There’s a clear difference between dating someone who refuses to understand your anxiety, who makes fun of your anxiety, who easily gets annoyed over your anxiety — and someone who is trying to understand your anxiety but doesn’t always say the right things.
If you’re with the first type of person, you deserve better. You should dump them. You should hold out for someone who would never make you feel like a burden.
But if you’re with the second type of person, you can make the relationship work. You just need to put a little more effort in from both sides.
When your person doesn’t understand your anxiety, you have to educate them, because they might not realize they’ve been doing anything wrong. They might think they’re helping when they tell you what you’re worrying about isn’t that big of a deal or when they warn you to relax.
Your forever person might not know the right steps to take to calm you down when you’re spiraling — but that doesn’t mean they are never going to understand your anxiety. It means they need you to teach them. They need you to explain what is and isn’t working.
When your person doesn’t understand your anxiety, you have to communicate with them. You can’t hold your frustration inside when they say the wrong thing. You have to make sure they are aware of your thoughts and emotions. Otherwise, they are going to keep saying the wrong thing because they assume it’s helping.
Even though it might feel uncomfortable to be so open about your feelings, it’s going to help both of you in the long run. If you want your relationship to last, you have to be able to talk to each other, to ask each other questions, to inform each other.
When you have anxiety, it’s important to learn how to communicate without turning everything into a massive argument. Snapping at them isn’t going to help. And them snapping at you after you admit how you’ve been feeling is only going to push you further away. Your person has to understand you correcting their behavior isn’t the same as you criticizing them over it.
At the end of the day, your person wants what’s best for you — but they might not know what’s best for you. When you’re freaking out about talking to a cashier, they might not know whether it’s better to do the talking for you or let you fend for yourself. When you want to back out of a job interview, they might not know whether they should push you to go anyway or whether they should let you make your own decisions.
Your anxiety isn’t just confusing for you. It’s confusing for the people around you, the people who want to support you, the people who want you to reach your potential.
That’s why you need to be open and honest with your loved ones. You need to tell them when they’re overstepping, tell them when you need their encouragement, tell them when you need some time alone. You need to open up your mind and let them crawl around inside.