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How to Stop Overthinking Your Relationship

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When you’re in love, it’s so tempting to ruminate and obsess. But overthinking is unhealthy and destructive. If you’re ready to learn how to stop overthinking a relationship, try these seven strategies for women who think too much…

women who think too muchIn You Are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life, neuroscientists Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Rebecca Gladding describe how the brain works and why we often feel besieged by overactive brain circuits (i.e. bad habits, social anxieties, overthinking relationships, thinking too much, etc.). They explain that the key to making life changes that you want – how to make your brain work for you – is to consciously choose to “starve” these circuits of focused attention. If you learn how to stop overthinking with their techniques, you’ll change bad cognitive habits that lead to anxiety and even depression.

On How to Know if You Should Reconcile After a Separation, a reader asked if she should wait for her husband to ask her for a date after they separated, or if she should ask him out. She was paralyzed with indecision and fear because she didn’t know how to stop overthinking her relationship. I encouraged her to ask her husband out for coffee and stop overanalyzing everything.

That’s when paralysis and fear sets in: when we think too much.

7 Ways to Stop Overthinking Your Relationship

Psychologists have found that overthinking can is emotionally, physically, and even spiritually harmful. Overthinking relationships and other life events can lead to anxiety and depression. Overthinkers are more prone to sustained sadness and negative thinking. Overthinking has also been shown to impair problem solving and rational thought, and interfere with initiative and motivation.

Women, by the way, are much more likely than men to ruminate on stress and disappointments – and engage in overthinking a relationship – than men. Overthinking also spreads negative thoughts and fosters a pessimistic view of the situation and a relationship.

Be patient with my tips on how to stop overthinking

When I wrote How to Let Go of Someone You Love eight years ago, I shared my experience with a family estrangement that devastated me. My sister stopped talking to me; it was the worst experience I’ve ever had. For about seven long, hard years I overanalyzed my behavior as a sister and berated myself for being a bad person. I never once blamed my sister for her decision to cut me out of her life, or for the pain she caused me by suddenly giving me the silent treatment.

Have you lived a lifetime of overthinking relationships? Take a deep breath, and allow yourself time to learn differently. Know that learning how to stop overthinking in your relationship is difficult, especially when you’ve overanalyzed conversations and actions for years or even decades. It takes time to unlearn the habit of thinking too much.

Get an objective perspective from someone you trust

I didn’t talk to a counselor or pastor about my sister, but I did tell my husband and a couple of close friends about my tendency to obsess about her decision. They were “on my side” – but I didn’t believe them when they reassured me that I had done nothing wrong. I thought they had to side with me, because they love me! I didn’t talk to a wise, objective counselor or therapist.

Instead of getting an objective perspective on my sister’s decision to leave me, I allowed myself to overthink our relationship for years. What a waste of time, energy, and emotional zest! I could’ve been using my emotions and energy for valuable things, not wasting it on regret and self-hatred.

Then stop talking about it

After you share your experience with someone you trust (or write about how you can’t stop overthinking a relationship in the comments section below), you must stop talking about it. The more you talk about it, the more you think about it.

Instead of talking about how to stop overthinking, ask your friends, family, and coworkers about their lives. Make conversation about them, not you. If you’re not sincerely interested in what’s going on in your loved ones’ lives, then start thinking about how to care for others more. Get over yourself!

Distract yourself – a practical way to stop overthinking a relationship

When you find yourself ruminating about something you or someone else said or did, distract yourself. Some psychologists recommend “thought stopping” by putting an elastic around your wrist and snapping it when you find yourself thinking too much. I distract myself by focusing on whatever is true, good, worthy, and holy. I remind myself to think about GOOD things that lift my spirits and settle my soul, not bad things that make me feel like crap.

I also write about my experience as an overthinking and a ruminator, and share it with people like you. Overthinkers like us!

Know that everything happens for a reason

How to Emotionally Detach From Someone You Care About is one of my most popular articles because we have such a hard time letting go. Part of this is overthinking a relationship; we think we can’t live without that person, and we believe our lives are worse because we were left behind.

