In this article, you will learn the five keys on how to stop relationship anxiety.
Hi, I'm Antia Boyd, founder and creator of the Magnetize Your Man Method, and stay until the very end of this article so you get some surprise bonuses!
5. Managing Expectations
Key number five is managing expectations. Yes, this is true, if you are anxious, it's often because there's uncommunicated expectations or just expectations that are not well-managed. Expectations that are not being fulfilled by the other person and that then creates anxiety because you have this fear of disappointment. What you want to do instead is understand what your expectations are.
So let's say you were planning to spend the weekend with a guy that you're dating. That about what you expect that to mean – When does he pick you up? How much time do you guys spend together? So really managing your expectations and asking questions to understand that a little bit more. What often happens, is that how you want to spend your weekend and how he's going to spend this weekend are two different things.
Now, you don't know that though, that’s just an assumption; you're generalizing your reality based on your unconscious expectations. So you then project that idea onto your partner that he has the same experience as you, and when that doesn't happen, disappointment follows. And when the disappointment follows, now there's an anxiety chain reaction that's being triggered for the fear of the next disappointment. Did I communicate this properly? Oh, he didn't call what does that mean? And so on. So, asking him, what spending the weekend with you looks like for him, or communicating your expectations is important.
For example, if you’re going camping, actually saying “I'm looking forward to some quality time and resting time versus running all over the place and doing a million adventurous things.” Also, if you take another example, let's say you're used to men calling you a certain amount or texting you a certain way, and then he doesn't; let's say you want men to text you every day, but men that you date are usually texting you maybe every other day or so. So again, you get that anxiety. “Oh, I haven't heard from him. I don't know what that means.” “I don't know if it's over.” Instead of saying, “Hi, what does communication mean to you? To me, it means…” And then fill in the blank. “What makes me feel important is to be connected with you daily. Even if it's just a smiley face, even if it's just a hi.” So really, really important to understand that distinction.
4. Becoming Self Focused & Not Other Focused
Key number four is becoming self-focused versus other-focused. You see what I've seen in my research at UC Berkeley when we studied attachment styles, is really that a lot of anxious attachment styles are focusing on the other person. So, you want to reverse it. Now, why is that? Because what happens is if you are focusing on the other person – what he wants or how he communicates his emotions or how his day was etc, then you never actually connect with yourself, and that creates anxiety too. You don't have that core inside of yourself, meaning your identity or how you feel or what you think is depending on the other person. When that was the case with me, it would trigger a tremendous amount of anxiety.
Here's what you want to do instead. Let's say you're on a date and you notice yourself already asking all those questions, finding out more about this man. What his hobbies are, what he likes to do, maybe even something about his family, you may stop and realize, “Hey, I'm really in his world, I'm not in my world at all.” What you can do, is a simple little trick to pull that energy back to you, that attention. Like you could even visualize a little magnet in front of your heart or your solar plexus, just pulling him closer to you so that he focuses on you. And so then it's more about becoming self-focused. How do I feel? Am I in my body? Am I having a good time? So actually you start to ask yourself these questions. This is a good thing for you. What about me?
Often what happens in childhood is you learn that everybody else's life, everybody else's emotions are more important. You had to be the caregiver or your parents got divorced early or your parents are narcissists. So you learn, there's no me. So now we want to retrain you to be more concerned with what you want. Little kids, they will jump in front of the camera and be like “what about me?” And that's what we want to get you to come back to yourself. And then of course, what happens is your anxiety goes down because you don't necessarily need the approval of the other person. After all, now you have what? Self-approval. You start to feel better because you feel how you feel and you feel confident in how you're feeling, and you feel confident in how you're communicating and how you're expressing your needs.
3. Developing Your Individual Identity Vs Couple Identity
Key number three is to develop your individual identity versus the couple’s identity. Now, what I see with so many women that come to me is that they are having dysfunctional and often codependent relationships or had codependent relationships in the past. That of course also originates from codependent parenting as well. So what often happens is there is so much focus on that couple’s identity. We, who are we together? How do I feel about you? What are we doing together? What are we saying together? Where are we going? So there's a lot of us, and that doesn’t leave a lot for just you. What about me? So, what often happens, especially when relationships become stale is the other person develops anxiety because there's such a heavy emphasis and focus on the couple's identity. Then, hold on a second, if I take the couple identity away, there's nothing left, nada, zero. Instead, you want to make sure that you're just as full in the individual identity.
There are parts inside of ourselves that are incredibly helpful and supportive in a couple's identity, and those parts can only really fully be nourished in the individual identity. So hold on a second. What does that mean? So how you nourish your identity is spending some time by yourself doing what you want to do.
