Anxiety and New Relationships

I've had social anxieties for as long as I can remember; fear of paying for things in stores, ordering food in a restaurant, answering the door when somebody knocked, and my ex was less than supportive and always figured if he pushed me I'd just get better. 
Following a diagnosis of depression after the birth of my son, everything seemed to come to a head and I finally sought help. The strength I found caused me to leave an abusive relationship and carve out a new life for my son and I, with me being able to keep my anxious feelings under control.
But now I'm with somebody new, and the anxieties seem to have come back tenfold. They manifest in a different way now, so I have no issues with strangers like before, but I'm worried all the while about everything, especially the new relationship.
Much as I understand new relationships bring nerves and fears, considering the past I wonder how best to bring up those anxious feelings to my new boyfriend, as I fear he'll do as my ex did, or worse he'll just walk away.

How have any of you handled introducing a non-physical disorder to somebody new? Did they understand? Did you need to do anything to help them do so?
  • 9 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Ouch. Sounds like you're in a really tough situation. I think your ex must have been really frustrating to deal with; so often people seem to think anxiety is simple, and if they just force you into uncomfortable situations, somehow that'll solve the problem, whilst really they're just making it worse.... :(

    I'm glad you were able to escape those days, though they've left you with a heavy burden to carry. Well done finding the strength to carve out a new life; that was really courageous!

    As for your new boyfriend.... If he treats you poorly or leaves over something like this, you're better off without him. Even though it really hurts, the reality is, someone who can't empathize with you would end up hurting you in the long run. So, (although you should take my advice with a grain of salt since I don't really know anything about either of you), I'd suggest just gently broaching the subject over time and gauging his reaction. Don't make a big deal out of it and lay it on him all at once; I think it's better to share just a little at a time. But, again, follow your best instincts over the advice of strangers on the internet!

    You could also consider seeking medical advice from a GP for coping with your anxieties. I don't know about your situation, but I was able to reduce a lot of my anxieties by combining medication with exposure therapy.
  • Oh, I’ve been there with people pushing me into triggering situations and thinking I’ll just get better. :( It’s good that you got out, but I also understand the anxiety surrounding your new relationship. I do agree with what @BizarreEmu suggested, it’s probably better not to lay all your cards out on the table immediately. But you shouldn’t hide yourself either; anxiety is something you have to deal with, and if he’s a good guy, he’ll try his best to understand and empathize rather than push you to change.
  • Hello @Natalie89! I could kind of relate to you since I also do suffer from depression and anxiety. I tend to worry a lot and I sometimes have panic attacks. But I think you should really disclose this issue to your new partner as soon as possible. If he wouldn't understand your situation or if he would decide to just walk away and leave you, then I guess he is not meant to be in your life, he is not the right one for you.
  • Natalie89   Omg Natalie!!  I also dread paying for stuff at the store!!  or answering the phone, or greeting people from a distance...!!   My anxiety is better now, but I haven't really talked in depth about it with my fiance, I'm not sure what he'd think of me, how would he take it or if he'd ever use that against me during or after an ugly fight. 
  • I can totally understand about being anxious in a new relationship. Sometimes, the thought of starting a new relationship with someone causes me to have anxiety and I just want to curl up in bed and hide. I think that you should be able to tell your new boyfriend that you have this  problem. I think it is important to have open communication in a relationship and you would want to know up front whether it is going to be like your last one. I think it would be better to find out before too much time goes by that the person will have a problem with your condition and whether they are going to be supportive of you. 
  • When I first got in a relationship 4 years ago I did not know how to bring up my depression. I was scared that my boyfriend would run away from it, but he was very good about it. Then I developed really bad panic attacks and anxiety issues when we were dating and he is still here by my side. 
  • I think if you are with the right type of person then they will tend to be accepting and understanding no matter what. I've been in numerous relationships before and they all seemed to have a lot of strict rules attached to them but I did find a person whom I can be so comfortable with that I know I can share and be myself no matter how extreme the behavior or personality is. I see many people around me who have to pretend, even ones in relationships that have lasted decades, and it makes me wonder sometimes how they put up with it.
  • I get what you mean. Even for me, a person with just mild anxiety getting to know someone intimately is really hard now compare that with someone who's clinically depressed and anxious I suppose it would be a real stretch. I guess try to go slow first, take in the other person in small amounts then once you're comfortable with them take the plunge.
  • You should tell your new partner about your situation as soon as possible. If it bothers them, and they don't want to stick around, then let's face it they're not going to be what you need anyway! I know that I always like to tell my close friends about what I'm going through, as they can then work with me to make things just that little bit easier!
Sign In or Register to comment.