Episode 66: "What If My Stress and Anxiety Affect My Partner?"Support the show
Today, we’re answering questions from local teens about when their own anxiety and stress affect their dating partners.
This is Jessica Skultety, Community Outreach Associate at Safe+Sound Somerset. We are Somerset County, New Jersey's lead domestic violence response organization, providing services at no charge for survivors of dating and domestic abuse for over 40 years.
Today's question from local teens is: "What if my stress and anxiety affect my partner?"
It’s natural to experience stress and have anxiety, whether or not you experience this more than other people. If you are worried about your anxiety affecting your partner, you can check in with them from time to time. But remember, we can’t control how other people feel. Being in a relationship is a balance and often requires constant honest communication between partners. So today, we’re looking at ways that a healthy relationship can work.
If you’re worried about your partner taking on some of your stress, talk to them. Be honest and tell them how you’ve been feeling and why, as clearly and directly as possible. Here are some suggestions:
· Talk about ways you can signal to each other that you need to take a step back and talk about stressful situations going on in your lives.
· Are you feeling disconnected from your partner? Talk about setting aside a specific time where you can relax together or do something fun. This can help relieve stress and anxiety for both of you. Set aside this time in advance and stick to it!
· Another strategy is using mindfulness, which can help with anxiety. Mindfulness exercises have been used for about 2,500 years to calm people down and be more “in the moment.” Some of these activities include deep breathing and meditation, yoga, telling someone why you are grateful for them, practicing a hobby, and doodling. We explain a bunch of these activities in detail on our episode called “Ask Ava + COVID-19: Mindfulness Activities.” You could do these mindfulness activities alone, or even better, suggest doing them with your partner so you can make your bond even stronger! The website mindfulnessforteens.com/resources has a ton of resources and activities you can try, too.
· You could also look for mental health services, such as individual counseling. This is a good option especially if the anxiety or stress is hurting your relationship or getting in the way of other parts of your life. Reaching out for help is a strong thing to do. One hotline in New Jersey is the 2nd Floor Youth Helpline- you can contact them with questions, problems, and for support at 888-222-2228.
On the other hand, if your partner is making your feel unsafe or guilty for having anxiety, that’s not okay and it’s not your fault. Your mental health is not an excuse for your partner’s behavior. If this is happening to you, know that there is help and hope available, including free services at Safe+Sound Somerset.
To speak with an expert about dating violence, call or text the Safe+Sound Somerset 24/7 confidential hotline at 866-685-1122 for supportive listening, information, and safety planning.
Want to “Ask Ava” a question? Visit our website at www.safe-sound.org/ask-ava. Thank you for listening today. Join us next time here on Ask Ava.