“Will we make it?” “What if we disagree on parenting?” “Why do others seem happier than us?”
This is the mind of an overthinker, where normal conversations feel like riddles, and the future seems daunting.
But imagine if we could change that perspective? Convert these troubling questions into uplifting thoughts. Something like, “I’m going to enjoy this relationship as it happens. It might turn out great, or maybe it won’t, but whatever happens, it’s just another part of my journey, not a disaster.”
In this piece, we’re going to cover eight typical mistakes overthinkers make in relationships. Even better, we’ll explore how to transform these anxieties into more serene, positive thoughts.
So, buckle up. This could be just the spark you need to lighten up your relationships and life.
Mistake #1: Overthinking conversations
Overthinkers have the “gift” of turning mundane conversations into complex issues.
Take it from me, I’m one of them.
As an overthinker, I analyze each word and every action. This habit is a “breeding ground” for stress and misunderstanding.
One of the first compliments my partner ever gave me was, “I love how confident you are; it’s what draws me to people.” Sounds like a warm compliment, right? But, as someone who tends to overthink, I started to pull it apart.
Suddenly, my mind was overwhelmed with questions like, “Does he think I’m too arrogant?” “When he says confidence attracts him, does he mean he’s drawn to every confident woman?”
Rather than just accepting the compliment, I was sinking into a sea of doubts and uncertainties.
Advice for overthinkers: It’s okay to take things at face value. Not everything holds a hidden message or deeper meaning. A compliment can just be a compliment. Embrace it, and don’t let overthinking rob you of your tranquility.
Mistake #2: Drawing conclusions
Overthinkers often take an extra leap and start making assumptions. They interpret situations based on their perceptions, which can lead to misunderstandings.
Back in my 20s, I was working as a waitress on Long Island, and my then-boyfriend arrived at the restaurant with another girl.
My first thought was, “He must be cheating! How dare he do this to me!” In short, I was furious and nearly ended things with him.
Do you know who the girl was? His sister!
Advice for assumption-prone people: Keep the communication channels open with your partner. If you’re unsure about something, ask for clarity instead of letting your assumptions drive your decisions and responses.
Mistake #3: Fear of the future
Being anxious about the future is quite a modern concern. Do you think our nomadic ancestors worried about what might happen years down the line? Spoiler alert: they didn’t!
This kind of fear kicked off about 10,000 years ago when we started farming and had to worry about the weather.
Nowadays, our forward-thinking mindset is amplified. We’re constantly planning and stressing about long-term goals — jobs, vacations, diplomas, and relationships.
While it might make life feel a bit more manageable, all this planning could prevent us from appreciating the present moment.
My partner and I have argued a thousand times about future stuff, like how we’ll raise our child and what values we’ll promote. The catch? We don’t even have a child yet!
Advice for the future-worriers: Redirect your attention to the here and now. Allocate some moments every day to enjoy life’s little pleasures, such as having a hearty laugh or taking a leisurely stroll with your significant other.
The future will arrive when it’s time, and you’ll tackle it when it does. In the meantime, take pleasure in your relationship in its current state instead of wondering how it could or might not evolve.
Mistake #4: Difficulty making major decisions
Overthinkers often freeze when faced with a significant decision.
A few years ago, I couldn’t make up my mind whether it was finally time for my partner to meet my parents. I was “tortured” by thoughts like, “Will they get along? What if my parents embarrass me?” “What if they argue?”
The reality turned out to be much better and more enjoyable than I’d imagined.
Struggling to make decisions is common among overthinkers. Deciding to move in together, open a joint bank account, or have children can lead to tough discussions. All this wondering can cause stress and potentially slow down the pace of the relationship.
Practical advice: No decision is flawless. It’s okay to take risks and make mistakes. That’s part of learning and growth. So, have faith in yourself and make your decision. Everything will work out.
Mistake #5: Constant need for reassurance
You might find yourself asking, “Do you still love me?” “Are you satisfied with me?” or “Did I mess up?” You might detect small changes in your partner’s behavior and instantly worry about your relationship.
I used to be quite insecure early on in my relationship.
There were days when my partner would come home quieter than usual. My overactive mind would jump to, “Did I upset you?” or “Are you losing interest in me?”
But that wasn’t the case. His boss was just giving him a hard time at work.
My persistent need for reassurance created a strain in our relationship. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes: It’s like constantly asking someone if they’re okay even after they’ve told you they are.
Advice if you’re like me: You need to trust your partner and the strength of your relationship. Open, honest communication can help soothe your worries. Remember, everyone has off days; it doesn’t always mean something’s wrong.
Mistake #6: Neglecting self-care
Over-thinkers often make a typical mistake – they’re so absorbed in their thoughts that they neglect their own needs.
What happens as a result? Stress and anxiety increase, potentially causing health problems, and these can negatively impact their relationships.
Consider this. If you’re not in a good mental and physical state, can you truly be present and compassionate in your relationship?
Studies back up this idea. One research project discovered that happy individuals argue less and are better at settling disagreements. This is due to the fact that mental health enhances communication, empathy, and optimism, which can result in more solid and harmonious relationships.
Advice on self-care: Reserve some time just for yourself. Participate in things that make you happy and help you unwind, like reading a book, running, or just taking a moment to breathe.
Keep in mind, looking after yourself isn’t selfish; it’s essential for maintaining healthy relationships.
Mistake #7: Fear of conflict
“Will I upset him?” “What if my opinion triggers a fight?” These thoughts used to overwhelm me. So, to steer clear of anything negative, I used to fear conflicts and avoid any arguments or disagreements.
However, after years of self-improvement, I’ve realized that avoiding conflict also means avoiding solutions. I used to believe conflicts were harmful and should be avoided. But that’s not always the case.
In fact, a 2017 study by Overall & McNulty found that conflict is a useful means for partners to express their needs and desires. So, shunning conflict might seem beneficial in the short term, but it can actually harm the relationship in the long run.
Advice for those who fear conflict: Embrace the courage to openly communicate your emotions and desires.
Understand that it’s perfectly acceptable to hold differing opinions, and there’s no need to resolve every issue immediately. When handled the right way, conflicts can lead to understanding and a stronger bond.
Mistake #8: Comparing your relationship to others
Overthinkers can sometimes compare their relationship to others and feel inferior. You might see other couples and think, “Why don’t we look as content as them?” or “Why can’t we be as successful as they are?”
I know someone who’s married, and it all seems just like a fairy tale. They have a cute kid, they’re always on some fun trip, they live in a high-end area, and they appear to be deeply in love. But she told me a secret – she’s tired of his bossy ways.
That situation helped me understand how much unnecessary disappointment and sadness I had brought upon myself by comparing. I learned an important lesson – every relationship is special and has its own pace.
If you’re comparing your relationship to others, remember: Each relationship is unique. What’s good for one couple may not work for another.
So, concentrate on your relationship and what makes you happy. Believe me! Everyone has good times and bad times; they just may not show it.
And there it is! The overthinker’s guide to common relationship mistakes. It might take a bit of time and effort to overcome these challenges, but remember – it’s a journey.
You’re not on your own, and there’s always help if you need it. Be kind to yourself, and make sure to enjoy the ride.