Are you constantly obsessing over imaginary scenarios, picturing the worst possible things that could happen? Do you worry over ’what ifs’ or try to find hidden meanings and read between the lines?
Overthinking can have a damaging effect on both your self-esteem and your relationship. By imagining a negative outcome to your concerns and fantasizing about all the reasons why your partner might reject or abandon you, you focus on these ideas so intently, that you start projecting them.
You start pushing your partner away because you expect them to leave anyway. In this way, your faulty thinking can ruin your relationship.
How to not overthink in a relationship when you can’t stop obsessing over an interaction or a situation connected to your partner? Keep reading if you want to understand why you overthink and learn the methods you need to stop.
How To Not Overthink In A Relationship?
Overthinking stops you from enjoying the present moment. Constant overanalyzing and obsessing over every detail drains the fun out of your relationship and turns it into a source of anxiety instead of a source of comfort.
Luckily, once you learn how to not overthink in a relationship, with a little effort and practice you can stop doing it and become able to enjoy your relationship. There are two kinds of work you need to do to free yourself from overthinking.
In the long term, you need to examine what it is that makes you overthink and learn strategies to deal with your need to overanalyze. It’s equally important to learn how to stop overthinking at the moment it happens and how to use tools to help you stop toxic thoughts from spiraling.
Stop overthinking in its tracks as it happens
Overthinking happens because of anxiety and insecurity. If deep down you’re worried about your relationship, everything that does and doesn’t happen can be used to confirm your fears. For example, you might be falling apart at the seams waiting for your partner to reply to your text, while they’re busy and don’t even know you’re upset or that there’s any reason for you to be.
There are ways to stop your thoughts from going into overdrive, but it’s going to take practice. It can be difficult to control your feelings once you start overthinking, so don’t be discouraged if you’re not immediately successful.
As you learn how to stop overthinking in a relationship, you’ll familiarize yourself with ways of stopping intrusive thoughts in their tracks and with time, it will become easier.
1. Recognize overthinking
The first step you need to take when you want to tame your overthinking is to become aware that it’s happening. Once you realize that you’re falling into an obsessive cycle of thinking, it becomes possible to stop it.
At first, you might fail, but don’t feel pressure. For now, it’s important to acknowledge your thoughts. Relationships are difficult for people who overthink, so just tell yourself that you’re overthinking and accept your thoughts.
Try to understand where these thoughts are coming from and what triggered them. Connect to your feelings to understand what is causing you to overthink. Separate your thoughts from your feelings – your anxiety doesn’t have to affect the way you think.
Feeling insecure about your relationship and believing that it’s falling apart aren’t related. The more you focus on recognizing your overthinking and what’s causing it, the easier it will become to stop it.
2. Become present
Overthinking is based on worrying about the future, so while you’re doing it, you’re not present in the current moment. This is why it’s important to focus on the moment if you want to stop overthinking.
Start with breathing exercises. Taking a deep breath as you notice that you’ve started overanalyzing will remind you where you are and what’s going on. Practice being mindful by focusing on your surroundings.
As you take in everything you can with your senses, your thoughts will become more focused on the present. Focus on how you feel instead of assessing the relationship.
Put down your phone and forget about texts you’ve received and texts you want to write. Set a time limit until you can take it again to give yourself time to move away from anxious thoughts. If you find them helpful, use affirmations to ground you and remind you that you’re living in the present.
3. Focus on something else
To stop obsessing over your partner’s feelings and actions and stop thinking about possibilities, it’s best to find something that will occupy you and distract you. When you feel yourself overanalyzing, change your focus to something else immediately. Redirect your attention to anything that you find interesting enough to keep you occupied.
Texting often causes overthinking because the information it provides is too scarce to get a full picture of the situation. If texts make you obsess, you need to give yourself some distance from your texting habit. After you send one, move on. Don’t look at the conversation and stop rereading the texts you’ve received.
Don’t analyze your significant other‘s body language for signs of how they’re feeling, and don’t replay conversations in your head. The only outcome of this can be misunderstanding.
Remember that, no matter how much you think about it, you have no control over others. You can’t influence your partner’s feelings and actions, so focus on what you can control: your own behavior.
4. Respond to your negative thoughts
You shouldn’t ignore your negative thoughts. To stop overthinking, you need to prove to yourself that your thoughts are just that – thoughts – and they have no bearing on reality. If your worries seem convincing, start by looking for evidence that contradicts them.
Come up with an alternative explanation for every idea that worries you. If your significant other hasn’t replied to your text, what’s more likely based on your experience with them so far, that they’re busy or that they don’t care about you?
