Why Highly Sensitive People Are More Prone to Relationship Anxiety

1. They’re afraid of being rejected.

HSPs often grow up feeling different, as though they have a disorder (which they don’t). “I am not normal” and “There is something wrong with me” are both recurrent thoughts for a highly sensitive person. We often feel disconnected to others, especially when we are young and grow up being told we need to “toughen up” instead of learning to embrace our sensitivity.

As adults, as relationship anxiety finds its roots in the fear of being abandoned, we want to be certain that our partner will not leave us. Therefore, we want to constantly make sure that everything is perfect, from our feelings to the way our partner acts. Because perfection means happiness, and happiness means our partner will not abandon us. (That’s how the mind of someone with relationship anxiety thinks.)
2. They are very in touch with their feelings — and it gets overwhelming.

HSPs feel everything, all the time, from excitement to boredom to nostalgia. And we all know that relationships are a roller coaster of emotions. When we feel happy and excited, we associate it with the relationship being “good.” But when we feel sad, anxious, or unsure, we automatically think that there is no love anymore. And it makes us even more sad, anxious, or unsure.
3. They are dreamers and idealists.

We have been raised in a culture where Hollywood’s happy endings and Disney’s fairy tales were often our first exposure to romantic relationships. As an HSP, we are more prone to have big expectations — because we want the reality to match our beliefs.

But the thing is, big expectations lead to big disappointments. And big disappointments lead to even bigger anxious thoughts, like “This must mean that this relationship is wrong” or “If I do not reenact The Notebook on a daily basis, I am not in love with my partner.”
4. They are all-or-nothing people.

When you have relationship anxiety as an HSP, it is either, “ love you and you are my soulmate” or “I feel nothing when looking at you; it must mean that we are not meant for each other.” And this black-or-white thinking can cause a lot of anxiety.
5. They need more time alone.

Romantic relationships are often associated with connection, intimacy, and intense passion. However, as an HSP, we get overwhelmed easily and need more alone time and space to charge our batteries.

But it can feel awkward to feel that — is there something “wrong” with us (or the relationship) just because we need alone time? Other couples seem to spend all their time together… So it can bring up feelings of guilt and the usual heart-breaking question, “Am I normal?” (Yes, you are, by the way!)