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TW: Relationship anxiety


I'm not usually one to post these types of messages, I'm usually the person trying to offer others support but I'm not sure what else to do. Kind of ironic I suppose!


Anyway, I've been having these dreams about my ex for a few months probably around 3 times a week. He was a very very toxic person both emotionally and mentally, and a lot of my current insecurities stem from this relationship. In the dreams he's often just a person in the background or I see him with someone else (used to flirt/talk to other girls), sometimes he's even trying to work his way back into my life. I don't know why I'm having these dreams but I'd really like them to stop as they bring up some bad memories from how I felt when I was with him. 


I am in a happy relationship now and my new partner is the complete opposite. He's wonderful and so sweet and kind but I'm experiencing a lot of relationship anxiety. He knows I often experience general/social anxiety and is supportive. But I don't think he knows that I have frequent negative thoughts about myself, our relationship and why he would want to be with me. I feel like I need constant reassurance from him but don't want to ask. And sometimes his behaviour triggers the anxiety if I perceive it to be similar to that of my ex (even though its usually not). Which sometimes ends with me pushing him away. I know I should probably talk to him about this, but I'm scared he wont understand or that he'll think I'm not over my ex when I have no desire to contact him whatsoever. So I'm not sure what to do. I don't want my anxiety to come between us.


I'm thinking maybe I have some form of PTSD? But I'm not really sure. I'd really appreciate some advice. Thanks!

Re: TW: Relationship anxiety

Hello @jamijam , I am sorry to hear about what has been happening to you lately. It must be so hard to experience unpleasant dreams about your ex, as dreams can be so hard to control. I am sorry that you have been unable so far to stop these dreams from reocurring. It must be very upsetting to keep remembering the times with your ex as it sounds like those are painful memories for you. It's so nice to hear that your current partner is nothing like your ex. Sounds like you have quite a supportive relationship with him, so it must be hard for you to not talk to him about your recent dreams.


You mentioned that you are scared of talking to your partner about your dreams, but I think it might be a good idea to talk with him about it, as it might help you get some things off your chest. It might also be a good idea to talk to your partner about some of the concerns you have been having, such as mentioning to him that you have been worried that he won't understand. If you do discuss this with your partner, being honest about your dreams and how you have no desire to contact your ex might help your partner understand the situation a bit more from your perspective.


If you are not feeling too comfortable talking to your partner, is there anyone in your family or another friend that you could talk about this with? You could also try to call up some helplines such as Headspace or Kids Helpline and talk to a counsellor about how these dreams have been making you feel Heart

Re: TW: Relationship anxiety

Hey JamiJam

What you are describing sounds really distressing. I am really sorry you are experiencing this. I thought I might offer some of my own experience if that is any help for you.

I have experienced a lot of relationship anxiety. I was very conscious of my partner's cues and was often triggered into anxious thought spirals where I would need to 'fix' things whenever I felt she was annoyed with me. Eventually, I voiced this was impacting me, and we saw a relationship therapist. I learned a lot about my attachment style and that I often felt anxious because of previous experiences (similar to what you are describing) and needed to 'fix' or repair things, so I felt safe, or secure, within the relationship.

By discussing how we were both feeling with the therapist (she had vulnerabilities as well), we were able to understand how and why we respond the way we do. Now, my partner has a better understanding of my need to feel safe, which helps with my anxiety about 'fixing' things.

Like Sophia-RO suggested, would you feel comfortable/ open talking with your partner? Or anyone else but these issues? What do you think might work for you?

Re: TW: Relationship anxiety

Hi @jamijam

Im so sorry you're having this anxiety - I have very similar circumstances so I can completely relate and empathise with you.

When I say similar I mean EXACTLY THE SAME - I personally found the best way to overcome this way to just communicate it with my current partner. I found that because of my previous relationship I similarly had triggers which made me react disproportionately to my current partner. I had to explain why I had that reaction but he completely understood and was so much more aware of that topic from then on. I know you mentioned you were concerned he wouldn't understand so this is only if you feel comfortable. I think explaining it exactly how you explained it here was perfect, you did not allude to wanting to be back with your ex at all.

I would definitely recommend speaking to your GP or a trained professional regarding the PTSD concern - having their support will really benefit you

Re: TW: Relationship anxiety

Hey sorry for the late response. Everyone's offered really great advice.


I just wanted to say that I get how you feel in regards to the relationship anxiety. I had major intimacy issues/self-image issues which almost prevented me from dating my current partner (who is just the best and we're 1 year strong hehe). A lot of my stuff stemmed from childhood abuse and I had intrusive nightmares about the abuser and I discovered those only happened when i began to think about them more/uncover it in therapy. so from my experience, these dreams are "normal" in the sense that you brain is perhaps trying to cope with memories that your conscious mind otherwise wouldn't be willing to process? (just my interpretation).


It sounds u have a lovely partner! From my experience (and my many insecurities) the best way is to be honest. If you feel negative about yourself or clingy, just own it because you'd be surprised just how many people have these thoughts and by letting your partner know, he can understand you better. 


In regards to the nightmares, if it's really concerning you, I think journalling about it in combination with talk therapy with a psychologist is a good option. A professional can help reframe your thinking in a much clearer way and often times they can offer practical tips to help with your self image and insecurities (my psych did wonders for me!)

Re: TW: Relationship anxiety

Hi everyone, 


Thank you all for the lovely support! And great advice!


I have started to feel a little bit less anxious in my relationship as I have very (very) slowly been talking to my partner about some the of insecurities/triggers I have. He has been very understanding and will ask questions if he doesn't quite know what I mean. I'm still a little bit hesitant to tell him about the dreams as I don't want him to feel insecure. But I am open to it more so now!



Re: TW: Relationship anxiety

It is so great to hear that the advice and support has been helpful for you @jamijam. It's awesome that you are feeling a bit less anxious in your relationship and that you are feeling more open to discussing your dreams with him. I hope that you are able to discuss it with him soon! Sounds like you have a very supportive and caring relationship Heart

Re: TW: Relationship anxiety

Hey @jamijam I’m really sorry you’ve been having dreams and flashbacks about your ex, it sounds really tough. It’s so good to hear that you’ve decided to speak to your current partner about some of your insecurities and triggers. He sounds really understanding and supportive. How are you feeling now?