United We Care | A Super App for Mental Wellness

Tips for Dating Someone with an Anxiety Disorder

May 5, 2023

7 min read

Avatar photo
Author : United We Care
Clinically approved by : Dr.Vasudha
Tips for Dating Someone with an Anxiety Disorder


Dating, in general, can be a complex process. However, when one is in a relationship with someone experiencing a severe mental health concern like anxiety, the chances of this difficulty increasing are high. Dating someone with anxiety can have unique challenges but can be easily managed with simple strategies and inculcates some sensitivity in the relationship.


What You Should Know Before Dating Someone with Anxiety?

Before dating someone with Anxiety Disorder, it is essential to understand what anxiety disorders are. It is also important to realize that anxiety will affect the relationship, but the person you are with is much more than their disorder.  


The American Psychiatric Association states, “Anxiety is a negative mood state characterized by bodily symptoms of physical tension and by apprehension about the future” [1, p.123]. While everyone experiences anxiety, in Anxiety Disorders, this worry is persistent, excessive, and occurs in situations that are not necessarily threatening [2].


There are different types of anxiety disorders, and the focus of the “worry” differs. These include [1] [2]:


What You Should Know before Dating someone with anxiety


  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Specific Phobias
  • Agoraphobia

Irrespective of the type, it is well-known that when one partner has an anxiety disorder, it negatively impacts the relationship quality [3]. Due to anxiety, the individual may act in confusing ways for the partner, and situations that are not visible or understandable may trigger them.


For instance, a person with anxiety may become distracted during conversations. It is not because they are not interested, but it might be that they were managing their extreme emotions and are now exhausted.


Nonetheless, not everything the partner does will stem from their anxiety. A common mistake people make is that when a diagnosis happens, they reduce the person’s entire identity to that diagnosis. They forget that the person will also have strengths, qualities, quirks, likes, dislikes, moments of success, moments of failure, etc. In other words, the disorder may describe some behaviors but not define the whole self [5]. It is essential to make this distinction to have a relationship with the “person” instead of the disorder.


What does dating someone with an Anxiety disorder may look like?

Each person with anxiety will be affected differently. Some stress can look like becoming frequently angry, irritable, or distracted. Some others may come across as passive-aggressive or overly critical [4]. Some may show an intense desire for closeness and over-dependency concerning their partners, while others may become over-independent to avoid vulnerability. Each person will have different patterns of anxiety.


Nonetheless, there are some commonalities in these patterns. Author Kate Theida describes these commonalities in her book  “Loving Someone with Anxiety” [6]. According to her, the following are some areas that are affected:


What does dating someone with an anxiety disorder may look like


  • Communication:                                                                                                       individuals with anxiety can misinterpret some comments, can fail to express their emotions effectively, and at times are irritated, which may be misinterpreted by the partner wrongly. These all result in poor communication.
  • Social Settings:                                                                                                people with anxiety find it overwhelming to navigate even simple social settings like work, gym, lunch, gatherings, etc. They may worry excessively about these events and overanalyze them upon return. It can build irritation and resentment in the partner and may significantly affect the presence of positive social relations in life.
  • Sexual Intimacy:                                                                                                  sex can feel unsafe or vulnerable to the person. It lowers the person’s interest in sex and can affect their responses to it and their ability to derive pleasure. Worrying about a partner’s pleasure and guilt upon being inadequate are also common.
  • Emotional Sensitivity:                                                                                                          the person may react to minor incidents and be unable to express their emotions or set healthy boundaries with the partner. These can give rise to several conflicts among the partners.
  • Employment and job:                                                                                                     people with anxiety often have difficulty managing jobs and may worry excessively about their work. At times this can seep into the relationship and take away from the time and energy one spends on the relationship.

Despite these commonalities, one needs to remember that the type of anxiety and the severity of it will determine how the relationship is affected. Without cultivating that understanding, managing the relationship will be tough.

5 Tips for Dating Someone with Anxiety

Even though the prospect of dating someone with Anxiety disorder may seem challenging, it is not that difficult. The following are five things that can help a person who has a partner with anxiety.


Tips for dating someone with anxiety


1. Listen and Learn

It is essential to discuss with the partner initially and regularly how they are being affected by anxiety [7] [8]. One must listen to the partner and the cues the partner provides without judgment. Acknowledging their feelings and checking how they can be helped [6]. Learning these two things will help you take charge and stay calm when your partner’s anxiety is excessive.

