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Dating someone with anxiety issues or an anxiety disorder can be horribly stressful.

Sometimes it can feel like the anxiety is a third person in the relationship, someone who wriggles in between you and your partner. No one prepared you for this, and you can’t choose who you fall for.

Someone with anxiety can react to relationship stress with a fight-or-flight response, as if the stress were a physical attack.

Sometimes anxious thoughts motivate your partner to act in ways that stress you out and strain the relationship.

For example, people with anxiety sometimes test their partner’s commitment by using insecure strategies, said psychologist Jennifer B. These strategies usually address one of the anxious beliefs they have.

Let’s say your partner is fraught with anxiety about being the first one to initiate communication.

The evidence allows him to challenge his anxious, irrational belief that you will not reach out first. Unfortunately there are many anxiety-motivated behaviors people encounter in relationships.

Whether your partner accepts or resists your suggestion to go to therapy, you should do it yourself.

It will help you develop the skills necessary to understand and cope with your partner’s anxiety.

By using the right coping strategies, you can have a healthy relationship and stop anxiety from causing too much stress.

When you care for someone, it’s tempting to support them by trying to act as a surrogate therapist. Trying to play that role will be emotionally draining. You are not responsible for providing therapy to your partner.

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