5 Relationship Anxiety Symptoms You Do NOT Want To Ignore


Your relationship may have begun effortlessly enough. Yet no relationship can survive without attention and work. Perhaps surprisingly, anxiety can help protect the relationships we care about most, and paying attention to your relationship anxiety symptoms can help safeguard your bond.

When you care about someone, your anxiety won’t let you ignore them. It keeps you attuned to their needs as well as your own.

Anxiety about your relationship alerts you to sensitivities that could be pointing out potential land mines. Those sensitivities could also be bringing up issues needing your attention.

The important thing to know is that stressors in a relationship should never be ignored or labeled too minor to address nor should they be dismissed as a product of mental illness.
– from Hack Your Anxiety: How To Make Anxiety Work For You In Life, Love, and All That You Do

Your relationship anxiety symptoms are helpful guides. They are alerting you to things that deserve focus in your relationship.

Yet, not all relationship anxiety symptoms are easily identified as being anxiety-related. Five of the most critical symptoms of relationship anxiety that merit your attention are:

1. Anger  

Some marriages are rife with conflict and unmet expectations. In these rocky relationships, anxiety can play a key role in resolving the core problems. Of what are you really afraid? What scares you the most about your situation? Answering these questions can help you translate your anger into solutions.Unchecked, anxiety can fuel and escalate anger into hostility. When this happens in long-term marriages, it can be a predictor of imminent divorce.

But long-time married couples aren’t the only ones who need to be aware of this relationship anxiety symptom. Levels of stress hormones in arguing newlyweds have been shown to predict future relationship trouble, They key is to use this anxiety to fuel constructive solutions to your bond.

2. Insecurity 

This whispering form of anxiety that leaves you wondering if you – or your relationship – are good enough has been shown to be a powerful predictor of chronic marital dissatisfactionand infidelity. Insecurity is a subtle form of worrying whether your relationship will last.

3. Boredom 

Another relationship anxiety symptom that needs prompt attention is ennui. Boredom is not just stagnation in a marriage, but the whisper that something is wrong.That “something wrong” is usually a needling, chronic dissatisfaction that needs and deserves attention if the relationship is to survive or ever be satisfying again.

4. Avoidance

A marriage is fertile ground for avoidance, too. It can show up in too many hours spent at work, substance abuse, chronically separate interests, excessive travel, or infidelity.When you or your spouse avoid in this manner, you’re driving up your resistance to your partner, and the relationship dynamics you are fostering. What an avoidant relationship really needs is nurturing and compassion if your bond is to thrive again.

5. Resentment

Trusting others is hard, especially if you have learned that leaning on others can lead to disappointment and rejection. If you’ve internalized this lesson, you might lean toward lone wolf behavior. You might believe that in order to get something done, you must do it yourself.In moderation, there’s nothing wrong with this. It fuels responsibility, control-taking, and resilience. However, this belief can also lead to stubbornness, isolation, and resentment.

If you struggle with lone wolf behavior, and the resentment that can accompany it, you know how extremely difficult it is to ask for help. But you also know that expressing your needs and sharing the load of running a household are vital to a healthy relationship, and home life. Resentment can accompany the conflict between what you wish you could ask and receive, and what you ultimately do.

But this doesn’t just affect you. Research confirms that division of labor in marriage is a key aspect of marital happiness. A recent Pew Study confirmed that more than 50 percent of married adults in the US believe shared housework is key to a successful marriage.

When you sacrifice too much of yourself for others by doing “everything,” resentment naturally follows. It becomes the kind of conflict anxiety that comes from feeling trapped. And a mutually satisfying and healthy relationship requires that neither partner feel trapped, or alone.

A successful and satisfying relationship doesn’t just happen. It takes work that never really ends. And this is part of the effort that allows for the mutually satisfying relationship we all crave.

If you pay attention to relationship anxiety symptoms when they emerge, you’ll be able to more quickly identify when there’s an issue needing attention. And this makes your anxiety a great asset in creating and maintaining a vibrant, mutually satisfying connection.


Looking for more help in understanding anxiety relating to your relationships? Learn more about my book Hack Your Anxiety and access free tools to help you manage the fear and anxiety going around the world today.

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash

Alicia H. Clark, PsyD