Overthinking is unhelpful in every aspect of life. Learning how to stop overthinking in a relationship will make you closer and happier.
Being in a relationship can make you self-conscious in many ways. It’s understandable to some degree since we all want our relationships to work out. However, to achieve a healthy relationship, you must learn how to stop overthinking in a relationship.
The problem occurs when the mind goes wild. Overthinking and overanalyzing is very counterproductive, especially when you start developing a false image of your partner, yourself, and the relationship itself.
Anxiety and paranoid overthinking can lead to conflict. If left unchecked, it may ultimately end the relationship, and that’s probably not what you want.
What does overthinking look like?
You might assume that you don’t overthink, that you’re just being careful and analytical. The problem is, allowing your mind to tick over every single thing about the day, what happened, what was said, and how it was said, is very problematic. You start looking for problems where they don’t exist. You start analyzing things to the point where you can’t remember the original starting point anymore.
All of this makes you unhappy, exhausted, and could lead to you driving your partner nothing short of crazy.
The problem with overthinking is that you start to believe a false narrative. You’re making problems out of nothing and by doing that, you start to believe that they’re real. You might also examine an issue to the point where you actually find something wrong, and convince yourself it’s major.
Sometimes you really do just have to let things go and see how things work out. It’s hard to do that if you’re prone to thinking too much, but with a little help, you’ll get there.
Warning signs you overthink in your relationship
Here are a few warning signs that point towards overthinking in a relationship.
1. Re-reading texts and coming up with different meanings
2. It takes you a long time to write a text back, because you’re worried about how they’ll read it
3. Remembering the smallest detail and never let anything go
4. Becoming upset over a comment that meant nothing
5. Starting arguments over very small things, which then turn into major issues
6. You’re never sure about how you really feel
7. When your partner says they’re going somewhere, you question in your mind if they’re telling the truth
8. Thinking that your partner is angry at you when they rarely are
9. Going over and over things in your mind to the point where you feel exhausted
10. Planning everything out to the smallest detail and don’t feel comfortable being spontaneous
11. Needing your partner to reassure you of their love regularly
12. Often apologize for things that aren’t your fault or when there is no reason to apologize at all
13. Always asking your friends for advice on your relationship
14. Thinking negatively about your relationship
Of course, sometimes, we all have a bout of insecurity. But if you’re regular noticing several of these signs, you need to learn how to stop overthinking in a relationship before it leads to the end of your union.
Why do we overthink when it comes to relationships?
Every single person is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer. However, there are some common reasons why people overthink, especially in relation to matters of the heart.
It usually comes down to one of three things – low self-esteem, being abandoned by parents or a partner previously, and a bad experience in a relationship. Of course, these aren’t exhaustive reasons, but they’re the basics that come up most often.
When you feel lacking in self-esteem, you feel like you’re not good enough for a relationship. Of course, it’s entirely false. You’re more than good enough.
However, you’re constantly worried that your partner is going to see you for what you believe you are and leave. That causes you to overthink every small detail and try to derail the worst case scenario from happening. You’re basically planning for something that’s unlikely to happen.
Abandonment issues and bad experiences in relationships also cause you to act in similar ways. Understanding what drives you to overthink in a relationship is the key to changing future patterns of behavior.
How to stop overthinking in a relationship
We’ve already talked about the fact that overthinking makes people susceptible to false assumptions. It distorts the image of what the relationship is in reality. You might start acting in irrational ways, causing conflict and undue emotional and mental stress for your partner.
The habit of overthinking may harm your social connections too. It makes working with others difficult and could also affect friends and family. For that reason, kicking the habit of overthinking will improve the quality of all relationships in your life.
1. Learn how to communicate properly
Overthinking is often a symptom of a serious lack of communication in a relationship. When couples fail to express their thoughts and feelings towards one another, one will be left to constantly ponder and imagine what the other is thinking. That’s a recipe for the mind starting to whirl.
However, once you start to open up to one another, you start to realize things are clearer, simpler and easily understood. If proper communication is always present, there will be no room for overthinking in the relationship.
Accepting there will be things in the relationship beyond your control
Worrying about matters beyond human control is not only frustrating but also takes a toll on a person’s sanity. Sometimes, you just have to let it go and see what happens. It’s far better to accept that there will be aspects of the relationship you cannot change or influence, and that’s okay.
Stop placing your effort on things beyond your control. When you start to accept situations as they are, you begin to grow and mature in your relationship. This is beneficial not only for you, but for everyone around you too.
3. Embrace the vulnerability of being in a relationship
Being in a relationship means laying yourself bare. Vulnerability makes you show all your insecurities, flaws, and secrets. But when you’re happy in the relationship, you do it without the fear or worry of judgement.
It can be hard to get to that point because we’re often scared of showing our true selves, out of fear of rejection. Being someone you’re not is nothing short of exhausting and it will take its toll on the relationship eventually. What else? It makes you overthink!
