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Posted By Kasia Ciszewski on 01/16/2020

How Checking-In with your Partner could Help your Anxiety and Marriage

So, you finally gather the courage to confront the issue and talk to your partner, even though you struggle with anxiety and you hate confrontation.  But, every time you talk to him, it turns into an argument and now you’re even more scared to say anything, but you do it anyway because you’re therapist told you that it would help you with your anxiety.  Plus, you know exactly what she’ll be asking you in your next session:  Did you talk to him?  How’s your anxiety? Did you tell him how that made you feel?  

You want to work on yourself and you want to share how you’re feeling with your partner but you’ve also noticed a pattern of whenever you share your concerns, nothing ever changes. As a result, the anxiety subsides for a moment but then it reappears in no time. Feelings of defeat and loneliness reappear and you start to wonder if your marriage is on the verge of divorce.   As fear takes over, your anxiety remains, and now you think your marriage is about to fall apart. You know that something has to change but you don’t know what. 

Is there something you could do to help repair all of this? Yes, and I’m sure you’ve heard this answer before- you have to learn how to communicate better with your partner and it’s important to share your feelings. Great, but you’ve done all of this and still nothing! If anything, it’s gotten worse. Now, all you do is argue with your partner, you’ve become more irritable, and your insomnia has become unbearable. As a result, you avoid all serious conversations and drink two glasses of wine a day just so you can cope with your anxiety. 

Unfortunately, sometimes talking about your concerns is not enough. Why? Because that’s what usually starts the argument, activates the angry outbursts, encourages the exchange of cruel and unforgettable words, and triggers past emotions for both you and your partner. When this happens, the conversation no longer revolves around the present issue at hand nor is it solution-based. Rather, we have stepped into a hole of untouched feelings, years of neglect, pain, and hurt. 

So, what are you doing wrong?  Well, ask yourself this - what happens after you talk to your partner?  Do you dare confront the conversation again after the both of you have had time to calm down and process what’s been said?  The number one problem most couples forget to do is to follow-up with each other, whether it is an argument, disagreement and/or a discussion. No matter what the outcome, couples should always check-in with one another and take the time to acknowledge the other person’s feelings. 

Quite simply, your actions show that you care.  It also shows that you are serious about finding a solution. Your partner might not like it, nor will your anxiety, but it is important that you hold your partner accountable and that he does that same to you.  Checking in shows that you are working towards a solution and that you value your relationship. 

It is not easy to do, and it might lead to a few more discussions and/or arguments before you find the right solution. It may even require that you attend couples counseling to help you facilitate these conversations. But, to have a healthy relationship and to help manage your anxiety, it will take some work. This is something most people won’t tell you because they don’t want to discourage you, but they’re also painting you a false picture, because the longer you wait to confront your partner with any unresolved feelings, the greater the animosity and the resentment will be towards your partner, turning future conversations into wars instead of mini battles with peaceful resolutions. 

This skill can be applied in many aspects of your life and chances are, you already do it. Have you ever checked in with a friend or child when they’ve been sick or having a bad day? Have you ever checked in with a boss or customer to make sure they’re happy with your work or if there’s anything you can help them with? You cannot avoid your feelings anymore and the work must be done in order to see the results.  And if you’re feeling stuck, individual therapy is a good way to start your journey by gaining insight about yourself, learning how to gain control over your anxiety, while working towards building stronger relationships. 

When looking for individual counseling, there are many types of therapy that work well for most people including the following: motivational interviewing, cognitive- behavioral therapy, solution focused therapy, person-centered, acceptance and commitment, just to name a few. For trauma related issues, PTSD and as well as anxiety, EMDR and Brainspotting are highly effective and recommended. 


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