How It Feels To Have Anxiety In A Relationship. ~ Samuel Leighton-Dore

Via Samuel Leighton-Doreon Aug 16, 2014

Porsche Brosseau/Flickr

How does it feel to have anxiety in a relationship?

It feels like the pain of your past is being folded into the joy of your future—and you’re left, somewhere in between, unable to grasp the present.

It’s blurring the line between that which is possible and probable, quietly fighting to uncover even the slightest crack in the most brazen of armours.

It’s the way you somehow always manage to find one; magnify it, expand upon it—allow it to justify the tidal waves of self-doubt as they build, bend and break to shore.

It’s your needing closure to that which you hold open.

It’s harboring a silent resentment over the hypothetical scenarios of your own writing, leaving them to play out on a manic loop—sparking a groundless sense of panic which swells and consumes all remaining sense or logic. It’s your questioning even the purist of intentions, deeming yourself forever unworthy—not only of that which you desire, but of that which you’ve already received.

It’s tripping over your own laces, tied voluntarily between each shoe.

It feels like you’re reading darkness from between the lines of a love letter—overriding any sturdiness to their voice with the familiar, wavering tones of all those you’ve heard before. It’s preparing yourself for heartache, despite it not being there; despite there being nothing to suggest it will be.

It’s the way you plant such damning evidence in amongst the unassuming beauty of everyday life; setting yourself up as victim and condemning those you love as criminal. It’s anticipating the emptiness to a glass currently full; the crumbling of a wall that remains standing—the eventual end to a feeling finally returned.

It feels like your time together is cultivated in the pause between words, in the keys between lyrics, in the moments which fall so silently prior to embrace—and those which lie so immediately after. It’s holding all the world’s certainty in the palm of your hand, and calling it out as chance—forever watching the shadows in the background, over that which is presented clearly in the fore.

It’s believing that heartbreak is, in the end, inevitable—despite your undying hope for the contrary. It’s allowing this belief to undermine all you think, say and do; setting an unforgiving pretext—leaving a bitter aftertaste to even the sweetest bite.

It’s not depression, nor is it insanity. I suppose, if anything, it’s a chronic inability to seize the moment; the ongoing struggle to play whichever cards you’re dealt, with quite the confidence you’re meant to.

It feels like you’re being relentlessly gripped by a maddening nostalgia; the kind which suffocates, the kind which preemptively falls from each and every moment—right as you’re in it, right as it passes.

For fear that each one—each kiss, laugh or unsuspecting smile—could be the last.



Dear Closet Anxiety Sufferer—You’re Not Crazy.

The Intelligence of Anxiety. 



Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Porsche Brosseau/Flickr

About Samuel Leighton-Dore

Samuel Leighton-Dore is a writer/director from Sydney, Australia. He spends his days working a minimum wage job, and his nights writing about love and relationships. He dreams of a life without weekends. You can follow him on Twitter & Instagram @samleightondore. His debut eBook ‘Love, Or Something Like It’ is out now.


Appreciate this article? Support indie media!

(We use super-secure PayPal - but don't worry - you don't need an account with PayPal.)

22 Responses to “How It Feels To Have Anxiety In A Relationship. ~ Samuel Leighton-Dore”

  1. Jessica says:

    Incredible. It’s unreal to read out loud what I do and what I’ve done. Sad but inspires change. Thank you!

    • Samuel says:

      Thanks so much, Jessica. It means the world to know that it resonated x

      • Sophie says:

        me too! I feel so self destructive at times, look back and think why did I do that? do you have any advice on how to make steps to change our anxiety?

  2. Noemi says:

    thank you, that perfectly fits me… that's so hard. but I stay, I rest, I hope.

  3. Arlette says:

    This is what ruined my last relationship. The last seven months I have taken the time to figure me out so that these type of thoughts do not sabotage a good thing again. Thank you for writing this. I really thought I was crazy and alone in this behavior.

  4. mallory says:

    yes thank you! I feel this way in most relationships it's so hard to deal with sometimes but it helps to know other people deal with it too

  5. Alexis Agnew says:

    wow, so crazy to read this and know it describes me exactly! thank you for writing this – such honesty. xx

  6. reneahanna says:

    gosh, i know this far too well. it is so self destructive. and you miss out on so much happiness because of it. i'm battling this right now. day by day. sometimes, moment by moment. i am in a relationship with the love of my life and i'll be damned if i let this tear us down. good luck to each and every one of us that battles this. <3

  7. Amy says:

    Yes, and I get caught in it by believing all the chitter chatter of my anxiety until something makes me realise I am ruining my relationship. I'm going to keep this to read when the anxiety voice gets too convincing. Thanks x

  8. anna says:

    Thanks for this! I've been struggling with this exact issue. YOu hit the nail on the head. Glad I'm not the only one out there.

