How can I lessen my anxious attachment to a partner?

I have a situationship with a boy (he's 20 and I am a 20 year old female). We have mutually decided to keep things casual as we are in the same friend group, but I have found myself feeling more than I thought I would for him. I get in my head when he doesn't respond to me right away and assume he doesn't like me when in person he assures me that's not the case and he just doesn't use his phone all that much. I loved our situation before I started feeling anxious and want to know how I can lessen that negative attachment without ending the relationship as I really like being with him and enjoying his presence and personality. I overthink our interactions and I want to feel more relaxed and silly like I was when I met him rather than uptight and quick to assume. Any tips? Thank you.
Asked by Magnolia


First, I appreciate you sharing what's going on and I can provide some guidance around this. I'll list a few different ideas on how to approach your casual relationship with him here.

I might start out with acknowledging that the relationship has changed and it's normal to feel anxious about the unknown when you both initially decided on being casual together and noticing now you have stronger feelings for him. I think this is very important and overlooked. Often times we will act on anxiety and avoid how we feel, talking about things, etc. I might suggest asking yourself what feels effective around this? An example might be... I'm at a place where I want to problem solve my anxiety and ask if he'd like to have a relationship with me, etc.? I'm giving a hypothetical on this. 

I can understand why you might not want to rock the boat either if you're enjoying your time with him and are fearful that it might end what feels pretty good right now. 

Another piece that is more on a micro level is to notice when feeling anxious you may check things more often, which can increase your anxiety drastically. An example might be texting and checking your phone over and over and hoping for a response. I can understand how it can be validating and reassuring to hear from him and understand it can be painful when you don't get the response in the time frame you're looking for. often times, I will try to urge surf or notice my checking behavior and try to block it essentially (not look at my phone and instead notice the intensity or sensation of wanting to look at my phone for his text or snap, etc.

My last idea to help you process this further is I'll often ask myself this question... Is keeping the peace now going to keep me miserable going forward? This is for you to recognize and decide when you're not okay any longer as a casual relationship. All these things may help alleviate your anxiety around the relationship and likely lead to you being more relaxed around him and silly. I hope this all helps and I understand this isn't a solve all.

I wish you the best,

Mitchell Daas, MA, LPCC