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Meeting someone that you hope to be with long term is exciting. It can also be nerve-racking, especially if you get in your head about it. Once you start overthinking in a relationshipit can feel like you're holding up a magnifying glass in an effort to find and prevent potential problems so that everything turns out perfectly. But experts say overthinking in this way actually does more harm than good. If you're constantly obsessing over "what if" scenarios, Smerling says, and then base your actions on events that haven't even happened, consider it a overthinking has gotten out of hand.
The same is true if it feels like you're never living in the momentbut instead thinking about the past or worrying about the future. When that's the case, you're no longer focusing on your relationship, which is one reason why overthinking in a relationship could drive you and your partner apart. With that in mind, here are 20 effective ways to turn off the "what ifs" in your head, and instead connect with your partner. Should I say "hey," "hi" or "hello"?
Is the kissy face emoji too much? I want to seem casual. Should I wait five minutes to text back? Or 15? While it can happen to anyone, agonizing over what to text a partner is most common in the early days of dating, Melissa Divaris Thompson, LMFTa d marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle.
Not to mention, if you say "hi" instead of "hey" and it in a breakup, they weren't someone you needed to be with anyway. So take a deep breath, send the text, and move on with your day. As Thompson says, "Allowing yourself to balance your life and this new person will help you not overthink it.
While there are times when it's necessary to read into a partner's text and craft the perfect response — like if you're arguing — everyday texts definitely don't require a reread. So if you catch yourself combing through them or looking for a problem, stop. If a certain text is really bothering you, call your partner to talk, instead of trying to "figure out" how they feel by overthinking. The same is true in person, where you might catch yourself looking for s of trouble in your partner's intonation or body language.
If that's the case, "you might be overthinking your relationship because you have unclear communication," Megan StubbsEd. To find clarity, work on improving your communication with each other, Stubbs says. That way you won't have to invent answers because you'll already have them.
If worrying about the future has become a deeply engrained habit, it might take some time to adjust. But keep correcting yourself and soon you'll be more focused on what's going on around you instead of what may or may not happen down the road. Overthinkers often struggle to trust that what they see and experience is the whole truth, intimacy coach Xanet Pailet tells Bustle. Again, it can help to remember to stay grounded in the moment.
So remind yourself to live in the present rather than dwelling on the possibility of negative outcomes.
Overthinking about the possibility of cheating or other toxic situations is so easy to do. But keep in mind obsessing over "what if" scenarios rarely prevents them from happening. In fact, the anxiety and lack of trust actually tends to drive couples apart. The next time your partner doesn't text back right away, flip the script from "Oh, he's probably cheating on me" to "I'm sure he's just busy with work. A partner can certainly do things to make you feel insecure or unsure about your relationship.
But if all is well and you still feel uneasy, consider taking that overthinking energy and reinvesting it in yourself, Emmy Brunnera psychotherapisttells Bustle. Find ways to remain fulfilled, possibly by hanging out with friends, starting a hobby, taking a class — basically working to feeling good about your own life as an individual. If you start to feel comfortable with yourselfyou won't be as phased by normal ups and downs in your relationship. If you get a gut feeling that something is wrong, don't over-analyze it, Brunner says. Instead, trust that your intuition is trying to tell you something, and do something about it right away.
In doing so, you'll spare yourself the spiraling — and you'll also hone your instincts to be sharper in the future. Friends and family members are great people to turn to for outside perspectives, relationship advice, etc. But if you rely on others to help you make every single relationship decision, you'll end up with too many opinions — making it easy to overthink.
Over time, you'll learn to trust your own opinion and judgment of a situation.
Try to base your thoughts in evidence rather than made up facts, Kathy Nickerson, Ph. Worried your partner is mad at you? While this is way easier said than done, practice not taking things personally, Nickerson says.
Is your partner in a bad mood? It's not a reflection on you as a person, and it certainly doesn't mean they care about you any less. But if you remind yourself things will work out regardless, it can provide a ton of relief. If you kick back and decide to wait for the truth to be revealed — instead of making it your personal mission to obsess and overthink — you'll take a huge burden off yourself, Saad says. Let's say you overthink because you're worried the relationship isn't going anywhere. By opening this line of communication, you can discuss how your relationship is going now, and also make plans for the future.
That way you'll both remain on the sameand no guesswork will be required. The moment you start overthinking, make yourself busy, Sandra Hendersona love and dating coach, tells Bustle. Call a friend, go for a walk, do that project you've been putting off. If you're accomplishing something, you won't have time to overthink. Knowledge really is power, and understanding why your mind is running away with you can help reel it back in. You can also get out of your head and into the moment by using mindfulness skillsEnglish says, like taking deep breaths, counting all the items around you that are blue, or even playing a favorite song and singing every lyric.
These tricks help bring you back to reality, so you aren't hyper-focused on "what ifs. If you feel your mind running away, stop and think about something you positive. Think about your friend, your pet, a great vacation you went on. Just make sure it isn't related to something you're ruminating about, he says, like your relationship. So instead of letting that vibe take over, refocus on the kind of partner you want to be.
If the habit of overthinking has become truly overwhelming, consider talking to a therapist. According to Osborn, the tendency to overthink may be a you were hurt in a past relationshipand are now on high alert due to lingering fear and anxiety. It can take time to work through deeply ingrained relationship trauma — and to break these types of habits — but if it in learning how to stop overthinkingthe effort will be totally worth it.
Kathryn Smerling, Ph. Megan StubbsEd. Alisha Powell, PhDcouples therapist. Xanet Pailetintimacy coach. Emmy Brunnerpsychotherapis t. Kathy NickersonPh. Yasmine Saad, Ph. Sandra Hendersonlove and relationship coach. Thomas DiBlasi, Ph. Ashleigh Edelsteind therapist. By Kristine Fellizar and Carolyn Steber. Updated: Feb. Originally Published: April 13,How to stop overthinking your relationship
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How to Stop Overthinking in Your Relationship