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Relationships

How To Deal With Separation Anxiety In A Relationship (Our Tips)

Separation Anxiety In A Relationship Is Never Fun!

Typically when we think of separation anxiety we’re talking about a child’s connection to a parental/guardian figure. However, in a number of adult cases, this anxiety can be triggered by separation from anyone who the person is very much attached to. This means that romantic partners or spouses can often suffer from it, as well!

To understand the scope of the problem, separation anxiety is defined as when an individual “…experiences excessive fear or anxiety concerning separation from those to whom the individual is attached” (DSM-5, 2013). According to Anxiety Canada, these feelings can have significant impacts on thoughts, feelings, and even shape a person’s behaviors.

The degree to which someone “has anxiety” varies from simple worry and thoughts (like the fear that something might happen to your significant other) to sometimes even full-on panic attack. These more severe symptoms can leads to a significant disruption in work/life routines.

Now, we want to make clear from the beginning that neither of us suffers from a strong case of separation anxiety in our relationship. However, we do sometimes experience feeling anxious when separating for longer amounts of time as well as the fear that something might happen to the other.

With this article, we want to share our experience and offer up a few helpful tips and ideas for how to cope with separation anxiety. It’s very likely that we are not the only couple out there who feels this way! If this topic is a big issue that affects your relationship and your daily life, please seek professional help!

Once again, please note that we are not medical professionals. In this post, we are purely speaking about our own experience and what has helped us to deal with separation anxiety in our relationship. If you are suffering from anxiety and are in need of help, please consult a medical professional!

hands holding hands on wooden table separation anxiety in relationship
Looks like a perfect moment to us! // Photo: Unsplash

Set Up A Support System

One of the ways that you can combat feelings of separation anxiety is by setting up a support system. Having people, such as family and friends that can support you when being separate from your partner, can be a huge help when feelings and emotions become a little too much for you to handle.

Your “support person” doesn’t need to do much – the simple act of listening to your concerns can be a huge help. For us, we have found that we don’t actually always need to be around our support system physically. Being able to talk to family and friends on the phone is good enough for us.

Support systems (the people, mainly) are also just great for helping to distract us from the fact that we are separated from our partner. That said, as we have said above, neither of us suffers from a bad case of separation anxiety so we’re usually feeling much better even after just a quick chat to someone close.

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Talk To Your Partner About Your Anxiety

couple in nice clothes standing linking arms separation anxiety relationship
Hanging on for dear life.. // Photo: Unsplash

An important step to dealing with separation anxiety in your relationship is to talk with your partner about it. Because if he or she has no idea that you are suffering when you are separate, they won’t be able to consciously do anything that’ll help to make it easier for you.

This point also just goes back to basic levels of communication – every healthy relationship needs to have some. You might find that both people feel the same way when you separate (this is more-or-less the case for us) in which case you can both work together towards a solution that works for you!

We don’t necessarily limit the time we are apart, but we are conscious of when we have to separate – whether it be an appointment or traveling for business. To be honest, the more you separate the better your response usually is. This doesn’t mean you miss your partner any less, but the fear and worry that used to come with it can be reduced (which is a good thing).

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Start A Journal

As another form of expression or emotional release, journaling is definitely something you might want to look into if you are suffering from separation anxiety.

For us, writing things down that are bothering us is often helpful. We’ve talked about journaling before – how to start/keep a journal – as well as the benefits we’ve seen from journaling. Bruce kept (and still keeps) a travel journal and it’s always been a good way for him to reflect on past experiences as well as get his ideas out onto paper.

If you want to give journaling a try, check out these amazing journals just waiting for you to fill their pages.

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Get Active

man and woman standing in water looking at wilderness separation anxiety in a relationship
Dive in together – literally! // Photo: Unsplash

One of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety is to GET MOVING! For us, getting active – such as going for a run or doing a workout at home – also helps to deal with separation anxiety. This makes sense.

According to Scientific American, exercise not only makes us feel that “high” after a rigorous workout, but exercise (even small amounts) also helps us reduce stress levels AND (most importantly) help us become more resistant to anxiety when stressors do come up (2012).

So, if we’ve been active in the days prior to when one of us has to leave, we are less prone to excess worry. The same might be for you, as well – so put on your runners and get out for some walks, runs, bike rides, or swims. If you do it with your partner then bonus points to both of you getting healthier!

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Seek Professional Help

If none of the above work of you – or you know you are at a level of anxiety that surpasses what you feel are manageable levels – then you should consider asking a professional for assistance. There shouldn’t be a stigma when it comes to mental health and asking for help.

When seeking help, it’s important to try and find a professional that is skilled in dealing with patient anxiety. A normal doctor is a good start – but they might not be the specialized person who will really be able to help you create positive change!

And there you have it – just a handful of tips that we use to cope with separation anxiety. These won’t work for everyone, but we wanted to share them (and our experience) so that they might begin to help you. Again, we’re not professionals – just a very close couple – so if you are having serious issues with separation and anxiety, don’t shy away from proper help/treatment!

As always, Stay Curious,
-B&L

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How to deal with separation anxiety in a relationship