  9. Jes Wright jeswright2013 says:

    Wow! That's beautiful writing! Thanks for sharing wise words.

  10. Xenia says:

    Good work!!! You're exactly right about everything. I haven't been in a relationship like this, but I've seen it and it's terrible. Thanks for putting it into words!

  11. EarthNurse says:

    This hit me hard. You portrayed the feelings of anxiety so accurately and bravely. I used to get anxious in most relationships, but haven't for decades. That is until my last love triggered a boat-load. He -and I – blamed my anxiety for the end of what I thought was a balanced loving relationship at the time. But I was going trough a bit of anxiety provoking stuff in my personal life, and was blaming spil-over on my internal anxious cues. It culminated in a terrible ending, when my anxiety increased dramatically in response to what would have produced anxiety for most people. But I had been denying that I was in a relationship that would provoke that sort of anxiety. My partner had been very subtly, yet very persistently and constantly pushing to move our monogamous relationship into a polyamorous one. In an attempt to relieve our anxiety, I opted to open it up for discussion. The ending was a horrible culmination of discovering that two people wanted different things, and had very different ways of communicating. My point here is that anxiety can point to something that needs to be examined. I am learning to see it as an indicator to explore, rather than habitually seeing it as an enemy to be conquered. Had I understood it as a normal response to a somewhat unusual request, I could have prevented a lot of confusion and heartache and temporary self-abuse.

    Thank you for helping me to see myself in a safe and helpful way, to understand how I was behaving and how I can help myself in different ways next time.

  12. Mariah says:

    Wow, I have never read something that has more accurately described something I feel almost every day of my life. I was feeling a lot of self-loathing for these emotions, but now I feel so connected to others just by reading this and knowing that what I am feeling is something that is a shared emotion with other individuals.

    Thank you so much. I feel extremely at peace suddenly with this strong emotion, and I feel like I can move forward with how to heal the anxiety. I briefly shared this article with the Facebook world to share that we aren't alone.. I had someone message me instantly and share that they felt the same and let me know that I wasn't alone. Truly amazing to me because I have felt so alone. I did delete the post because I didn't want it to negatively reflect my boyfriend in a bad way.

    Anyways, thank you for this insightful post.. It really helped me.

  13. Laura says:

    I have never read something that could put my feelings into words. Not just my emotional/mental feelings, but the physical agony I feel. Anxiety controls all my relationships on/off. My mother, daughter, husband, friends and other important people. I have tried so many things to feel at peace and enjoy the present and give up control. I just cant!

  14. Lena says:

    I don’t think I can put into words the tide of feelings this post brought up in me. Gratitude that I am not alone in a pattern that often leaves me feeling powerless and undeserving, but also shaken up and vulnerable that the heart of my biggest “problem” or trigger was so perfectly found and exposed with your words. I had no choice but to go there within myself as I read it.

    Over all – thank you. Truly. I don’t think I can express quite how much this post means to me <3

  15. Amy E says:

    I certainly can relate to this article, and these feelings. I'm reading darkness into the light most of the time. I misunderstand. I receive mixed messages. It confuses me.

  16. delassonke says:

    powerful words.

  17. Brian says:

    dang, I'm an enneagram 4, and ACOA, and that pretty much sums up my relationship life. Thanks

  18. Zee says:

    This is the best article I've read for a long time. I thought it was just me… Thank you!

  19. Jenny says:

    This article made me feel like I was reading my own thoughts and writing. I am luckily I am with someone now who understands we are all on our own path to be the best version of ourselves (of course not forgetting the past), but I do feel grateful that my current other tries his best and is open to the anxiety described in this article. It is me to a T. We all do our best to let go of our past, but it is hard. It's so comforting to read this, as well as the comments after to know i am not alone in this particular journey. Thank you so much for being so honest and open. .. I thought as far as sending this article to my significant other as I feel your words describe how I feel better than my own. .. Thank you. And also thank you to everyone who responded. .. Lovely writing. And genuine thoughts.

  20. Fioni says:

    I read this article b/c someone that I care about posted it. I’m assuming that he relates to the article b/c I can see how it applies to me & him. He has sabatoged our entire so-called “relationship” from the very beginning. I’ve tried to be understanding & hopeful that he will choose ME, but I’m FINALLY giving up. If he can’t see the value of having me in his life and if he isn’t willing to be there for me and add some kind of value to my life, I’ve got to let it go. I deserve to be loved & truly happy. Too bad he doesn’t feel the same for himself.

Leave a Reply