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Is insecurity ruining your relationship with your partner? Then this article is for you. Read on to find out signs of insecurity, reasons why insecurity arises in relationships, and ways to deal with it.
Everyone likes to feel confident, self-assured, like they’ve got it all together. And yet everybody will accept having behaved foolishly (or have been at the receiving end of such behaviour) at some point in their relationships because they felt… threatened. While people may be reasonable adults in their social lives, they can act quite the contrary in relationships. At the base of this contradiction is the one word we all feel scared to look in the eye – insecurity.
There’s hardly ever a man or woman that walked this planet that didn’t ever feel insecure. And yet, we do very little to understand what’s really happening when we feel insecure. Let’s try and do it now.
6 Signs You Are Insecure in Your Relationship
Before we try to understand why we feel insecure in relationships, let’s first identify whether or not we are insecure in the first place. Here are 6 cardinal signs of insecurity in a relationship.
1. “Gimme that phone!”
You don’t really know what you are looking for – but you know you want to see their phone. It could be messages, pictures, old emails, social-media inboxes, or just going through their social media network – followers, friend lists, and so on.
If you keep checking your partner’s phone every chance you get, it is a sure sign of insecurity. When you don’t get to do it, it bothers you. And when your partner refuses to give it to you, it makes you doubt their fidelity, commitment, and love.
2. “Don’t leave me!”
If you are the kind of person that wants to do everything with their partner, and also wants the partner to do everything with them, it is a sure sign of insecurity. At the base of this constant urge to touch base with your partner is a deep-rooted sense of mistrust. It’s often not about the urge to do everything together, so much as it is about wanting to always keep tabs on your partner. If they’re always with you, they can’t be with anybody else, right?
3. “Do you still love me?”
Ever find yourself going on a ‘poor me’ pity-trip, where you feel bad about yourself – thinking about all the sacrifices you made all your life, and how you never really did what you wanted to do? Most people will turn to their partners when they feel low. But if you constantly find yourself looking at your partner to comfort you and tell you how much they love you and how you are the best person ever and how you will never ever leave them… take it as a sign of insecurity.
4. “Was that your ex?”
Times have changed, and it is quite common for partners to have been with someone else before they finally ended up with each other. But if you catch yourself thinking about the insignificant other person that is actually nothing but your partner’s past, more often that you find yourself thinking about your present and future… not only is it a sign of insecurity, but also a deep injustice to a committed partner.
5. “You still suck!”
An interesting aspect of insecurity is that it actually stems from low self-esteem. If you think you are not good enough, you are admitting to the possibility of your partner finding someone better. So you try to always feel better than your partner – like they hit the jackpot, and should be thanking their stars they found you! And the one way you do this… is by always demeaning them, and pulling them down.
6. “You’re having an affair, aren’t you?”
The ultimate sign of insecurity is the feeling that your partner is out there with someone else. Most spouses will admit to thinking of this ‘other person’ as prettier, richer, sexier, than they themselves are, validating their doubt over their partner’s fidelity.
When it comes to adultery, the adulterer is almost always sentenced ‘guilty’ – irrespective of the circumstance and reasons for their actions. This puts the other partner up on a pedestal… giving them a reason to be mean to their significant other. It still holds true that constantly accusing your partner of having an affair is a sign of insecurity.
6 Reasons You Could Be Insecure
It could be something as innocent as going to a different room in the house to have a conversation on the phone because the reception is poor, or something as simple as not wanting to have sex because of overpowering feelings of exhaustion – the triggers for feelings of insecurity in relationships are often external, and superficial.
The single-most significant cause of insecurity is fear.
Psychologically speaking, fear guides many of our instincts and behavioural tendencies: we store food in the house because we fear we may not get any later, we put helmets on our heads and fasten seat-belts because we fear death, and we run away from confrontations because we fear hurting and/or losing people.
However, this underlying fear manifests in different ways for different people, giving rise to different causes of insecurity in a relationship.
