Overthinking is one of life’s greatest thieves of – well, most everything good.
Overthinking in a relationship can cause your relationship to break down simply due to the overthinking, or it may be a symptom of what is already a toxic relationship.
To overthink, really, is reading too much into things that don’t mean anything, continually being haunted by or mulling over things that just won’t leave your brain, and placing too much thought on any one specific word, action, or interaction.
Some people overthink in daily life and that seeps into their relationships, but, dude, you’ve got to stop.
A solid and strong relationship doesn’t require you to overthink.
In fact, it frees you of it!
In this guide on how to stop overthinking in a relationship, we’ll first talk about when you SHOULD overthink in a relationship, and then we’ll get into how to stop when you know that your relationship is strong.
So, to clarify, this is not to say that you shouldn’t be aware and be cautious, particularly when you’ve just met someone.
Sure, there are stories all over about people cheating or being someone they’re not, and while you should really never “overthink” – a wise amount of thought and observance is necessary in a relationship to ensure that you are on the same page and that your relationship is strong.
However, if you are in a relationship where you say that you do trust the person you’re with, but the problem lies in you overthinking, here’s how to stop.
Okay, everyone put on your favorite “overthinker” shirt and let’s get going.
1. Talk to Them About It
If you find yourself overthinking every little thing your partner says or does, or maybe overthinking your responses or your actions, you need to talk to them about.
Getting it out in the open can help get to the bottom of it and reassure you that there is no need to overthink – or it could expose that you do need to overthink, in which case it’s not a good relationship and you should run.
Find a quiet and peaceful time to bring it up, and say that you want to get their help with something.
“For some reason I find myself overthinking it every time you comment on the dinner I made. I don’t know why – I don’t want to do that. Can we talk about it?”
If they’re not willing to have a conversation with you to help you overcome your overthinking, they’re not worth it.
If they are incredibly dismissive, consider that a red flag.
Best Book for Dealing with Relationship Issues
This book, “Love More, Fight Less” is a game-changer when it comes to relationship issues if you are someone who is serious about fixing it once and for all (or realizing that it’s time to let go) (find it here).
I also highly recommend this “Questions for Couples” journal, which includes over 400 questions to help you reconnect and break the ice when you’re having a hard time remembering what made your relationship spark (find it here).
2. Practice Putting Yourself First
When we overthink in a relationship, we are often neglecting to put ourselves first in a relationship.
When you put yourself first, it isn’t to say that the other person isn’t important, but you need to learn how to value your own happiness and self-worth and opinions first, sometimes.
If you’re overthinking in a relationship, it’s possible you’re putting way too much worth on someone else’s opinions or happiness in comparison to yours.
Instead of overthinking why your spouse is being friendly to your female next door neighbor or worrying about what your wife thinks or doesn’t think about the necklace you bought her, focus on yourself and your happiness.
Go out with some friends, spend some time just on you doing things that feed your self-esteem.
Not only can it be exhausting to overthink, but it can be exhausting to be with an overthinker.
3. Figure Out What You Really Need
Overthinking in a relationship can be a symptom of something else.
Do you need to spend more quality time together, or maybe you feel like your relationship is lacking in something?
To build a strong relationship where no overthinking is required, you’re going to have to put in the “work” and build that trust.
Do some hobbies for couples to start some joint ventures and get to know each other even more, or to rebuild your connection if it’s gone.
Figure out what the overthinking actually means.
If you don’t have an anxiety disorder, the overthinking is probably caused by feelings of inadequacy or other problems you have in your relationship.
Try to get to the bottom of those to fix the overthinking.
4. Explore Your Feelings of Jealousy
For many of us, the overthinking stems from jealousy.
Maybe we are just jealous people naturally, maybe we’ve been burned in the past – whatever it is, we’re jealous of our partners.
And that can lead to overthinking, because ultimately we’re either jealous of their interaction with other people or our jealousy and insecurities lead us to think that if we don’t overthink every single one of our interactions and make them perfect, they’ll go find someone else.
Again, find your own self-worth and recognize these feelings of jealousy and insecurity for what they are.
Do you really think someone is going to want to be with you if you spend every second overthinking who they’re talking to or why?
You have to let go of the illusion of control that you think you have when you overthink – it’s not healthy for you, and if anything, it does the opposite or what you’re trying to achieve which is to build a stronger and more secure bond with your partner.
5. Retrain Your Thoughts
Sometimes, we need to deconstruct our thoughts one-by-one as they pop up in order to figure out why they’re happening and direct our brain in another direction.
Let’s say that your partner comments on your shirt – a non-commital, “yeah it looks good” comment.
Instantly, you find yourself overthinking. “Did he mean that he actually likes it? Does he think I look bad in it? Is he being honest with me?”
In that moment, you have to literally tell yourself to first, chill.
And then identify what your thoughts were that led you to that overthinking, AND figure out what to replace it with.
In most cases, you should try and replace the overthinking with…nothing.
With continuing on in your life.
With not obsessing over what they’ve said or done and being happy being you and secure in your relationship.
Again, if you find that your partner is never honest with you and that you do feel like you need to analyze everything they do or say to hide the hidden meaning, then the problem is likely with them and with the relationship in general, not with your tendancy to overthink.
6. See a Therapist
Overthinking can be a hugely intrusive thought cycle for people and can be incredibly detrimental.
It’s a great thing to bring up to a therapist, because if you do it in a relationship, you probably do it in other areas of your life as well.
Don’t be ashamed to see a therapist for help with something like this.
You can see a couple’s therapist together if it’s becoming a shared problem where your overthinking is actually impacting the relationship, or you can see one on your own.
It might be hard to open up to a therapist, but they can help you figure out your thoughts and leave a happier, healthier life, so go for it.
While therapy is always recommended in solving serious relationship problems, not everyone can afford it.
In that case, try out these couple’s therapy printable workbooks, which can help guide you through issues without leaving your house or spending a ton of money.