Challenge your assumptions and anxious thoughts with responses to your concerns. Confront your negative and ruminating thoughts and counteract them with a realistic explanation.
Think of the worst case scenario, and ask yourself what would happen if it turned out to be true. Realize that no matter what happens, you’ll be okay. Counteract it with the best possible outcome, and think about which is more likely. Focus on the positive, and don’t take things personally.
5. Stop making assumptions
A lot of your worries are caused by your imagination and assumptions. This is why it’s helpful to stop assuming anything and only focus on taking things at face value. Quit searching for hidden meanings in everything your partner says and does.
Stop trying to read between the lines and take your partner at their word. If they tell you they’re going somewhere or that they were doing something, don’t assume they’re lying. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt.
Consider the context of every situation and don’t assume their behavior is about you. If your significant other had to cancel your date and told you it was because they got stuck at work, trust them. Don’t try to interpret it in a way that makes it about you.
Base your thoughts and feelings on evidence, not fantasy. A good approach to adopt is to believe that everything is fine unless proven otherwise. It might take you some time to get there, but this way of thinking can spare you a lot of worry and anxiety.
Learn long-term solutions to overthinking
Breaking the habit of overthinking is a process. Once you figure out your triggers and learn how to let go, it becomes easier to stop overthinking everything. There are steps you can take on your own to stop overthinking your relationship, but working with a therapist or a relationship coach can help you recognize your thought patterns.
When you’re able to recognize your anxious thoughts and learn ways to stop them, you’ll be able to trust your partner and focus on building a healthy relationship with them.
1. Practice self-care
The real work begins in those moments when you’re not actively worrying and overthinking. You must establish a foundation of self care so that you can work on your anxiety problems.
Self-care means tending to your own needs in a way that makes you happiest. This starts by identifying which unmet needs you’re looking to fulfill in your relationship.
Next, once you find out the triggers for your relationship anxiety and overthinking, the next step is learning to self-soothe. Emotional self-care and self-soothing are ways to comfort yourself after an emotionally upsetting event. Self-soothing can include anything that works for you, from exercise to calming music to sleep.
To be able to handle both real and imaginary relationship problems, your life must have a solid foundation outside of your relationship. Maintain a healthy social network and surround yourself with people you care about.
Stay busy and focus on personal fulfillment. Make your well-being a priority. Work on trusting your intuition instead of overthinking.
2. Start journaling
Journaling is a deeply underrated tool for improving mental and emotional health. To be able to put down words on paper, you must find the right words, and this is only possible if you examine your issues. So to be able to work on why your anxiety makes you overthink, you need to understand it.
This isn’t as difficult as it sounds – simply sitting down and starting to write anything is helpful. As you keep writing, your real thoughts will come through and show you what lies beneath your worries.
You can also use journaling to track how often you overthink and figure out what’s driving you to overthink. Try making a list of the worst things that could happen, then describe the ideal outcome.
Journal your daily thoughts and feelings to monitor your development. Write about your overthinking episodes to identify destructive thought patterns and note your overthinking triggers.
Use your journal to work on your confidence and start focusing on the positive things. As you learn more about yourself, it will become easier to accept the uncertainty of relationships and life in general and let go of the desire to control the outcome.
3. Learn how to communicate
You’ve heard it before, but it can never be overstated: communication is key in relationships.
Practice effective communication – it’s based on meaning what you say and saying what you mean. If you sincerely start relating to your partner like this, you’ll grow to expect the same from them, which can practically eliminate your worries.
When you trust that your partner is telling you the truth with no ulterior motives, overthinking becomes redundant. It all starts with choosing to be open and honest with your partner.
Opening up to your partner might terrify you, but it will make all the difference. Share your fear of rejection with your partner and apologize for your behavior. Be simple and straightforward and don’t try to justify your behavior.
Realize that you and your partner are two individuals who don’t see things the same way.
When you share your thoughts with your partner and speak what’s truly on your mind, they’ll react with compassion. Explain to your partner how you’re feeling, be honest about your concerns, and share your relationship needs. When you let them know what’s on your mind, only then can they understand and address the situation.
4. Develop trust with your partner
To start building trust with your partner, you must first understand the needs you have in the relationship and how to communicate them. You can’t expect your significant other to read your mind and anticipate your needs. Determine what you want in a relationship, and let your partner know.
Your anxiety isn’t caused by your partner: understand that your partner didn’t make you worried, afraid and angry. Accept that your overthinking is caused by your own reactions and emotions.
To be able to trust your partner, you must learn to accept them – but also you need to accept that your partner is your equal, and not someone who has power over you and your feelings. Stop trying to find out hidden meanings behind every word or action of your partner and learn to see things as simply as possible.
