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How to Stop Overthinking in a Relationship

Posted on January 12, 2022

How to Stop Overthinking in a Relationship

Do you struggle to have peace of mind in your relationship? Do you often feel insecure and jealous towards your partner? This might be a case of overthinking, and things can turn ugly if it continues to dwell in your relationship. 

If you are searching for ways to stop overthinking in a relationship, you’re in the right place as we cover what causes overthinking and the strategies you can apply in your life to overcome it.

What is Overthinking?

It is our nature to worry now and then, but when worrying turns into overthinking, you are causing more damage to yourself than you think. 

What are the signs of overthinking? If you are not solution-focused, experience repetitive thoughts that keep you awake at night, and if you struggle to make decisions, you might be suffering from overthinking. Overthinking or ruminating is when one person analyses the simplest scenes or situations, leading to stress and anxiety. It also has the ability to poison the mind until things blow out of proportion. 

According to a 2013 study by the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, ruminating is a repetitive cycle that increases the risk of mental health problems. It is often hard to recognise, especially if you are in the middle of it. Your mind would go into analysis paralysis, or you might end up with a negative decision.[1]Michl, L. C., McLaughlin, K. A., Shepherd, K., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2013). Rumination as a mechanism linking stressful life events to symptoms of depression and anxiety: longitudinal evidence in … Continue reading 

People who engage in ruminative responses have higher levels of depressive symptoms, according to studies.[2]Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2000). The Role of Rumination in Depressive Disorders and Mixed Anxiety/ Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from … Continue reading

Why Do We Overthink When We Are in a Relationship?

Overthinking in a relationship is a sign of insecurity, having low self-esteem and feeling not good enough. Other reasons include abandonment issues – perhaps a bad experience when you were younger or from your previous relationship. Some believe they don’t deserve happiness, and the moment they feel happy in a relationship, panic would creep in, and they, themselves, would find ways to ruin it. 

When you overthink, there is always a need for reassurance. You want your relationship to work out, so you want everything perfect. Little things would cause you to constantly ask your partner to be there for you all the time. You always have this need to question their every motive, move, and feeling. However, that’s now how love and relationships work. 

Keep in mind that people have different love languages. Just because your partner does not show affection the way you want does not mean they don’t feel the same towards you. 

Anxious Attachment Style

How you deal with your relationship may have something to do with your attachment style or the specific way of relating to others in relationships. Psychologist Mary Ainsworth and psychiatrist John Bowlby developed the theory in the 1950s, which studies how an adult’s attachment style mirrors how we, as infants and children, are attached to our caregivers. Studies show that the quality of mother-infant bonding affects how a person forms a relationship when they become adults.[3]Nordahl, D., Rognmo, K., Bohne, A., Landsem, I. P., Moe, V., Wang, C., & Høifødt, R. S. (2020). Adult attachment style and maternal-infant bonding: the indirect path of parenting stress. BMC … Continue reading

Different people have different attachment styles. Some people are okay being unattached in their relationships, while others are clingy. There are four attachment types: secure, avoidant, anxious, and disorganised. People who have secure attachment styles are able to connect to their partners on a deeper emotional level. This is the healthiest attachment style because it does not rely on others for their feelings of self-worth. 

The avoidant attachment style prioritises independence, avoiding getting too close to another person. Meanwhile, the anxious attachment style is characterised by worry about rejection. They have this constant need to be close to their partners because of the lack of independence and insecurities. Combining these two styles leads to disorganised attachment, where one craves emotional closeness, resulting in disorganised behaviour. 

Having anxious attachment makes you question if your partner still likes you or is looking for reasons to break up with you. You become too controlling towards your partner’s actions because of your need for constant validation. In fact, even if you are having the greatest time, you would still expect your partner to leave.

Strategies to Stop Overthinking in a Relationship

Overthinking causes stress to a relationship that would eventually ruin it. Fortunately, there are different strategies to address overthinking in a relationship. Check out these ways and try to implement these strategies to avoid overthinking in your relationship.

1. Believe in yourself and know that you deserve to be happy 

Take a moment for yourself in the morning and practice mindfulness. You can exercise or meditate the moment you wake up, as you instill in your head that you are here in this world for a good reason. Any bad experiences remain in the past. Be in the present and focus on today. 

