Need help breaking free from addiction?
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Who Answers?

Relationship Anxiety


I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder 10 years ago, and have done some CBT to help me cope with it in my life. It seems like, in the last 5 years, most of my anxiety has come from being in relationships. Whenever I am with a man that comes on too strong or too fast, I get very anxious and I pull away. I’m just not sure if this is my heart telling me that they aren’t right for me, or if this is just part of my anxiety disorder. I just ended a 4 month relationship after trying to stick with it through a month of severe anxiety and panic. Everyone was telling me to just give it time, but I couldn’t give it anymore time, I didn’t love him and I was starting not to even like him anymore. Now I’m just not sure if I did the right thing, or if I was just trying to avoid my anxiety. I truly want to find someone who is right for me, but I fear that I will always run away from the guys that really love me.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

I guess the real question is "what is there about intimate relationships that scare you?" There are many possible answers to that question but only you can answer them. For example, if you were physically abused or raped while growing then it is most likely that you would not trust men or relationships and do all you could to avoid them. The same could be true if you witnessed lots of domestic violence between your parents when you were young. Either way, you could be struggling with a kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that really fuels your anxiety.

What also complicates your situation is the fact that lots of well meaning people are telling you what you "should do" when you are in a relationship. However, with this last four month relationship, if you did not love him and even grew to dislike him then you did the right thing regardless of what others have said. Learn to be true to yourself and to trust your own judgment.

I want to suggest to you that long term psychodynamic psychotherapy might be of greater benefit to you at this point because I suspect that you are dealing with deeper issues than the diagnosis of anxiety disorder suggests. Relationship issues, self confidence and self esteem as well as some sexual issues could be at the center of what you are attempting to deal with and that might account from your wanting to flee from relationships.

Best of Luck

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

  • AJ York

    I feel that, being one who is suffering from Schizoeffective disorder, and being married to a woman with PTD from a severely abusive childhood continuing until she is 20, and having her 20's to learn to deal (Now 30). Don't force intemacy and let anyone you know who wants to get close to you, to remember you need all the space you feel you need. The right man for you should be the kind of person who respects that.

  • Jen

    Reading your question I could have written exactly the same thing myself. It's a relief to know I'm not alone. I finally decided to do something about it only recently. My doctor was aware of my anxiety symptoms and was treating them individually, but did not know how seriously it was affecting relationships. I was wondering if there had been any change with you?

  • Gary

    I can sympathize,too.

    I have the same symptoms. It seems like all the anxiety comes directly from the relationship. Sometime it can be so severe that I have to end up the relationship. I have read some articles and materials in this regard, but all I can tell is that this anxiety has something to do with the interation with your parents during our childhood. According to Attachment Theory, I think we all belong to the Anxious-Ambivalent attachment type. It certainly has something to do with self-confidence, self-esteem and sense of security. My doctor is also aware of my symtoms and gives some suggestions, but doesn't make a difference. I can't find any materials for coping with the difficulities in establishing relationship due to anxiety in the process. Maybe this is a new field and there isn't a sure answer. I wonder if you have made any change yet. I'm now trying a relationship with a Elder-Sister-type girl. Maybe you can try a Elder-Brother-type man, who can provide you with sense of security, and give you all the space and time you need.

  • Josephine

    I am 27, and the past three years I have been suffering from anxiety! The first attack was when I in a relationship for 6 weeks or so.. I woke up one morning and had this feeling come over me! Panic, anxitey.. whatever you want to call it, a feeling of wanting out, not liking him anymore! I got rid of it when I got rid of my boyfriend two days later! Year went by and agian I tried dating a guy I liked.. two weeks went by, and again it hit me! As the years have gone on I was thinking that maybe thoses guys just werent the one, but I soon realize the issue was deeper then that! I often get depressed and get anxiety about just small things like having to pay bills..I feel hopeless, because I feel like I will never have a relationship, cause I dont let my emotional wall down, and I freak out and run, cause I can't handle my makes you want to roll over and die! I do feel alone. They say you wont be able to get over it unless you face your fear.. but after enduring all that pain at can you face it! Why me!!!!!

  • Sarah

    I am so glad I stumbled upon this forum, I have experienced the same problem. I have an Anxiety Disorder but over the past five years it has come under control through psychotherapy and medications. I feel completely in control and proud to have finally gained control of my anxiety. I seem to find men I want to be with and soon after we've been seeing each other I feel trapped and panic. I try to work through the panic, like others have said they tried too. You can only put up with it for so long. I have ended atleast three relationships in the past because of this and I really do think that it's not simply explained by 'they weren't right for you and you knew it deep down.' something is blocking my way to figuring out what my issue is. I can rationally think and problem solve all the other issues that cause me anxiety and panic, but in regards to relationships, none of the therapy and coping skills is ever effective, all I want to do is flee.

    I no longer feel so bad about this issue, i've never come across anyone with the same issue with relationships.

  • Josephine

    My anxiety makes me believe that they are not the one for me, but I just want to be able to date someone without feeling anxious! Well I can date, and I will start to have good feelings about that person, but as soon as I feel like wow this is nice, a light switch flips, and I am running for the hills! I have been asked often if I was sexually abused as a child, and I haven't! My parents did fight, but it wasn't a everyday thing, so I don't understand how it could have affected me so badly! As I am getting older, and wanting to maybe have a family. I start to fear it won't be possible. I started psychotherapy treatment recently, but I am not on any meds. I took Prozac for two years, and it didn't help.. I wonder if something else would, but I hate being dependent of a drug. If something was going to work for sure, then I would consider taking medication again. I don't feel like I am trying to force a relationship, I just want to feel normal about being in a relationship, and then if its not going to work out, then end it for legit reasons, and not just for uncontrolled anxiety!

