Rumor has it that the most successful relationships are complementary in nature. Maybe he knows his way around a kitchen while she’s obsessively neat and organized.
I will be the first to acknowledge that relationships composed of two personalities that compliment each other in such a distinct manner are certainly ideal in many circumstances. The point of a relationship is, after-all, to find someone who “completes” you. This is because both individuals are able to make the other’s life dramatically better by virtue of the positive traits they can bring to the table.
However, this is not the case when it comes to mental health issues. Dating someone who struggles with anxiety or a mood disorder is not so easily black and white. In fact, it is a huge obstacle for couples attempting to maintain a successful relationship. This is especially true during the first few months of dating.
People who suffer from mood disorders, especially anxiety, often carry with them a long-list of failed relationships. This is because these individuals are much more prone to feeling overwhelmed, worrisome, and fearful that things will not work out. They may overreact to seemingly harmless words and actions, and communication barriers lead to the destruction of the relationship when one is unable to express complicated feelings.
So what is an anxious person to do? Just give up on dating? I mean, it is definitely stressful and probably not worth your time (along with everything else that is out of your control).
Your options seem limited. You hate everyone. Next thing you know, you’re praying to baby-Jesus and asking him to send you someone who understands your struggle.
Then, instead of meeting your other half – the oil to your vinegar – you just meet….more vinegar. There’s no Ying to your Yang because you’re both just equally fucked up Yings with not a shred of Yang to contribute. Worry not my crazy-ass brothers and sisters because studies have actually shown that two anxious people in a relationship are more likely achieve long-term stability. So partner up and you may just meet your match.
1. You both understand what the other is dealing with.
Many relationships where one person suffers from severe anxiety go through this ruthless cycle of highs and lows. Annoyingly frequent break-ups are followed by ridiculously frequent make-ups. The frustration felt by both individuals, which ultimately stems from a lack of understanding, makes the relationship feel toxic and doomed.
On the other hand, dating someone who understands that you can’t just talk yourself out of a panic attack and that your therapist is actually your best friend is surprisingly comforting. You can bond over how nice it is to talk about that one time you had panic attack during rush-hour traffic.
2. You are more likely to face your own issues.
When you witness someone you care about deal with something you can relate to, you naturally want to do everything in your power minimize the suffering. You hate the idea of them having to deal with the same difficulties you struggle with. Before you know it, you feel motivated to tackle your own issues so that you are better able to offer support.
3. You know when it’s just their anxiety being a buzzkill.
Anxiety and other mood disorders are a result of chemical imbalances. These imbalances will frequently cause an overwhelming feeling that there are too many expectations placed upon that individual. The person feels as if being single would be better so that they can avoid the pressure and possibility of messing up. People who have never suffered from anxiety disorders would find this sort of withdrawal from the relationship to be selfish in nature, but it is actually quite the opposite. When you date someone with similar tendencies, you have a knack for decoding their triggers. For instance, you may pick up on the fact that their anxiety manifests when they have important decisions to make at work or when a big deadline is approaching.
4. You accept that the other person is just as prone to distorting and over analyzing the relationship.
You both have a tendency to find reasons why the two of you shouldn’t be together. The time you spend apart involves a ridiculous amount of analyzing every last detail of the relationship.
Like you, they also had a ton of flings or relationship fails that they incessantly bring up and scrutinize. But you get that this sort of obsession with the past has nothing to do with you because you’re also searching for some fatal flaw that will eventually kill the relationship. The good news is that you are aware they are likely doing the exact same thing, which makes it almost hilarious because you both acknowledge how absurd you’re being. At the end of the day, you just want the other person to accept the fact that you secretly like them, and so you’ll be more willing to leap when you know it means they will too.
5. You don’t take it personally when the other person distances himself.
Most people with anxiety utilize some sort of defense mechanism when they feel vulnerable. Oftentimes, they will come across as scared or indifferent to the idea of someone caring about whether they had a good day. They feel that no one is able or deserves to deal with their issues. In fact, they are doing you a favor. But when two people with anxiety distance themselves from each other, you both know that the “I don’t know’s” and awkward silences really just mean you both care. You know that the last thing each other wants is any sort of “saving,” and so instead of making matters worse or taking the distancing personally, you see it as a compliment.
Congratulations – Feel excited! Someone finally knows your struggle.