If you're someone who's used to being single, it can be difficult to feel secure in your relationship. Whether you're single by choice, just haven't had good luck, or even if you've just had a lot of bad relationships, relaxing into being intimate with someone in a healthy way can difficult. When I started dating again a couple of years ago after eight years of being single, secure and relaxed were two of the last things I felt. And I'm not alone — a lot of people are jumpy or anxious in relationships and, while people might tell you to just calm down, it's a lot more complicated than that.
Being secure is a basic part of a relationship, but that doesn't mean it's easy. People have been cheated on, they don't feel they deserve to be happy, or just don't know how to trust people. The trick is to not bring your relationship down while you're gaining that traction and that trust. A lot of it means taking a deep breath, being patient, and trusting your partner, but there are a few other tips to help you on your way.
Here are seven ways to feel more secure in your relationship, because looking at other couples' #relationshipgoals isn't doing you any favors:
1. Stop Comparing Yourself To Other Couples
I know that every couple secretly bitches about every other couple— but we shouldn't. It's often mean-spirited and, even if you start out feeling smug, if you spend all of your time dissecting other relationships, it's only a matter of time before you turn the knife on yourselves. It's good to be realistic about what's happening, but you don't want to get obsessive.
2. Stop Comparing Yourself To Social Media
This is just like comparing yourself to other couples, but worse because you're comparing yourself to the filtered version of other couples. It's bound to make you feel a little crappy, but try to remember that what's on social media isn't always reality. In fact, a 2014 study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin showed that couples who post on social media often may be insecure about their relationship.
3. Let Go Of The Little Things
I have an annoyingly steel trap of a memory that remembers every thing that anyone has ever said, so this is something I struggle with. With friends, partners, family, whoever, it causes problems. Just because you can remember every little time someone annoyed you or let you down doesn't mean you should hold it against them— nobody's perfect. Yeah, if it's a chronic relationship problem or a really big f*ck up it may be breakup worthy. But if it's the little stuff, then let it go. You'll feel more secure without a ghost of every disagreement you've ever had hanging over you.
4. Focus On The Positive
Speaking of letting go — if you're in good relationship, there's plenty of amazing stuff happening. That's the only reason you should be in a relationship. If you focus on what makes you feel in love, close, warm, sexy— all the good stuff— you're going to feel more secure.
5. Talk As Soon As You Need To
Unspoken disagreements or worries aren't just the worst, they're toxic. They'll slowly eat away and make you feel insecure about your relationship. If you're feeling scared or angry or strange or disappointed, then say it. Say it right away. If you air things out as soon as they happen and deal with it, it'll keep you feeling strong about your relationship.
6. Know When To Take Other's Advice On Board — And When Not To
Sometimes your friends give you tough truths and you need to listen to them, even if it's hard to hear. But sometimes people don't give great advice. Sometimes people worry about stupid things or things that just don't matter to you— like that your partner doesn't make enough money, comes from a broken home, or they just aren't into to their tastes. Know what to listen to and what to discard. If you take too much on, it's just going to make you feel insecure.
7. Touch Each Other
Don't underestimate the power of physical touch. The Kinsey Institute found 90 percent of couples thought touching was "very" or "extremely" important in building intimacy. And with good reason. Not only does it have a host of health benefits, it also has a grounding effect. Sometimes you need a physical manifestation of the emotional connection to feel secure. So go and get handsy.
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