  • Wayne Harris

    Hi Everyone

    fighting the tears writing this, i live my life in the same continuous circle
    i`m a 35 year old male, almost 36..... and yes i`m still at home here in the UK! financially cant afford my own place at the moment, but working on it

    i have ended a relationship back in August of last year with the most beautiful person ever, she is an amazing person, smart, caring, very loving, affection that blew my mind, she loves me and has only ever shown me love, but im unable to feel the same way when i dont know why i cant..
    the easiest option was to end it like a coward

    when i`m with her, i feel like im living a lie, like im faking it, i get anxious, very very upset and emotional, hot sweats, shear and utter fear etc....
    i tell her i love her, but my mind keeps telling me i dont, i have acted like this all my life with ALL my partners...
    even started drinking before i see my partner to make me less anxious because of my Guilt
    its like i cant wait for them to leave so i can be on my own again, i have done this with all the women in my life and as of now, i have to stop this, in August last year she walked out of my back door and we were both crying our eyes out when i looked at her little face walking away from me, i had to tell her i dont love her, she said she dont believe me after all i have said and all we have done together, im so messed up and confused, i really wanted her to be "the one" as she has supported me through all my depression, my intrusive thoughts, etc etc
    she is also the only person to have made me laugh, feel relaxed enough to even talk to her about all my problems, yet still on the odd occasion, i get all this BAD STUFF going on in my mind that im actually exhausted and worn out with my feelings

    the usual scenario is normally me feeling lonely, emotional and wanting to have a cuddle and have someone to talk to, basically so i`m not on my own, i dont have many friends, sad arent i?
    my job is the opposite to this, im a professional musician and do huge shows in front of thousands of people, so this is all bizarre in my personal life
    i meet someone really special, though never met anyone like my EX in all these years, it feels amazing at the start, then as we get closer and closer, i feel trapped and then the thoughts come rolling in, the hot sweats, the anixety, panic attacks, my mind telling me SHE is not actually the one, so much so that i cant believe how it makes me feel, it really makes me a bag of nerves, its like a demon eating away at me

    if anyone has these feelings, you will know how upset it makes you feel...
    i believe im just not capable of loving anyone, infact i never have.... all my relationships have ended because i end them, one of the main reasons is because i cannot live with the sheer and utter guilt and terror of the feelings im having and whether they are true or false, or what!

    i really cant take anymore of living like this, i want to be happy, i want to feel excited that im gonna see someone, be happy when im with them, go on holiday, laugh and cry with them, tell them i love them and feel that closeness, i felt some of these things some of the time with my partner i finished with today, but the guilt and anxiety won, i had to end it, cant go on living and feeling this way...
    everyone around me keeps telling me "i am getting all these feelings as she obviously isnt the one for me"

    i have been to to the doctors and was diagnosed with depression, have tried all forms of medication, nothing helps, i either sweat buckets or i feel worse normally, currently on 5htp and st johns wort, but do you know what? i dont want to HAVE to take tablets to live a normal life, i sometimes look back and think WHY ME?
    been told that i must have commitment issues, yet i dont have one night stands, mainly because i just cant, need to know someone first, has to feel right or no point

    all i know is that i want to feel better and not have these life ruining thoughts as above

    when Tracey left in August, she said i want you to be happy, im sorry i made you so miserable, what do i say to that? i didnt answer, i just broke down as she walked off, what a complete *** i am, i have destroyed her, yet im broken hearted and relived at the same time....
    i finished with her twice now!! thats not fair on her

    i am going to see a relationship counsellor first week of February, i will pay anything if i can get help, my life can`t go on like this
    so much so, i even thought about ending it all, whats the point anymore?
    do i be miserable the rest of my life? fearful of meeting anyone

    do any of you suffer with these feelings? and please dont tell me there is always someone for someone, my own family try and understand, but they all loved Tracey too bits and think she is made for me, i dont know whether im evil, dont know how to even love, or maybe i should realise that life is meant to be lonely and single for some people

    after writing all this, i found out 3 days ago that she has become friends with my singer in my band!
    for the last 3 days i cannot stop crying, i want her back but my minds telling me NO you dont, i just wanna hold her and kiss her and make it all better, dont want to let her down again which is adding more pressure on me
    the thought of them 2 together is making me not sleep and having hot sweats, she has moved on now i think, ROCD has destroyed my only chance of a girl that should have been the one for me...
    i have to get her back and prove we can fight this together, but the thought of feeling as above again is terrifying me, i dont want these thoughts, or is it because she is not for me! im so confused!!!
    we are still talking but im so emotional i cant even speak....
    instead of bottling up all these ROCD or ANXIETY thoughts, if i would have told her when i was having them, we could have worked on our relationship, now i feel EMPTY and have already contemplated suicide because im too late and she may fall in love with this new guy...

  • Steve

    Reading Waynes comment above brought tears to my eyes - its like I was writing it. I feel exactly all the same symptoms! I am with an amazing girl, who I love very much - but my fear brings all the same thoughts to the surface, she's not for you, you dont really love her, etc. I 1st experienced a panic attack years ago when I got as far as getting engaged to another girl but my overwhelming fear and anxiety forced me to end it. I had a panic attack with my last girlfriend last summer, but thankfully didnt end it, discussed it with her, and sought professional help. I still get these attacks from time to time, and live with almost constant anxiety but am determined to fight it, and not allow it to dominate me and cause me to lose the best thing thats ever jappened to me. its incredibly frustrating, and sometimes it overwhelms me but I want to spend the rest of my life with her and I know I need to overcome this in order to do so. Someone wise once told me - " Never surrender your Fate to your Fear " fight on brother - I am!

