We live in a time of cell phones and social media. There is a multitude of ways to contact your partner and let him or her know where you are. When you are getting texts on your phone that have been delivered and you are not answering them, chances are the person on the other end, especially someone with anxiety is assuming the absolute worst. When you do not struggle with anxiety, it is hard to explain this to you.
Maybe you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like keeping in constant touch with people. Maybe you just don’t like to look at your phone. Maybe you’re just busy as hell. But when there are more than 2 messages and a phone call on your phone, you have got to recognise what is going through the other person’s head when they are struggling with anxiety. Here’s a brief trailer: “What has happened?” “Are they cheating on me?” “Why don’t they care enough that I’ve called/texted so many times?” “Oh my God, has something bad happened to them?” – this usually spirals the longer you leave it to answer them.
It doesn’t take much to pick up your phone and say “Hi, so sorry, I’m just really busy.” whether by text or call. This simple and small thing will placate them to the point that not only will they calm down, slowly they will begin to get used to the fact that sometimes you can’t answer and it will be overall better for your relationship. As an anxious person, there is nothing worse than trying to get in touch with someone and them not answering or getting back to you when you need them to. As your brain slowly starts to disintegrate, illogical thoughts merge together and several things go wrong at once. By the time the end of the day comes around, you have convinced yourself that either you are unwanted or the worst has happened. And yes, Anxious people are aware that this is their anxiety talking. They simply do not know how to switch it off when it starts.
One of the worst panic attacks I have ever had was because someone who was supposed to call me didn’t get back to me after 3 repeat attempts in 12 hours and they were on the road in a dangerous area. I genuinely believed something awful had happened to them, and as it turned out, they had seen my calls and messages, they were just in the middle of a conversation with their friends, so just didn’t think to call or text back. It didn’t occur to them that simply answering with a text saying that would have been a source of great comfort for me.
So if you are dating an anxious person, please just let them know you are busy if they are texting you. Don’t avoid their calls. It could help in avoiding a great amount of mental stress and unhappiness for them.