Overcoming Panic Attacks in Relationships

panic attacks

Do you need help overcoming panic attacks? Are you having negative emotions and fears regarding your relationship? Let the advice from our dating coach help set you free.

Overcoming Panic Attacks

Reader Question

I am hoping that you can help me save my relationship. My partner and I have been together for coming up 2 years. We have a wonderful relationship and not only everyone thinks so but so do we. We just bought a house together and had a very stressful time with the real estate market doing so (not so much between us).During the stress of moving, I started to have panic attacks about our relationship. You see I am one of those people who unfortunately gives up on things. I had a bad dream whilst having all these panic attacks that I broke up with my boyfriend and told him I didn't love him anymore. It upset me so much since waking up from that dream I have been negative about everything. The thoughts have been so upsetting that I am worrying I am starting to believe them.

The main thing is I didn't realize was there are different types of love. For so long I have thought that the lovey dovey stage lasts forever and that's what real love is. Therefore, I have been doubting our love because we have made it past the lovey dovey stage (which I haven't before) into what some people refer to as real love. As I don't deal with change very well I have confused that with maybe not loving my partner anymore instead of realizing it's a good thing we have reached this stage.

How can I just trust in what we have and stop thinking negatively and just be in love like I know deep down we are?

-- Contributed by: Son

Expert Reply

Dear Son,

Most of the time I can't remember my dreams. The ones that I do remember tend to be the ones that have caused me some anxiety. I too have had a dream that my partner had an affair. I woke up angry with him and maintained a grouchy attitude the remainder of the day. I couldn't shake that nagging feeling of being betrayed. As a result, I went to the bookstore to learn about the meaning of dreams. Don't take your dreams literally. The best way to understand your dreams is to keep a journal. You can use the journal to track characters, colors, etc. that seem to be reoccurring. Learning what these symbols mean will give you insight into what the dream. I love the idea that dreams also give information on how to solve our problems. The trick is to understand the symbolism of dreams and journaling is a way to do this. Another tip is that there is a line of thinking which says that every character in a dream represents some part of us.

This makes me wonder if the stress and panic attacks you are experiencing in your waking hours, are now invading your sleep hours in order to help you 'see' solutions for managing your anxiety? Dreaming would help you put some distance between the actual experiences and let you be the observer. I'm not a dream interpreter but, one plausible interpretation of your dream (if all characters are you) is that you want to break up with the part of yourself that experiences panic attacks. Panic attacks make you feel out of control and you are now in a place in your life where you are happy and content. Therefore, the desire to control what seems out of control would make a lot of sense. Seeing a medical doctor and talking about how stress wrecks havoc on your body is one way to learn about the many solutions available for managing panic attacks and anxiety. Together the two of you can come up with a plan for managing your stress.

The second part of your question seems to be asking how love and relationships change over time. While it is true that the 'honeymoon' phase lasts 2 to 3 years, that doesn't mean that the 'lovey dovey' phase has to end. Relationships go through peaks and valleys. The longer the relationship, the more peak and valley experiences you will have. When a couple experiences a valley phase, it's time to get creative and out of the routine. This is a good opportunity for you to sit down with your partner and talk about how things seem to be routine for you and ask him if he is feeling the same. Brainstorm what the two of you can do to bring some fun, excitement and passion into the relationship. Not only will this open up lines of communication, it will also bring you closer together as you both work to improve the relationship. Panic attacks and negative thinking work together in a circular way. Your thinking contributes to your feelings and your feelings plays off your thinking. Meaning, that the stress of moving has lingered and now is contributing to your negative feelings about your relationship. Combine this with the normal changes that all relationships experience. The problem is you're not seeing this as two separate issues, but rather one large problem. By managing your anxiety, you will be able to work on your relationship. Start by making an appointment with your medical doctor.

~~Lori

Panic Mode

Reader Question

The girl that I had been dating ended our relationship saying that she was in panic mode. We had a very good thing going for several months. She said that she loved me but she could not commit because it made her feel uncomfortable. Now she refuses to talk to me or about what happened. I think because of her rough past (parents died untimely death, failed marriage) - she's jaded against a future with anyone who might care for her. I have since let her go, but now I can't stop thinking about her. I'm going crazy - Tried everything to stop! I have a strong feeling as if this one should not have slipped through my fingers. I don't know how to handle it? Now I feel all the coulda, woulda, shoulda feelings and know there may be no closure in sight. Any suggestions on what I should or could do? Do I attempt to get through to her? This has really negatively affected me!-- Contributed by: J

Expert Reply

Dear J,

Rejection is hard no matter which side you're on; the receiving or the doing. All things being equal, most people would prefer to be the one 'doing' the rejecting, then the one 'being' rejected. We personalize rejection, we want to understand it or find blame. We all want to know 'why' the rejection happened.

