Estimated Read Time: 5 minutes
Summary: In this blog we detail and explore what separation anxiety is and how to deal with separation anxiety in adults through the lens of lockdowns lifting…
Pandemic lockdowns have struck us all in unique ways across the globe. Some people’s relationships have broken down, and some have survived and thrived. But, now restrictions in some territories are lifting, it means independence and time away from our partner or spouse. So, why are some people in relationships feeling anxious about being away from their other halves?
Separation anxiety is usually thought of as a pet thing, or something commonly experienced as a very young child. However, separation anxiety in adults exists and the symptoms can be really upsetting.
Adults with separation anxiety may become socially withdrawn, experience panic attacks, seem extremely sad, or become easily distracted when away from their loved ones. It can also cause a partner to be overbearing to their other half, or they may flat out refuse to go anywhere without them. Decision making without the other person present may also prove difficult and overwhelming.
The anxiety caused by being separated from a particular loved one may also result in physical symptoms like headaches and diarrhoea.
Due to the fact that government-enforced lockdowns have forced those in relationships to spend intense periods of time together in close proximity, this has made some people in this situation more dependent on their partner’s presence and support. Thus, it’s caused them to become overly attached.
This hasn’t been helped by the fact that the world outside became (and still is) scary and at the height of the pandemic, together you were doing your bit to ultimately survive. There may now also be an intense fear of being alone as that may induce a feeling of being unable to protect yourself.
Other causes of separation anxiety in adults can be the loss of a loved one, or following a significant lifestyle change like moving away from family to college.
You are more likely to develop separation anxiety as an adult if you experienced it as a child and can also be associated with other conditions like generalised anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorders or personality disorders.
There are some steps you can take to help you deal with any separation anxiety you may be feeling as restrictions lift in your country or territory:
If the separation anxiety becomes unbearable or you’re really struggling to cope or manage your emotions, check in with your doctor or a certified, professional therapist or counsellor.