“What does he really mean by that?”
“How does she view me really?”
“What if I’m wasting my time?”
We all fall prey to overthinking sometimes. But constantly doing it in a relationship does more harm than good to you and your partner.
Learn how to stop overthinking in a relationship with the 13 fundamental strategies I explain below.
Let’s dive right into it.
1. Accept Your Thoughts Instead of Striving to Stop Overthinking
I’ll tell you “Don’t think about the white elephant.” And yet, that’s exactly what you’ll find yourself thinking about. This phenomenon known as the ironic process theory is the reason why you can’t easily stop overthinking in your relationship.
Suppressing your thoughts and feelings will always end up increasing them.
So instead of trying to suppress your overthinking, observe those thoughts when they arrive and understand what you’re obsessing over. This will help you uncover the solution to this problem quickly. After all, the first step to finding a solution is being aware of the problem.
2. Note Your Overthinking Triggers
What prompts you to overthink? Knowing your triggers helps you determine how you can avoid or overcome overanalyzing your relationship.
When coaching my clients, I realize some of the following causes of chronic overthinking:
- Impractical expectations
- Unmet needs and wants
- Insecurity issues from past experiences
- A need for control
- Lack of self-fulfillment
- Too many negative thoughts
- Saying what they don’t mean and thinking of the same about their partner
- Too much focus on the future
Which of the above causes you to overthink?
As you get to understand your thoughts, you’ll realize that once you identify your triggers, it’ll get easier to find a solution right on this list of strategies. Therefore, examine your relationship and find out where your overthinking stems from.
3. Determine What You Want in a Relationship
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Instead of anguishing over what you don’t want, your partner’s blunders, and anything negative, get to know what you want in a relationship first.
Sometimes you’re expecting the wrong things. Things other people want. And even worse, you may be expecting what you don’t want from the wrong person in the wrong relationship. How sad because in that case, you’ll never get what you want no matter how you analyze issues.
So before we discuss anything else, What do you really want in a relationship? Once you know the answer, you can talk to your partner openly. This way, they can discover how to make you feel better and decide if they’re willing to do it.
4. Be Your Best Self and Consider That is Enough
Sometimes, you demand too much of yourself to be a perfect partner. Other times, you don’t do your best which makes you feel insecure. Either way, the safest way to carry out a successful relationship is to be your best self and hope your partner will accept you as you are.
And whether they accept you or not, that’s their choice, not an issue you need to overthink.
You need to realize and embrace this major truth. Choosing to accept and love someone as much as you can, that’s your choice. You’ll hope that they reciprocate but one brutal truth is, they might not. And that’s okay. You need to stop overthinking your relationship and instead, practice how to be your best self.
5. Let Go the Desire to Control and Accept Uncertainty
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Maybe you’re a perfectionist. Or perhaps you were hurt in the past and wish to avoid the pain at all costs. Maybe you struggle with tolerating uncertainty in general. Whatever your struggles with control, you have to stop overthinking in your relationship. And letting go can help.
Don’t get me wrong, letting go isn’t as easy as it sounds. You have to battle the urge to control every time it crops up and decide to tolerate uncertainty instead. This requires you to embrace the fact that, you can never control what others think — the best you can do is take charge of how you think and act.
6. Ask Your Partner
No matter how you keep thinking too much about things happening in your relationship, you might not get the answers you desperately need. Even worse, your trust in your partner will keep depreciating. However, if you talk to your partner about these things, you can get their perspective and end the overthinking spiral.
Also, when you think about being open with your partner, it’ll be easy to let go of some unnecessary worries that you thought were worth stressing about. Effective communication is one of the fundamental principles to a successful relationship.
7. Choose to Focus on the Positive
You’ve probably heard of negativity bias. It’s a human tendency to remember negative things more than positive ones. Think about it; don’t you remember the details of a bad experience more than those of positive experiences?