  • Will

    Having read the majority of these posts and knowing the same feeling, as we all seem to relate. There is a very known cause for this. We have developed a coping mechanism from our caregiver's response when we were very young (birth to 3yrs old).

    It is called Attachment Style and there are four types. We have the "Anxious-preoccupied attachment". The basics of this goes as follows: When we are a baby and undergo a type of stressful situation however our caregiver/parent handles that situation that is how we learn to deal with the relationship. This will most always be brought about by a stressful or percieved stressful situation. If our parent is anxious and inconsistent, that is what we develop.

    Do some research on this. Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby are largely the researchers of this theory.

  • natalia

    I completelyunderstand what all of you are going through. I am ina relationship to an amazing man for over 3 years. great in so many ways, attractive, funny, intelligent but i have these niggling thoughts...hes not the one...or you fancy someone else that sends me into a panic....what i realised was that if someone was having these feelings or thoughs and didnt suffer from anxiety they would just either get on with things and see how it goes or break it off...its the obsessing thats the problem. ive been using CBT techniques and a book by a guy called Paul David called " At last a life" panic and anxiety free...its brilliant and ive experienced so much joy since i got it...i think another thing we should all take into concideration is what is our expectations of a we expect to be constantly swept off our feet...feel butterflys everytime we see each other etc etc...eventually those feelings change anywwhere were it becomes more of a partnership and that is really all comes from inside not outside circumstances and once we realise that we can learn to stick with ituations that initially bring us fear....if you go towards what you are so afraid of it really does disolve but you do need to learn techniques so as to learn not to worry cause it really is a habit! Good luck!

  • John

    I've had the mispleasure of experiencing this as well. It seemed like it came out of nowhere, and took me by suprise.

    A month or so into my relationship (with an awsome and talented girl) things were going quite well, then my girlfriend told me she loved me, this didn't scare me at first. When I tried to return my feelings, it felt like an utter lie and my thoughts were yelling "you don't love her", "you should get out of this relationship", etc... Then the panic started. It started with an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, then it was like I had adrenaline, I was shakey couldn't concentrate and was obsessing over trying to find my "true feelings" for her (trying to figure things out on my own never yeilded any results, and usually made my panic worse). There was a whole host of other symptoms that went along with this. Whenever I was with her I would be very emotional and extremely anxious, and I couldn't eat or sleep. People were telling me to "just give it time" and "don't beat yourself up" and telling me to eat healthier, I was grateful for the concern but those suggestions really didn't help me any. Those suggestions are just as helpful to someone who's drounding or on fire. So, I broke my own heart and ended it with her, telling her "I just don't love you", which she thought was ridiculous. I was depressed and relieved at the same time. We quickly got back together after that and she suggested that I might want to get some help. Only weeks after that, this anxiety peaked again, and again I broke it off with her, to her confusion. We are still really close, and she is giving me the time I need to work this out. She is my support through this.

    So I'm getting help now. My doc put me on some pills and I'm going through therapy, and it really has helped to ease the panic. I don't freak out like I did before, I'm more or less just emotionally numb and am fed up with emotions for now. Though the thoughts are still certainly present, I feel like I am making good progress on this. I often read through the other posts on here, knowing I'm not alone in this is a huge help on its own.

  • Bette

    I am so glad i came accross this forum. I feel like i am at the end of my tether! I have been with a woman now for 6 years, we married 8 months ago. She is the most loving, caring, gorgeous, affectionate supportive person ever. I love her so much and she totally adores me, she has been through hell with me, and is great with my two kids who live with us. I have sufferered from depression all of my adult life and Anxiety for the last 12 years ( i am 34 years old). She has supported me, had endless patience and cared for me through all my severe anxiety episodes.

    The problem is tell myself she is not the one, i need to break up with her etc! this sends me into a panic and then my feelings spiral over weeks/months. I am in a constant battle with myself, i have times when i feel overwhelming love for her, we make plans for our future, even plan to have a baby of our own some day, i look at our wedding album with pride and joy knowing that she is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Then my negative thoughts rear their head and i tell myself i am not happy with her!!! it is mentally and phsically draining me!!

    Three years ago whilst i was setting up my own business i had a few months where i had a severe anxiety episode, it started with panic attacks, and the dreaded feeling that i didnt want to be with her anymore! i didnt dare talk about it as i didnt want to upset her. The feelings took over my life, during that time i hardly left the house and couldnt eat or sleep properly. It resulted in me telling her i wanted to break up, she was heartbroken and confised about why, and i couldnt tell her a reason. After a week or so apart i realised i had made a huge mistake, she came to the house for something and i saw her and thought what the hell am i doing breaking up with her! we got back together, i saw the doctor and was prescribed anti-depressents. I saw a counsellor and week by week little by little i started to feel more human again.

    Things went along o.k, but still i had the anxiety and the thoughts that i was with the wrong person and that i would be better if we split, i can not explain the feelings of guilt, confusion and dispair that i feel when these thoughts over take reality.

    We decided to get married and i was so excited it was a big deal for us as a same sex couple we felt privelidged to be able to get married. Then 4 months before the wedding i had another severe episode of anxiety, she wasnt for me, i shouldnt get married to her, what if i am doing the wrong thing etc etc. I went to the docs who refered me to a counsellor that was brilliant, she helped me realise that whenever something stressful happens in my life i automatically divert the feeling i am having about the situation over to my relationship. Which then spirals out of control until it affects my every day life.

    The wedding day arrived and we had the best day ever. The problem with me is that the minute i feel happy or content its like i remind myself to feel unhappy or something??? why cant i just be happy!!!

