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 normal, and all of us overthink from time to time. We overthink work, friends, relationships, and whether we’ve turned the stove off when we leave the house.
But 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.
So, how do you stop overthinking about your partner, keep your relationship healthy, and feel more confident at the same time? Keep scrolling to find out.
Overthinking means your mind started to spiral. That one little thing your partner did, or didn’t do, may make you worried, paranoid, or jealous, and cause an argument.
Say you’re a year into your relationship and the honeymoon period has reached its inevitable end. You’re both busy with work, your social lives, and family obligations, 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 overanalyzing their text messages now and how they used to text you.
Some signs you might be prone to overthink are:
Overanalyzing everything your partner says or does
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 texted you or comparing their old texts to their new ones
Needing constant reassurance from your partner
Overthinking can damage your relationship because it makes you act out of a fear of rejection or anxiety, often projecting your insecurities onto the relationship.
Relationship anxiety is also bad for your health and immune system. A study of 85 married couples looked at their anxiety levels around their relationships and found that those who were more anxious about their relationships or had higher levels of attachment anxiety would suffer from more stress.
Levels of the stress hormone cortisol were 11% higher in those with relationship anxiety, while their ability to fight off disease was also affected. Couples with higher levels of relationship anxiety also had between 11-20% fewer T-cells, the white blood cells that help fight off disease.
The first step is to find your triggers and understand why you’re prone to overthinking. There are several reasons why we tend to overthink. Maybe you feel insecure about the relationship or have low self-esteem, or maybe you’ve been hurt in the past by an ex-partner who was emotionally distant. Maybe you struggle with an anxiety disorder or have an anxious attachment style.
Whatever the reason, understanding why you tend to over-analyzing everything will help you break the habit. Make some time for self-reflection and write down what triggered you to overthink. You might notice a certain pattern emerging that can give you some clarity.
One way to stop overthinking as much is to try and stay in the present moment. When you’re constantly dwelling over the past, or worrying about the future, you’re not seeing what’s right in front of you. It can be fun to look ahead to the future or reminisce about your past together, but it becomes unhealthy when it’s making you anxious or pulling you away from your partner.
Instead of stressing over events that have already happened — or that have yet to happen — try to stay grounded in the present and be grateful for what you have with your partner now. Practicing mindfulness can help you stay present when you’re constantly overthinking your relationship.
The following key thing is communication. If you’re not talking to your partner, then you’ll never know what they’re thinking. Overthinking can often make you find problems where there aren’t any, and ruminating over hypothetical scenarios or making assumptions about what your partner is thinking is all but helpful.
You’re not a mind reader, so if something’s bothering you, or you catch yourself overthinking, bring it up with your partner! We know it’s easier said than done, but once you’ve talked it through it will be a weight off your shoulders.
This is also an opportunity to let your SO know what your needs and expectations are. A problem shared is a problem halved, as they say.
Lastly, it’s important to cultivate your passions and relationships outside of your life with your partner. Staying independent, having your own friends, and keeping up with your own hobbies 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. Having time to yourself and your interests can help you foster a sense of self-esteem and security within yourself that is crucial for feeling less anxious.