THE odd pang of panic is normal. But too much terror could mean your relationship is unhealthy.
Here sex expert KATE TAYLOR reveals the signs to look out for and what to do about them
YOU PANIC WHEN THEY DON’T TEXT BACK
Does being left unread send you into a spiral? Does your partner assume the worst when you don’t reply straight away? That kind of insecurity is a problem.
Dating coach Hayley Quinn says: “It can be very tempting to create a story in your head about the reasons someone isn’t messaging back. In reality, you don’t know what they’re thinking.
“Turn your phone off and give yourself a chance to reconnect to your own thoughts and feelings. What you can know is whether this style of communication suits you or not. Do you feel communication is easy? Is the relationship evolving at a pace that’s good for you?”
YOU USE JEALOUSY TO SPARK A REACTION
It’s dangerous to make your partner believe someone else could steal you away at any time.
Relationship coach Kate Mansfield warns: “Jealousy might work in the short term, but usually the other person will end up leaving or cheating because you’ve pushed them there.”
If you’re often tempted to make your partner worry, she advises: “Seek help from a professional, and work on building your self-esteem by being honest and taking care of yourself.”
YOU’VE LOST YOURSELF
Now you’re coupled up, has one of you forgotten your own likes, interests and opinions? Too much togetherness can end in tears. “It’s essential to keep your own life, otherwise it gets suffocating,” she says.
“Imagine you and your partner are in a bubble — the air will eventually get used up. If you feel guilty doing your own thing, remember that it actually makes you more desirable.
“There’s something really attractive about a person who brings their own passions, opinions and interests into a relationship,” says Hayley. “Whether it’s a career, hobby, or a great BFF, keep all the things in your life that helped you to feel secure and happy before your relationship turned up.”
YOU’RE SCARED TO DISAGREE
Saying “yes” to everything is a no-no for your relationship.
Hayley says: “You may find you dodge conflict because you’re afraid you’ll lose this person’s affections if you rock the boat. Ironically, it can be the opposite. People will feel attracted to someone who demonstrates their own self-worth through having their own opinions.”
If you have a pattern of putting-up and shutting-up, Kate believes it started a long time ago. “Usually, it means that you had a parent who shut you down, or made you feel unsafe. Get some professional help from a coach or therapist.”
YOU STALK THEM ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Are you addicted to checking up on your partner’s likes, follows and comments? That’s a big thumbs-down for your future.
Even if it starts small, Kate warns: “It’s a slippery slope and will only push the other person further and further away.”
If you’re hooked on their feed, Hayley recommends cold turkey: “Hiding or muting their profiles can be helpful if you want to have a bit of headspace from thinking about them.”
YOU DON’T SEE FRIENDS AS OFTEN
It’s natural to spend a lot of time with a partner. But not to the extent that everyone else in your life gets a no-show, especially in the early stages.
“Someone you’re dating should not immediately leapfrog over long-standing friendships,” says Hayley. “Keep putting your existing life first and gradually give someone more of your time and energy, as you slowly build your relationship.”
Even as time goes on, it’s best to maintain your own friendships. “Make sure you remain in a situation where if the relationship were to end, you would be sad but not devastated,” says Kate.
YOU ASSUME THEY ARE CHEATING
Worried without reason they are up to no good? It’s not necessarily your instincts. It could just be your insecurity.
Kate says: “If you have a habit of assuming the worst, work on your mindset. This belief will sabotage your relationships. Trust is essential, and while we need to see clearly and base trust on consistent actions over time, we also need to let go of control.”
Scared to trust? “Remember, to form all relationships requires a leap of faith, and giving trust is a beautiful thing,” says Hayley. “There’s a huge difference between being emotionally open enough to actually meet someone and turning a blind eye to glaring red flags.
BORDERLINE OBSESSED WITH THEIR EX
Do you hunt down your partner’s ex on social media, ask questions about them, or worry they’ll get back together?
Kate says: “It’s pointless to obsess over an ex. Try to focus on enjoying what you have rather than the fantasy that you are not good enough. Celebrate who you are and what you bring. Make a list of your great qualities and read it every day.”
What if your partner name-drops their ex? Hayley says: “Give them a wide berth. They may be trying to exacerbate your insecurities because, deep down, they worry you’re too good for them.”
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