    Sadly on Christmas day 2009 my beloved nan died, she was like a mum to me. My own mum is an alcoholic and had let me down emotionally for years, and has the worlds most negative outlook on life, relationships and everything else, her and my dad divorced 6 years ago. My dad is not an emotional person and his way of dealing with depression or sadness is that people should pull themselves together! Losing my nan has broken my heart and i am devastated. The grief is still raw and i cry for her everyday. I work fulltime so hold everything together at work all day then go home and cry. I know that the way i am greiving is normal but it has made me hit rock bottom. So now over the last couple of weeks i have been having the thoughts every hour of every day that i am with the wrong person and i will never be happy until i am on my own!! What the hell is wrong with me!

    How can i be so glad to be with my partner one minute and then feelin like i am trapped and want to split up the next????

  • Rachel

    Hi all,

    I know this is an old thread but thought I would comment and let you know that you should all buy the book 'He's Scared, She's Scared, Understanding The Hidden Fears that Sabotage Your Relationship'. It will help you understand your relationship issues, it has really helped me with mine - which sounds just like all of yours here on this forum!

    Good luck!

  • Wayne Harris

    Hi Rachel

    where can i get this book, i made a post below ages ago, im based in England,

    thanks for putting it on this website :-)

  • Anonymous-1

    I've been in this cycle for three weeks now. I feel good and in love for a few hours, but then I start thinking, I get a stomach cramp, I can't eat, can't sleep, and I'm scared as never before. I told my bf my feelings and that I wanted to break up because of this nagging feeling. I told him I was so unsure that maybe the fairest thing would be to break up. He stayed. He said that he is ok with my feelings, and that he is willing to take the roller coaser ride with me.

    I thought the gut feeling would go away now that he knows my feelings and is ok with them. But it didn't.

    I still can't figure out which of my thoughts are games that my brain is playing with me and which are realistic.

    But this article really did help:

  • Anonymous-2

    Hi Everyone,

    It's been amazing to read all of your stories and learn so much through them. While I've got some of my own frustrating issues to work out, I don't think I've ever been in a situation quite like you all have. However, I have been fortunate enough to met a very cool guy who has confessed to having just such a struggle. He's actually been dealing with it for at least 6 yrs, that I know of, when he broke up with a girl he meant to spend the rest of his life with. We bonded a bit as I broke up with my fiancee about 4 yrs ago.

    I've only really been getting to know him for about 2-3 months now. I know I really like him a lot (which is very unusual for me in itself) and I feel amazing when I'm around him. He's always so caring, smart, funny and ironically (considering the situation) very affectionate and flirtatious toward me! :)

    A little while ago he texted me to tell me how he was really falling for me, however, this was before I knew about his anxiety, and I told him not to rush things, that we needed to get to know each other more. Shortly after that he started to avoid me, and then told me about what he was going through. :(

    I occasionally get texts from him about how hard this is for him, and how he doesn't think this is fair to either of us. Then he avoids me for a bit. I've offered to help any way I can and am always looking for opportunities or books or forums like this that might make him feel better about himself and help him to learn more.

    I am trying to be supportive, while giving him the space he feels is necessary and appropriate. He's not great at communicating, so I'm hoping to give him the encouragement to talk more about openly with me about what works for him and what doesn't, without fear of hurting my feeling. For instance, I'll remind him of what an amazing person he is just the way he is, or how I'm quite happy just being friends with him if that's how things work out and that's what he feels comfortable with. I'll also let him know when I'm hanging out somewhere (alone or with our other friends) and tell him he's welcome to come if he likes, or we'll just catch him another time. I've even tried to ask him what his level of anxiety is on a scale of 1-10...but I'm worried I'm going to start annoying him with all of my "help."

    This week I made him a Happy Box filled with funny things to make him laugh, candies, and tiny pictures of me (one nice cute one, and one of me dressed up in a pig nose and cop hate-I know, odd). I also printed out some forums similar to this - so he knew that what he was going through was ok! He seemed to really like that.

    Even tho we've taken a few steps back in our relationship, the times we do spend together are still so amazing, and just a couple days ago I have a hard time leaving because he had just one more song to play for me, or wanted just one more hug.

    I'm sure at some point he's going to want to back out, or maybe I'll push him too hard and it'll all be over. But if there is anyway that his experience with me might help him with someone else, then I it's worth it for me.

    Any advice? Is there anything that really helps or really deters any of you?


  • jenny

    im glad i also came across this forum.....I have the EXACT same thing! my anxiety is so bad that whenever a guy wants to date me I just cant, even if I like them, bc my anxiety is too bad!

    it sucks and I feel hopeless.....what if I never get married?!

    :( jenny

  • Kathy

    I've been married to my husband for 2 yrs this month, we have been together for 4 1/2.

    He tells me now that he wants a divorce that he's full and can't go on like we are. We have had so many illnesses, deaths, loss of job after 20+ yrs, etc in the time we have been together and we've overcome all of that but now when things actually could look up he's decided that he wants a divorce.

    I do not want a divorce and I'm fighting with everything that I have for that not to happen.

    I came across this page because I'm desperate. I don't know which way to turn. I'm his 3rd wife and it seems he had a terrible relationship with his Mom and I don't want to be the ex-wife. I haven't been as understanding thru everything because thru all the other problems we have encountered I've also gone thru depression and I'm in the process of getting help for that.

    Do any of you have any suggestions on how I can save this marriage? I truly believe he is the only man I will ever love and I do not want to lose him, but I also want him to be happy.....

