The fear of losing a loved one is known as death anxiety. It can be a normal fear when you fall in love with someone who is either your own age or older than you.
For people in age gap relationships, this fear of losing your older partner may be debilitating. So, this article is meant to offer some practical tips to work through these feelings.
Tips to Manage Death Anxiety
1. Try to understand and appreciate the fear of loss
Upon doing research on this topic, it appears as if the fear of losing someone you love can come from childhood trauma, including parental neglect. The fear that you have as an adult may come from a fear of abandonment that developed in childhood.
There is actually a name for the fear of losing someone and it is thanatophobia. This can be the fear of losing a partner, a child, or anyone that you love. Some studies suggest that the fear of losing someone peaks in both men and women in their 20s, but can re-occur in women in their 50s.
2. Don’t be afraid to love your partner
Don’t let the fear of losing your partner keep you from fully loving him or her. Remember that each day is a gift and nobody knows what the future brings. In other words, don’t let anxiety hold you back from living your life to its fullest.
Fall in love, follow your dreams, live in the moment, etc.
3. Plan for the future as much as possible
Part of managing anxiety about being alone in the future is to plan for the future. Save money when you can and take other measures so that you feel confident that you’ll be okay on your own someday.
Be sure to take care of the basics including having an estate plan, a will, health insurance. Be sure to check out our other episode on planning for the future (episode 8).
4. Try to work on your self-confidence, self-reliance, and coping mechanisms
Healthy coping mechanisms when you have anxious thoughts can include slowing down, taking deep breaths, thinking through your feelings, journaling, appreciating what you’re going through, and learning to calm your thoughts.
One thing that helped me was to recognize that my anxiety about loss wasn’t going to prevent it or even help me. So, I had to focus my energy on other things to feel better.
5. Develop a support network
It’s always a good idea to have friends and people you trust outside of your relationship. Even if it’s a therapist or colleague, try to make sure you have people you can rely on.
One way to do this is to be a good friend to others and to join groups with similar interests. This can be tough when you have work or family obligations, but it’s a part of planning for the future.
6. Ask for help
Above all, don’t be shy about asking for help if you’re feeling overly anxious. You don’t have to go through this alone.
- “How to Cope with the Fear of Losing Someone You Love” article from Better Help
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As always, we want to remind you that we are not offering professional advice. The content on this website is meant as purely informational. Please consult a therapist, attorney, financial advisor, or other appropriate professional to help with your individual situation.