Have you ever experienced the heart-pounding, obsessive type of anxiety that comes when a boyfriend seems distant? Do you feel compelled to ask him a hundred times what’s wrong? What if he actually tells you nothing is wrong? Doesn’t that send you reeling because that’s not how he is acting? Let’s take a look at what to do when your anxiety tells you that something is wrong and that you must fix it NOW.
First, just STOP for a moment.
Anxiety and worry flood your body with chemicals and hormones that have the potential to put your system into overdrive. Tell yourself that stopping and tuning in to yourself for several minutes or more will not make things worse. If your boyfriend has seemed off for a day, you taking a mental break is not going to make him act even more off. Pausing gives you the space to regulate your thoughts and feelings and return to the situation with more clarity.
Next, connect to your breath and body.
Notice what feelings and sensations are alive in your body. Is there tightness and constriction? Try deepening your breaths and loosening any areas of tension in your body. Chances are you’re not even aware of your own selfness in this moment. You’re somewhere outside of yourself, totally wrapped up in someone else’s headspace. Stopping and tuning back in to your own body lets you inhabit your physical self again rather than energetically stalking your partner.
Examine your thoughts.
Now that you’ve stopped, sensed your body, and calmed down your nervous system, it’s time to look at your thoughts. They’ve been like a runaway train until now. What are the beliefs you have about the situation? So your boyfriend has been more quiet than usual. He’s typically responsive in text messages but has been less so today. There were no recent fights or disruptions in the relationship. Are you making his change in behavior mean that he wants to break up with you? That he doesn’t love you anymore? That he’s cheating on you? The most likely explanation is that it’s not about you. Maybe he is under a lot of pressure at work or is worried about his mother’s most recent chemo treatment. It’s totally fine to ask him if he’s OK or to comment that you’re feeling a little disconnected, but if he says he is fine, let it be. Chances are he’ll come back around to his normal self soon, and the departure had nothing to do with you. You need to have the emotional resources to hold yourself steady despite a partner’s fleeting ebbs.
There are some major exceptions to this. If this is a pattern in the relationship – for example, he ghosts you for a day or more, consistently tells you nothing is wrong but acts cold, typically acts loving one day and aloof the next – this is a huge warning sign. Your anxiety typically kicks in to high gear in these scenarios, and you’re rushing around trying to figure out what you’ve done wrong, how you’ve upset him, or how you can make things better. Go back to steps one and two, and once you’re fully in your body again, ask yourself if you’re getting what you need from this person. There is nothing you can fix about him, nothing you can do to make him more consistently emotionally available. He is who he is. You CAN control YOU, though. Are you willing to accept this type of connection? Is this what you truly desire? Would you stay in the relationship indefinitely just how it is? If any of those answers were no, what will you do about it?
Many women make it about them when a partner occasionally pulls away or seems a little off. Their minds and hearts race, desperately trying to figure out what’s wrong. By stopping and tuning in to your body, you can slow down these reactions and give yourself space to get centered again. Once you’re presenced, you can explore your thoughts about the situation and decide how true they are. Just because your usually-responsive boyfriend hasn’t called you back since this morning doesn’t mean he’s cheating on you. However, if this is the status quo in your relationship – mixed signals, distance, or ghosting – beware. Call me today for a free consultation to discuss how I can help you gain more clarity in your relationship and put the focus back on you!