do to your partner:
Don’t tell them we need to talk.
Don’t be vague. Don’t hint that something is wrong, then wait several hours or days to sit them down for a conversation about it. They’re not going to be able to concentrate on anything else once they know that something is wrong. They’re going to go through a list of scenarios of what might be the problem, and start to panic about every single possibility. So try not to throw your phone down and ignore them after dropping the news that you need to talk. Rip off the bandage before they can panic.
Don’t pressure them into doing something that makes them uncomfortable.
If you’re going to date someone with anxiety, you need to respect their boundaries. You can’t keep pushing them when they give you an answer you don’t like. You can’t guilt trip them or manipulate them into giving you what they want because you think you know what’s best for them. Either remain patient with them, and understand that no means no. Or move on from them. They don’t need someone around who makes them feel guilty about being themselves.
Don’t tease them about being too quiet.
Even though someone might talk about their anxiety freely or make self-deprecating jokes about themselves, it doesn’t mean they want others to join in on the teasing. They’ve heard all the jokes before – and they aren’t funny. If you keep making fun of their anxiety, it could make them wonder whether there’s any truth to your jokes, whether you actually look down on them. Even though some people claim they’re okay with anxiety, they get annoyed when they’re actually faced with the reality of living with someone who has it. Humans with anxiety are never sure which category you fall under, so it’s best to stay respectful.
Don’t act like their worries are ridiculous.
If you don’t have anxiety, it’s hard to understand what they’re going through. You don’t want to tell them to calm down or just breathe or think positively as if getting rid of their anxiety is that simple. If you act like they’re overreacting, or think that they can turn off their anxiety like a switch, then they’re going to feel misunderstood. If you really want to be there for them and support them, then you need to understand that their feelings are valid. They can’t go away with a snap of the fingers.
Don’t keep secrets from them.
When you’re dating someone with anxiety, be as open and honest with them as possible. If something is wrong, they’re going to notice the shift in your tone or your unusual body language. It’s better to tell them the truth about what’s bothering you because the scenarios they come up with could be way worse. Lies will only push them away, so don’t bother keeping secrets. Work on your communication. Tell them how much you love them as much as possible and never get annoyed with them when they want confirmation you still care. They aren’t asking because you’re a bad partner. They’re asking because they want reassurance.