Until recently I had never considered messaging Matt to be unhealthy. I have what I can only describe as separation anxiety. I have this unhealthy need to know where my partner is, what he is doing and what his plans are every time we are apart. This can range from a normal day at work to us being out with friends or family. The issue is, this means neither of us particularly enjoy the time we spend apart. For the person who is out they feel the need to constantly keep the other person updated meaning they are spending less time being present with their friends and for the person at home they spend time worrying and phone watching to ensure that replies are not missed. This is unhealthy and we (I have put my unhealthy issues onto Matthew) are definitely guilty of this unhealthy habit. The issue stems from my insecurities and over time these ‘updates’ have become the norm in our relationship. Since being confronted on these issues I now realise something that was normal for us, is an added reason for my anxiety.
Every morning I bike to work and Matthew drives to work (about a 30-minute drive). Every morning we text each other to let the other know that we have arrived safely. For years I have done this, with my family and ex’s. I didn’t think a simple kind act (in my opinion) could be the reason for anxiety and worry every time we are apart, the issue is that I place an expectation on Matt to let me know he is ok - in reality, if something happened to either of us on the way to work or at any other time, we would call the other person and let them know. We do not need to message each other to say we arrived safely, by doing this, it means every time one of us goes out we expect a text from the other person when they have arrived anywhere! Then, if for whatever reason we do not receive a text, we instantly go into panic mode - again, not healthy. So going forwards, I am putting a stop to these endless updates. If I need to contact Matt and vice versa we will, but we do not need to message each other all day throughout the day. By messaging each other so frequently, it puts a lot of pressure on us when we are out to do the same things, but as mentioned earlier, when you are with friends you do not want to be constantly messaging your partner and others will think it’s rude and odd! (And they do). If we can wean down the texts during the day, it means when we go out doing our own thing, we will have less expectations when it comes to messaging throughout the day.
The other thing that worries me is that if I get myself worked up and worried about Matt when we are apart, what the bloody hell will I be like when I have children? Before I get to this step, I am making changes in my life to be a better, more relaxed person where I have the ability to realise that my thoughts or reactions are unwarranted and over the top.
If, like me, you feel you are texting your partner too much and putting expectations on this to keep you constantly updated and reply to you within minutes then we need to find things that bring us validation from within! Find things that bring you joy, spend time with people who make you feel less lonely, write a blog! Have a bath, read a book, do some yoga. Spend time doing the things you love and make the most of your time alone rather than pining after them. So that your partner doesn’t think you’ve lost interest in them, make sure you have a conversation about the topic, explain how it makes you feel and allow them to join you on this journey of positive change. I am not saying that I will never message Matt while he is away or is at work but I want it to be a lot less and I want to stop putting expectations on when and how often he messages me while he is away. I want to enjoy the time to myself and not sit there feeling lonely and abandoned while he has fun without me! Oh, emotions and unhealthy habits are just great!