Separation Anxiety in a Relationship: How to Deal with It

When you are in a romantic relationship, you want to spend as much time as possible with your partner. But sometimes you have to travel or your partner has to be away for work or personal reasons. Well, spending time apart isn’t always easy in a relationship. We still have the convenience of video calls or messages, but using a device or gadget to connect with your loved one isn’t the same as meeting in person. You might also feel a little lonely in their absence. However, some experience overwhelming fear when they are away from their partner. This is separation anxiety in a relationship and you need to know how to deal with it.

Separation anxiety in a relationship

When you’re in a relationship, it’s normal to feel a little uncomfortable at the idea of ​​being far from your loved one. But when you experience panic and an unbearable sense of distress during this time, it is cause for concern and is identified as separation anxiety, says Dr Ruchi Jain, consultant psychologist at Jaslok Hospital and Research Center in Mumbai. It becomes difficult to focus on anything other than getting back together.

Separation anxiety in an unhealthy relationship. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Here are some signs of separation anxiety in a relationship:

1. Anxious attachment

People who have an anxious attachment style constantly worry that their partner will leave them. Additionally, they need reassurance to believe that they truly love them and have a hard time spending time without them. Memories of their time together constantly occupy their thoughts and give them grief, the expert says.

2. Fear of being “out of sight, out of mind”

Some people begin to lose confidence in their relationship when distance gets in the way. Any reassurance from their partner doesn’t help them.

3. Difficulty functioning alone

In a codependent relationship, people can become so attached to each other that they have difficulty remembering that they are two different people and people lose a sense of who they are. Separation from loved ones makes it difficult for them to function on their own, Dr. Jain tells Health Shots.

How to deal with separation anxiety in a relationship?

Although it is important to accept the current situation, certain coping strategies can be helpful.

1. Set boundaries

Setting boundaries is necessary if both partners are separated. This means giving yourself some space. If your partner is away on work that requires their time and attention, give them that space and don’t keep an eye on their every move, otherwise it could put a strain on the relationship.

Happy couple
You need to have an open and honest conversation with your partner. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Have honest conversations

It is possible that both partners experience similar anxieties. Sharing these feelings and having an open and honest conversation with each other can go a long way in dealing with separation anxiety.

3. Set a time to log in

It’s necessary to give each other space, but also make a dedicated effort to carve out time to connect at least once a day. This can be done via audio or video call, but don’t be too pushy and call every once in a while.

4. Take care of yourself

Self-care is very important for physical and mental well-being and distracts from constant thoughts about the partner, says the expert. So, follow a healthy diet, workout routine, and do things that make you happy.

5. Mindfulness

Mindfulness techniques can be effective in such cases. Living in the moment and making the most of it helps you accept and cope with separation anxiety in a relationship.

6. Be constructive

Take up hobbies or take up a new education that you’ve always wanted to pursue, especially if your partner will be away for an extended period of time. Basically, channel energies in a constructive direction.

7. Control Negative Feelings

Breathing techniques can calm your mind and body. You can also practice self-compassion and positive self-talk to build self-confidence and reduce negative feelings.

8. Minimize Social Media Use

Social media isn’t just about what you post. Your friends may post something with their partner, and seeing them together can cause extreme distress. It can make the situation worse if you compare your life to theirs.

9. Meet friends and relatives

Meet understanding and mature people who don’t add to your woes. Apart from talking, you can also engage in fun activities with them to relax your mind.

If it becomes unbearable even after trying to overcome separation anxiety, you should see a therapist.

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