Contemplating certain core traits responsible for relationship distress specially between couples have made me focus on one trait which interferes with the functioning of a smooth relationship. Anxiety!! Commonly defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. There are two types of anxieties. One which is inherent in a person, given the genetic disposition. And the second being generated as a result of one’s repetitive negative thinking pattern which ultimately gets internalised in a person – detrimental not just to the partner or the relationship but to oneself as well.
While anxiety is manifested through various means, digital platform is a common carrier these days. A dating couple seeing each other may get anxious when they don’t get a response from their partner. “Why hasn’t he/she responded to my text despite it being delivered so long ago?” Married couples wouldn’t think any different. Their predicament would be, why hasn’t the message been opened or read? And once that is done, again the same rut of why hasn’t it been responded to? A thinking ritual. Is it very difficult to send a text and then forget about it till it is responded to? Anxiously waiting for a reply with a single-track mind, getting fidgety, checking one’s cell phone restlessly almost becomes an obsession.
Why can’t one adopt a simple straight forward thinking that the message will be responded when the partner finds time? Instead of imagining the worst, why not be positive, realistic and accept the delay? When I ask my over anxious couples to practise this “delayed response acceptance” positively, they say they have a basis of comparison responsible for their anticipated response time. Because the texts were always responded instantly in the past, that pace is still expected. Not realizing the initial euphoria of a relationship is always different and quick paced. It slows down with time but doesn’t mean the love and affection have gone down. It is wrong to presume the two are correlated – delayed response equal to lessened love. Another very common complaint these days is being seen online on a certain messaging application but not communicating with one’s partner. “He/she was online but still just wasn’t ready to acknowledge me.” There’s a very fine line between an anxious and a suspicious mind. “Has he/she lost interest in me?” “Has he/she started seeing someone else?” “Is my husband/wife having an affair?” Why can’t we condition our minds to think maybe the partner got busy doing something else and forgot to get off that chat. Maybe a technical glitch – online status may be offline or the priority was someone else for a reason at that point.
Jumping to conclusions is so easy when anxious. Insecurities, emotional dependence and a lot of free time at hand can lead to overt anxiety. Always adding logic to one’s thoughts, rationalizing about a situation and talking it over with one’s partner can help counter anxiety. Anxiety is a trait which can breed a lot of contempt in a relationship. Training one’s mind to consciously not get anxious would get rid of a lot of emotional turmoil. Especially initially the mind must be anxiety free to analyse a situation objectively. Anxiety should step in only if a situation gets to the extreme. Anyway, it’s not worth losing one’s sanity over anxiety!!!