  • AJ

    Yes, I too have the same thing that happens to me. Just as soon as I start feeling somethign for someone I get nervous, anxious and afraid and yes it makes me want to run for the hills. But I am determinded to get through this. I have had it happen over and over again. I am so tired of this causing me to stop the very thing I really want, a wonderful relationship. I am 48 yrs old and I have jsut started a new relationship with an awesome girl that thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread. We fell in love fast but I'm ok with that. What I'm not ok with is my fear. It is totally unreal and not at all what I want. I have been able in the past, been able to get to the other side of this fear. It takes time and being patient and knowing that it is just fear and nothing else that is causing all this worry and doubt in my mind. Yes, it is all in out head and our thoughts are our own worst enemy durring this time. ALL new relationships are scarry and there are always going to be worries and uncertainties involved in a new relationship, no matter who you are with. The only way to overcome this fear is to face it, yes, and to be in a relationship is the only way to work on it. I know it is scarry, hell, I know, I feel it! BUT knowing and remembering that it is just something that will pass because your mind will eventually get bored with it and then fear will lose it's grip on you. If you get to a point where you are not afraid of this unrealistic fear, it looses it's strength on you BUT you have to believe and most important here is that you convence yourself that this is all it is and nothing else and you will have it made. I promise you, it will happen. It may take time but your emotions will follow your mind, it has no choice! I know my new girlfriend has no intention whatsoever to hurt me. You have to keep telling yourself this too! CBT is very helpful as well. You have to train your mind to think differently. Do your best to not doubt yourself. Use your skills to calm yourself when you get anxious too. I practice deep diaphramatic breathing and excersize to lessen the stress involved in a new relationship. And remember, if you run from this girl, you will have to face it with the next one too. So why run? Don't run, stay the course! Do you want to be alone the rest of your life? I know I don't! And remember, anything worth while is never easy! Fight, get pissed about it and face the fear and it will leave! REMEMBER, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" And as far as that thought telling you that you don't love them is just fear talking. Nothing else! Don't run from that, it's just a stupind thought, Try and laugh at it and tell your worried mind that, OK, if you don't love that person, why does it bother you and make you upset in the first place? If you didn't love that person, it really wouldn't bother you. Relax and don't run from it. A Pastor friend of mine once told me about the bald Eagle. Did you know that an eagle, when he sees a storm coming, he actually flies straight towards it and guess what happens? He actually uses the winds from the storm to help him rise above and actually over the storm. By facing the storm, he overcomes it with ease! Hope this helps someone. Also, I was told once that things we go through in life aer to help someone else in life when they go through it. So if you know someone going through this same thing, help them, it will help you too. It will desensitize you to your own fears because it is one way to cause you to face your own. Good luck all and I wish peace and happiness to you all! We do deserve happiness to but for the most part, we have to do it ourselves. AJ!

  • Micah

    I just want to say that this forum has made me incredibly happy. I stumbled across it while in a sort of stupor, perusing the internet for something, somewhere, that could tell me what was wrong with me. I can't believe what you all have written - it's me, exactly. I'm in my fourth relationship now, with the most amazing girl in the world. And yet I am paralyzed by completely nonsensical fears and anxieties, thinking I should break up with her because I don't "feel" like I love her, even though we started dating last week because I was so madly in love with her.

    Reading your experiences has been amazing. I'm so tired of my life being like this, but it's SO much better knowing that I'm not the only one.

    Fight the good fight, friends - know that we're all cracked human beings, and be joyful in the fact that your siginificant other loves you nonetheless :)

    Thanks again, and may peace be with all of us as we struggle against this,


  • Laura

    It is really nice to know, like everyone else has said, that I am not alone here. Relationships are really what start my anxiety, even after it has dissappeard for a year. My current situation is a temporary long distance relatoinship, and whe i say long distance I mean LONG. My boyfriend is 5000 miles away in a developing country. When he and I are talking on a regular basis I am fine, reassured of his love and my love for him, but when we are not talking, whcih happens a lot because of the time difference and both of us working, I am a mess. Sometimes it is very hard to realize my negative thoughts are due to anxiety and not reality. I have to constantly look back at the last times we were together to remind myself how wonderful our relationship was and will be once he returns. Lucky for me my anxiety is not terrible on a daily basis, some days are worse than others. I am realizing the distance between us might be a blessing in disguise, a time for me to finally figure out this anxiety with relationships, so when he returns I can offer him the healthiest version of myself. Because no matter how fine it was when we were first together, it will only be a matter of time before my anxiety tries to talk me out of thinking I am in love.

    I stumbled across an old email with my therapist, which I see when things get hard for me again, describing the exact emotions I am going through now, except with another relationship. It made me realize there was a pattern within me, that I need to fix. The guy I am with now is the best thing to ever happen to me, and I refuse to give up on this relationship because I am always living in fear.

    Thank you to all that have shared their similar problems. This is really the outlook I have been looking for for al ong time.


    Hi Everyone

    i live my life in the same continuous circle
    i`m a 37 year old male
    i am in a relationship with the most beautiful person ever, she is an amazing person, smart, caring, very loving, affection that blows my mind, she loves me and has only ever shown me love, but im unable to feel the same way when i dont know why i cant.. i know i love her and everything about her, but these thoughts are 24/7 and i constantly feel sick, i try and feel positive, im on 200mg of Zoloft (Sertraline) and it has helped me a little bit with becoming more balanced
    the easiest option is to end it, but i wont do it this time!
    i have lived liked this for over 15 years now
    some days i feel Euphoric and really happy and fuzzy:)
    other days i feel like theres no way out and contemplated suicide
    though, not hardly ever since being with my partner of 6 months now:)