When we search for meaning in the rejection, we are holding onto it. This is what you're doing. Your girlfriend essentially told you, you're not the one for her. Instead of taking her word and accepting that she knows what she wants and whom she doesn't, you're trying to examine the reason for her decision. This is not fair to her or to you. Rejection is not personal. I know that it feels personal, but that's just your ego's way of protecting you.

Accepting rejection means you are choosing to move forward. Accepting doesn't mean you agree or even believe the decision for the rejection was a good one. It simply means you realize you cannot control the situation or the other person. To accept an outcome is like opening a window and letting a fresh breeze in; it's a new way of looking at your break-up. You're a great guy and she's a great gal, you're just not great for each other. OK, now what? Now, you get back out there and start meeting new people and dating. At first, you might have to fake your enthusiasm until you truly are excited about meeting new women.

I can tell you with certainty, once you accept and let go of the past, you'll meet someone who is great for you. Once that happens, once you know how wonderful it feels to be with a woman who likes you and wants to be in a long-term committed relationship, you'll wonder why it took so long to let go of your ex.

~~Lori

Relationship Anxiety

Reader Question

I got into a relationship with a woman couple of months back and it lasted about a year. It was my first time ever being with a woman, but for her, she kissed men and women as if it was a thing to do with her. However, her previous relationships were with men but they did not last very long due to her leaving for no reason. At least that was what I was told. I was very vulnerable and you would think " why just go with a man" but in my own past I had no mother or father figure and I was raised by women. I had the comfort of women but wanted the comfort of a man. Whenever I got close to a man, I was afraid of rejection. Nevertheless, because I had that void in my life I was just looking for someone to love me conditionally and unconditionally. It didn't matter if it were a boy or girl. We were off and on a lot because of the lack of trust that I had due to her past of kissing others. Communication was not good. She didn't tell her best friend's about our relationship. I figured its time I step down because I was only hurting myself. We did everything together and then all of a sudden we stopped doing many things in the relationship. I know in relationships that you have to spice it up a bit when it slows down and so I tried. Sex became less and visits as well. I already had it in my mind that she had met someone else. But I didn't want to mess up and get into another argument from false evidence. I did a lot of the breaking up because of my intuitions and tried to have a friendship but it didn't work. She kept running back to me. I was manipulated to getting back with her and thinking things will get better. I took her back but then at the end she dumped me and said I had issues. She said if I was down, she was down which made the relationship down. She then used my past against me calling me a homo, that she should have never allowed me into her life, and that I should appreciate good people. She also said that she was happy for whatever happened to me in the past and she only had sex with me just to shut me up. Oh and when I see her at functions I have anxiety attacks. What should I do and after reading this what are your thoughts?

-- Contributed by: (Vulnerable)

Expert Reply

Dear Vulnerable,

I think you are "looking for love in all the wrong places." You are attracted to men and but you have not explored this kind of relationship out of fear. There may be other reasons for this as well, but the bottom line is you not being true to your heart. By not being authentic, you ended up in a relationship with a woman who had her own issues and as such, the relationship was not very satisfying for either of you. All of this might help to explain why you are having anxiety attacks. Anxiety isn't bad; it's the body's way of telling you that there is a high volume of fear in your system. This high volume can be debilitating (i.e., anxiety attacks) if allowed to continue to build without alleviating the source of fear.

Getting to the source of your fear is going to take some time. After reading your question, there are a number of different fears on your plate and sorting it out may take some time. Talking to a professional will help a great deal and can speed the process. If money or insurance is a concern, many services out there offer counseling on a sliding scale. You would find it helpful to talk with someone who has experience and knowledge in health and gay life. To find a counselor with this specialty in your area, I suggest you use the Internet. Once you begin to address your fears, the anxiety will lessen a great deal.

~~Lori

Overcoming Panic Attacks in Relationships