I’ve been going in circles for the past few days trying to figure out what exactly I needed to write to let people understand what it means to be in a relationship with an overthinker.
I’ve thought about all the possible scenarios that could fit into the introduction that would indefinitely show you that being and dating an overthinker is a heavy job but that doesn’t mean you should avoid or stay away from overthinkers.
I mean, being in a relationship is already hard work, but dating someone who also overthinks makes it twice as challenging.
Being an overthinker in a relationship can also be difficult, mainly because we hang on to past experiences that hurt us and would integrate them into different scenarios in the current relationship or even the fact that with the influence of social media, especially with the trending topics of cheating and losing feelings, it gets more difficult to not think about the possibility of such scenarios. Oftentimes, because of these, our thoughts start to take over, and we’d start fights over the smallest things because we are afraid.
It’s quite confusing to understand, but I do have good points on what to do when your partner is starting to or overthinking and what happens in an overthinker's head.
Tip #1: Communicate. Talk. Converse.
To the person dating the overthinker, please be careful of your words. Because sometimes, the wrong word, phrase, sentence, or even tone of voice can easily tip the overthinker.
I know that it is sometimes beyond our control, especially when you’re angry, hungry, sleepy, or happy. But you can always let them understand what you mean. Approach them in a way where you are not blaming them or accusing them of something.
It's going to be difficult, and at times it does get irritating, but here’s a small tip of what my boyfriend did when I had my usual overthinking breakdown. He would usually run his palm on my back instead of patting my back or put both palms on my cheeks to focus on him and shush me whenever I’d overthink everything.
Also, wait for them to talk to you instead of forcing it out of them. You can’t always get a “what’s wrong” answer from them.
To the overthinker, I know it’s difficult but try to tell him/her what’s bothering you. Nothing will fix it if you keep it to yourself. I know that talking about it is a HUGE step but do it gradually. Start with telling him how you feel, but if it’s too hard, you could always start with silently staying beside him. You don’t always have to talk.
You could also practice what you want to say in front of a mirror or write it down and say it out loud when you’re scared (Hey, I do this!). Because I am more expressive in my letters than when I have to spontaneously tell him.
It took me a while to tell him without bawling my eyes out (I mean, there are still days, but it has gone better).
Tip #2: Reassurance. You’re-doing-great pep talks.
To the person dating the overthinker, I know it’s quite difficult or even annoying sometimes but giving them the assurance that you’re still there to listen to them and love them despite the overthinking.
I get that it sometimes can be too much, and often times you ask for assurance more than usual, but to be completely honest with you, based on my own experience, my boyfriend would rephrase and repeat the questions I ask him when I start to overthink, and he’d tell me answers to my questions like when I ask if he still loves me after my many emotional breakdowns.
When it starts to get harder, my boyfriend would whip out dating connect and sit me down to remember our goals and deepen our relationship through reassurance with the questions in the game.
To the overthinker, I know that sometimes our minds and emotions start to take control and ask all the “what if’s” and “maybe’s.” And I can’t just tell you to “get it together” or “stop thinking about it” when it’s hard to control it in the first place.
But you also have to give yourself the reassurance that you need. Sounds difficult? Right?!
I mean, I had a hard time doing that when I first tried it, and I still have a hard time doing it now. But it does help.
I’m not saying that’s the ultimate solution, but when you start doing it (other than spiraling), you feel better. To start acknowledging and appreciating you’re self.
Tip #3: “Don’t overthink.” ❌🙅🏼♀️🙅🏼♂️
To the person dating the overthinker, by all means, never tell them to don’t overthink or stop overthinking because as much as it’s easy to say it, it’s beyond difficult to do. For you, it may be as easy as pausing your brain in a quick second or changing the course of your thought, but it can be quite difficult for overthinkers to do that.
Most of my boyfriends would usually tell me to just stop overthinking, just because. I’ve had this one instance where my overthinking had really brought a massive argument that lead to threats of leaving me.
If you love your partner a lot, then please NEVER make her feel as if her overthinking is stupid or annoying. Overthinking is not something that they can manually control nor stop, so as much as possible, don’t blame your partner for also being scared.
To the overthinker, I know how difficult it is to be shut down by someone from our past whenever we share what we are overthinking about, and I do feel for you. But I do know that someone will always be willing or if they’re not there yet, someone will definitely come into your life to listen to you and give you the assurance that you’re asking for.
Tip #4: Overflowing emotions
To the person dating the overthinker, there will be a lot of days where your partner will be pouring out their emotions for you, emotions that come out of nowhere with or without a trigger.
I’ve even had instances where I woke up next to my boyfriend and just started bawling my eyes out, or that he was just washing dishes and I had just leaned over and started crying.
As a girl, I believe people have already been generalizing women to be emotional creatures, so most of the time, our feelings can be dismissed. Other than crying, there will also be times when you might think that our “period” has come.
To the overthinker, our emotions are strong on some days, especially when we don’t expect it, and it’s okay. But you also have to remember that when our emotions start exploding, you have the option to share them with your partner. Don’t restrict yourself or isolate yourself when you start feeling these things, especially when you have a trusting and understanding partner.
Although all relationships are different, you’ll always have your ways of sharing how you feel.
Tip #5: Constant apologies
To the person dating the overthinker, you will get constant apologies about something small or about something you didn’t even notice. At times, it can get annoying, but at times you’ll also develop the habit of saying sorry to everything, and I mean everything.
Understand that it is not something they can just stop. It has been a formed habit for all the things that happened in the past. For some reason they believe that saying sorry would let our previous partners know that we don’t want them to leave (well in some cases but not all). But with the constant need to say sorry, signifies that they have been deeply hurt before and that they don’t want to hurt anyone else so they’ll just lower themselves.
This is for both the overthinker and the partner, it’s okay to say sorry from time to time, and eventually, things do get better and there are fewer “sorrys.”
Tip #6: Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.
To the person dating the overthinker, you will be faced with a lot of decisions. Decisions your partner cannot make for herself or for the relationship. Yes, that includes the “breakup” decision because oftentimes, overthinkers would think that they have become a burden, not worth the time, or had become a “bad guy” and that kind of decision means that they are running away from their emotions.
Personally, I went through that decision when I was having one of my emotional breakdowns. Thankfully my boyfriend was the understanding type and knew that he had to probe me with questions such as “what made you think that way?” “How can I make you feel like you’re not any of those negative feelings?” and had calmed me down while letting me see what would have happened if I ever made that decision.
I understand that it is scary and that it can be overwhelming to be faced with that kind of situation, especially when it’s your first time, but do understand that overthinkers will always let their emotions take over their logic. Hence, they don’t focus or think about the good memories and start focusing on their flaws and insecurities.
Also, it doesn’t always mean that these decisions are limited to just “breakups”. It also means what they would say when you tell them you’re going to have boys or girls' night. We go back to what was stated in the first part, you - reassure them.
To the overthinker, I know that “breaking up” may seem like the only solution at times, but it really isn’t. I know it’s so easy for me to say it, but I would really like it if you would let your partner be there for you. Don’t push him/her away; don’t run away from what you’re feeling because your feelings are valid.
I completely understand that you may feel such things right now, or maybe at times you don’t expect it, but trust me. This feeling will pass. It’s not permanent.
Words: Jan of Life Sutra