It can promote hostile, paranoid and suspicious thinking that lowers our self-esteem and drives unhealthy levels of distrust, defensiveness, jealousy and anxiety.

If and when people do start dating, the early stages can present them with endless worries: “Does he/she really like me? In fact, as things get closer between a couple, anxiety can get even more intense. How can we keep our anxiety in check and allow ourselves to be vulnerable to someone we love?

Put simply, falling in love challenges us in numerous ways we don’t expect.

Conversely, some of us will feel easily intruded on in our relationships.

We may retreat from our partners, detach from our feelings of desire. These patterns of relating can come from our early attachment styles.

The specific critical inner voices we have about ourselves, our partner and relationships are formed out of early attitudes we were exposed to in our family or in society at large.

Sexual stereotypes as well as attitudes that our influential caretakers had toward themselves and others can infiltrate our point of view and shade our current perceptions.

It’s the one that tells us:“You’re too ugly/fat/boring to keep his/her interest.”“You’ll never meet anyone, so why even try? He’s looking for someone better.”“She doesn’t really love you.

Get out before you get hurt.”This critical inner voice makes us turn against ourselves and the people close to us.

Relationships can be one of the most pleasurable things on the planet… ”All this worrying about our relationships can make us feel pretty alone.

but they can also be a breeding ground for anxious thoughts and feelings. It can lead us to create distance between ourselves and our partner.

When we get in our heads, focusing on these worried thoughts, we become incredibly distracted from real relating with our partner.