Dating someone with anxiety is a little bit like living in a mystery novel. There are twists and turns in your partner’s occasionally unpredictable state: Sometimes, they’re calm and upbeat but then suddenly, without warning, they recede into themselves and start to panic. As much as this can be a roller coaster of emotions for you, imagine what it must be like for them.
You want to be supportive and even make the anxiety “go away,” but it’s just not that simple. This doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless, however—far from it. Sometimes a little physical contact is all it takes to show someone experiencing a bout of anxiety that you’re there for them, and sometimes you need to know when to call in reinforcements (like professional help). To help us figure out how and when to show your partner some support, we reached out to Signe Simon, Ph.D., a therapist at Alma, a New York-based practice, and therapist Antoinette Collarini-Schlossberg Ph.D., for their best pieces of advice.