    when i`m with her, i feel like im living a lie, like im faking it, i get anxious, very very upset and emotional, hot sweats, fear etc.... i tell her i love her, but my mind keeps telling me i dont, i have acted like this all my life with everyone... i have to stop this, :mad:
    i feel relaxed enough to even talk to her about all my problems, yet still on the odd occasion, i get all this BAD STUFF going on in my mind that im actually exhausted and worn out with my feelings!
    she has read SLEEPING WITH ROCD and she is so so supportive everyday when i`m feeling like im a FAKE, we are planning to move in together next year or soon after that... she has 4 beautiful children who i adore, but my mind keeps telling me i`m a commitment phobe, but i know that i dont wanna lose her! i get spiked a lot these days...its horrible!
    if any of you would like a copy of it, let me know ok?
    if i can help anyone else and their partners, i would like to

    the usual scenario is normally me feeling lonely, emotional and wanting to have a cuddle and have someone to talk to, basically so i`m not on my own, i dont have many friends, sad arent i?
    my job is the opposite to this, im a professional musician and do huge shows in front of thousands of people, so this is all bizarre in my personal life
    i meet someone really special, though never met anyone like my current partner in all these years, it feels amazing at the start, then as we get closer and closer, i feel trapped and then the thoughts come rolling in, the hot sweats, the anixety, panic attacks, my mind telling me SHE is not actually the one, so much so that i cant believe how it makes me feel, it really makes me a bag of nerves,
    if anyone has these feelings, you will know how upset it makes you feel...
    i believe im just not capable of loving anyone, infact i never have, or have i?.... all my relationships have ended because i end them, one of the main reasons is because i cannot live with the sheer and utter guilt and terror of the feelings im having and whether they are true or false, or what!

    i really cant take anymore of living like this, i want to be happy, i want to feel excited that im gonna see someone, which i normally am...and be happy when im with them, go on holiday, laugh and cry with them, tell them i love them and feel that closeness, i feel some of these things most of the time with my partner, but the guilt and anxiety always win, and it spoils what little time we have together... cant go on living and feeling this way...

    i have been to to the doctors and was diagnosed with depression, have tried all forms of medication, nothing helps, i either sweat buckets or i feel worse normally, but do you know what? i don't want to HAVE to take tablets to live a normal life, i sometimes look back and think WHY ME? what have i done wrong to deserve this?
    been told that i must have commitment issues by people i try and confide in, and it makes me feel worse:(
    yet i dont have one night stands, mainly because i just cant, need to know someone first, has to feel right or no point

    all i know is that i want to feel better and not have these life ruining thoughts as above

    i have tried CBT and tried really hard, but have stopped going as i feel no further forward and it wasnt for me

    do any of you suffer with these feelings? and please dont tell me there is always someone for someone, my own family try and understand, i dont know whether im evil, or dont know how to even love, or maybe i should realise that life is meant to be lonely and single for some people

    Wayne x

  • ted

    My fiancee and I have been together for 4.5 years, and we were engaged a year ago, due to be married in less than 2 months.

    Three weeks ago, I had an intense week of personal development that involved me discovering true love and appreciation for my family for the first time.

    This then made me assess my current relationship with the woman that I will be starting a family with. One thing led to another and I was down a spiraling slope into the same dark place others have described.

    Sample Question: "Do I love her?"

    Answer: "Everything I have done for her and feel for her shows that I love her."
    Rebuttal: "But was it out of real love? Or am I just sacrificing my future to protect her from the hurt of a breakup?"

    I still feel the anxiousness as I typed the above, even though I have dismissed the rebuttal many times, felt first hand that I lack purpose without her, relationship counsellors can see that we both desperately want to be with each other. I still come up with endless other doubts and I am extremely good at taking down the positive evidence with negatives.

    We got to the point where I had let her go, but she wanted to make it work and I didn't take long to convince as I feel that I too desperately wanted to make it work.

    So now I feel stuck, I am seeing psychthreapy individually, as well as couple counselling. However neither of those sessions is making me feel better because I am too good at destroying the confidence in myself and our relationship.

    The advice is to accept that anxiety has been a frequent visitor throughout my life (true), and that it is completely predictable that I'd experience a large amount of anxiety coming up to my wedding day. But what I should not accept is that this anxiety fuels itself and it makes me and my partner suffer, eating away at our relationship.

    I need help convicning myself that my fears are normal, it is my anxiety that grows my fears out of perportions. Finding this forum definitely helps as it proves that as I have suspected that I will have similar issues when I reach this stage of relationship with other people.

    I am so greatful my fiancee hasn't taken my two offers to her to walk out on me. I know my anxiety/doubts/fears are destroying her slowly (and me quickly), so I need to find the strength to face and dismiss my fears throughout life before they consume me.

    I know nothing about CBT and will do some research. Any other suggestions would be most welcomed.

  • Chedder

    As i read all the post I want to find out if there is a cure for this as i am also a victim in these anxiety disorder. I am seaking profesional help and I do love my girl....Very much so.

  • Ian

    It is good to hear that I'm not alone in this what I call I nightmare! 3 1/2 years ago I separated from my wife after nearly 20 years of marriage! I left the family home, leaving my 2 beautiful children and moved into a unit close by! I lost everything, my family, house and my self esteem!

    Since this time I have been in two relationships, the 1st one ended after nearly 18 months, during this time I experienced major anxiety/fear/dread about being with this girl! We split in December 09.

    In April 2010, I commenced another relationship with a school girl sweetheart, we re-connected through Facebook! We fell in love quickly but sure enough after a couple of months I started to experience extreme anxiety/fear/dread feelings again! I've tried anti-depressants, numerous psychologist sessions and even tried hypnotherapy with no success!

    I love this girl so much but my fear/dread destroys me and the relationship. I've tried to be strong and face the fear but it wears me down where I have to end the relationship again, funny thing is she keeps on getting back with me, yet to be heart broken again! What do I do? I think I should be on my own but I love this girl so much!

