Overthinking can be the death of us.
Quite literally, when it comes to relationships.
People aren’t always so straight up and our anxiety-induced thinking can lead us to dwell on whether or not…
- Our partners are being honest.
- They actually like us as much as they say they do.
- If we can see a future with them.
Whilst I don’t want to discourage you from staying curious, there’s a point where overthinking can lead to stress and worry that begins to compromise your happiness and the success of your relationship.
You either start badgering your partner with these questions and persist with demanding they say they love you when they’re already doing more than enough to prove their love.
Or, you don’t ask for reassurance and you just let these doubts fester in your mind until you’re convinced they don’t love you/they’re not right for you/they’re being unfaithful.
Whether you communicate these worries to your partner or not, the end result is generally the same; you get consumed with doubts that keep you up at night and either you or your partner end up prematurely calling it quits.
So how do you avoid spoiling a healthy relationship if you have an anxious mind?
Let’s start with these 7 things you should you be cautious about overthinking:
1) Literally everything they say
If you’re like me and you have an anxious mind, and have also experienced lying and deceit, this one’s going to be tricky…
But you have to eventually try and wade out of the swamp of questioning every little thing they tell you.
Easier said than done when your mind is screaming otherwise and your past experience has shown you how easily people can lie.
Unfortunately, carrying that mistrust into healthy relationships and doubting whether they’re being honest when they say they love you, or if they say they think you’re smoking hot, or they tell you that they had waffles for breakfast, will just lead your relationship to crumble.
Trust me – take it from someone who knows.
People might have lied to you in the past but you have to muster up the courage to believe that not everyone will do the same.
After all, if you can look at your own heart and know yourself to be pure and honest, believe that there are others out there who love honestly and mean you well.
Finding them means exposing yourself and getting vulnerable, and in doing so having a bit of faith that someone is being truthful when they tell you how they feel.
2) What the future holds
Whilst there definitely comes a point in long-term relationships where you need to make sure that you’re on the same page when it comes to major life decisions (such as children, lifestyle, values), you can’t let thoughts of the future consume the present.
No one has a magic crystal ball.
As much as you’d like to think that dwelling on whether or not they’re the one, such thoughts can spiral and start being detrimental to a very healthy relationship.
At the extreme ends of this category are relationship anxiety and relationship OCD, where intrusive and obsessive thoughts about your partner cause monumental worries about whether a relationship will last.
If this applies to you, please don’t feel invalidated by posts such as these.
Navigating relationship worries that arise from obsessive compulsive disorders will be incredibly debilitating and require the support of a medical health professional.
However, if you think your qualms are unlikely to qualify for such a diagnosis but are still aware of your anxious state of mind, try to avoid ruminating on whether you might be endgame or not.
Even the most patient of partners will eventually find themselves struggling to support and reassure someone who lives in doubt.
3) That every relationship comes with uncertainty
On top of getting stuck thinking about whether or not you’re meant to be, you also cannot stand the fact that nothing is set in stone.
Part of you is inclined to rush getting engaged and dragging them down an aisle just to secure a bit more certainty about where you’re headed.
But you know that a certificate doesn’t mean certainty either.
You know that life happens, things change, but you can’t stop dwelling on the fact that your partner might just choose never to text you back, ever again.
That lack of knowing drives you nuts.
You end up wasting so much time you could be enjoying with your partner instead thinking about how you can make sure that they never ever leave you (even when you know that’s not possible).
4) What the emojis (or lack thereof) in their text messages mean
He didn’t send me a heart!
Call out the troops, this means war.
But seriously, don’t get too wrapped up into reading between the lines of text messages.
Whilst drastic changes (such as an emoji connoisseur sending only one word answers over a period of weeks) are worth keeping an eye out for, don’t read into every little word or punctuation mark that your partner sends you.
It’s easy to overthink the tone of text messages when in fact they rarely match up to what the person is trying to communicate.
Sarcasm can for instance often go amiss over message and come over plainly mean.
Equally, a full stop at the end of a message can seem forceful and foreboding when it might just be a slip of the thumb.
People also get busy.
One ‘good morning’ text not materializing because your partner is consumed with work doesn’t in any way indicate that you’re no longer a priority or that they don’t have time for you.
So put the phone down and focus on the world around you.
It’ll be one less thing to worry about.
5) Whether they’re mad at you
I’m equally guilty of being a little quiet when I don’t feel so good.
Despite knowing this about myself, I’m quick to jump to the conclusion that my partner is angry at me if he is for whatever reason a little lacklustre himself.
A slight cough at the wrong moment can lead my insides to freeze up.
He must hate me! What have I done recently that could have upset him so much?
Cue me withdrawing into myself and becoming even more silent than him, us then parroting ‘what’s wrong’ at one another until one person succumbs.
Reading body language can be very helpful to help gauge hidden emotions and when someone isn’t telling the truth.
However, if you know yourself prone to overthinking, you also have to work on taking things at face value and seeing the bigger picture – which includes allowing people to have bad days and sombre moods without it meaning the end of your relationship.
6) The worst-case scenario
Sometimes your gut feeling is right.
Sometimes something is up.
But you don’t let yourself just sit with the fact that it could be something minor which doesn’t require any worrying.
No, it always has to be the absolute worst-case scenario.
Catastrophizing means to view or believe a situation as far worse than it actually is.
If you let your mind jump to the absolute worst outcome imaginable every time, you’ll be preventing yourself from fully relaxing and enjoying the moment.
7) But even other scenarios in which your partner might leave
It doesn’t always have to be the worst-case scenario, but if you’re also guilty of daydreaming all of these scenarios in which your partner might or might not leave you.
What if you get into an accident and are in a coma for a year?
What if you suddenly gain 100lbs?
What if your partner secretly likes older men/women and is just with you because they’re scared of being judged?
….what if you turned into a worm?!
Your brain can’t help but delve deep into all of these weird and wacky storylines and you actually get some sort of rush out of imagining your partner leaving you.
Warped, I know, but part of you wants to be proven right.
Unfortunately, this is unhealthy as hell.
Try to put an end to imagining your partner abandoning you and live in the moment.
If it helps, imagine they’d build a little worm house and carry you around with them lovingly.
Help! I’m overthinking my overthinking…
I bet you’re sitting there now getting a bit overwhelmed and anxious about whether or not you’ve already ruined your relationship through overthinking…
Excellent opportunity to start implementing the best tactic to stop overthinking in its tracks!
Although thought regulation is easier said than done, many of the above points can be controlled through you learning how to control your thoughts.
For example, next time you’re sitting on the bus to work and concocting an elaborate daydream where you catch your partner with his mistress, try and stop before you get too involved.
- Is this thought helpful to me?
- Is it relevant to the moment?
- Has my partner done anything to suggest this thought to be true?
If you answer ‘no’ to the above points, try and distract yourself. We’ve also got you covered on other helpful tips to stop overthinking.
You’ll learn with time that allowing your mind to relish less in these made up scenarios or anxious thoughts will also lead to fewer of the anxious thoughts in the first place.
So give it a go, and try and remember that love requires faith not only in other people but also in yourself.