I believe we’re all overthinkers at some point in our lives, whether we aware of it or not that is another problem. I used to overthink anything and everything. It was like a good feeling that I must have in order to function at work and especially in my relationship. How to stop overthinking in a relationship?
I thought it would be impossible for me to get rid of such an ugly and addictive habit. But like everything else, practice makes perfect, if you train your mind with the right amount of effort, overthinking doesn’t have to be part of your life.
Writing this article really brought back a lot of bitter memories of how I used to be.
I overanalyzed every little detail about what boyfriend said and how he expressed his feelings when we were together. It became so sickening that I realized if I didn’t do anything about it, this addiction will consume my life and I will be the only one to blame.
Why is Overthinking an Addiction?
The book by Dr. Sian Beilock Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To explains this astoundingly fatiguing phenomenon by quoting golf studies. As surprising as it may sound, they make a perfect analogy.
When a professional golfer starts thinking in the field, she says, he is just one thought shy of missing the hole and losing the game. It’s because sometimes our mind paralyzes our body, anxiously crippling it in only a second or two. Usually, the fear of failure is the one to blame.
Overthinking is a golfer’s paralysis prolonged. As numerous empirical studies have shown, it is a strategy we use when we start losing control. Mistakes terrify us, the uncertainty is perplexing, and there’s so much that can go wrong. So, we think about it all the time.
I remembered clearly watching my sister cried on a golf court because she couldn’t play as well as I did. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a better player but what made me win the games was because I didn’t care about it, so I didn’t overthink it. I was there to have fun.
Overthinking is no different from OCD if you think about it. Both should make life feel less uncertain, and give us a sense of control and confidence. Only, instead of establishing dominance over things, we’re superintending our thoughts.
In psychology, every behavior triggered by a need that has to be fulfilled, the behavior that hence becomes the most important thing in your life, but causes a conflict between the short-term need to engage in the activity and concerns about the long-term effects it spurs – is defined as addictive.
It’s common to get obsessed with overthinking when we need to be in control over our lives. The problem is – what starts as a strategy that is supposed to calm us down usually ends up tricking us into losing control over our thoughts. The vicious circle begins, with us caught in the middle.
Overthinking is Number One Relationship Killer
Two of my relationships ended badly because I overthink, sad but I’m sure some of you can relate.
I mean overthinking used to leave consequences in my everyday life and it sucks, it was like I was the only who went crazy while everyone else is enjoying their lives fine.
Like any other addiction, it creeps up on you every time there’s a problem you don’t believe you can solve or fear you don’t have the strength to overcome. But, is it irresistible enough to kill your relationship? Experience says yes.
Overthinking is a barricade between a problem and a solution – having disguised your fear of failure, it makes you sorely cautious, depressingly motionless, and even more anxious than you were and need to be.
Most importantly, it makes you deadlocked. You lose confidence in yourself and trust in your partner. Everything that makes relationships work is no more. The future is no longer about nurturing love and respect; to an over-thinker, it is nothing but a projection of defeat.
The Root of Overthinking is a Low Self-Esteem
You certainly suspect what lays underneath your overwhelming meditations, though it might not be the easiest thing to admit. The compulsive thinking goes hand in hand with shaken self-confidence and occurs every time there’s a reason for you to feel inadequate. If you want to learn how to stop overthinking in a relationship, self-analysis might be a good way to start.
I got cheated on once and that was enough to make a big hole in my confidence, my insecurity amplified and trust no longer existed.
Looking back, I truly felt bad for my then-boyfriend, if he came home late or he didn’t call when he should, my mind would go off like an alarm clock and the thoughts started to pour and I again found myself in the dark.
When my self-esteem was taken away from me, it took me a year to recover and trust again.
Working on a low-self-esteem isn’t easy, but I met my boyfriend and now husband who sees me for who I really am.
The one thing I want you to remember is If you lack belief in yourself because of what happened to you in the past, have a little trust in them! Let them plant you in front of the mirror and tell you how beautiful you are, inside and outside alike.
