Let’s get real: relationships are difficult. Whether you’ve been dating your SO for the last four days or four years, there’s always a kink (and I don’t mean the fun kind of kink) or two in even the healthiest relationship.
Even if the smallest complication in you and your SO’s relationship doesn’t seem like a big deal, it can turn into a plague on your relationship if you continue to obsess over the same small things.
After all, the little things in life matter and the little things in your relationship shouldn’t be treated any differently. Learning how to let go of certain things will help your relationship become ever healthier.
I know as soon as you tell yourself to stop overthinking, you’re going to start overthinking even more. One thing will lead to another, and you’ll be contemplating how your beau is planning to move to a different country and marry a Victoria’s Secret model all because he said he was too busy to meet for lunch today.
We can all be professional overthinkers at times, but if you’re consistently overthinking simple things that your SO does (or doesn’t do), then you should talk to your partner about this. Let them know that you’ve been overthinking things.
Communicating to your SO about why you’ve been overthinking will allow you both to understand some of the triggers and underlying reasons for your overthinking.
If you notice that you tend to dwell on similar situations, then you might be worried that your partner doesn’t like you as much as they used to. Talking to your SO about this can make your relations a lot less stressful.
As a chronic overthinker myself, it’s better to have a discussion with your SO about how you interpret what they are and aren’t doing. Rather than letting those thoughts consume your emotional health, chatting with your SO will allow you both to get some clarify (after all, your bae might be overthinking some things too).
If talking to your partner about the miniscule things that make you overthink (and the bigger picture issues that might be causing you to overthink) doesn’t help, then you both could work on ways to calm your overactive imagination:
Don’t focus on the things that can go wrong. Harmless overthinking can be exacerbated because you only focus on the things that could go wrong. So if you start to worry that your SO is becoming distant because he or she couldn’t Netflix and binge eat pizza this week, then you should stop yourself short of thinking that bae has a side piece. Instead, think of the positive things your SO could be doing. He or she could be working, finishing an essay or even visiting the local animal shelter to surprise you with the cutest and softest puppy ever (okay, that might be a long shot, but we can all dream). Regardless, try to focus on the optimistic scenarios too, so your overthinking doesn’t consume you.
Be proactive about your overthinking. Noticing when you’re overthinking is a skill that is mastered by few. However, when you do first notice your exaggerated thinking, don’t just think about it and wait for all those thoughts to resurface at the most inopportune time — do something about it. Think about what you can actively do about whatever it is that causes you to overthink. Whatever that action is, you need to do it (even if it’s as simple as talking to your SO or doing something for yourself to forget about your nagging thoughts).
Realize that overthinking won’t solve anything. You probably can’t predict the future, and even if you could, overthinking isn’t going to fix whatever minor issues you’re having in your relationship.
2. Getting hung up on the differences
It shouldn’t be news that everyone’s different. Even you and your bestie have your differences (despite the fact that you both are basically twins), so it’s completely natural for you and your SO to have different likes and dislikes.
Granted, it’s important that you and your beau agree on more significant issues (like your basic survival plan if the zombie apocalypse ever happens and how many dogs you should get), but you shouldn’t fret if your partner has a slightly different lifestyle than you.
Molly Crum, a James Madison University alumna, explains that you shouldn’t “let small differences in personality or preferences totally freak you out.” Molly continues, “For example, I really enjoy working out daily whereas my boyfriend only exercises when he can around his busy schedule and if he truly feels like it. However, our differences are nothing drastic; he never tries to change me or stop me from doing my workouts, and I never pressure him to join me at the gym. Of course shared values and interests are important, but small differences can actually keep a relationship interesting as long as each of you accept the other for who they are.” After all, you shouldn’t want to change your partner.
Obviously, any lifestyle differences might seem like a deal breaker in the long run, but ultimately it doesn’t matter if your SO exercises less than you or puts milk in the bowl before the cereal (even if that does seem a bit insulting). Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about any small differences between the two of you.
3. Comparing your partner to anyone else
While you may not be verbalizing these comparisons to your SO (though if you are, seriously stop, because comparing anyone to another person is one of the worst things you can do for someone’s self-esteem and mental health), it’s unrealistic to compare your current SO to your ex.
Obviously, your SO isn’t your ex, but that isn’t a bad thing — seeing as your ex is your ex for a reason. Regardless, if you’re still doting on whatever good qualities your ex had, you should instead focus on the awesome qualities that made you fall in love (or like) with your SO. After all, it’s not very healthy to mentally compare your partner with anyone else (including other Instagram couples).
John Remus, a senior at Iowa State University, explains that “you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people.” John continues, “I used to compare myself to other guys, and that made me feel really inadequate in my past relationships.” After all, comparing yourself to other people (whether they’re your SO’s friends of a celeb) isn’t healthy either and can cause some serious jealous and intimacy issues in your relationship.
Regardless, your SO is a different person (thankfully) and you should love that your bae is different. Instead of obsessing over the little things in your relationship, you should learn to enjoy your SO’s company – so you can be truly happy in your relationship.