It is okay to feel unsure of yourself once in a while, whether in social situations, at work, or even in your relationship.
But when that feeling becomes a regular thing in your life, it can negatively affect the quality of your daily life, so you need to deal with it.
Insecurity in a relationship has nothing to do with the age of the relationship. People in relatively new relationships and those who’ve spent nearly all their adult lives together in marriage can show signs of insecurity.
If the feeling of uncertainty is beginning to affect your relationship, here’s everything you need to know about what causes insecurity in a relationship and how to significantly reduce it.
What Is Relationship Insecurity?
Insecurity is a deep-seated belief that you are inadequate in some way, and this belief causes you to second-guess your abilities and doubt your self-worth.
Insecurity in a romantic relationship robs you of your peace of mind, so you constantly doubt yourself and your partner, worry about what might and might not happen, and create unnecessary tension where none exists.
As you can imagine, insecurity is not a pleasant experience. The emotions resulting from feeling insecure in a relationship can be overwhelmingly painful and difficult to experience.
Here’s the thing, though.
Feeling a little doubtful about your relationship now and again is normal, and it can even motivate you to give your very best to make your relationship more blissful. However, too much insecurity can damage your confidence and ruin your relationship.
Consistently being unsure of yourself, doubting your partner, and constantly seeking reassurance can impact your relationship satisfaction and create a toxic atmosphere that saps the life out of your otherwise beautiful union. If left unchecked, insecurity can deal a severe blow to your mental health.
Signs of Insecurity in a Relationship
Before we delve into what causes insecurity in a relationship, here are some common thought patterns and behaviors of people who feel insecure in a romantic relationship:
A feeling of jealousy is one of the most obvious signs of insecurity in relationships. Some claim that the behavior is damaging and not a sign of love.
Jealousy is an emotional response triggered by a fear of losing your partner to a rival. The behavior simply says you see your significant other as an object to be possessed. This is not love in any form but a mixture of desire, fear and doubt.
Here’s how to know if you are jealous:
- You constantly doubt your partner’s true intentions, making you feel the need to verify everything they say or do.
- Resenting the other people in your partner’s life, especially close friends and associates.
- Constantly checking up on your significant other to know their whereabouts.
- Incessantly worrying that your partner may be cheating on you.
Arguing is normal in every relationship, but unhealthy arguing comes from unresolved insecurities and signifies mistrust.
Instead of helping you understand each other, unhealthy arguing sweeps things under the rug because it stems from a place of fear that open and honest communication might end the relationship.
There’s a thin line between attention-seeking behaviors and jealousy. The behavior shows up in the following ways:
- Needing constant reassurance.
- Excessive clinginess and fear of being alone (always wanting to do everything together with your partner).
- Fishing for validation or compliments.
- Unnecessarily picking fights or causing drama.
- Worrying that your partner may walk away from the relationship at any time.
What Causes Insecurity in a Relationship?
A lack of self-love, low self-esteem, and loss of self-confidence top the list of factors contributing to relationship insecurity.
Here’s the thing.
A man or woman with low self-esteem issues isn’t going to suddenly become confident just because they are in a relationship. If anything, being in a relationship can amplify their lack of confidence because their partner’s strengths constantly remind them of their inadequacies.
In many cases, low self-esteem can be linked to the type of environment the individual grew up. If you were brought up in a home with little to no affection or your childhood was marred with bullying and constant teasing, those negative experiences will likely shape your behavior in adulthood.
A person’s constant self-doubt will most likely go into a relationship with that behavior and project it onto their partner and relationship.
Relying on Your Partner for Fulfillment
It is not uncommon for one partner in a relationship to lack a sense of personal fulfillment, usually because they gave up their life’s pursuits for the relationship. This is especially the case with committed, long-term relationships like marriage.
Unfortunately, many people who sacrificed their views, hobbies, and even career may start to depend on their partners for meaning and fulfillment. This can lead to clinginess, a fear of being alone, seeking external validation, and generally feeling fearful about the relationship.
If this is you, there’s a high chance that your thoughts will start to revolve around many “what ifs.” This can lead to jealousy, especially if your partner finds happiness and fulfillment doing something unrelated to you.
People have varying levels of connection to others in their lives, depending on current and past experiences. No matter how loving a current relationship is, it does not automatically erase the memories of exes, a previous relationship, and current connections to friends.
Unfortunately, people who incessantly compare themselves to others in their partner’s life (especially their exes) will become jealous and may also start feeling inferior. This self-inflicted pain usually leads to self-doubt because they think they’ll never measure up.
Past relationships can leave us with bitter memories, especially if they are toxic relationships or if the other person betrayed our trust. However, not many of us move on from negative past experiences and relationship mistakes.