10 Ways on How to Stop Overthinking in a Relationship?
I’m not here to tell you there is a magic to stop all this now and forever but I’m here to share with you, my personal tips on how to stop overthinking in a relationship.
So let’s be honest with yourself and take the step the right direction with these below suggestions.
1. Talk Things Out with Your Partner
So, here’s your first assignment: propose a tête-à-tête as soon as today. Overthinking has made you a prisoner of your own mind, and the key is in voicing your thoughts. Even in case you two have gone through it before, now is not the time to stop talking things out.
You know your partner’s own mechanisms by heart, so adjust what you have to say to the way they’ll respond. If they’ve accused you of exaggerating your problem in the past, stay calm and proactive and ask them to do a small research. Getting familiar with how addictive behavior works will help them understand you better.
If it gets emotional and ends with a fight, so be it. The ability to communicate your thoughts and emotions is crucial for a healthy relationship, and you should never avoid it. Silence is a lack of motion, but relationships need to grow and move forward in order to endure.
Stay composed, insist on expressing yourself, and be as descriptive as you can. Your partner might feel confused and afraid, so be patient. Being in love means you’re in this together: don’t stop talking before you’re on the same page too.
2. Stop Yourself the Moment You Catch Yourself Over-analyzing Your Partner’s Behaviour
A supportive partner is a much-needed ally in the fight against gloomy thoughts, but only as long as you meet them halfway. Now that you’ve realized how unproductive your worries were and still are, don’t complicate it too much. Stressing out over how to deal with it will pull you straight back in.
Instead, stop yourself the moment you catch your mind getting all riled up. Whether you’re used to overanalyzing your partner’s words, fixate on their Freudian slips, or obsess about a stranger’s perfume you kept on smelling on them, remind yourself that your assumptions were wrong and your thoughts needlessly defeating.
3. Take Action on Your Insecurities (They Are What Makes You an Over-Thinker in the First Place)
Improving your confidence is a whole other topic, here are some of the activities that can utilize as a starting point. Silence your inner critic by accepting that nobody’s perfect, and neither are you. Count every small victory in, and prove to yourself that you’ve earned the praise entirely on your own. There’s surely a lot you can appreciate yourself for – if it helps, write it all down.
Also, be proactive! If you’ve realized you’ve been overthinking your partner’s behavior because you were insecure about your looks, hit the gym! Maybe the reason you’ve been stressing about “how they said it” is your own frustration or fear; learn how to shake them off. It’ll take some practice, but as long as you take action and stay positive, you’ll be able to nip your overthinking in the bud.
4. Have Some “Me” Time Every Day
You’ll probably want to avoid those long, silent moments when all the noise in your head overwhelms you. However, this is not when you should run from being alone. Have some “me” time every day, unplug your brain from the TV and phone, and emerge yourself in constructive thoughts.
It’s not until you’re left alone that you can fully tone down and rest your mind. Still, don’t expect that overthinking to stop all by itself. Since the absence of every distraction will tempt your addictive behavior to repeat, your “me” time is perfect for practicing control over your thoughts.
So, try to rationalize. If your partner is not answering your calls, don’t overthink it, but deduce. In case everything’s fine, but your mind keeps on searching for at least one tiny thing to make into a problem, just take a deep breath, close your eyes, and let meditation empty your head.
5. Get Together with Friends Who Are Not Over-Thinkers
This is very important that you talk to friends who won’t make matters worse. Your rational friends are probably the last ones to tell you how to stop overthinking in a relationship, but that still doesn’t mean they can’t help. In fact, their sound reasoning is just what you need for overcoming all those uncertainties you’ve been obsessing about.
Since so clear-minded, they can and should become your daily portion of reality. The sooner you let go of insisting that your thoughts are so complicated that nobody can understand you, the sooner you’ll be able to balance them out and see your problems for what they really are.
Don’t discard your friends’ opinions, regardless of how harsh or simplified they might seem. Rational people have a whole other perspective on the world, and the truth is always somewhere in between. Listen to what they have to say: in time, their point of view might prove as much-needed relief.
