Do you ever find your mind turning in circles?
Like you’re a car on a racetrack, trying to get to the finish line as fast as possible? So that you can finally figure out what the hell is going on?
I would personally do a lot of this in my relationships.
And it burnt me out!
I’d start worrying about something and then one thing would lead to the next… I’d start finding more reasons to get anxious. Which only made me more worried, and so on and so forth.
In order to stop overthinking there are a couple of things that need to happen.
I’d like to take you through the steps so that you can gain a better understanding of what’s happening.
And how you can stop OVERTHINKING and start enjoying your relationship instead.
But before going any further into figuring out how to stop it, I want to first give you a few examples of what I’m talking about. So that you can know for sure when it happens.
Signs of Overthinking in a Relationship
Here are typical signs of overthinking in a relationship:
- Feeling very insecure in the relationship
- Worrying that your partner will suddenly change their mind
- Having a hard time with giving space and boundaries
- Worrying that your partner doesn’t care about you
- Doubting if you’re really compatible
- Feeling anxious and afraid of being abandoned
- Never feeling safe
- Never being sure of anything
The first step in overcoming overthinking is noticing and recognizing it when it happens. So keep the above-mentioned signs in mind, notice when those kinds of feelings come up in high intensity.
When they do, just try to relax. You can even try to self soothe anxious attachment. Overthinking is a dangerous trap that might only make all your fears come true for no good reason. This brings me to my next point.
Why Do People Overthink So Much in Their Relationships
The next step in overcoming this tricky problem is to understand your reasons for feeling this way.
I used to ask myself: “Why do I overthink so much in my relationship?”
The answer I would come up with is that I was just trying to find A SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM in my relationship. Or alternatively, I was looking for an ANSWER to a doubt of mine.
It would start with something about me or my partner’s behavior.
Like: “Does he really care?”, “Is he pulling away because he changed his mind about us?”, “Are we good for each other”, “Are we meant to be together?” etc.
But the thoughts in my head would only turn in circles or even escalate, and I rarely ever came to any clear and final conclusions.
Overthinking only made all our relationship problems seem scarier and more overwhelming.
It would become an endless cycle of fear and doubt that lead me to acting clingy and needy.
I struggled with giving him space. It made me hesitant to let go, because I worried that if I did, my then boyfriend and now husband would pull away forever.
To make matters worse, this behavior of mine made him only need MORE space. That then fuelled my anxiety and made me even more anxious and clingy.
And that brings me to the real truth about OVERTHINKING.
It has nothing to do with “THINKING” and everything to do with DOUBT, FEAR and sometimes PANIC.
It’s often a result of having being abandoned in the past. Or of being ignored and left to fend for yourself.
Life is messy. Nobody in the whole world had a perfect childhood. We’ve all had our share of bad relationship experiences too.
Much like a veteran can panic at the sound of fireworks. Even a small sign of relationship trouble or distance can trigger you to start overthinking.
Is Overthinking Toxic in a Relationship?
A toxic behavior is damaging to others. Verbal, physical or emotional abuse means that one of the partners is harming the other.
But when it comes to overthinking, most of the damage is actually done to yourself.
This is why overthinking isn’t really toxic. However, it can sabotage your relationship for good.
It leads to a vicious cycle that will make the things you worry about eventually come true. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy that destroys trust and connection.
How to Stop Overthinking Your Relationship Anxiety
What really helped me snap out of overthinking was to stop focusing on the THOUGHTS in my head, and start focusing on my FEELINGS instead.
You can get so lost in all the what ifs and doubts. But when you check in with yourself and ask yourself, WHAT AM I FEELING?
This approach can actually lead you to finding some answers!
Understanding the real motives behind overthinking can help you break out of the vicious cycle of stubborn thoughts and doubts.
This is the next step in overcoming this problem.
1. Figuring out Your Feelings Will Help You Gain Control
Now that you know that overthinking is a sign that something about your relationship is worrying you, you can now ask yourself:
“What is it that I’m so worried about?”
These are some of my fears that caused me to overthink:
- Being afraid of getting trapped in an unhappy relationship
- Worrying that Gabriel doesn’t really love me and might leave
- Fear of repeating my parents’ mistakes in relationships
Diverting your attention AWAY from your thoughts and putting it on your FEELINGS will help you gain control over the situation.
You’ll be able to draw conclusions and take actions to counteract your fears.
Realising that I was really afraid of repeating my parents’ mistakes immediately made me think of ways of making sure that never happens:
My parents argued A LOT and were often verbally abusive with each other.
The way for me to avoid having this problem was to focus on learning effective communication in my relationship.
Everybody has different fears about their relationship.
You’ll focus on yourself here and your own perception of things. Plus, taking responsibility for your own fears and needs, rather than blaming them on your partner, is the only way of how you can get through to them.
Not to say that they’re not to blame for this at all. Anxious attachment is often triggered by your significant other’s carelessness or distance.
Nonetheless, getting in touch with your feelings will help you understand your fears and figure out how to communicate them in a way that will have the highest of chances of being heard and taken seriously.
2. Put a Stop to Overthinking by Feeling Understood
The by far the best way to stop overthinking is to feel UNDERSTOOD!
Unfortunately, it’s really difficult to fully deal with this problem all on your own. You’ll likely end up turning in circles and never feeling at peace.
Another very real danger is that your partner might get defensive when you tell them how you feel.
In order to avoid that, you might need to focus on yourself. Try talking about you and not let them make it about themselves. It can be a tricky outcome to achieve, but it is doable.
You might end up needing to set boundaries or insist that they hear you out. Once you’ve gotten them there, they listened, and you feel heard, put a stop to overthinking by asking for reassurance.
Even it things don’t work out perfectly, just the simple act of having to formulate your own thoughts and saying them out loud can put you at ease.
Moreover, having to deal with fears and doubts all by yourself often makes them stronger.
Sharing your worries with another person can take away their power.
Gabriel and I share all our fears and doubts with each other.
We go on really long walks and have lengthy conversations where we discuss all our scary thoughts.
Being able to share the doubts and worries about your relationship directly with your partner is the best.
They can counter your fears and reassure you about them.
We didn’t use to be able to do that. There was a time in our relationship when we couldn’t talk without arguing.
But we worked on our communication and figured out ways to really hear each other out.
Putting your fears and doubts out there and having someone receive them will make you feel less alone and overwhelmed.
It can also be helpful and reassuring to gain an outsider’s perspective of your problems.
Overthinking in relationships can be a big problem.
It can make you doubt EVERYTHING and cause you a lot of emotional distress.
In case you feel hesitant about sharing your worries and doubts with your boyfriend or husband, or need help with getting him to actually listen, check out our Rebuild Your Relationship Course.
In it, we give you clear outlines and steps to untangle- and make sense of, the often disorienting rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions. You’ll then learn how to convey them in a confident and clear way, so that you feel truly understood and can finally put all the over-thinking to rest.
If you’re interested in learning more, click here to check out Rebuild Your Relationship.
I hope you found this article helpful.
If you’d like to, check out our Best Relationship Affirmations for Love and Connection to build more confidence and overthink less.
And please leave your questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you!
Published on Jan 31, 2020; Updated Oct 6, 2022
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