1. You felt neglected growing up.
While ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, psychologically speaking there is only one primary caregiver, with whom the child shares a very strong bond. Every time the child is in some kind of need or crisis, he turns to this person.
However, life is such now, that this person may not always be available: nuclear families and working parents (both mothers and fathers) make it really difficult to be there for your child every time they want you, even if it may be our moral obligation. This can at times, breed feelings of neglect in children, if not handled wisely by the parents. And childhood neglect often manifests as insecurities and clinginess in adulthood.
2. You are carrying baggage from your past experiences.
Did some boyfriend some time in high-school cheat on you? Did you ever get dumped for your prettier hot bestie? Did either of your parents cheat on their partner? Every person comes with baggage, and the more the age of a person (when they first meet somebody), the more the baggage. So maybe your insecurities are in fact a classic case of “Once bitten, twice shy!”.
3. You think you got more than you deserve.
We’ve all been there – young, single, and crushing on someone whom we thought was waaay out of our league! While age and experience bring a certain confidence with is, that enables us to permanently dismiss such feeling os low self-worth, some people can carry these inferiority complexes way into their adulthood. And then, getting married to someone whom you think is more than you – more successful, more good-looking, more beautiful, more loveable, more popular, more anything really – can become a problem.
4. Your partner does not know your boundaries and preferences.
A lot of times, we avoid telling our partners what works for us (and what ticks us off), because we don’t want to sound ‘controlling’ or ‘dominating’. So we give them a free hand, loose reigns… and then get mad when things get out of control! Every person has boundaries – ‘You can be in touch with your ex, but I need to know what’s happening’, or ‘Yes she is your colleague, but no bringing her home for dinner’ – and if they are reasonable (and reasonably communicated), a lot of insecurites can be avoided. But, sadly, this communication almost never happens for most couples.
5. You are a perfectionist.
This one is a bit tricky to understand, but try. If you are a perfectionist, anything less than your gold standard is not good enough for you. When it comes to achieving goals, this might be a positive thing (although it can get in the way of achieving goals too). However, the desire to be perfect might negatively impact your self-worth – every time you make a mistake, you beging to lose your own credibility in your own mind. While your partner might be completely satisfied – even ecstatic – with you, your lowered self-worth could make you think like they are going to leave you any moment now. In fact, you begin to anticipate it. The surest way to recognise this is by watching out for ‘I knew it!’ responses – do you ever respond to possible signs of infidelity with ‘I knew this was gonna happen!’?
6. Your instincts are screaming ‘Betrayal!’ to you.
Sometimes, insecurities can, in fact, be disguised ‘intuition’. Intuition is the power of your brain to know things… without knowing ‘why’. (Technically, you do know ‘why’, but only on a subconscious level – not everybody can retrieve these thoughts. However, it is safe to say that intuitions should be given due importance). So if you are getting insecure about your partner – and if you know yourself to NOT be that kind of person who is always suspicious – chances are that it is not insecurity but intuition.
7 Tips on Overcoming Insecurity in a Relationship
Having identified the signs and causes of insecurity, let us now get down to weeding it out of our system.
1. Identify the root-cause.
As discussed above, rarely is the other partner’s behaviour (or their actions) at the root of feelings of insecurity. Behaviours and/or actions only prove to be a trigger point that dig out insecurities from within. So work on identifying the root cause of your insecurity, and then work on rooting it out of your system. If required, work with a marriage counsellor (or simply a psychologist) in order to gain more clarity and understanding.
2. Voice your concerns.
Once you start working on yourself, enroll your partner to help you. One of the easiest ways to work on your insecurities is to approach them with an open and understanding approach, rather than anger, guilt or shame. Identify the specific external triggers of your insecurity – and ask your partner to help you by consciously avoiding the things that fuel the fire… at least till you learn to deal with it.
3. Do things independently.
This line of action works on improving your self-worth. Realise that you are enough, in and of yourself, and you do not need a man, woman, relationship, kids, family, to justify your existence or how awesome you are. While labels give you identity, they also limit it. Engage your me-time positively – expand your personality, do things that make you happy, and realise you are more than a significant other.
