How to Worry Less
Worry: The State of Your Relationship
The reality: Relationships are fraught with challenges, particularly as the years together add up.
You’re most vulnerable if: You’ve ever been betrayed by a lover, you have lingering fears of abandonment, or you grew up in a fractured family. Unresolved issues can end up projected onto a spouse and cause a ripple effect.
What to do: Take stock of your relationship by asking yourself how often you’re frustrated or upset with your partner and in what situations this typically happens. “Write down your thoughts,” says Nolen-Hoeksema. “Getting your worries on paper helps you evaluate them with a clearer head.” Consider how realistic your concerns are and whether you could be projecting unrelated anxieties onto the relationship. Then “find a calm time to talk to your partner, being honest but not confrontational,” says Nolen-Hoeksema.
It has gone too far when: You take each squabble as a sign your relationship is faltering, or you’ve stopped enjoying time you spend with your partner. “There are ambiguities in every relationship,” says Nolen-Hoeksema. “If you pester your partner about what he really meant or felt, that can lead to conflict, not clarification.” For help in talking things through, consider couples counseling. Or if the problem rests mostly with you, see a therapist on your own.