Quick story, 10 years ago, I was dating this guy, and he invited me to go on a sailing trip. It was Sunday, and obviously, all the girls were after him and would have done anything to be invited on the sailing trip, but I said to myself, I know I'm good with the couple's identity but I'm not so good with the individual identity. So I need to make sure that I'm having just as good of a time by myself to never need him and instead I can always choose him, and that it is authentic. You can't fully love someone else if you don't love yourself. So I did the unthinkable and I said, “Sunday afternoon I'm going to spend some quality here” And guess what? I had a blast, and that afternoon I spent time working on filling myself up; doing what brings me joy. I ended up meeting a girlfriend and we had a fantastic time. We were walking along the water, and just feeling what it means to be me. Now, needless to say, that increased his attraction to me tremendously because no woman had ever told him that she wants to spend some quality time by herself. It brought so much fresh new energy into the relationship, and it also decreased my anxiety because somewhere inside of myself, I now knew and felt that I'm okay by myself as well.
This is not about closing up your heart, it's not saying, yeah, I know I don't need men, that's what I've been saying the whole time. That's not what I'm saying, because often that comes from lack of trust, from control, from protecting yourself. This came from a place of self-love, from really thinking that I want to have this full-fledged experience of relationship versus just this empty feeling of relationship that I just got filled up in the relationship and otherwise I'm empty. I hope that helps.
2. Take Your Power Back
Key number two is to take your power back. Now, hold on a second. Let's take a little bit more of a fierce approach. The other one was a little bit more psychological, but seeing why did you give your power away to a man that you now feel anxious if he doesn't respond, or you feel anxious if he doesn't share his emotions in a way that you would him to share that with you? No more. Take your power back. Like really visualize as if you have little hooks in the other person, in the man, and you're unhooking, you're taking the hooks out of the man, maybe out of the man's heart or maybe out of his throat, or maybe out of his solar plexus. Whoever you've given your power away to. You can also do that with your parents too, but take your power back, and say, “I'm taking my power back.”
Now, this is going to do a lot of things for you. For one, it will massively increase your sense of self-esteem and you will also start to respect yourself much more. You see, most women that come to me are very liked but not very respected by men. And this is not because they're not accomplished, because they're highly accomplished. You see, it has nothing to do with your career focus and how accomplished you are in that world, it has everything to do with your emotional world. Do you take your power back, do you stand in your truth, do you let your voice be heard?
I will give you an example. I had a client who did exactly that, where the man was not holding up to his promise that he said he's going to contact her at a certain time, and he didn't, and he apologized later, but she said, “Hi, this was not okay.” What do I mean? So she was taking her power back and he got attracted to that, and wouldn't you think so, they are now dating.
1. Uncover What Lies Beneath Your Anxiety
Finally, tip number one is to find out what lies beneath the anxiety. Now, oftentimes there's a fear of shame, there's a fear of the unknown, there's a fear of tension, there's a fear of disappointment. So really see, instead of feeding into not feeling the anxiety or coping with the anxiety, instead, you want to connect with the anxiety right? I always say a connection over coping, because when you cope, you will stay on the surface, you will just perpetuate the pattern, but if you connect, you actually start to feel much more connected to yourself, hence you're going to attract men into your life who are much more connected to themselves and you. You get to the real core, so you stop the pattern.
So if you notice, “I feel anxiety because I don't feel resourced enough.” So because you are not resourced enough, we're going to ask you, okay, where are you not resourced enough? Are you physically not resourced enough, meaning you are exhausted because you spent a super busy week at work? Or are you emotionally not resourced enough? Because maybe you just didn't get that from your childhood or you just have certain reactive patterns that we want to make sure turn into authentic patterns, or is it more energetic? That sometimes we understand the least about. Where you just don’t know, you just feel not resourced, you don't feel you have a lot of flexibility, you don't feel you can take on a lot of different perspectives, just really getting stuck in this rigid pattern.
So fully understanding what is underneath that anxiety, because sometimes it can be something much more simple than you think, and instead of coping with the anxiety to look at what needs lies underneath it. Often that's also fear of shame. Now, if that is the case for you, boy, do I have a surprise for you? Of course, check out my articles on shame, but also understand that shame is a gift because it helps you to feel whatever's at the core of yourself. That means there are no defence mechanisms, and when there are no defence mechanisms, you can get to the core of it, which means also to the core of creation. Yes, you guessed it. Now, you can create whatever you want. What do you want to create from this place? You are the most embodied at that moment, if you allow yourself to go there, you're the most connected at that moment, you're most raw, most vulnerable, most available, and guess what? It's highly magnetic, it's highly charismatic. So try it out.
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