2. Notice how their anxiety affects you.

Anxiety in a person can make them react in ways that trigger them. It might be helpful to identify these triggers and try and discuss them with the partner as well. Often what comes from the partner’s anxiety is not a definition of their feelings towards you which is why it is essential to manage your reactions to their anxiety [8]. Invalidating it, blaming them for it, or taking it will likely worsen the situation. It might also be helpful to seek therapy to learn coping and communication skills for these situations [9].

3. Be their support, not the Therapist.

It might be tempting to become their constant support and a therapist who helps manage every single trigger. However, anxiety is a complex disorder that requires treatment from professionals. Thus, assuming one can be their partner’s therapist is irrational and unhelpful, depriving the person of actual treatment and creating a difficult-to-sustain dependency. Instead, one can encourage the partner to seek proper treatment and support them with their journey [4] [9].

4. Set Boundaries wherever Needed

Being patient and developing better communication is essential for such relationships. But at the same time, setting boundaries and communicating one’s needs is also important [7]. Some behaviors like accusations, insults, or threats are unacceptable and must be called out. Further, if there are too many expectations or your needs are being ignored, setting boundaries and communicating them is essential. People with anxiety are often willing to make changes and respect others.    

5. Have a Lifestyle that Reduces Anxiety

If a healthy lifestyle accommodates the person’s problem, they can manage many anxiety symptoms better[6]. Simple changes like avoiding foods (such as caffeine, sugars, alcohol, etc.) that impact mood can be helpful. Further, changes like limiting technology use, enhancing time and space for relaxation, limiting exposure to media which usually shows negative news, and having a schedule for work and social obligations can help reduce many triggers. The relationship’s overall health can be improved by designating and spending “couple time” with safe and enjoyable activities for both partners [6].


Dating someone with anxiety disorder can come with a set of unique challenges. However, there are some things that one can remember to manage these challenges effectively. Creating a safe space for one’s partner and having boundaries and a conducive lifestyle are ways to have a healthy relationship with a person diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder.



  1. D. H. Barlow and V. M. Durand, “Anxiety Disorders,” in Abnormal psychology: An integrative approach, 6th ed., California, USA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012, p. 123.
  2. “Anxiety disorders,” NAMI. [Online]. Available here:  [Accessed: 21-Apr-2023].
  3. P. Pankiewicz, M. Majkowicz, and G. Krzykowski, “Anxiety disorders in intimate partners and the quality of their relationship,” Journal of Affective Disorders, vol. 140, no. 2, pp. 176–180, 2012.
  4. Admin, “How your anxiety disorder affects your romantic relationship,” Discovery Mood & Anxiety Program, 10-Jan-2023. [Online]. Available here:  [Accessed: 21-Apr-2023].
  5. P. D. John M. Grohol, “You are not your diagnosis,” Psych Central, 10-Jun-2015. [Online]. Available here:  [Accessed: 21-Apr-2023].
  6. K. N. Thieda, Loving someone with anxiety: Understanding & helping your partner. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc, 2013.
  7. “Dating someone with anxiety – talk space,” Mental Health Conditions, 18-Apr-2023. [Online]. Available here:  [Accessed: 21-Apr-2023].
  8. Z. team, “Dating someone with anxiety: 8 do’s & don’ts: Zencare Blog,” The Couch: A Therapy & Mental Wellness Blog, 21-Jun-2022. [Online]. Available here: .  [Accessed: 21-Apr-2023].
  9. K. C. Center, “Dating someone with anxiety: The DOS and don’ts,” Kentucky Counseling Center, 27-Oct-2022. [Online]. Available here:  [Accessed: 21-Apr-2023].

Unlock Exclusive Benefits with Subscription

  • Check icon
    Premium Resources
  • Check icon
    Thriving Community
  • Check icon
    Unlimited Access
  • Check icon
    Personalised Support
Avatar photo

Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

Scroll to Top

United We Care Business Support

Thank you for your interest in connecting with United We Care, your partner in promoting mental health and well-being in the workplace.

“Corporations has seen a 20% increase in employee well-being and productivity since partnering with United We Care”

Your privacy is our priority