3 Ways to Manage New Relationship Anxiety

3 Ways to Manage New Relationship Anxiety

Getty/Drazen Zigic

A psychotherapist and leadership coach offers three powerful strategies to manage new relationship anxiety when you’re building a connection.

We all tend to be somewhat nervous whenever we enter into any new relationship, be it with a platonic friend, a romantic partner, or a new professional opportunity. Feeling anxious in these situations is perfectly normal. Developing an emotional bond with someone will change your life, and this shift will undoubtedly create some sense of unease.

Be mindful that in your current state of bliss, you might be missing some key red flags. To help tune in to what challenges a person’s new relationship anxiety might be signaling, I reached out to Blair Glaser, a leadership coach and psychotherapist who specializes in helping people create successful partnerships.

Slow Down Wisely

Glaser recommends slowing down as you’re getting to know someone. “We tend to gloss over the positive feelings of connecting to the extent we don’t ask if this person is a good match for us,” says Glaser. Just as you protect your data with passwords on your smartphone and backups on your computer, she recommends doing likewise with your heart by putting in the work to protect yourself when making new connections.

If you are desiring a long-term relationship with someone, Glaser recommends cultivating the skill of being simultaneously in the relationship and questioning it at the same time. While enjoying your time together, ask yourself after each interaction how you felt while you were with this person, as well as how you feel afterward.

Along those lines, examine how you are when you are with this person versus when you are with other people. Do they bring out your best traits, or do you find yourself laughing at their jokes even though you don’t find them funny, agreeing to outings that you don’t enjoy, and other actions that aren’t in line with your true nature?

When reflecting on your interactions with this new person, make sure that their words match their actions. Glaser observes, “They may be telling you things about themselves that sound great, but it’s going to take time to see if they live the values that they share about themselves when they’re courting.”

There’s a fine line between really wanting to think about your potential love interest and not being able to get them out of your mind. To keep your mind clear, Glaser recommends spending some time apart from this person.

Develop a practice of grounding yourself by doing something you love, such as meditating, exercising, walking in nature, listening to music, or hanging out with a pet. “Spending time apart helps you determine whether or not your anxiety is related to the process of getting close to someone or whether it belongs to an intuition that is saying something’s not right,” Glaser reflects.

Consciously Test Your Connection

Glaser adds that just because your intuition tells you something’s not right, that doesn’t mean that you have to stop seeing this person. It just means that you have to do a little conscious testing. Are they flexible when a situation arises, or do you feel like you have to walk on eggshells lest you jeopardize this burgeoning connection?

For example, say you have a work situation that might require you to arrive late for your date. Rather than try to get out of this work obligation, a conscious test would be to say to this person, “I’m sorry, something came up at work. Can we shift our date later?” Their response will let you know how receptive they are to your legitimate concerns and needs. Are they understanding? Do they shut down? Do they punish you afterwards by going silent for a few days? It’s all good information.

Despite the rise of spying apps that allow one to vet potential partners, Glaser recommends focusing instead on trusting yourself. “If you constantly rely on what virtual strangers and casual acquaintances are telling you, then you don’t develop the ability to listen to your anxiety and parse through what your anxiety is signaling.”

In our ongoing quest to be our best selves, we need to be mindful of finding partners who are supportive in helping us achieve our goals. Watch how they respond whenever you share something that comes up in your life. As Glaser observes, “It’s a good sign when they resonate with you emotionally and give you some interesting feedback that makes you feel close to them. But it’s not a good sign if they criticize you or take over the conversation by making it all about them.”

Develop a Support System

To help you process your anxiety about this new relationship, Glaser recommends developing a good support system with close friends, a therapeutic support group, or a counselor who can offer objective guidance. This support system can help you determine if you are engaging with someone whose vision for your partnership is in sync with your dreams or if this is a relationship that should remain casual at best.

In developing your support system, Glaser encourages people to look to those souls who know how you tend to behave in new situations. “They have the knowledge to sense when you’re engaging in your typical behavior patterns versus when you’re acting in ways indicating something is amiss. You need someone in your corner who can provide you with the right balance of listening and strategizing solutions for you so that you can create a healthy relationship.”

Utilize the five A's for relationship prosperity.

3 Ways to Manage New Relationship Anxiety

Enjoying this content?

Get this article and many more delivered straight to your inbox weekly.