“I don’t get it, James,” Kate said.
“I’m confident in every other area of my life. But when it comes to him, I’m a wreck.” She gave me a sad smile.
Love makes a lot of us feel that way.
No matter how competent and capable we usually feel, love brings up all our insecurities.
We worry about being good enough. We worry about being rejected. We worry about whether we’re lovable.
Why does this happen?
Perhaps you have a friend who sails through her love life. She doesn’t worry about whether guys like her. When a relationship ends, she doesn’t beat herself up about it. What’s her secret?
Let’s find out the 5 reasons we feel like an emotional wreck in love…
And what we can do about it.
Reason #1. Vulnerability
If your boss gives you negative feedback on your performance, he’s evaluating what you did, not who you are as a person.
Unfortunately, in love, we feel evaluated both on our performance and on who we are.
It’s one thing to make a mistake. It’s quite another to feel likea mistake.
There is no way to love without feeling vulnerable, but you can draw a line between what he thinks of you and what you know to be true about yourself.
Instead of investing more energy into being attractive to others, ask yourself what makes you feel attractive to yourself.
What makes you feel good about yourself? What makes you feel worthy? What reminds you how lovable you are?
That core of self-appreciation will help you feel less vulnerable to the inevitable ups and downs of love.
Reason #2. Uncertainty
Love has always been uncertain, but the modern dating scene is exceptionally uncertain.
The social conventions that safely guided singles to matrimony are gone. It’s unclear how to get into a relationship, let alone create a lifetime together.
Communication has become a minefield.
His texts are mysterious. You don’t have the benefit of seeing his body language or hearing his vocal tone to understand what he means.
You may worry that being too direct with him will blow up in your face. You don’t feel you can ask him whether he’s still dating other people or whether this is going somewhere.
This lack of communication creates ambiguity and feeds anxiety. How do you know where you stand with him when you don’t know what he’s thinking?
Although a “man decoder manual” might seem like the perfect answer, there’s a better solution.
Clear up any uncertainty by asking him directly.
Healthy men aren’t afraid of communication. They appreciate clarity. So ask him the question you’re afraid to ask, even if it might change everything.
Reason #3. High Stakes
The more amazing he is, the more anxious you are.
If you didn’t care what happened, it wouldn’t stress you out so much.
But when you love someone and believe that he alone holds the key to your future happiness, you put enormous pressure on the relationship.
You can reduce anxiety by focusing on the present instead of the future.
You don’t know that this man is the key to your future happiness. Relationships change over time. As amazing as he is, he might not be a great long-term partner.
It can take years to truly know another person. Enjoy the process of discovering who he is and what you can create together.
Reason #4. Anxiety
If you tend to feel anxious in general, then you’ll likely feel some anxiety even if it’s a great relationship.
People with an anxious attachment style tend to see their relationships are more precarious than they really are.
They look for signs that their partner is losing interest or pulling away.
Unfortunately, this anxiety can create the very outcome they fear. Their partner senses their lack of trust and can pull away.
If you’ve experienced anxiety in most of your relationships, work on becoming more aware of those knee-jerk anxious reactions.
When you feel anxiety bubble up, notice it. Take a breath. You don’t have to do what anxiety tells you. You can choose a more secure response.
Reason #5. History
The final reason we tend to feel so anxious in relationships is because of our past experiences.
We know how bad things can get. We remember.
Funnily enough, we don’t always remember as clearly how good things can get.
Our brains are optimized for remembering painful events over happy ones. This is known as the negativity bias, and it helped our ancestors survive.
But a negativity bias is not going to help your relationship survive. Rather, healthy lasting relationships show the opposite.
Happy couples have a positivity bias whereby they tend to see their partner with rose-colored glasses.
They view his flaws as endearing quirks. They see his mistakes as accidents rather than evidence of a bad character.
You may always feel a little anxious in relationships, but you can manage that anxiety by adopting a more positive perspective, practicing secure attachment, staying focused on the present, communicating clearly, and staying grounded in self-love.