Separation anxiety in relationship: How to deal with it
When you are in a romantic relationship, you want to spend the maximum amount of time with your partner. But there are times when you have to travel or your partner has to be away for work or personal reasons. Well, spending time apart is not always easy in a relationship. We always have the convenience of video calls or messages, but using a device or a gadget to connect with your loved one isn’t the same as meeting in person. You might also feel a bit lonely in their absence. However, there are some who experience an overwhelming fear when they are away from their partner. That’s separation anxiety in a relationship and you should know how to cope with it.
Separation anxiety in a relationship
When you are in a relationship, it is normal to feel a little uneasy about being away from your loved one. But when you experience panic and feeling of unbearable distress during that time then it’s cause for concern and is identified as separation anxiety, says Dr Ruchi Jain, Consultant Psychologist, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai. It becomes hard to focus on anything else aside from getting back together.
Here are some signs of separation anxiety in a relationship:
1. Anxious attachment
People who have anxious attachment style constantly worry that their partner might leave them. Also, they need a lot of reassurance to believe they really love them and find it really difficult to spend time without them. The memories of time spent together constantly occupy their thoughts and give them heartache, says the expert.
2. Fear of ‘out of sight out of mind’
Some people start losing faith in their relationship when distance comes in the way. Any amount of reassurance on part from their partner doesn’t help them.
3. Difficulty in functioning alone
In a codependent relationship, people might become so intertwined in each other that they find it difficult to remember that they are two different people and people lose their sense of who they are. Separation from their loved ones makes it hard for them to function alone, Dr Jain tells Health Shots.
How to cope with separation anxiety in a relationship?
While acceptance of the current situation is important, there are some coping strategies that can be helpful.
1. Set boundaries
Setting boundaries is required if both the partners are separated. That means give each other some space. If your partner is away for some work which needs their time and attention, give them that space and do not keep tabs of each and every move of theirs otherwise it may strain the relationship.
2. Have honest conversations
It’s possible that both the partners are experiencing similar anxieties, so sharing those feelings and having an open and honest conversation with each other can go a long way to cope with separation anxiety.
3. Set a time to connect
Giving space to each other is needed, but also make a dedicated effort to build time to connect at least once each day. It can be via audio or video call, but don’t be too pushy and call every now and then.
Self-care is very important for physical and mental well-being and it distracts from the constant thoughts about the partner, says the expert. So, follow a healthy diet, workout routine and do things that make you happy.
Mindfulness techniques can be effective in such cases. Living in the present moment and making the most of it, helps in acceptance and coping with separation anxiety in a relationship.
6. Be constructive
Engage in hobbies or take up a new course which you always wanted to pursue, especially if your partner is going to be away for a long time. Basically, channelise the energies in a constructive direction.
7. Control negative feelings
Breathing techniques can calm your mind and body. You can also practice self-compassion and positive self-talk to boost confidence and reduce negative feelings.
8. Minimise social media usage
Social media isn’t just about what you post. Your friends might post something with their partner, and seeing them together can cause extreme distress. It can worsen the situation as you might compare your life with them.
9. Meet friends and relatives
Meet people who are understanding and mature and don’t add to your woes. Apart from talking, you can also engage in fun activities with them to relax your mind.
If it becomes unbearable even after trying to overcome separation anxiety, you should go to a therapist.