Overthinking is like getting a lousy pimple—it happens to everyone: your sister, mom, best friend, name them. So before we start, take solace in knowing that you aren’t alone in your “What if, Omg…” thoughts.
Especially if you are a high-achiever, it’s natural to analyze situations and people—but sometimes, you must let that go! Because whether you’re in that early agonizing “talking” phase or years into a long-term relationship, overthinking can cause problems for you and your partner. Overthinking is exhaustive and can become an addiction.
This article has all the advice you need on how not to overthink in a relationship. Let’s dive in!
What Does Overthinking Look Like?
Your mind can play awful tricks, but because you allow it to! Allowing your mind to tick everything about the day, what was said, how it was said, and what happened, can be problematic. You may start looking for problems where they don’t exist.
What Causes Overthinking in a Relationship?
Insecurities, low self-esteem, and anxiety can fuel overthinking due to perceived differences in affection, commitment, or communication in a relationship. These challenges don’t happen overnight. They originate from past attachment injuries caused by friends, past relationships, or other people, which might make connections feel unfamiliar or unsafe.
Consider how memories of traumatic experiences can activate your nervous and flight or fight response despite being in a new relationship. This flight or fight state can flood your thoughts with fear, panic, and doubt, which can paint you or your partner negatively. You need to stop the thoughts and identify what you need from your partner in this new relationship.
What Are Signs of Overthinking?
Do you think that you’re obsessed too much when it comes to your relationship? Let’s find out. Here are the most common signs of overthinking in a relationship:
1. Over Analyzing Situations
Overthinking can make you search for hidden meanings. Sometimes, these assumptions reflect how people previously treated you and protect you from being taken for granted.
Unfortunately, you may forget or dismiss new positive interactions if you continue to think about the past. Building resilience and increasing trust can help you let go of this guard to focus on your relationship.
Having unhelpful thinking patterns like anxious thoughts or constant worry is a sign of overthinking. You may be obsessed over past conversations, events, or interactions, dissecting them for hours to decipher their meaning. Similarly, you might feel anxious about the future and every possible outcome and potential risk and even visualize worst-case scenarios.
As an overthinker, you may need help to make decisions regarding simple choices. This is because you might be paralyzed by fear of making wrong choices, leading to indecisiveness. You may ponder all the potential consequences, leading to decision-making paralysis, as you attempt to imagine every possible outcome.
3. Fear of Commitment
Are you scared of commitment? You might be overthinking your relationship by being unsure whether your partner is right for you. Are they the one? Can you date someone for life? Is this that person? What if something awful happens in the future?
Such thoughts leave you awake at night and worried during the day. You may be concerned that this isn’t the right relationship for you. What if this isn’t the person you’ll spend your life with? Ultimately, this makes you fear commitment over someone you’re worried about being with forever. This is especially true if you felt this way about your previous relationship.
4. Negative Filter
These perspectives may develop due to distrust of your partner, personal insecurities, and difficulty accepting adverse events. You may feel that you and your partner are adversaries rather than lovers. This makes it hard for you to address the difficulty head-on. You may want to change your partner to mask the underlying issues or insecurities causing the anxious thoughts.
Effects of Overthinking in a Relationship
In the relationship, overthinking affects a lot when each conversation, message, physical intimacy, or simple kiss becomes your playground of contemplation. This, in return, makes your relationship prone to termination. So, here are the reasons overthinking is terrible in a relationship.
1. Your Partner Can Feel Misunderstood
This is the consequence of self-sabotaging behavior. It’s easy to make assumptions, especially when you overthink. Overthinking makes you view everything negatively and start to suspect your partner. This may lead to frequent arguments and can weaken your relationship.
2. You Don’t Enjoy the Present
Of course, since you live in the past and always think of something. So, it’s difficult for you to enjoy the present. As an overthinker, you may not enjoy dating in its best form. That means even with your partner, your brain wanders and keeps returning to what happened previously, leaving them feeling neglected.
3. You Always Want to Be in Control
You would want to be in control of your relationship, mainly because of past trauma. However, remember that love is about letting go, and you can’t bond with your partner until you show your vulnerability. So don’t wrap your heart as it won’t help you. Instead, learn to express your feelings to your partner.
4. You’re Unable to Connect With Your Partner
Getting obsessed over everything makes connecting with your partner challenging and may lower your self-esteem. Your partner might feel anxious and try to please you, but it may be fruitless. Struggling with emotions makes it difficult to connect as before to your partner.
How to Not Overthink in a Relationship
How do you avoid overthinking in a relationship? Here are some tips that will help you overcome this behavior.
1. Communicate Properly
Overthinking is a sign of a lack of communication in a relationship. When you fail to express your feelings and thoughts, your partner may be left to constantly imagine what you’re thinking. That’s a recipe for the mind to start wandering.
However, once you open up to them, you realize things are simpler, clearer, and easily understood. If proper communication is present, there will be no room for overthinking. Also, don’t let emotions get the better part of you when communicating.
2. Let Things Go
Worrying about matters beyond your control can be frustrating and take a toll on your sanity. Sometimes, you’ve to let things go and see what happens. It’s far better to accept there are aspects of the relationship you can’t change, and that’s okay.
Stop placing effort on things beyond your control. Grow your relationship by accepting situations as they are. This is beneficial to you and everyone around you.
3. Embrace Vulnerability
Building a relationship requires you to lay yourself bare. Vulnerability makes you show all your secrets, flaws, and insecurities. However, when happy, you do it without worry, judgment, or fear.
It can be challenging to get to that point because you might be scared of showing your true self out of fear of rejection. Being unreal is exhausting and takes its toll on the relationship. And it makes you overthink!
4. Be Creative and Focus on Productivity
Idleness and laziness can make you overreason things. If that is the case, divert your destructive thoughts and do something creative or constructive. This prevents overthinking because you’re too distracted. Being productive with ideas can also help you develop something you enjoy doing in your free time.
5. Develop Your Confidence and Self-Esteem
Overthinking in a relationship may be caused by low self-confidence and lack of self-esteem. When you feel this way, you give little value to your role in the relationship. You may perceive yourself as an inadequate partner. So, focus on boosting your self-esteem and self-confidence to help keep a realistic image of yourself.
Write a list of all your great qualities and read it every day. Use positive affirmations and repeat them several times daily. Soon, your self-worth and confidence will start to grow.
6. Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner
Spend quality time with your partner to help to know each other better. That may be enough to push away the impulse to overthink your partner’s thoughts about you. Of course, doing fun things together gives you a break from all the heaviness of playing things over in your mind. It’s an effective distraction technique that helps bond both of you.
7. Seek Professional Help
Overthinking can be a sign of a severe psychological condition. If you reach a point of extreme relationship troubles, it would be best to seek professional help for psychological assessment and therapy.
Be open to whatever your therapist suggests and work on it. Learning to stop overthinking in a relationship is challenging and will take time. However, it’s worth the effort.
Remember, overthinking in a relationship never did any relationship any good, and it won’t help yours, even if you’re going through a tricky patch. Fortunately, overthinking is a habit that can be reworked and re-adjusted. It’s up to you to find what’s essential in your relationship. So, take time to invest in your emotional well-being. And with proper guidance and patience, you can manage overthinking behaviors.