  • Kelly

    I am a singer of a few cover bands and I feel that it is the only platform for my "crazy" persona!!

    I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder in 2005 and also suffer panic disorder and agorapbia as a result of wanting to escape from the world. I only come out to play the part of the performer as I don't need to connect to individual people - just my audience as a whole. I can spend way too much time in my one bedroom unit writing songs and the only way I know when I need to be around people is when my panic happens and I'm forced to leave my solitude and run down the pub 4 a beer just to be entertained by the people around me without actually letting anyone in. I am lucky to have a next door neighbour/great friend who's daughter suffers similarly, so I spend most ofmy time with him as he seems to understand to a degree. I need him to be my wingman when I go out cause I acn't go out on my own unless I know I can leave whenever I want. As soon as I feel isolated, the panic can make me do very silly life threating things (like walking throught the bush at night to get away from a non-understanding expartner).

    I have managed to be ok without medication - xanax when the panic gets real bad - but even a smoke of a joint does the trick!!! I am all ok...... until I get into a relationship.

    The last one I was in - the guy didn't understand so he became verbally abusive. I saw arelationship counsellor whojust told me not to get into a relationship 4 a while (so I could keep paying her expensive counselling bill? It's just a business and they are just salespeople). It's been over 7 months since that relationship and I wouldn't have started another one but I am an animal so you can only go so long without sex!!

    I hooked up with the drummer in my band who I've know for 2 years. I kept it mates (me being one of the boys!) and he was shocked to find how feminine I can be. He fell head over heals showing everyone the photo of his new girl (yes, the outside wrapper of the present is very attractive - not sure he is ready for what is inside!). It has only been 3 weeks and we have plans to go away but I feel I will have to sit him down and explain everything - give him my instruction manual - which sux cause I am a scorpio and thrive on being mysterious! I am also afraid to wreck the pretty picture in his head before our valentines day holiday - the honeymoon period might disitigrate. My attempts to give my ex's all the info didn't work as most guys don't want all the info. They want to see that their woman is perfect so they can show her off like a trophy. For something to be wrong with me is a crack in their esteem.

    I am so glad to hear everyone's stories and i really hope there is light at the end of the tunnel. I also think that maybe there is a reason we are alllike this... If I was all together I would be writing some boring songs!!! I also don't see this as a disorder - it is a gift. We are sensitive - we feel things before others - trust your bodies and your feelings. It's hard but I love the weirdo character I am! I think if we run into major probelms it's sometimes other people's lack of understanding and their ignorance. My new man will be tought to look longer than skin deep. I may be a little crazy but there is never a dull moment!! The question is.. "Do I get together with someon like me or some who can monitor me?"

    I am 34, female, been prposed to several times but never said yes, never had kids and I am a rock chick - very far from the dream I had for myself as a young girl (married with 10 kids!). Maybe not passing this disorder on is a good idea - even if I want it so badly.

    Good luck everyone! Great to know I finally belong!!!!!


  • Musician Wayne

    My Beautiful Partner wrote this last night and she has made me feel good about myself, knowing i dont have to feel like i'm a bad person

    The Indescribable shoes

    How does one describe the indescribable? A life where there is never a certainty, but forever a continuation of torturous doubt.
    A life where Love cannot be felt without pain. A simple thought cannot be had with a compulsion to analyse....A smile cannot come without guilt... and a lifetime of loneliness feels the same as never being alone.
    Trapped in a world where you are never certain if a thought is really your own....A world where the illogical merges into the Logical...
    Sweating, Panic, guts twisting and Fear....A never ending Fear.
    A fear of the unknown....But the unknown is you.

    Take a moment, any moment in your life with the one you Love, a moment that fills you with happiness...... Now think about that moment.
    Were you really happy on that day? Did you pretend to be someone your not to make that person happy? Where you really in love on that day or did you just say it? Did you question anything on that day? Are you sure you felt love or was it just lust? Were you relieved when the day was over? Are you supposed to be relieved for a day to be over if your in love? Do you still feel that way about them now? Are you in love or out of love? Do you feel trapped or anxious when they ask you to do something which you really don’t fancy doing? Do you make up excuses? Do you lie? Should you lie when your in love with someone? Does that make you fake? Was that day really all that happy or are you just remembering it that way?......Are you Sure?

    Heart starts to race, stomach feels a little knotted, you keep looking at those questions, becoming a bit panicky and in comes fear....because your not sure anymore....One beautiful moment in time, in love... that you now no longer have the certainty in your mind of what you felt....and it’ll eat at you. If you were so sure before, but now you’re questioning everything else Real anymore?
    And now you begin to think of other moments....What about the disagreements? What about that time they irritated you?....Are you really sure this is the ONE for you?

    You wake in the morning, they are coming over tonight....anxiety sets in, have you been a fake all this time? How can you look at them in the eye? How can you tell them you love them when your not sure? How can you be affectionate...when you look at them and just see questions? Is this fair on them when you don’t know how you feel? Should you just get through this and hope the right feeling comes.....?

    They leave, it was wonderful.... so beautiful, so amazing, so IN LOVE.... Now you can just chill out, relieved they’ve left.... Wait, if you’re in love, should you be relieved it’s over with? You told them you loved them, you made was amazing.... but now your relieved they’ve left...Well are you in love with them or not? You don’t know.

    Now you feel guilt..... Why are you so scared of not knowing how you feel? You don’t know.... You don’t know anything any more....Maybe it would be better if you just ended it? All these feelings would go away...The pain of the twisting knotted gut, the need to crawl out of your own head, away from these constant questions, that now seem to spoil every single moment that your with them, that you think of them, that you remember being with them.... But you don’t want to, you love them your sure you do!