The truth is that my life may be enhanced because of my sister’s absence in my life. There may be many benefits than I’m not aware of. When I overthink, I forget that I don’t have the full picture, and I’m like an ant in this great big world. I think I’m powerful and in control…but the truth is that I’m small and vulnerable. And yet I am confident and peaceful! Why? Not just because I’ve learned how to stop overthinking relationships, but because I’ve given my heart and life to God.

Surrender to God

women who think too much

How to Stop Overthinking a Relationship

Why my sister stopped talking to me I may never know. I went through hours of painful rejection and rumination, and what was the result? Perhaps so you could read my tips on how to stop overthinking a relationship. Maybe I went through my phase of ruminating a lost relationship so you could hear my story…and so God could remind you that He loves you and is watching every detail of your life. He may even be calling you to Him, and wanting you to know that if you surrender to His plan for your life, you never have to worry or overthink or ruminate again.

Find your purpose in life

If you know what you’re here for, then you’re less likely to overthink your relationships. If I didn’t have my Bounce Back Babe blogs, I wouldn’t have figured out how to stop overthinking relationships. Finding my purpose has distracted me from ruminating and wondering why things turned out the way they did.

If you like to be in control of your relationship, read How to Stop Being a Controlling Girlfriend.

I welcome your thoughts on how to stop overthinking a relationship, but I can’t offer advice or counseling. If you want to share what you’re thinking too much about, please feel free!

Trust that you are where you are supposed to be. Everything is unfolding exactly the way it’s meant to.

My prayer is that you hand over your worries, insecurities, fears, and concerns to God. May you be free from overthinking and overanalyzing, and may you find peace in your life.


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2 thoughts on “How to Stop Overthinking Your Relationship”

  1. These are so many of the points I’m really trying to grasp and work on with my own sister. We are at a good place for the most part, but there are times I constantly worry about her because I know she has things to work on. She is constantly wanting to have plans and I can’t always keep them, and then she makes me feel bad for having a relationship and I end up giving in to what she wants. I don’t think she intends to do that I just overthink every action and try to make her see that I’m not trying to avoid her, but I need time to myself or with my boyfriend. I think she is afraid of losing me or that she just really doesn’t like being alone, but I know it is not me that can fix her. I’m thinking about seeing my therapist again, but I also want her to reach out and trust that I’m not going anywhere even if there is space between us. She is my best friend and I want to make sure we both stay even keeled and happy :)

  2. I cannot stop overthinking my relationship. I dated a boy who I love more than anything for 8 months before I moved to Hawaii. After about a month we broke up in the long distance. He wasn’t the best at handling it. I mean my overthinking caused problems, but his emotional inability and pain with connection was overall always going to shoot us in the foot. We didn’t talk for 6 months and then one day he reached out. And we talked for 5 hours on the phone about it all, and how he still loves me missed me, and thought of me everyday. After that we continuously talked every month, and on our birthdays (just 3 days apart) we sent letter and I received a package of my favorite teas and a tea set. And each time we talked we got closer and closer and I tried to deny that I still loved him. I couldn’t admit it neither of us could.

    I feel like I should prove how strong I’ve become and end it, when really I just want to spend time with him. I am afraid he’s going to do that thing where he doesn’t want to hurt me so he keeps me around but pushes me away which ends up hurting worse than if we just acted like best friends and had fun until he left. He said he really just doesn’t want me to expect anything. And that’s what my overthinking overanalyzes like crazy. I don’t know what he wants we aptly because he doesn’t exactly know in a way. So I keep jumping to the worst conclusions. When I get back in a week I’m terrified that it will be the end of this. When I just want to have an upfront conversation of what I can handle and what I can’t. I keep expecting the worst. Because it’s like we were never officially together but we are now sorta breaking up. It’s so confusing. And undefined. I want to be able to open his eyes up to how easy and simple things between us could be, but I can’t do that with this overthinking habit.

    I don’t share my overthinking this relationship with him like I used to, but I need to be honest with what I want. I know that. But I need to make sure I’m it’s in a positive place that I come from. So for the next week I’m going to practice the tips on overthinking to get rid of it. And hopefully when I see him I can just do what feels right and live in the moment instead of some negative outcome my mind had pushed me to. I have little hope. But I do have that. Hope.