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How to Stop Overthinking and Create a Healthy Relationship

Signs you're overthinking and how to stop it

When we get into romantic relationships, our emotions are all over the place. But you may be trying to figure out how to stop overthinking in a relationship – especially if it’s making you anxious.

Let's just get something straight – overthinking is completely natural, we all do it, we overthink about work, friends, relationships and whether we’ve turned the stove off when we leave the house. It’s normal, it shows we care. However, overthinking in a relationship, especially when you’re doing it all the time, can cause stress – and could harm your relationship in the long run.

Overthinking can also result in general anxiety about your relationship, which in turn could lead to mental health issues such as depression, lack of motivation and dissociation. So, how do you stop overthinking about your partner, keep your relationship healthy and feel more confident at the same time? Let us explain.

What does overthinking look like? 

Overthinking means your mind could start to spiral – and one little thing that your partner does, or doesn’t do, may make you worried, paranoid or jealous, causing arguments in your relationship

For instance – say you’re a year into your relationship and naturally the honeymoon period has worn off. You’re both busy with work, your social lives and family, but a niggling feeling that your partner doesn’t text you as much as they used to, comes into your head. You could just put it down to how busy you both are and leave it. But if you’re overthinking the situation, you could start to overanalyze their text messages now and how they used to text you. This could then lead to your behavior to change with them and possibly damage your relationship – especially if it causes arguments, or you push them away.

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Warning signs you could be overthinking

  • Dissecting everything your partner’s said after having a conversation with them

  • Starting arguments for no reason 

  • Getting upset over a joke or offhand comment, which wasn’t meant to be mean

  • Getting jealous when they say they’re going out without you

  • Checking their social media for signs of cheating or flirting

  • Constantly checking your phone to see if they have text you or comparing their old texts to their new ones 

  • Needing constant reassurance from your partner

Why is overthinking damaging to a relationship?

Overthinking can lead to arguments, especially when you think your partner may leave you or doesn’t love you anymore. Your behavior could also change – and it may be hard to communicate your feelings with your partner. 

A study by Ohio State University College of Medicine also found that relationship anxiety is also bad for our health and could lower our immune system. The study, on 85 married couples, looked at their anxiety levels around their relationships.

The study found that those who were more anxious about their relationships or had higher levels of attachment anxiety would suffer from more stress. Levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, were higher, by 11%, in those with relationship anxiety, while their ability to fight off disease was also affected. The couples who had higher levels of relationship anxiety, had between 11 and 20% fewer T-cells, white blood cells that help to fight off disease.

How to not overthink in relationships?

Enjoying your partner in the present day is a great way to stop overthinking in a relationship. When we look to past relationships, or how our relationship once was – or indeed to the future and what might happen in our relationship (moving in with each other or marriage, say) – we’re not seeing what’s right in front of us. Enjoying your partner and what they have to offer, and why you’re in the relationship in the present moment, will help you feel grateful.

If you’re not talking to your partner, then you’ll never know what they’re thinking. None of us can mind-read what our partners are feeling – so if something’s bothering you, or you catch yourself overthinking a situation, then ask them about it. It’s never easy to bring up a difficult question or situation, but once you’ve talked about it, it will be a weight off your shoulders.

Staying independent, having your own friends and carrying on with the things you love separately will give you both space to be your own person, and also help you appreciate each other more. You may be a couple, but you don’t have to spend 24/7 with each other – a healthy relationship is always a balanced one.

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