Your fears will seem like a waste of energy when you learn to accept things as you see them instead of what they’re like in your imagination. Acknowledge and embrace the vulnerability of being in a relationship and accept that some things in the relationship are beyond your control.
Another important point is that you should stop oversharing with your friends and loved ones. Outside perspective on a relationship can be useful but if you and your best friend are dissecting every text you get from your partner, it can be damaging and perpetuate overthinking. Don’t include your family members in decisions related to your relationship – instead, trust yourself and your partner.
5. Seek professional help
Dealing with your anxiety issues is necessary if you want to learn how to not overthink in a relationship. You can and should work on it on your own, but professional help can speed up the process and point you to things you might not have considered.
A therapist can work with you to develop tools to manage your anxiety and help you adopt a positive mindset. Counseling can also help with your confidence and self-esteem. Lack of self-confidence is another reason why you might be resorting to obsessive thinking.
By strengthening your relationship with yourself and tackling any existing attachment issues, you will feel less drawn to this kind of behavior. As you learn more about yourself, you’ll accept that you don’t have control over everything and that your analysis does not equal control.
This will help you to stop overthinking and look for evidence before you try connecting things, which often leads to incorrect conclusions and misunderstandings.
How Can You Tell You’re Overthinking?
Overthinking is harmful to your mental health because it fuels anxiety and damages your self-confidence. How do you recognize that what you’re doing is overthinking, and not a healthy reaction to whatever is going on?
When you’re overthinking, you’re not focused on finding a solution, only on your own thoughts. Your thoughts become repetitive and you ruminate – you think in circles, examining the same idea over and over again. You come up with worst-case scenarios and dwell on the smallest mistakes.
• You read into everything.
• You remember everything your partner says.
• You make up imaginary conversations or situations.
• You re-read texts and overanalyze them.
• You take a long time to compose a message to your partner.
• You keep going over conversations in your head.
• You beat yourself up over small mistakes.
• You don’t trust your partner.
• You doubt your partner’s feelings.
• You get upset over small things.
• You always think your relationship is in danger.
• You overanalyze everything with your friends.
• You panic when things don’t go the way you planned.
What Causes Overthinking?
Insecurity is the biggest culprit when it comes to overthinking. It‘s often caused by an insecure attachment style or stems from a traumatic past relationship. As you overthink your relationship, you imagine problems that aren’t there.
You worry that your partner will reject you and you’re trying to think of a way out of it. Even if there are no issues with your relationship, you read into words and actions and invent them. The reason you do this is because your mind needs to find a solution to your trust issues.
Insecurity and low self-esteem make you worry, which turns into overthinking the more you get tangled in it.
• Doubts and anxiety make you afraid of losing your partner.
• You worry about what your significant other will think about you if you do or say something they don’t like.
• You doubt your partner’s feelings: you wonder if you matter to your partner and if they love you.
• Lack of trust makes you doubt whether your relationship will last.
• Because you feel powerless, you want to control the way things turn out.
• You place expectations on your partner.
• When your partner’s behavior changes even a little, you suspect that their feelings for you have changed.
• To avoid losing your partner, you pretend everything is okay and never bring up anything that bothers you.
• You focus on not making your partner angry with you instead of having boundaries, or you pick fights on purpose to prove your negative thoughts to yourself.
• Communication becomes difficult, even impossible.
To handle all of these worries and doubts, you turn to overthinking as a means of coping. Your current relationship becomes a source of anxiety. Because you’re expecting your partner to let you down sooner and later, you’re looking for evidence that proves your beliefs.
Instead of focusing on your relationship as it is, your energy is wasted on imagining worst case scenarios and waiting for your partner to prove that they don‘t love you, that they’re disloyal or that they want to break up with you.
Dealing with insecurity will help deal with overthinking. Start by becoming aware of your feelings and employing some of the ideas above. If you believe it would be helpful, you can consult a counselor or a relationship expert to guide you.
Understand Your Feelings To Gain Control
Overthinking in romantic relationships can become a vicious circle and cause the very issues you worry about: as you obsess over your partner’s behavior, your actions can become insufferable and they might leave you. How to not overthink in a relationship and hurt your love life?
Learn to stop overthinking in its tracks. This starts with awareness and deciding to work on yourself and protect your relationship. The more practice you get in stopping your thoughts from escalating, the easier it will become to control yourself.
In the long term, you need to deal with the underlying causes of your overthinking and learn to deal with them. By learning why you overthink, you become able to shift your focus from worry to solutions.