6. 90% of What You Worry about Won’t Happen, So Enjoy Every Intimate Moment
We’ve already discussed how overthinking in a relationship almost always leads to a lack of spontaneity. Surely, it happened to you before – you’re trying to relax and enjoy the moment, but all you can think about are your own thoughts. Awful, right?
The truth is, most of the things you worry about in those moments are simply fragments of your ruminative imagination. Around 90% of your fears won’t actualize, but constantly thinking about them might ruin your relationship. So, instead of overthinking about how to stop overthinking in a relationship, try to be mindful and present in the moment.
That’s why regaining control of your mind is so incredibly important. Love isn’t only about making plans and solving problems; more than anything else, it is about nurturing trust and allowing emotions to flood your thoughts. Don’t let those intimate moments pass you by, but enjoy every second of them.
7. Keep Your Mind Occupied with What Makes You a Great Person
In some aspects, overthinking is similar to depression. If you take a closer look at your patterns, you’ll realize that over-analyzing is nothing but a time delay mechanism: the longer you think about the problem, the more you postpone having to actually act on it.
What this mechanism prevents you from seeing is that – if the problem truly exists – obsessing about it won’t get it solved. Why not skip rumination and get straight to action? However it turns out, it’ll hurt less than spending hours playing out different scenarios over and over again.
Instead, keep your mind occupied with solutions. Work on yourself all the time, and do things that will help you become the person you want to be. Face your challenges, and you’ll become less afraid of your limitations. Start working out, reading more, and worrying about it less.
8. Travel with Your Partner at Least Once a Year
Research shows that vacations improve relationships and allow partners to see one another in a different light. It makes perfect sense since these fast-paced modern times imply a certain tempo that not all couples can endure. Vacations are a brilliant way to escape all that, and finally, find the time to rekindle the romance.
Travel together at least once a year! By experiencing the world hand in hand, you’ll not only be able to have some quality time alone, but also to adjust your mindsets and stay focused on what truly matters. Traveling changes perspective teaches patience and introduces Serenity, simply by showing you that there’s a great, vast world out there, the world in which your everyday struggles may not be so big after all.
9. Ask Your Partner What Kind of Self-Improvement You Can Do to Keep the Relationship Fresh
Your last assignment is a simple one: learn that sometimes everything you need to do is ask. Your low self-confidence has made you suspicious of your partner’s behavior again? Ask them what’s going on! If your relationship is strong and mature, their answer will be honest and helpful.
After all, there might be some things that really bother them about you. Though you should never change who you really are for another person, being in a relationship requires some compromising. Talk to your partner about their reservations, and see whether or not you can fix them, and how.
And, don’t be too sensitive about it! It’s really important to give your partner a chance to speak their mind, even when what they have to say isn’t so pleasant for you to hear. They doubtlessly mean well, so listen to them out. It’s way better than trying to figure out their thoughts all by yourself.
10. Be Someone Who Can Make You Happy
Finally, keep in mind that symbiotic relationships are not very healthy. A strong couple is an alliance between two strong individuals, and you can hardly be a solid partner if you are not a solid person first. Never stop your personal growth for somebody you love – it may only be counterproductive.
If you keep overthinking about whether or not your partner is unhappy with you and why it usually means that you’re not very happy with yourself in the first place. Remember that you are a grown and independent person who has it in them to improve and evolve, which is most certainly what your partner loves you so much.
Be Present and Stop Wandering Off
Relationships are hard! They are supposed to be that way, so don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Leave unconditional love to storytellers, and accept that genuine connection asks for understanding, trust, and respect. If you don’t know how to stop overthinking in your relationship, just ask your partner.
Most importantly, don’t get wrapped up in your head – express your feelings, voice your opinions, articulate your fears, and share your doubts. Overthinking builds a wall of unproductive thoughts around you, while the simplest solution is to talk them through. Stay strong for your partner, but vocal for yourself.