Did you know that being shy and socially anxious can ruin your relationship? Here’s how shyness affects your love life – and can ruin your marriage.
Shyness and social anxiety can negatively affect your relationship, but it really helps if you’re aware of the effects of being shy.
Surprisingly, psychology research shows that shyness is linked to more severe marriage problems and lower marriage quality. I thought shyness and the related introverted personality traits only affect relationships with strangers, but it turns out that being shy can actually affect your marriage.
Here is a summary of the psychological research on shyness and relationships, a definition of shy personality traits and social anxiety disorder, and three ways to overcome social anxiety.
The Research on Shy Personality Traits and Love
Psychology researchers Levi Baker and James K. McNulty found that shyness was linked to more severe marriage problems among newlyweds and to overall lower marriage quality. People with shy personality traits reported more problems with trust, jealousy, money, and household management.
These researchers suggest that people with shy personality traits often have a more difficult time entering into social relationships. Shy people feel more social anxiety, and are less confident in dealing with the problems in love relationships.
“There is hope even though shyness itself might be resistant to change,” according to the authors of “Shyness and Marriage: Does Shyness Shape Even Established Relationships?” in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. “People can be taught to have more efficacy in how to resolve the specific marital problems they face. As a consequence, any marital difficulties prompted by personality can be prevented by explicit training on dealing with marital problems.”
What is Shyness?
Shyness is not a psychological disorder. People can have shy personality traits without experiencing social anxiety disorder, and shyness can come and go, depending on the situation. Being shy is a tendency to avoid people because being alone is preferable – similar to introverted personality traits. Shyness is about not knowing what to say in certain social situations, and feeling uneasy with unfamiliar people. Shyness affects relationships in different ways.
Need marriage help? Get FREE relationship advice from Marriage Coach Mort Fertel.
Are you an introvert, or are you shy? Here’s a test for introverted personality traits.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
People who struggle with social anxiety feel extremely self-conscious and afraid in social situations.
Activities like meeting new people, going to a party, and talking to coworkers can cause extreme fear and anxiety for people who are socially anxious.
How to Overcome Social Anxiety
The more you learn about shy personality traits and social anxiety disorder (which are two different things, but have similar “treatments”), the less alone and awkward you’ll feel. Social anxiety is a problem when it interferes with your love relationships, career, and daily life – which is why it’s important to learn how to overcome it!
The first step to coping with social anxiety or extreme shyness is to learn as much as you can about it. For instance, social anxiety is the most common type of anxiety disorder. Most people feel anxious in certain social situations (such as public speaking), whether they’re shy or not.
If you’re in love with someone who is very shy and your marriage or relationship is falling apart, read Emotional Disconnection in Marriage – How to Feel Less Alone.
Understand How Social Anxiety and Shyness Affects You
Is anxiety preventing you from communicating honestly or solving problems in your love relationship or marriage? Is shyness affecting your marriage or children? Are you more inclined to lock yourself away in your room, instead of participating in social activities with your family and loved ones?
Social anxiety disorder and shy personality traits affect different people in different ways.To cope, identify the “trigger” situations that cause feelings of panic, fear, or distress. Then, learn ways to overcome the anxious feelings.
How to Overcome Shyness When You’re in Love
Different people overcome social anxiety in different ways. If you have shy personality traits, for instance, you might read books about shyness and learn how to balance self-acceptance with healthy growth. If you struggle with feelings of extreme fear and anxiety — and your love relationship is negatively affected — then you might overcome social anxiety by talking to a cognitive-behavioral therapist or counselor.
Or, perhaps overcoming social anxiety or shyness isn’t the right approach. As the psychology researchers above say, maybe it’s more effective to learn how to deal with problems in your love relationship rather than trying to change who you are. It just depends on your personality, situation, and lifestyle.
If you’re in love with an extremely shy person – or an introvert – read Introverts in Love With Extroverts – Can Your Relationship Work?
Source: SAGE Publications. “Shyness Negatively Affects Marital Quality.” 20 May 2010.