2. If you are looking for happiness, the first place to look is within you

Stop looking for someone else to complete your day or make you happy. Remember that happiness is a choice, not something that falls into your lap by chance. Every person has a happy place or thing they can resort to. If you are unsure, 

3. Cultivate other relationships

Your world does not revolve around your partner alone, and the same thing goes for your partner. You have to cultivate other relationships as well, so balance your time and spend it with your friends, colleagues, and family members. 

Accept that there is nothing wrong with wanting more than just one person in your life at once. One person will not be able to fulfil all your relationship needs. Famous psychologist Esther Perel says that we are asking one person to give us what an entire village used to provide in modern times. You need to get your needs met by other people as well, such as friends, colleagues, and family members. 

4. Cultivate passions and hobbies

Aside from relationships, you must also continue to enrich yourself with doing things you love. Instead, discover new places, try out new things, and spend time in your interests. Do something fun to get your mind off of the relationship. 

5. Limit your time in digital interaction

Avoid scrolling through social media and checking text messages. Rereading text messages could lead to overthinking as you over analyze the tone and its content. 

6. Evaluate your relationship 

If your partner makes you feel insecure from the beginning of the relationship, it will be helpful to evaluate your relationship and the way you handle your relationship. Write down all the pros and cons of being in a relationship. Is this the right partner for you? If you feel

anxious all the time, perhaps this is not the right partner for you. The right fit partner makes you feel secure in a relationship. Also, ask yourself if you are ready to handle one because if not, it will do you good to be alone and figure things out about yourself for a while. 

7. Make a list of things you like about yourself to boost your self-esteem

Once you have the list, focus on your strengths. This will remind you of the beautiful things you have in you and are worth celebrating. With this extra dose of self-confidence, you are validating your self-worth. 

Having well-boosted self-esteem can do wonders for your relationship. Besides, if your partner sees how you value and treat yourself, they will do the same to you. 

8. Keep a journal

Aside from recording what happened that day, recognise how your thoughts affect your mood and actions. Acknowledge the times when you feel you are overthinking, point out what could be the reasons, and pour the words into your journal. Journaling helps in self-awareness, so next time something triggers you, you can control your emotions better. 

9. Take a break to avoid overanalysing every situation

If you feel that you are reaching a snowball effect of overthinking, take a break and get out of the house. Press pause and call the overthinking out. Reframe and pivot to other things outside of your head.  

10. Stop second-guessing your partner

Don’t over analyse everything they’re doing; trust yourself and your ability to deal with problems if they present in the future. 

Your partner also has feelings, and criticising them without any basis will only result in conflict. Instead, do something fun with your partner. Plan for a trip, cook together or walk around the block. While you are doing something fun with your partner, take this as a chance to speak with them. Tell them how you feel so you can address the issues together. 

11. Reach out!

Your thoughts can drown you, especially if you keep them to yourself. Talk to someone about what you’re feeling – whether it be friends or family members. Especially if there are trust issues, confiding with someone could get you a different perspective. Bottling up emotions would only cause an unwanted eruption. 

12. Confront your negative thoughts

Replace the ruminating thoughts with thoughts based upon facts and evidence. For example, if you keep overthinking that your partner does not care about you as much as you do about them, provide evidence to your brain, and enumerate the things they do for you that counterattack the negative thought.  

Conclusion

Overthinking can only make your life miserable. If this has affected your life, seeing a counsellor or coach is the best solution for you. If you have an anxious attachment style or anxiety, you will benefit from extra support. Mental health professionals studied these issues in-depth and can provide you with the best tools to stop overthinking in a relationship.

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If you struggle with overthinking or other mental health problems, I can help you. I am a certified counsellor with many years of experience. Whether you are experiencing overthinking caused by anxiety, ADHD, low self-esteem or anxious attachment, I can help you. To learn more about my counselling services, click here.

References

References

References
1 Michl, L. C., McLaughlin, K. A., Shepherd, K., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2013). Rumination as a mechanism linking stressful life events to symptoms of depression and anxiety: longitudinal evidence in early adolescents and adults. Journal of abnormal psychology, 122(2), 339–352. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0031994
2 Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2000). The Role of Rumination in Depressive Disorders and Mixed Anxiety/ Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://art1lib.org/ireader/15570972
3 Nordahl, D., Rognmo, K., Bohne, A., Landsem, I. P., Moe, V., Wang, C., & Høifødt, R. S. (2020). Adult attachment style and maternal-infant bonding: the indirect path of parenting stress. BMC psychology, 8(1), 58. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-020-00424-2

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