How it Feels to Have Anxiety in a Relationship. ~ Samuel Leighton-Dore

Via Samuel Leighton-Dore
on Aug 16, 2014
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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.

Relephant bonus:



Dear Closet Anxiety Sufferer—You’re Not Crazy.

The Intelligence of Anxiety. 



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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.


58 Responses to “How it Feels to Have Anxiety in a Relationship. ~ Samuel Leighton-Dore”

  1. chris says:

    That was like reading my own thoughts in print. I am absolutely amazed that you have so perfectly worded how I feel on a daily basis. I am in a great relationship and I am always looking for what will go wrong. Thank you for sharing your message and helping me realize I am not the only one who feels like this.

  2. Dianne says:

    After spending four plus years either single or bey casually dating after my divorce, I met the most incredible man. He’s intellectually and emotionally intelligent, handsome, funny, and loves me to the ends of the earth.

    In the past I’ve already been very confident in myself, and in my relationships. It didn’t take long until anxiety about our relationship began to cripple me. I didn’t realize the depth of my insecurity and self-loathing, as I always hid it away, from myself and others, with a mask of confidence.

    This man has helped me strip all that away. I’m vulnerable with him, as naked as I have ever been with anyone. I’ve confided the depths of my fear and pain with him. His heart aches for the pain mine feels, and he supports me daily, and helps fuel the daily fight to make peace with all my fears.

    A brave person is not a person without fear, but one with anbintimate relationship with fear. I am striving to me brave.

  3. Fran says:

    I think you are correct EarthNurse as I have been seeing a 'new age' psychologist who believes that anxiety is the indicator that you are avoiding or pushing away your feelings…something we can learn & carry around from a young age (eg small things from a young perspective like mum being too busy one day for your needs & hey presto we have a small rejection anxiety) as well as minor & major 'traumas' in our lifetimes.
    So I think identifying the behaviours you unconsciousy use for avoidance & the feelings of anxiety to point you in the right direction. Find out what you are actually feeling (or avoiding feeling lol) so you can acknowledge the (anger, sadness, grief, love etc) and let it go…we don't always know or need to know where it comes from or why…just feel!! It is not easy work but this kind of self awareness will unblock & free you eventually!!

  4. YellowSway says:

    Not only is this hauntingly accurate, it’s also beautifully written.

  5. How poignant and beautiful this description is of the constant anxiety that I too feel. It is a love-hate relationship with everything at all times. Thank you for sharing so accurately and making me feel that I am not alone! 🙂

  6. krystelle says:

    This is exactly what i’m feeling right now….

  7. Julie says:

    I didn’t know I had this coming into the relationship I am in now. If the stories were half as exciting that are self manufactred, would I still be with him? That is the question. Honestly I was good. Better than good when we first started seeing each other. Then a red flag. Haven’t seen any since then, but I am more than willing to keep my ‘stories’ alive. So sad

  8. Brooke says:

    Thank you for this soul rant… My own heart~ keep writing ,and quit your day job ( not literally…not just yet,,,but theroretically and realistically not a bad idea!??!!) “)