When you’re struggling with social anxiety, you never imagined that you’ll be blessed with any relationships in your lifetime. Just when you have given up all hopes, Cupid decided to mess things up and puts you into one. And when your other half turned out to be a social butterfly, you’re torn between rejoicing and dread.
But you believe that love would persevere and held on to that belief. As soon as the honeymoon period is over and both of you are back on solid ground, you knew that it will take much work for the relationship to work. When the first crack appeared in what you presumed a match made in heaven, you pray that issues are only temporary and swept them under the carpet in denial.
In reality, social anxiety could cause a slow death to many seemingly positive relationships. If you’re thinking getting into a relationship is tough, preserving them is even tougher. Communication is vital to maintaining a healthy relationship. When the communication channel is disrupted, it’s only a matter of time before cracks turned into massive chasms in a relationship.
When you have attempted a few relationships and they end up the wrong way, you may want to pay attention to these few concerns.
It is normal to head into a relationship seeking fulfillment in some of your emotional needs. While not all needs can be sufficiently met by your partner, the reluctance to express your needs or receive them kills off intimacy. Common emotional needs are:
With social anxiety, your low self-esteem causes you to feel unworthy of receiving any form of fulfillment from your partner. This creates an imbalance in your relationship that will soon develop into resentments.
Arguments are part and parcel of a relationship. But when you’re socially anxious, you avoid argument at all cost, because you fear it will lead to the break-up of the relationship. Well, it won’t. If a relationship disintegrates that fast, it meant something is very wrong fundamentally. Avoiding argument may give you peace in the short term, but too many unresolved conflicts will hurt your relationship in the long run.
What you need to understand is that argument is a form of communication. When you learn how to argue the right way, you’ll find that your relationship will strengthen. Arguing doesn’t mean calling names and making personal attacks. It means reaching a middle ground with your partner in a respectful manner.
When you’ve spent years hiding in your protective shell, it’s hard to show affection to your partner. You worried if you will appear silly when you show affection Or how others might think of you if you show affection in public. Unless you’ve communicated your concern to your partner properly, this may cause misunderstanding on both sides.
Even if it doesn’t, lack of affection could cause a slow decline in the quality of your relationship. Subconsciously, we perceive affections as a sign of interest from a partner. That’s one of the fundamentals of attraction between human beings as lovers. And it does not necessarily be physical. When was the last time you send a hand-written card to your partner?
In fairy tales, marriage is the bonding of two people. In reality, most marriage involves getting on with family and friends of your partner. If you’re lucky, you attend family gatherings once or twice a year, else you have the weekly meetups to contend with. Each of the gatherings requires preparing yourself mentally and emotionally, as you wouldn’t want to embarrass your partner with your lack of social skill.
Chances are you’ll probably mess up in a few conversations and stop participating. You’ll be the odd one out. And in some cases, you’ll come across as rude and disrespectful. Even if your partner is understanding, this may cause a strain in your relationship further down the road.
When you lack self-esteem, you seek validation from your partner to boost your confidence. While it’s normal to seek that ego boost once in a while, overdoing this can make staying in a relationship very exhausting. A clingy relationship will become toxic eventually.
Being clingy will lead to you losing your self-identity. It dulls the quality that attracted your partner in the first place. You cease to be attractive. it’s like sucking away all the positive energy in a relationship. It’s only a matter of time before it disintegrates.
One of the common causes of social anxiety is bullying. When you went through such traumatic incidence, you lost trust in people. Even when you met someone you love, it can be extremely difficult to let go of your emotional armor and be vulnerable. Sometimes it takes years before it happens. That’s why it’s hard to love a person with social anxiety.
Trust is the cornerstone of a long-lasting relationship. Being vulnerable is the most powerful sign of trust and vice versa. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than losing a relationship because you’re too afraid to open up. Because sharing the deepest, darkest secrets between two souls is the most powerful bond you can forge.
I wish reading a few relationships help book or counseling would help. It won’t. Because the problem lies in social anxiety itself. It is about your self-esteem, confidence and how you react to interaction. I am confident in saying so because what I’ve written above are not copy-pasted from other articles, but from my personal experience of a broken marriage.
The solution lies in beating social anxiety and blasting it off from your life. Can it be done? Obviously yes, but not easy. With social anxiety out of your system, you are no longer the ‘old you’. That means you think, speak and act differently.
You will attract new relationships that are healthy. And that’s because of the new found confidence that makes you an excellent communicator in your relationship.
How has social anxiety affects your relationship? Share your story in the comment below.
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I am an engineer-turned-writer who once struggle with social anxiety. After overcoming problems inflicted by low self-esteem and the fear of interaction, I realize the need for taking a holistic approach in developing our mind. I'm sharing my experience, remedies, and techniques that interest me in my quest to be a better self.
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