4. Realise – you are hurting your partner.
When you question a truly committed and faithful partner owing to your insecurities, when you doubt their loyalty and fidelity because you can’t get over or past the doubt in your mind, you are hurting an honest person. Do they deserve it?
5. Give ‘time’ time.
Insecurities make us act… silly. We do stupid things because insecurities blur our perspective. So when you feel the compulsive need to explode, armed with all your investigation and sarcastic comebacks, come back a few steps. Give time some time to do its magic, and show you that there was no reason to feel insecure. Most conflicts between couples can be avoided if only both act wisely and hit the pause button instead of instantly acting/reacting every single time.
6. Turn the focus elsewhere.
How about not over-analysing every single move, word and behaviour of your partner? Turn your focus and detective energies elsewhere! Find something stimulating and engaging to do…
and cut your partner some slack. Realise that your partner – while being your partner – is also an individual, and just because they have chosen to be with you does not bind them to be a complete 100% transparent with you. Privacy can, and should, exist even in couples.
7. Nurture other relationships.
Our biggest mistake in romantic relationships is: we expect one person to cater to all our needs – physical, mental, emotional and social. This is going to be a recipe for disaster for any relationship – not just romantic relationships! The only way to stop yourself from doing this is by nurturing other relationships in your life, and not making your romantic relationship the epicentre of your world. Invest time, energy, effort, feelings in your friends, work, family, in-laws, children, hobbies even!
Understanding Your Partner’s Insecurity
While the previous section talked about how you can deal with your own insecurity, being self-assured is not enough to make a relationship work. It is equally common for people to find themselves stuck with an insecure husband or wife!
Part of the reason some insecurities are more often and strongly felt by a certain gender is because of the stereotypes we have created: men should be macho sex-machines, who are always confident and self-assured, while women are supposed to be giving, loving, caring, and selfless, eternal reservoirs of love and understanding.
Then, we are also fed stereotypes about the opposite gender: women just want the more rich, successful, and sexy man, while men can and will stray if you don’t give them sex every time they want it.
As a person, you may have risen above this. But what do you do, when you’re not to blame? How do you deal with an insecure husband or wife?
How to Deal with Insecurities in Husbands
Common things husbands are insecure about include –
- their wife’s past
- their wife’s guy-friends
- in case of working women, their colleagues and bosses
- their performance in bed (and how it matches up to their wife’s ex-lover/s)
- becoming the topic of discussion at their wife’s kitty-party
- revealing private details about them, and your relationship, to outsiders (like a close friend)
As ridiculous as some of the above reasons may sound, be assured that in a man’s mind, these are all very legit and real concerns, fears and insecurities.
One of the important things to remember, when thinking about how to deal with an insecure husband, is: you should never ever mention a third person while having the conversation. So no saying ‘Even Neha told me’, or ‘My dad used to do the same thing’, or ‘This is exactly why I left Rahul’. If you don’t want him to keep digging your past up, you have to stop doing it yourself too. So refrain from ever doing this.
Having said that, the easiest way to comfort a man is through positive reaffirmations. Remind him why you chose him, why you love him, why this was one of the best choices/decisions you made in your life – and don’t do it for the sake of doing it. Say these things with conviction. But make sure you don’t make a habit of it! Try and also help your partner to realise by themselves that their insecurity is baseless!
How to Deal with Insecurities in Wives
Common things wives are insecure about include –
- colleagues and subordinates
- fulfilling the husband’s sexual desires every single time
- not being heard
- husband not giving them enough time
- age and ageing
Yes fellas, these are legit things many women feel insecure about. The easiest way to ease your wife out of her pain is to make her feel heard. When she talks, listen. And NO, do not immediately provide solutions or try to solver her problems unless she asks you to. Second, ask her before you put the moods on her. This is not so much about consent as about understanding that sometimes, they just don’t want to – just like you don’t want to.