By allowing yourself to be vulnerable, you trade the risk of overthinking for trust in your partner, which will improve the quality of the relationship.
4. Learn to accept things as you see them
People overthink when they try to decipher hidden meanings behind every word or action. But, the simplest answer is oftentimes the best answer. Learning how to stop overthinking in a relationship means being brave enough to just accept things as you see them before you.
Your mind will be at peace if you put trust in your partner. Take whatever they say or do as it is. Because, sometimes, their actions and words are just what they exactly are. Seeing your partner’s every word or behavior as a puzzle to be deciphered only causes mental stress and unhealthy suspicion.
5. Do something creative and focus on productivity
When it comes to learning how to stop overthinking in a relationship, you need to know that people sometimes overanalyze if their mind finds itself idle. If that is the case, divert your destructive brain activity and do something productive or creative. This will prevent overthinking because you’re too distracted.
Being productive with ideas might also help you come up with a new career idea or just something you really enjoy doing in your spare time.
6. Invest time in developing your confidence and self-esteem
The tendency to overthink in a relationship is sometimes caused by a lack of self-esteem and low self-confidence. When you feel this way, you give little value to your role in the relationship. You perceive yourself as an inadequate partner when the truth is quite the opposite.
Focus on boosting self-confidence and self-esteem, so you keep a realistic image of yourself in the relationship. Write a list of all the great qualities you have and read it every day. Use positive affirmations and repeat them several times a day. Focus a little time every day on the things you enjoy, and reframe any negative thought you have about yourself into something positive. Soon, your confidence and self-worth will start to grow.
7. Talk to friends to get a different perspective
Being alone with your thoughts can easily make you short-sighted from the facts as they present themselves. In situations like these, a friend’s advice can help you put things into a different perspective.
The more people you talk to, the more perspectives you get, which can help dispel any preconceived ideas that lead to overthinking. However, be careful that you’re not running to others whenever you get a problem and avoiding trusting your own gut instinct. It’s a careful balance you need to achieve.
8. Spend more quality time with your partner
Spending quality time gives both of you the chance to get to know each other better. That might be enough to push away the impulse to overanalyze what one partner is thinking about the other.
Of course, doing fun things together also gives you a break from all the heaviness of constantly playing things over in your mind. It’s the very best distraction technique and it will bring you closer together.
9. Seek professional help for anxiety issues
There are times when constant overthinking is a symptom of a more serious psychological condition. If you reach a point of extreme discomfort or relationship troubles, it might be wise to approach a professional for psychological assessment and therapy.
There is no failing in this; if anything, it’s the biggest strength to admit that you need help. Be open to whatever your therapist suggests and put in the work. Learning how to stop overthinking in a relationship isn’t easy and it won’t happen overnight, but it’s more than worth the effort.
10. Work out your trigger
What is it that is causing you to overthink everything? Is there a particular trigger that causes you to do it? Do you overthink more when your partner is away from you, or do you overthink more when they’re on their phone and you can’t see who they’re talking to? Do you tend to overthink more when it comes to written messages or the verbal word?
Spend some time coming up with a few ideas into your triggers and then you can start breaking them down and confronting them bit by bit.
11. Use a reassuring mantra
This step requires you to know what is causing you to overthink. But once you have that information, you can force yourself to avoid overthinking behavior. Now, this step takes time and its going to be difficult at first, but stick with it.
When you notice that you’re starting to overthink, stop yourself. Take a breath and tell yourself that you’re overthinking, you’re fine, and you don’t need to do it. Then, do something to take your mind off it. Go for a run, go for a hot bath, dance around the room – anything which stops you thinking.
12. Come up with an alternative
When you start overthinking, you often veer totally towards the negative. Stop yourself and question it. What is the alternative? If you’re reading a message and you’re convinced that your partner is being angry and snappy with you, stop and come up with a reframed thought.
Could they just be rushed for time and fired off a quick message? Surely that shows that they wanted to message you, because let’s be honest, they could have ignored it. If they’re late home, don’t automatically think the worst, ask yourself what the positive alternative could be – maybe they’re stuck in traffic and their phone died, maybe they’re talking to a friend.
13. Tell yourself that you’re overthinking
Owning your habit is a step towards overcoming it. When you notice your mind spiralling, tell yourself that you’re overthinking. That’s almost like an elastic band snapping back and it may be enough to shock you out of the pattern of thinking.
14. Explain to your partner how you’re feeling
Earlier on, we mentioned communication. However, it’s not only about being open and honest with one another and feeling secure, sometimes it’s about owning your vulnerability and explaining to your partner that you’re struggling. If you really want to learn how to stop overthinking in a relationship and it’s becoming a problem for you, talk to your partner. Explain how you feel but be sure not to put the blame onto them.
With your partner’s understanding and support, you can work to overcome the habit and be happier together as a couple.
Learning how to stop overthinking in a relationship will not only improve the quality of your relationship but will also allow you to grow as an individual. Start small with these suggestions, and soon, you’ll feel a lot more secure about yourself and your relationship.