    But are you certain?

    You’ve just spent 10minutes in the life of a person with ROCD.

    Now imagine having those ten minutes last, for years....throughout every single relationship you’ve ever been in. An ever growing hate of your own mind, your own thoughts...Trapped in a never ending cycle of uncertainty. Not knowing if you can ever be just happy.
    Obsessing over the questions in your mind, analysing over and over to the point of exhaustion, Ruminating over every past moment, every past relationship.... from the moment you wake till the moment your mind finally switches off for sleep... A constant compulsion to find the answers, to find a certainty... A constant fear of never finding those answers, of the questions never stopping, of waking everyday with the same pain....that it’ll never get better.

    Your bed is wet from the night sweats, the anxiety that’s even found you in your sleep, tired from the restlessness, unable to get away from your thoughts even in the wake up knowing the day is going to be just the same..
    Knowing that feeling a brief moment of Euphoria will be shattered by the gremlin that enters your mind, the one that makes the questions.....
    Knowing that even in a moment of peace, anything can trigger a Spike...A reference to a relationship, seeing a happy couple, a photo of a girl you once knew, a song about love....anything can bring that gremlin back.... The knots, the sweating, the nervous swallowing....

    You end the relationship, this will make the gremlin go away.... Your filled with emptiness, loneliness and heart break... for a brief moment you know you were in love.
    Devestation that you’ve broken off a relationship, when you were finally in miss them, you can’t bare to be without hurts.
    You want to go back, you want to take it all back, you do love them, you do want them...It was just your mind telling you differently....

    You hate being you, you want to take all the thoughts away, you want to be in love without constantly fighting your own mind, your own thoughts....They’re not yours they’re someone else’s. Without constantly being something that you can’t even see, something that’s inside of you, that you can’t escape from, something that never goes away.....

    And then the Obsessing, the Ruminating begins....Analysis of that relationship, you want to let it go, you need to but the torture carries on.
    The gremlin hasn’t left you, the tactics have simply changed.... Now you’re filled with hurt and heartbreak, analysing the relationship, obsession over the thoughts, compulsion to find the answers.
    You talk, you have to makes you feel better, you have to let it out.
    You have to ask people for the answers and.... back comes the Spike....They weren’t the right one for you, your afraid of commitment...

    But how can you be afraid of commitment when all you’ve ever wanted is to love, to be loved, to have a family and just be ‘Normal’.
    But if i get all these feelings when i’m with someone, then i must be? If those people have told me that’s what it is then they must be right? ..... right?
    Your doomed to live a life of loneliness, you can’t be with anyone because of the Gremlin....your only going to end up hurting innocent people that have no can’t live with the guilt.

    You lay in your bed through night and day, you see the sunrise and the sunset,
    The gremlin never goes away...
    What day or the week is it? You don’t know, you don’t care.
    What’s the point in being’ll never find the answers anywhere.

    OCD affects 60% of the population, when people hear the name they associate it with obsessive cleaning, lining up pencils, washing your hands....
    The core basics are all the same Obsession Compulsion... With the form of OCD you see on the TV most days following people who have a constant fear of germs, obsessing over germs, a Compulsion to clean to get rid of the irrational fear.
    It’s easier to understand, you can see it with your eyes.... but the thoughts in the persons head are still there, the gremlin is still there... are they certain they’ve got rid of all the germs?

    If i clean again the gremlin will go away.
    If i end the relationship the gremlin will go away.

    OCD is a neurological disorder, that is fuelled on Irrational fear and Compulsions to make it go away.

    Having ROCD as you can see above is based soley on relationships.

    *final note*

    Having ROCD does not mean a person cannot love, in fact suffers of ROCD tend to be much more considerate, sensitive, loyal and loving compared to one without ROCD. This is due to their extreme awareness of emotion. They will also often fall much more deeply in love due to their own extreme emotions.

    A person with ROCD is likely to want to be loved and feel loved more than anything else.

    It has been said that the better the relationship, the worse the ROCD symptoms.

    The thoughts which an ROCD suffer has are called ‘Intrusive Thoughts’ This means that the sufferer has no control over them.

    A partner of an ROCD sufferer can learn to understand, that the ROCD has absolutely no reflection on how the sufferer feels about them and that the relationship itself is not at is the symptoms of a neurological disease only.

    Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, otherwise known as "ROCD" or "Relationship OCD", is an unofficial term for a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder that is defined by the behavior of "relationship substantiation".

    Regardless of the form of OCD, it will involve both obsessions and compulsions which are the problems that need addressing, and they are all equally as treatable through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

    Further reading:

  • Joanne

    I can't believe I've found others out there like me. Reading these posts, I feel a great sense of relief. I've never met anyone like me who suffers in this way.

    In January I met my current boyfriend and fell head over heels. Wasn't long after our 2nd date when I felt I had to warn him about my tendencies in relationships. Since then, I've felt immense guilt each and every time I have an "episode" of anxiety, intrusive thoughts, hopelessness, tearfulness and dread. I feel undeserving, suspicious, cursed, misunderstood, and broken. I've considered PMDD, GAD, and depression. I was in a relationship counseling group years ago and it was the only thing that seemed to help. This is relationship 3 that is on the brink of being ended due to these ROCD symptoms.

    I want to believe there is someone perfect out there for each of us. But instead of waiting for some head-in-the-clouds romantic feeling that will be fleeting and eventually ruined by our disorder, I say find someone who accepts you as you are and is strong enough to endure the rollercoaster of ROCD.

    I plan to talk to a counselor about this within a week. Thank you so much for sharing everyone. You have no idea how much better I feel....for now, lol.


Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 Who Answers? 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.


Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand