Dealing with your own anxiety is already a challenge. And something even worse is, if you love someone who experiences anxiety.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) have trouble seeing themselves in “healthy and supportive” relationships compared to those without.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

You can have a loving and healthy relationship with someone who has anxiety.

Here we will tell you everything you can do when you love someone with anxiety. 

But what really is anxiety? definition and symptoms

Segun Sanne van Rooij, Doctora. the y Anaïs Stenson, PhD.:

“Anxiety disorders are characterized by a pervasive pattern of excessive fear (ie, emotional response to perceived or actual threat) and/or anxiety (ie, worry about future threat) and may have negative emotional and behavioral consequences”.

There are different types of anxiety, but the most common is “Generalized Anxiety Disorder”.

These are the symptoms, according to

  • Excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of events or activities, even when nothing is happening. The concern is often disproportionate to the actual risk.
  • It is extremely difficult for the person to control worry.
  • The concern is associated with at least three (for adults) or one (for children) of the following physical or cognitive symptoms:
    • Concern
    • Fatigue
    • Impaired concentration or a feeling that the mind goes blank
    • Irritability
    • Increased muscle aches or pain
    • Difficulty sleeping (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep)
  • Sometimes these symptoms may be associated with other physical symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea.

You might also notice signs in the way your partner interacts with other people.

According to research, people with GAD have 4 styles of interaction:

  • Cold
  • intrusive
  • Irritable
  • not assertive

People with GAD manifest these styles in different ways. Someone who is intrusive, for example, may have issues with boundaries and respecting privacy.

It’s important to know your partner’s interaction style and underlying issues so you can know how to react and handle the situation appropriately.

What is the first thing you should do when you find out that your partner has anxiety?

Two things can happen: your partner starts the conversation with you about their anxiety, or you begin to notice the signs yourself.

Either way, your actions and words will have a huge impact on your partner’s feelings.

It takes a lot for a person to show their vulnerability, so try to be sensitive to the things they say and show empathy. Thank your partner for trusting you with the information. 

In fact, it is a great sign of how much he cares about you and trusts you. 

According to clinical psychologist Todd Farchione:

“It is important not to underestimate their experience. Being supportive is about being willing to listen to what the person has to say and being understanding. But to get to that level of understanding, that means validating what they’re going through.”

You must recognize it as something real. He’s not doing it for attention. You need to acknowledge his anxiety as real so you don’t hurt your partner unnecessarily.

11 things you can do when you love someone with anxiety to help them

The road ahead will be hard, but that does not mean that it will be without love. 

In fact, it will be full of it. Here are some things you can do when someone you love has anxiety.

1) Inform

The second thing you should do before anything else is informed yourself.


Because anxiety is an easy thing to ignore. However, it can be very harmful to that person you love. 

For that reason alone, you should be prepared to handle it. And the truth is, if you love him, you want the best for him and for you. Informing you in the first place is the way to take care of them both. 

That you’re here shows that you have the right attitude about it.

How could you care for someone with anxiety if you know nothing about it?

According to psychologist Barbara Markway:

“Anxiety disorders can be tricky because your partner can ‘look’ perfectly normal, all the while telling you they’re having a panic attack. This could cause you to minimize what your partner is going through. “Oh, you’re fine” or “Just relax” won’t be particularly helpful or welcome comments.”

Learning as much as you can about anxiety will make things easier for you and your partner in the long run. 

More importantly, it can be the first step toward healing.

2) Just listen

The hardest thing about loving someone with anxiety is the feeling of helplessness. 

It’s easy to feel like you really can’t do anything to take away their suffering.

But the truth is that being there is enough. Simply listening helps. And a lot.

According to Farchione:

“You must be willing to offer your time to that person. That is a component that gets overlooked between two people. Sometimes what is most helpful to someone with anxiety is for someone to listen to their experience and that’s it.”

So when you feel worthless, remember that all your partner really needs is someone to hold them.

3) Do not be an accomplice: avoid encouraging their anxiety

There’s a dangerously fine line between being supportive and becoming an enabler of your partner’s anxiety.

It can be difficult to find the balance in both, but you should try. For this you must be very present and evaluate each situation on time. 

Farchione says :

“Be careful not to be an accomplice to their fear. Being understanding doesn’t mean we have to accommodate their fears, which families do quite often. You could be feeding the idea that there is something to fear.”

So what can you do? So go to the next point:

4) Show him how much power he has

According to mental health counselor Tanya J. Peterson:

“Empowering someone is different than nurturing the person. Empowerment provides appropriate assistance and support without taking responsibility for the person’s recovery. It helps to empower someone and help them regain a sense of control over their life. Empowerment is motivating and leads to self-confidence and autonomy.”

Instead of crediting your boyfriend’s fears and anxieties, credit his strength. Encourage healing from him, not fear him. 

Tell him that you trust him, that you know he has the strength to get ahead and achieve what he sets out to do. 

5) It’s you and him against anxiety, not against each other

Never forget that you are a team. You are fighting anxiety, not each other.

So don’t be mad at your partner. Remember that it is the anxiety that speaks.

Markway explica:

“Attacking a person’s character or personality can further damage unstable self-esteem. It’s natural for you to feel angry or even resentful.”

It is even more important to know how to express your frustrations correctly.

Your advice :

“The important thing to remember is to express your own feelings as I-statements (“I feel this,” “I wish that”) rather than attributing your feelings to the other person’s behavior (you make me feel…)”

Honestly, this is a general rule for any couple’s communication, more than just a way to express yourself with someone with anxiety. 

6) Encourage him to seek help

There is something that is important for you to be clear about:

It is not your responsibility to treat your partner.

Don’t act like their surrogate therapist.

According to Jim Folk, founder of

“While self-help information can be beneficial, a professional counselor/therapist is almost always required to treat anxiety disorder and to overcome problematic anxiety, because many of these behaviors are invisible and therefore unknown to the patient. ”.

Seeking professional help will not only be good for your partner, but it will also be good for you. 

In fact, many people go to couples therapy, even if only one person suffers from anxiety.

There is no shame in asking for help, especially if it means being able to maintain a healthy and loving relationship.

7) Don’t make it bigger than it is

One mistake you could make is creating a big problem with your partner’s anxiety. 

Remember: Yes, he has anxiety, but that does not define him.

It’s one thing to acknowledge the anxiety and help your partner work through it. But that doesn’t mean it should color the entire relationship.

Your loved one is still a person outside of their illness. He wants to feel normal, wanted and loved.

Don’t make them into a project or someone who needs to be saved. Focus on the other things in your relationship as well. At the end of the day, there are many reasons why you love him. 

8) Set limits

There is a limit to what a person can and should commit. In this case, you should also think about your own needs and expectations.

And if he does happen to mistreat you, it’s important to be firm about what you’re not willing to put up with. 

In the process of supporting your partner, it’s easy to let go of your boundaries. But that’s not really helpful and might actually deepen the problem.

According to therapist Kate Thieda, author of Loving Someone With Anxiety:

“You also have the right to have a life, and this may mean telling your partner from time to time, and in a loving way, that you are going to do what you want and need to do.”

Accommodating a little to their needs is fine, but never forget yours.

Thieda adds :

“Always consider whether it’s possible to compromise, but also recognize that you have the right to do things independently.”

9) Remember, it’s not about you

Don’t take your partner’s anxiety personally. 

If he exhibits behavior that might seem careless or inconsiderate to you, remember that it is his anxiety that gets the better of him.

Anxiety doesn’t give anyone the right to hurt you, but you must learn not to take things personally.

However, it is easy to be offended. Especially if you are in the early stages of the relationship.

According to psychologist Paulette Sherman:

“It can be easy to feel rejected if you’re not around or seem suspicious, but if this is what happens to them when they’re anxious, it may not have anything to do with you.”

Then it might be helpful to count to ten, give him the space he needs, and come back to talk to him at a later time when he feels better. 

10) Do not neglect your personal care

You also have a life of your own, and if not, you should. Perhaps you yourself are struggling with your own problems, whether they are mental health or life in general.

Do not forget that your well-being is also important. Avoid getting caught up in your partner’s anxiety. You can’t help anyone if you don’t take care of yourself.

Pamela S. Wiegartz, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Illinois states:

“When someone you care about is struggling with anxiety, it’s so easy to focus on helping them and forget about your own needs.

“Make sure you stay well: talk to friends for support, get your own therapist, consider joining a support group or online discussion forum.”

11) Just love it

Showering your partner with love and affection might not be the most direct treatment for their anxiety. 

But it doesn’t hurt him either.

In fact, it probably gives them the security they need. Especially since the anxiety stems from a lack of security.

According to Mike Bundrant, co-founder of The iNLP Center:

“Anxiety sufferers need trust to be earned in dating as it is never automatic for them. This can cause problems in new relationships, but it can work if the person you’re dating is good at reassuring and attentive.”

Making your partner feel loved and appreciated will go a long way toward making them feel secure. 

People with anxiety live in fear of not being good enough to be loved.

So just love them. That is something you can never go wrong with.

What happens if your partner refuses to take treatment?

Anxiety is a real mental problem, but it is very treatable. However, sometimes it’s hard to convince someone to get treatment.

There are different reasons why. He may have tried it before and found that it didn’t help. 

The treatment may fail if it is not the appropriate type for the type of anxiety the person has.

According to Thieda:

“It’s best to work with a professional who uses cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and who is specifically trained to work with people struggling with anxiety.”

Another reason could be that you find professional treatment daunting and intimidating.

To do this, Thieda suggests :

“Maybe they need to approach their treatment in a different way, breaking down challenges into smaller, more manageable parts.”

Understand your partner and explain how important it is to try again if they’ve already tried, but whatever you do, you should never resort to pleading or manipulation.

Thieda says :

“No amount of pleading or threatening will be effective and will likely make matters worse.”

The truth is you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. You can certainly tell your partner how treatment can help. But in the end, it will be your decision.

What he needs

The most helpful thing you can do in the future is to understand what your partner needs.

Like the language of love, people with anxiety suffer from the fear that their needs will not be met. 

They are also afraid that simply asking or saying something will cause problems.

At the end of the day, they’re afraid you’re going to leave if things get tough.

Bundrant says:

“Unfortunately, one of the main reasons people who suffer from anxiety don’t explain all of this correctly is that their anxiety is met by the fear that if they explain what they need, they will be seen by their partner as ‘more of a problem than what it’s worth’, ‘very much needed’ or ‘too damaged’”.

If you really love them, just assure them that you’re not going anywhere. You have to be patient at first because he probably won’t believe it.

But if you trust and trust long enough, he will start to trust you. And when that happens, it’s already an easier ride.

Bunrandt agrega :

“A person suffering from anxiety needs a partner who is extremely consistent in their affirming words, actions, and behaviors. Anxiety sufferers need consistency. Often they try to explain this, but they are not taken seriously, so they stop trying to explain their needs.”


There are millions of people who, despite having anxiety, are able to maintain happy relationships.

So what you’re trying to achieve isn’t impossible, even if it ever seems that way.

Ask yourself: Do I want to be with this person, even if things get too hard? Is it love or just affection? 

If the answer is no, it’s best to be honest about it now. You don’t want to keep hurting someone who is already dealing with so much.

But if you can’t see your life without this person, then you’re already doing better than you think.

Anxiety or not, all anyone needs is someone to pick them up. Even if they are not the easiest option.