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5 Tips for Dealing with Insecurity in Relationships

5 Tips for Dealing with Insecurity in Relationships

Insecurity is deep-seated feeling wrought by feelings of inadequacy or unworthiness. We all go through different traumas and experiences in life and many of these experiences shape our ability to trust ourselves. Having self doubt is common in human beings. Once in a while, when presented with certain situations, we will feel insecure but we also have the emotional mechanisms to cope with and overcome these insecurities. Even seemingly solidly confident people might grapple with certain insecurities.

However, there are people who grapple with chronic insecurities and this inhibits their ability to establish strong and healthy relationships. A deep seated insecurity will inhibit your capacity not only to form healthy relationships but it will also set a limit on the level of success that you can achieve. People with self-doubt or insecurity place certain limitations on themselves because they feel unworthy.

In the relationship setting, it is going to damage your ability to establish a secure and intimate relationship. It will prevent you from engaging with your partner in a very authentic and organic way. Someone with a chronic insecurity is constantly looking for reassurance or validation of their self-worth. Out of insecurity, they will take actions that will drive away their partner such as being overly jealous, snooping on their partner’s business or spying on their partners, accusing their partners and so on. In relationships, insecurity often goes hand in hand with extreme jealousy.

If someone is overly insecure in a relationship, it is only a matter of time before one or both of you break, and the relationship suffers. Insecurity in a relationship is more than just jealousy, it is a question of the stability and strength of a relationship. Jealousy is definitely involved however, but it is so much more. Questions in an insecure mind will include (but are not limited to);

  • Where are they and who are they with?
  • Why don’t they look at me the way they look at others?
  • I am not good enough and they will realize it soon and leave me.
  • They can do so much better than me.
  • I must have done something to upset them, why am I such a bad partner?

Basically, any thoughts that question a relationship are signs of insecurity. If you are feeling insecure, there are some tell-tale behavioural signs, and these can be very damaging for the longevity of your relationship. These include being overly clingy, demanding compliments, changing your likes and interests to match theirs (e.g. pretending you love cricket because your partner does) and just getting upset over the littlest comments or actions. So how can you get rid of this insecurity and start enjoying each other properly like you used to? Below are some tips which will help and make you realize that it is not nearly as bad as you are making it out to be.

Try to be emotionally independent

The biggest problem with overly insecure people in relationships is that they craft their identity and self-worth around their partner’s love and commitment to them. If you are going to beat your insecurity, you need to build a secure and independent identity that is separate from your partner. Relationships should be about creating a salad and not a smoothie. You must go into a relationship, love and commit without losing yourself and your identity. Make the relationship work by bringing the unique and separate aspects of your identity into the relationship.

Avoid seeking reassurance in your partner

One way to get sucked up in your insecurities is by seeking reassurance or validation from your partner whenever you are feeling insecure. This is closely related to the first point above about going into a relationship as a discrete being and staying whole in the relationship with all your perfections and imperfections.

Insecurity is a negative energy that comes from within you and trying to extinguish it through an external source such as your partner’s validation only creates a dangerous cycle in which you are constantly relying on your partner for emotional stability and security. That means you will never be willing to let go and you resort to more desperate measures in order to retain that validation. It prevents you from being your authentic self and also, unnecessarily, burdens your partner. If you are an adult, you should be able to handle your impulses and not look to be babysat by your partner to feel ok.

Avoid Acting Out Your Insecurities

Insecure people have the tendency to act out their insecurities. However, those actions often lead to destructive and unacceptable behaviour that will ruin your relationship. Common acts by an insecure person include jealous and possessiveness. While these can act as an outlet for your own insecurity, they will end up hurting your partner and making them feel miserable and uncomfortable in the relationship. Other acts of jealousy and possessiveness that an insecure person is like to do including snooping in their partners’ private emails and messages, following them around, showing up at workplace just to show they “possess” their partner, cutting off their partner from their friends and social circles, trying to control how partners dress so that they do not dress “provocatively” and so on.

Fortunately, your jealous and possessive actions are totally avoidable. You can choose to exercise self control and reach out to your partner in other ways. Think about the consequences of your actions before you act them out and, most importantly, open up channels of communications with your partner. If you must act out your insecurities, do so respectfully and the best way is to talk it out or seek marriage therapy.

Accept the honeymoon phase is over.

If you have been dating or been married for a while, it is to be expected that the passion in the relationship will lessen. This is completely normal, and should never become a source or reason for insecurity. You may remember when your partner used to compliment you every time you went out on a date, or that they would always open doors for you – this is part of the honeymoon period. A period where partners will always pay each other extra attention. Very rarely (if ever) does this honeymoon period last forever. And if you expect it to, then this can lead to additional insecurity.

You cannot expect your partner to compliment you every single time you dress well or kiss you on the cheek every time you come home from work – this is simply not reasonable. And just because they may do it less than before does not mean that they love you less, or that they are cheating on you. It simply means that they are comfortable around you and do not feel the need to. Try to see these things as positives rather than negatives – after all it means that your partner feels secure and trusts you enough to not need to feel the need to be overbearingly lovey-dovey. The honeymoon ending is not a bad thing – it is simply the next phase in a relationship.

Trust Yourself

We said at the beginning that one of the main reasons you are feeling insecure is that you feel unworthy and probably have some self-esteem issues. While trusting the other person is the foundation of every relationship, you really have to trust yourself to be secure in your relationship. Learn to love yourself and stand with your two feet and you will realize that your existence, happiness and success in life is not conditional on the validation, love or acceptance by others. You are you and should be able to function even if you are not getting the love and commitment that you feel you deserve. Trusting yourself will make you feel secure even if things are not working out and you will have the strength to walk out or be direct with your partner if you feel you have some doubts on the trajectory of the relationship.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.