However, you can crush the constant negativity that comes with overthinking by training your mind to focus on the positive things. Even better, you can keep a gratitude journal to note the good things about your relationship.
But again, don’t misunderstand this by suppressing red flags or logical mistakes in your relationship. Try finding solutions for the wrongs but also remember to look at the positive side of things to enjoy the good things in your relationship.
8. Stay in the Present Instead of Encouraging the Toxic Thought Spiral
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When you’re overthinking things, your mind usually wanders back to past events and possible future happenings. It robs your peace and yet while thinking about all that, you might miss the great moments you should be having in the present.
Instead, ensure that you’re fully present to savor every moment. Here are essential tips to staying in the moment in a relationship:
- Listen and ensure you’re emotionally attuned
- Immerse yourself in how you feel
- Let yourself be vulnerable
- Create time for connection
- Avoid multitasking
Most of the answers to your worries are found in staying present. Staying present is one of the most powerful acts of a successful relationship.
9. Cultivate a Rich Life
A rich life isn’t about money. It’s about fulfillment. And when you keep overthinking a relationship, chances are, your life is lacking richness. Even without realizing it, you may be looking up to another person to make you feel fulfilled. Unfortunately, that leads to huge disappointments that take you down the overanalysis rabbit hole.
The best thing is, you can find fulfillment in other areas of your life. The relationship is just a part of it, view it that way. Go out with your friend, create a career you’re passionate about, use your free time to explore your hobbies — in a nutshell, start being happy by yourself and your relationship would only feel like a supplement to your happiness.
10. Mean What You Say and Say What You Mean
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One of the coping mechanisms you can use in a relationship when overthinking is talking sarcastically and losing meaning in your words as a way of disconnecting yourself before the other person pulls away.
The problem is, by meaning something else when you talk because of things you’ve made up in your head, you’re attracting a failed relationship.
You shouldn’t have to read hidden meanings in everything your partner says and they shouldn’t have to do the same in yours. When you communicate clearly, you’ll attract the same response in them to build a healthy relationship.
11. Reduce Dumping Your Thoughts on Friends
One of the common signs you’re overthinking things in your relationship is when you’re constantly asking your friends questions like, “What do you think she means by this, Where do you think he’s going, What if she’s cheating?”
The thing is, your friends won’t understand the full context of your worries especially if they’re frequent. Also, since they’re your buddies, they’ll probably believe being on your side is supporting you, worsening how you view your partner and relationship.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about your feelings though. You simply have to be smart about it and gauge whether your friends are really helpful or they promote your habit to overanalyze. It’s better to come back to this list for better ways to stop overthinking instead.
12. Get Perspective From You
Think about it; if it was your best friend frequently overthinking things in their relationship, what would you advise them? Would you let them waste their energy overanalyzing a relationship instead of finding better solutions? I doubt it. They’re you’re friend so you’ll be compassionate.
You do have a compassionate perspective but sometimes it’s hard to reach when you’re thinking about your situations. Tap into that point of view by first putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and unravel your story in its full context. After ample reflection into your relationship, you might find amazing solutions you would never find by constantly complaining to your friends.
13. Tackle Any Existing Attachment Issues With a Professional
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If you follow all the above tips and still find yourself thinking too much about your relationship, chances are, you’re dealing with a deeper issue here. You might have developed insecure attachment styles due to your past experiences. And this problem is tough to solve on your own.
In this case, checking in with a therapist or a coach can help you realize issues like attachment insecurity that you may have. Often, anxious-preoccupied attachment is the reason behind over-scrutinizing tendencies. However, an expert can help you start working towards secure attachment which helps you develop healthy relationships.
Acting on The Ways To Stop Overthinking
It isn’t enough to learn how to stop overthinking in a relationship. You need to act on these tips based on the triggers that cause you to overthink.
So tell me, why do you think you’re overthinking your relationship? Let’s talk in the comment section below. Also, consider sharing this piece to help others better their relationships.