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Manage Separation Anxiety in a Relationship

Tips to Manage Separation Anxiety in a Relationship. FAQs about Separation Anxiety

Your partner leaves for work or a commitment. But you’re feeling overwhelmed. You might have many thoughts running through your mind. 

Why is that and what do I do about it? It is probably separation anxiety and you can keep reading to learn:

  • Tips to Manage Separation Anxiety in a Relationship
  • FAQs about Separation Anxiety
  • Tips and much more!

Tips to Manage Separation Anxiety in a Relationship

Separation anxiety can give rise to some really painful emotions. Here are some tips based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, an evidence-based type of psychotherapy, that can equip you to manage separation anxiety:

1. Identifying and Accepting Your Feelings

Tips to Manage Separation Anxiety in a Relationship

The first step to managing separation anxiety in a relationship is understanding the signs of separation anxiety. It comes down to being honest and asking yourself some questions:

  • Identifies Thoughts:

What thoughts go through your mind when your partner is separated from you? 

  • Identifies Feelings:

What do you feel when your partner is separated?

  • Identifies Physical Reactions:

How does your body react to your partner leaving?

  • Identifies Behaviors:

What do you do when your partner leaves?

Let’s work with an example. Ms. A was able to identify her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors whenever their partner had to leave. 

  • Identified Thoughts:

What thoughts go through your mind when your partner is separated from you?

“My partner doesn’t like me enough” 

  • Identified Feelings:

What do you feel when your partner is separated?

“I feel sad, worried and anxious”

  • Identified Physical Reactions:

How does your body react to your partner leaving?

“My body starts shivering and I feel my heartbeat increasing”

  • Identified Behaviors:

What do you do when your partner leaves?

“I check my phone every 5 minutes and text them to see if they’re alright”

Secondly, accept what you’re feeling. Fighting these thoughts or being self-critical only mentally drains you. Meditation works wonders for helping you create these thought processes. 

2. Understanding Your Feelings and Where They Come From

Tips to Manage Separation Anxiety in a Relationship

The second part of managing separation anxiety is understanding where this anxiety stems from. 

If you experience anxiety whenever you’re in a relationship, there is a likelihood that you have an anxious attachment style. 

People with an anxious attachment style are very critical of themselves. In other words, they have negative views about themselves. On the other hand, the same people have positive views about their partners. 

Your self-critical views may influence your relationship. For instance, if your partner leaves, you think that they left because you are not a good enough partner. 

Having an understanding of where this feeling stems from will help you connect your current anxiety to your previous experiences.

3. Deep Breathing and Relaxation

Tips to Manage Separation Anxiety in a Relationship

Separation anxiety can cause a lot of people to feel physical symptoms. This could be in the form of:

  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Excessive thoughts
  • Palpitations 
  • Headaches 
  • Stomach aches 
  • And many more

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps deal with physical symptoms by practicing deep breathing and relaxation techniques. NHS has a wonderful step-by-step relaxation technique that you can follow:

Breathing Exercise – NHS
Place both feet flat on the ground if you’re seated or standing. Place your feet about hip-width apart in either posture.
Allow your breath to go as deep into your abdomen as it feels comfortable.
Try inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
Inhale slowly and frequently. Some individuals find it useful to count continuously from 1 to 5. You might not be able to get to 5 at first.
Then, if it helps, softly let it come out while counting from 1 to 5.
Continue for at least 5 minutes.

4. Psychotherapy 

Tips to Manage Separation Anxiety in a Relationship

If you’ve gotten this far, that’s great! But if you found yourself struggling or are still experiencing some difficulties, that’s okay, 

Maybe there are some things that you need help with. You might also find that you work better with a professional. 

In that case, it is always a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional. A trained therapist or counselor will be able to work with you to identify and manage your separation anxiety, 

Key Takeaway

Separation anxiety can be managed using the principles of CBT. However, you need to identify and accept your feelings. Then, gradually work on understanding and dealing with them accordingly. 

Plus, separation anxiety could be genetic or result from different experiences. 

However, a lot of people might face hurdles along the way. You can always reach out to a professional for help with separation anxiety!

FAQs about Separation Anxiety

1. What Causes Separation Anxiety?

Many things can cause separation anxiety in adults. Some of them include:

Genetics: Like hypertension, anxiety is one of those illnesses that is highly transmittable in families. If your parents have anxiety concerns, there are high chance that you will have them too. 

A similar thing can be said for anxiety experienced during childhood. A study done in 2014 tells us the following: If you have experienced anxiety and anxiety disorders in childhood, there are higher chances of developing an anxiety disorder in adulthood. 

Environmental Stressors: People can experience different things in life. Some of them could contribute to your developing separation anxiety. For instance, experiencing the loss of a close loved one.

2. Are There Other Forms of Therapy Available for Separation Anxiety?

Ofcourse! One size doesn’t fit all and that is perfectly fine. If you don’t feel like CBT is the best for you, we can always look at other options. 

Another option that is gradually showing promising results is psychodynamic therapy. This study highlights how psychodynamic therapy can be used specifically for separation anxiety. 
It even describes the journey of a patient who has allegedly been treated for separation anxiety by this therapy. I’d encourage you to read this paper and explore more options for yourself.

Talk to your healthcare provider or mental health professional about what is the best fit for you. 

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