This guy. I love being married to him. But, truth is, I haven’t always felt so confident and content. Not because I haven’t always been as in love as I am right now, but because for a long while I had no idea how to handle that love.
What am I talking about? Relationship anxiety. It’s something we don’t talk about enough...not in between the rom coms and Hollywood love stories, at least. We don’t exactly have friends walking up to us, ready to let us know that whatever we’re feeling is okay. Plus, more often than not, we’re afraid to share what we really feel because someone - who doesn’t know what they’re talking about - might tell us that “doubt means don’t”. (Seriously, guys, doubt doesn’t automatically mean don’t in other areas of life and it doesn’t here either. #hellofear)
I’m talking about relationship anxiety and I want to make sure I’m clear...
Relationship anxiety is something that (sometimes) arises in a healthy, available relationship. In fact, the relationship anxiety usually comes because we’re more in love - or there’s a greater capacity for love - than ever before. This is very different from a relationship with (what Sheryl Paul of Conscious Transitions calls) “red flags”. If you’re experiencing red flags (which I recommend heading over to Sheryl’s blog to better understand), then you might be in a relationship that needs to end. But, if you’re in a generally healthy, open, and safe relationship, then any anxiety you might be feeling is just that - anxiety.
I’m a highly sensitive person, so it should have been no surprise that when Jon and I got engaged, I felt the transition full on. In fact, we didn’t just get engaged. We got engaged, we started planning our wedding, we built a house, we moved into that house, and we got a dog. It was a lot over the course of a year.
But, the thing about anxiety is that it doesn’t just say “Hey, Kel. You’ve got a lot of transition rockin' and rollin' right now, so things are gonna feel a bit unstable. Just feel into that uncertainty, and know everything you’re feeling is normal. In fact, the only reason you might have some anxious thoughts popping up is because you’re opening yourself up to more LOVE than ever before. A marriage. A family. A home to live in with that family. That’s a lot of love you’re bringing into your life and, if we’re honest, that’s kinda scary. Because love opens you up to loss. And the more love? Well, the bigger the loss. So, the anxiety you’re feeling? It’s because deep down, you’re scared. Scared to love - but only because you’re scared to lose. Any anxiety that pops up - even the stuff that feels out of control or overwhelming or real - it’s just popping up because a part of you - that part that doesn’t know if it can handle loss - is trying to do whatever she can to make you walk away. Not because there’s anything wrong, but because you’re loving harder and bigger and more openly than you’ve ever loved before. And that, my friend, is scary. So, hear what she has to say, then call her out for what she represents: fear. After that, tell her you’re going to be just fine. You're going to choose love.”