Sep 15, 2007

Marriage with a person with SA

I occasionally see search strings about "husband with social anxiety" or the like. Can you have a successful marriage with someone that has social anxiety? After all, they might kill your own social life.

Apparently the most difficult thing is getting there - the whole socialising, dating thing. The two men that I ever dated I also married... I'm very efficient this way. Once married, people with social anxiety are apparently doing pretty well.

I think the key to making it is openness and communication. In my first marriage, we didn't communicate all that well and I think this is where it broke. It wasn't social anxiety that caused the break.

I told my current husband about social anxiety almost as soon as I knew what it was, and had him read a book about it. He got it and understood some of what was going on. Since then we both keep evolving and trying to understand what's going on. We talk a lot about my anxiety and find ways to help me.

It was important to realize that I need to be told ahead of time about plans for socializing and that I can refuse them. The simple fact that I can accept or refuse something made me comfortable enough that I hardly say no to anything these days.

Keep talking and being accepting of your social anxious friends or spouses and it will all be OK. Help them overcome their shyness, but be supportive when they can't and make sure you tell them when they are doing well in a social situation.


Anonymous said...

"Can you have a successful marriage with someone that has social anxiety? Apparently the most difficult thing is getting there - the whole socialising, dating thing." Exactly.

Getting 'there' requires all the sorts of things that someone with social anxiety has difficulty facing. Such as those rather mundane, trivial things to everyone else like speaking, eye contact, and god forbid, being in a social context, anywhere!

Personally I've recently stooped to a new social anxiety low. I have more or less stopped speaking. I've begun to carry a small notebook around with me wherever I must go and if I am asked a question or even worst if I must ask a question, out it comes with pen in hand. Not surprisingly I've found that it limits conversation. Yes, thankfully shortens it.

I'm amazed that a relationship can develop when you're plagued with social anxiety. But don't get me wrong, I envy anyone that has.

It's not for a lack of good looks or intelligence that forbids me-likely anyone with social anxiety-from anything meaningful with the opposite sex. No, it's an apparent lack of personality under the guise of rudeness, insensitivity, even stupidity.

Of course my being is neither part nor sum of those things at all. It's all about being shy and how a sufferer is robbed of so many things in life because of it.

A relationship, even marriage? Who'd even dare hope of such things?

Ileana said...

Thank you, Jay! That was very well said. I think I just got lucky enough to have two wonderful men care enough about me that they ignored the rest.

I can imagine this being even more difficult for men.

And I am even more aware now that my social anxiety is actually mild, even though occasionally it seems to be ruining my life.

Good luck to you! I really feel for you and all others and hope you can get better and eventually succeed in what you want to achieve.

Hannah said...

What about being married to a recovering emotionally abusive husband who is very charasmatic? I get little to no support from him. Just reminders that I'm no fun, and how much he has to hold back because of me. I feel okay when I'm without him, when the invitation was for me, but when we go someplace together, he is usually irritated at me for being nervous and when we arrive, I feel like I disappear. I feel I don't belong in his world. We live in his box with shallow partiers, and people love him on that level. I'm sure they feel sorry for him for being married to me, and he rarely reassures me that it's not true. I am very athletic and fit and feel comfortable at the gym unless he is there. I feel like I belong there, and with certain other people. Our fights are so senseless. They usually are over me trying to express my need for patience (he is hypomanic) and his cold and haughty sense of superiority and lack of compassion. The punishments for breaking his stride or being afraid of a bad social outcome. He vascillates from being critical to being very appreciative and loving. But I feel so unsafe with him.

Ileana said...

Hi Hannah,

I'm sorry you are going through this. My advice to you is to try to get a network of support. Either friends, family or a therapist or even an Internet network.

Sometimes we ask too much from our spouses, more than they can give us. Having other friends to vent to and that can reassure us that we are worthy and good and beautiful and fun makes a world of difference. You need to become confident in yourself.

At the same time try to opt out of some of these events that are so hurtful for you. You can just go to one at a time until you feel more comfortable. And don't think about those people that are sorry for him for having such a wife. I'm sure that there are others, the quiet ones, that are sorry for you for having such a husband.

Good luck to you! I hope it all ends well!

Random Developer said...

Here is a new one. My husband was not that shy when we met- at least with me, but he is terrified of social situations- to the point where he gets the shakes before going to anything. He does not have much positive to say about anyone anymore, although he does fine once he actually gets warmed up- and likes people once he gets to know them. He is a sweet- and very very good looking guy, he does look younger for his age, and I wonder if this has effect. He looks 22, and he is 31. We are very close on the day to day basis, spend most of our days together and get along well. But I am tired of always going alone to events and would like to go out more often, and I love him dearly, and I do not want him uncomfortable or unhappy. I am not sure what to do as he is sensitive when it comes up to me bringing stuff up about him, as we all are.