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How to Manage and Alleviate Separation Anxiety in Relationships

This article will provide insightful guidance and practical strategies for individuals and couples to effectively manage and alleviate separation anxiety in relationships, fostering healthier and more secure emotional connections.


Separation anxiety in relationships is characterized by recurrent fears of abandonment and separation. Relationship separation anxiety can occur in children who have intense and recurrent fears of being abandoned or separated from their family, particularly their parents or caregivers.

However, adult separation anxiety relationship issues can be even more challenging, as they disrupt normal function and can lead to not only excessive fear but also panic attacks and other anxiety-related symptoms. This article will focus on managing and alleviating this form of anxiety as an adult.

separation anxiety in relationships

What is separation anxiety in relationships?

Separation anxiety in relationships is any situation where romantic or familial relationships can end up causing emotional distress, namely intense fear of being separated or abandoned. This differs from any normal concerns in a relationship because it can be overwhelming and intense beyond what is considered normal and significantly interfere with relationships as a result.

Symptoms of relationship separation anxiety

There are different symptoms and behavioral patterns associated with separation anxiety and relationships, which include the following:

  • excessive worry about the relationship
  • clinginess and need for reassurance
  • difficulty with physical separation
  • physical symptoms when separated
  • jealousy and trust issues
  • impact on social and professional life
  • avoidance of future planning

Emotional and psychological impact

Without treatment, separation anxiety can cause significant distress to the individual and anyone with whom they have a relationship. Things like past experiences, attachment styles, and individual psychological factors can increase the likelihood that someone will experience operation anxiety, and symptoms like problems with physical separation, clinginess, or trust issues can be a detriment to any familial or romantic relationship.

How to deal with separation anxiety in relationships

If you are trying to figure out how to deal with separation anxiety in relationships, there are some practical tips that you can use to manage your anxiety symptoms.

separation anxiety in relationships


The first is to practice self-awareness to recognize and understand your anxiety triggers. If you are struggling with separation anxiety relationship issues, you need to figure out what your personal triggers are.

  • Are you triggered by someone going on vacation?
  • Are you triggered by someone getting mad at you and walking away?
  • Do you get triggered by stress at work?
  • Do you get triggered by raised voices?
  • Are you triggered when someone doesn’t respond to a text message or call you back?
  • Do you get triggered when you don’t know where your friend or partner went?


Once you know your triggers, it’s important to practice self-care activities that can promote relaxation and well-being. Self-care activities can look different for everyone, but they might include things like:

  • Taking a break to walk outside
  • Meditation
  • Using anxiety coloring books
  • Listening to your favorite song or playlist
  • Playing with your pets
  • Gardening
  • Doing yoga or other exercise
  • Using a face mask or steam mask for your eyes

Support Network

It’s also important that you establish a strong support network of friends and family. Figuring out how to deal with separation and anxiety in relationships can be difficult not just for you but for the people with whom you have relationships. When you have a strong network, you have people you can reach out to without judgment in moments of anxiety or frustration.

That network can also help you if, for example, you are feeling triggered and you’re trying to build your self-confidence, maintain realistic expectations for communication, or practice self-care. Maybe you can call a friend or family member to come over and put on a face mask with you or meet you at a local park to go on a short walk.


Life is all about balance. In adult relationships, it’s imperative that you have hobbies and interests that are outside of that relationship. The most successful relationships are where both Partners have friends outside of the relationship, not just mutual friends. It’s equally important that both partners have individual hobbies or interests they can go do.

If you don’t know what those hobbies or interests are, set out to find a new hobby. Consider reaching out to that support network of friends and family to see if someone will do things like take a pottery class with you or practice a new form of yoga with you.

Coping Strategies

When you struggle with anxiety, you need to have coping strategies that you can use. Coping strategies can help you with relationship separation anxiety by pivoting your attention back to the present, back to things within your control and things that are most important.

Some of the most common coping strategies include mindfulness or deep breathing. These are things that can be used at any time, whether you’re in a meeting at work, driving home on the freeway, or in your house pacing in the living room.

Realistic Expectations

You also need to work on setting realistic expectations for your relationship and the communication within that relationship. Separation anxiety in relationships can rear its head when you have unrealistic expectations, and those expectations are not met.

With open communication, you can set goals and expectations for things like how quickly a partner or friend might respond to messages. You might have to learn that just because someone isn’t there for you as soon as you want them does not mean they don’t love you and does not mean that there’s anything wrong; it just means that they have other obligations and might not be awake or be on their phone or be able to answer.

separation anxiety in relationships

Open Communication

Tangentially, it’s important that you practice open and honest communication with your partner about your feelings and your needs. This doesn’t just mean that you tell them exactly how often you need them to respond to a message or that they have to let you track their location on their phone.

Instead, it means that you explain your feelings, your triggers, and other aspects of what it’s like to have separation anxiety in your relationship. You can work with your partner to figure out how they can best support you and manage your symptoms. This might mean open communication, setting healthy boundaries, and fostering trust. But it also means that you have to work on your management, which could include building self-confidence, getting new hobbies, or seeking professional help.

Build Self-confidence and Independence

It is up to you to build self-confidence and Independence so that you can start to slowly overcome relationship separation anxiety. The more independent and confident you are, the less triggered you will be when, for example, you text a friend and ask them how they are doing, and they don’t get back to you for several days. Instead of assuming that they are mad at you, you might just assume that they are sick, on vacation, or really busy with work, just the same as you have been in the past.

Seek Professional Help

If your anxiety becomes overwhelming, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. While there are strategies you can use to manage and alleviate separation anxiety and relationships, your anxiety might be heavily rooted in a legitimate mental health disorder that requires therapy and medication from a professional.

Summing Up

There are several preventative measures that you can use to avoid relationship separation anxiety, both developing or escalating. If you have employed these measures to build your self-confidence, have open communication, and keep a support network of friends, and the strategies are still not working, and your anxiety is overwhelming, seek professional help.

Figuring out how to deal with separation anxiety in relationships might mean therapy or counseling. It could extend to medication for underlying anxiety disorders. No matter what you employ, it’s imperative that you continue to grow and build resilience in your relationships.

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