Bringing unresolved emotional baggage and past negative emotions into subsequent relationships can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety.
You may have no reason to doubt your current partner, but holding onto past negative experiences can make you have irrational fears about them breaking your trust. You might even start to question everything they do, and this behavior can sabotage your current relationship.
How to Stop Being Insecure in Your Relationship
Now that we’ve seen what causes insecurity in a relationship and some common signs, let’s turn our attention to how to fix the problem.
1. Love Yourself Unconditionally
You’ll only be wasting your energy trying to overcome insecurity in your relationship if you don’t deal with the issue of lack of self-love first, which is one of the major causes of relationship insecurity.
Remember that insecurity comes from within, not outside. In other words, it is an inside job. It is the individuals in a relationship that have problems, not the relationship. Once they fix themselves, the relationship will take care of itself.
Learn to accept yourself for who you are.
Of course, this won’t be an easy feat and definitely won’t happen overnight, but a journey of a thousand miles, they say, starts with the first step. I dare say it doesn’t just start with the first step but the first step in the right direction.
And practicing self-love is the first step in the right direction toward tackling insecurity in a relationship. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Dwell on your positive traits and affirm your value rather than your flaws.
- Talk nicely to yourself like you would to a dear friend.
- Pat yourself on the back for everything you are doing right.
By finding ways to feel really good and proud of yourself, you’ll stop looking for external validation and fishing for compliments.
Practice loving yourself, flaws and all, and you’ll notice the shift in your mental well-being. You’ll be amazed how others, including your partner, will start reflecting the way you feel about yourself back to you!
2. Identify Limiting Beliefs and Change Them
Look deep within and identify your limiting beliefs. Ask yourself:
- Do I believe that I am deserving of true love?
- Why do I think my partner will break up with me?
- Am I projecting my fear of failure onto my relationship? Am I being irrational?
- Why am I afraid to trust?
- How can I stop the negative pattern of self-talk that’s constantly making me doubt my ability to maintain a steady romantic relationship?
Once you take steps to uncover the reasons for your self-doubt, you’ll begin to regain your confidence and love yourself more.
3. Move On From Your Past Relationship Mistakes
Many people are unsure of themselves because of past experiences. Unfortunately, they never really moved on from the past.
For example, you trusted your former partner completely, but they left you heartbroken. You are now in a new relationship, but you’re punishing your current partner for the mistakes of your former spouse or lover.
Not only is that unfair to your partner, but it is purely irrational.
Of course, you don’t want to get hurt a second time, so you build a sort of defense mechanism to protect you from the ugly experience of the past.
However, just because you were hurt by someone you love in the past doesn’t guarantee that every other person that comes into your life will do the same, right?
But spending your energy regretting your past relationship mistakes will only make you attract people that will hurt you.
Yes, it is crucial to learn from past mistakes, but only pick the lessons and move on. Don’t dwell on all the “could have,” “would have,” “should have.”
Investing your time and attention into your current relationship helps you leave the negative energy from your past relationship behind.
4. Quit Worrying About Your Relationship
That’s where all your power is – in the present. You can’t act in the future just as you can’t do anything in the past.
To enjoy your current relationship, you must be truly present and attentive to what’s happening in the relationship.
Worrying about the future of your relationship isn’t going to solve anything in the present. If your relationship is not working out the way you want, talk about it honestly with your partner instead of worrying about the situation.
Worrying prevents you from seeing things objectively and making the situation worse.
It lets you avoid honest and open communication because you are afraid that squarely facing the situation can end the relationship. And even if you open up about how you truly feel, worry prevents you from actively listening and focusing on concrete issues.
The future of your relationship depends on its current quality, and worry makes you behave in ways that jeopardize the future of the relationship.
5. Build Self-Confidence Through Accomplishments
As I mentioned earlier, a lack of self-confidence tops the list of what causes insecurity in a relationship. For this reason, you need to do things to build your confidence if you want to feel secure in your relationship.
Do the things that give you a sense of accomplishment, whether your insecurity shows up as low self-esteem, clinginess, or relying on your significant other to find fulfillment and meaning.
A good way to do this is by setting goals for yourself. Start with small tasks you can complete within a day and then gradually move on to bigger things. Your confidence will grow as you accomplish more things, and you’ll project that confidence into your relationship.
The suggestions I’ve shared in this post are some of the best tips for reducing insecurity in relationships and other areas of life. I strongly recommend implementing them consistently for positive results.
However, recognizing that you need help is one thing; getting quality help is another. If your partner is not emotionally mature, getting the type of support you need from them can be difficult, and working through your problems alone might be very challenging.
If this is the case, I suggest seeing a therapist for a professional perspective to help you understand and overcome the problem.