Have you ever thought – “My partner isn’t attracted to me anymore!  She/he never acts excited to see me. Why can’t it be like it was in the beginning?” over and over again?

Take a breath. It’s not uncommon to wonder “What went wrong?” in your long-term relationship.  Let’s give the emotion behind your questions a name. Anxiety. If we go even deeper, fear.

Relationship disconnect may be real for you and a red flag of an impending relationship loss. Your run on thoughts may go something like this:

She/he takes forever to answer my texts or call me back.  Doesn’t she/he miss me when I’m gone? She/he used to laugh at my jokes. Do think she/he interested in someone else?”  And, then you turn on yourself – “It’s because I don’t look like I used to.  I’m not at home enough. I can’t make she/he happy.  There’s something wrong with me.”

When anticipatory grief (loss that hasn’t occurred yet) sets in, you can experience anxious symptoms such as panic attacks, obsessive thoughts or memories, sleeplessness, to name a few.  But along with anxiety and grief, you also possess a very strong, initially unnoticable, trait: Resilience.

What is Anxiety?

The short answer is fear.  Most of us feel anxious at one time or another in our lives – including me.  Anxiety is normal because fear is a part of life. Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress.  It is is a part of the human condition.

Anxiety About Your Relationship

We can all get hung up on misalignments and disconnects with our partners. This is not necessarily anxiety. It becomes anxiety when you can’t turn the thoughts about those hang ups off aka thought rumination. This along with other anxiety symptoms can feel consuming.

If you feel anxious about your relationship, you may have good reason to feel afraid. Maybe your relationship is hanging by threads. Maybe on some gut level, you know you are headed for separation. Allow your anxiety to inform you without consuming you. What is it trying to tell you?

Fear of Loss

I’m reminded of an interesting session that I had with someone that I’d been seeing for a while.  It was a difficult session for both of us. He was getting ready to take the next the step towards separation in his relationship.  

During the session, we were processing his grief.  He had started suffering from panic attacks, and we even worked through an attack during his session.  Fear, grief and the pain of his loss showed up in his anxious symptoms.

I stayed present to his symptoms and took many deep breaths along with him, allowing him to experience his full range emotions without staying stuck in them.

I am continuously amazed by the power of our emotions. I am particularly struck by how feelings like anxiety, fear and the potential for loss can paralyze us or kick us off balance.  The experience can feel terrifying. Anxiety is all about fear; it’s a fear-based emotion.

You too may experience anxiety and fear at your perceived “loss” of love. Less time together. Less interest in each other. Less sex. Less caring.

Resilience is Strength

As difficult as these emotions are, as painful as these emotions can be, you can learn to manage your anxious symptoms. You can learn to see fear as an ally. And if loss is inevitable, you can find strength in your resilience.

Resilience is integral to the human spirit.  We are stronger than we know.

In our human experience, we can go through difficult, painful, heart-wrenching journeys.  Yet, somehow, we manage to continue showing up to our lives. We manage to get up every morning, put one foot in front of the other, and figure it out each day.  We have the resilience to get beyond it and experience joy again. I have no doubt that we all have that strength.

What Have You Overcome?

I want you to think about your own resilience.  Take a moment to get in touch. What have you overcome in your life?  You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. Give yourself the proof that you need to keep moving forward.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:  

  1.     Where have I overcome?
  2.     What has felt hard for me?
  3.     How did I find my strength?

We all need to find our strength.  We all want to remember our resilience.  We have the gumption to not only keep going but step back into our lives.  The goal is not just to survive but thrive. There is a whole world of opportunity in life’s challenges if we choose to see it.

The Value of Your Fear

Yes, fear serves an evolutionary purpose – don’t go swimming in 15-foot waves if you’re not a strong swimmer – in some cases, fear may save your life.  But, fear must be kept put in its place.

I want you to sit down; have a quiet conversation with your fear.  Listen to it, acknowledge it, understand it. Don’t let fear keep you from growing, becoming, and loving – yourself, your life, and your potential for love (which may be with your current partner or a new one).  

Always remember: Resilience starts with you.


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