Relationship insecurity involves feelings of inadequacy that typically stem from lacking self-confidence. Being insecure in your relationship can make you doubt your thoughts, talents, and even your own belief in yourself. If you’re wondering how to get over insecurities in a relationship, keep reading.
We’re reviewing the causes and signs of relationship insecurity and offering various tips to help you overcome this destructive and often self-sabotaging behavior. When you feel secure in your relationship, you’ll enjoy more rewarding and deep connections.
What Causes Insecurity in a Relationship?
Unfortunately, feeling insecure in a relationship isn’t uncommon. Many people experience this difficult-to-manage emotion. But what are the underlying causes of relationship insecurity?
In some cases, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact reason or reasons why someone is insecure. Some people may be struggling with past family issues, abuse, or neglect that makes it difficult for them to trust a partner. Additionally, an insecure partner may be experiencing relationship anxiety as the root of their insecurity. There are also a few other common reasons that someone may experience insecure feelings in their relationship, including:
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- Negative experiences in previous relationships causing trust issues
- Low self-confidence or fear of rejection
- Social anxiety
“Starting a relationship and maintaining a relationship comes with its own level of anxiety — that’s normal and expected. For some people, insecurities run a bit more deeply, due to a host of reasons that can come from past relationship issues, unhealthy family issues, and/or low self-esteem. This is not the entirety, but some reasons that insecurities manifest in relationships. It’s important to talk about these issues with partners and professionals so that both can help and support the growth of a healthy relationship.”
Let’s take a closer look at the common triggers that can result in someone feeling insecure in a relationship:
Hurtful past relationships
Some people who’ve been in unhealthy relationships in the past bring unresolved emotional issues into their new relationship, often without even realizing it. This is typical when people don’t fully process their emotions from a previous relationship before entering a new one, especially if they experienced gaslighting in relationships in the past.
They may have been subjected to chronic mistreatment, neglect, or even abuse. In many cases, when they do find a chance to connect in a healthy relationship, they may doubt their new partner’s authenticity, or their own self-worth, because their needs were never met in the past.
Some people just lack confidence and their relationship insecurity stems from their own personal insecurities. People with low self-confidence tend to be more sensitive to rejection and other people’s opinions. Even a small relationship setback can trigger intense fear and insecurity.
It can be common for someone with low self-esteem to experience relationship insecurity because they don’t believe they’re worthy of love. Or perhaps they’ve been teased, bullied, or the victim of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Maybe they were raised in homes where caregivers made them feel undeserving of true affection. Any of these scenarios can result in someone not feeling secure in their relationships.
While experiencing mild social anxiety in public from time to time is common for many of us, some people experience a more intense form that can negatively impact interpersonal relationships. Social anxiety can add stress to a relationship and make someone feel even more like an outsider or insecure, especially if their partner is outgoing and more of an extrovert.
What Are the Signs of Insecurity in a Relationship?
Relationship insecurity can lead you to consistently focus on negative thoughts and behaviors. Signs of relationship insecurity include:
- Feeling that your partner might leave you at any time
- Always fishing for compliments and constant reassurance from your partner
- Repetitively checking on your romantic partner and always needing to know their stance
- Worrying that your partner is being unfaithful to you when you’re not around
- Resenting other people that your partner is close with, including perhaps extended family or lifelong friends
- Feeling the need to verify everything your partner tells you because you don’t believe them
While insecurity in relationships can be particularly challenging to manage, it’s certainly not pleasant for the partner on the other end, either. In fact, the behaviors that relationship insecurity can cause often drive partners away, resulting in what can be viewed as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
5 Tips for Overcoming Insecurity in Relationships
Learning how to get over insecurities in a relationship involves understanding the power of self-doubt. When you doubt yourself, it distorts your view of life, which ultimately can directly affect your relationships with others.
People tend to judge themselves harshly when they experience insecurity in relationships. They may hold themselves to unrealistic (or even unattainable) standards and question whether they’re even worthy of love. Left unmanaged, self-doubt can be dangerous for any relationship.
If you experience insecurity in your relationship and you want to learn how to proactively remove the internal obstacles that stand between you and happiness, consider the following steps to help overcome insecurity:
1. Stop saying you’re insecure
You have to retrain the way you think about yourself. Stop labeling yourself as an insecure person. Change the narrative of your life. Resist the urge to say or even think about the pitfalls in your life or the mistakes that you’ve made in the past. You’d be surprised how much you can change thought patterns simply by eliminating negative self-talk.
2. Question your doubts
Start analyzing your doubts as they occur so you can begin realizing they’re just manifestations of your fear and worry. They’re not your real opinions or beliefs. Think of them as false intruders. The only power your doubts have over you is whatever you allow them to have. Taking away the control that your negative thoughts have over you can empower you to rise above romantic relationship insecurity.
3. Stop overthinking
Don’t allow yourself to continually overthink negative thoughts or overact to negative behaviors. When you continue driving these thoughts and behaviors home, you can forget how powerful you are. Don’t give these negative emotions any strength. Doing so will only drain your energy and deepen your insecurities.
4. Seek therapy if you need it
Never be afraid to ask for professional help from a licensed talk therapist, either through in-person or online therapy. A professional counselor understands what you’re going through and can offer different techniques to help you improve your confidence, reduce negative thought patterns, and replace destructive behaviors.
Therapy, especially couples counseling, can help you dig deep to discover the origin of your relationship insecurity and instruct you about processing hurtful emotions in a healthy manner.
If you’re doubting your relationship, you can start to change things by first working on your communication skills with your partner and learning how to communicate in a relationship. Communication is integral to the success of any relationship, romantic or not. It’s OK if you feel vulnerable. This can actually strengthen your union in many cases.
“One of the most important ways to overcome insecurities is to communicate them with partners. Recognize when certain situations or behaviors elicit a negative response. A therapist can help in identifying triggers and offer ways to cope with and overcome insecurities in the long term.”
When it comes to how to stop fighting in a relationship, open communication will let your partner know what you’re going through, the emotions you experience, and how you feel in the relationship. While part of communication is effectively getting your point across, it’s more than just that. It’s about building trust and being able to give one another the compassion and support you both need and deserve. If you find that communication seems to constantly be a one-way street in your relationship, it could be a sign that you’re in a one-sided relationship.
Find Security in Your Relationship with Talkspace
If you’re living with relationship insecurity, you might have difficulty believing that you’re worthy of love. That belief can make it almost impossible to function healthily or have a long-term romantic association. If you’re unable to trust your partner, they’ll sense it. Eventually, it could end up costing you the relationship.
Seeking professional help can be very liberating. It can teach you to understand your fears, enhance your communication skills, help you gain a better understanding of what your partner thinks, and perhaps most importantly, increase your self-confidence and reduce self-doubt.
If you think you could benefit from a discussion with a therapist, online therapy can be an affordable and accessible place to start. Talkspace is a therapy platform that offers online therapy and support from real mental health experts, including those specializing in online couples therapy and overcoming relationship insecurity.
1. Don B, Girme Y, Hammond M. Low Self-Esteem Predicts Indirect Support Seeking and Its Relationship Consequences in Intimate Relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 2018;45(7):1028-1041. doi:10.1177/0146167218802837. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30465478/. Accessed July 16, 2022.