7 "Romantic" Gestures That Can Actually Be A Sign Your Partner Is Insecure
Everyone has insecurities, and in some instances those insecurities can affect how you think and behave in your relationship. Some people are can mask it more than others. In fact, experts say that some people even hide their insecurities behind some seemingly "romantic" and gestures.
"When individuals have deeply rooted insecurities they will behave in ways that help them try to gain a sense a control over the relationship," licensed psychologist Nicole Issa, Psy.D., tells Bustle. "Many of my clients start therapy due to relationship difficulties, namely being insecure and how that manifests as 'clinginess' and 'neediness.'"
The reality is, no one can control how another person feels, thinks, or behaves. When someone is insecure, they may try to take control of the situation by doing or saying things that will make them feel safer. For instance, Dr. Issa says a person may start a pattern of texting or calling repeatedly just to get reassurance that their partner is still interested. They may even drop everything else in their life in order to be available to their partner as much as possible.
Rationally, they know that they may "scare off, smother, or annoy" their partner. However, their insecurities prevent them from stopping these behaviors. "The flip side of this is that their insecurities can also lead to some seemingly romantic gestures," she says. So here are some "romantic gestures" that can actually be signs of deeply rooted insecurities, according to experts.
1. Constant Texting And Checking In Throughout The Day
It can make you feel special when someone eagerly replies to your texts and wants to keep in contact with you throughout the day. But as Dr. Issa says, wanting to be in constant contact all the time can be a sign of someone struggling with insecurities. "They may 'check in' or repeatedly let you know that they can’t stop thinking about you," she says. A response from you may be validation that they're still loved and wanted.
2. Dropping The "L" Word Way Too Soon
"This is a tricky one," Dr. Issa says. "But if your partner says those three words and you find yourself in shock, wondering where that came from, they may be insecure and trying to seek reassurance about your feelings for them." If they're not saying "I love you" too soon, they may try to push the relationship at a much faster pace than you're comfortable with. This may be their way of making sure you feel just as strongly as they do.
3. They Cancel On Their Friends To Hang Out With You
Initially, this can seem sweet. But according to Dr. Issa, this isn't really the best sign of a healthy relationship. In fact, this could be an early sign of a codependent relationship. "Someone who is secure will maintain balance in their life," she says. "They will make you a priority but not their whole universe, even in the very beginning."
4. They're All About Showcasing Your Relationship On Social Media
You should always take what you see on social media with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to couples and their relationship. While being completely absent from your partner's Instagram isn't a great sign, a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that couples who post about their relationship constantly are more insecure about their relationship. As Dr. Issa says, "Plastering you over their social media indicates a level of claiming their territory and being all over yours [can] indicate that they want to keep tabs on you." If this makes you uncomfortable, talk to them about it.
5. They "Surprise" You With A Visit When You're Out With Friends
If you told your partner that you're going away with friends for a weekend and they show up to surprise you, this can seem like the type of thing rom-coms are made of. But according to Dr. Issa, this is a sign that they're not only insecure, but they may have a lack of regard for your needs and boundaries. When you're in a healthy relationship, you should be able to do your own thing without feeling guilty that your partner is going to be lonely or bored without you.
6. They Always Apologize And Go The Extra Mile To Make It Up To You
Being with a partner who never takes responsibility for their actions is a problem. But it can also be a problem if you're with someone who always feels guilty and responsible for anything that feels off in the relationship. For instance, as relationship therapist Irina Baechle, LCSW, tells Bustle, "When you’re upset, your partner assumes that your feelings are their fault even when it's not." They'll ask you if they've done something wrong or if you're mad at them. Even if you say no, they'll still try to make it up to you in some way. They may want to make sure you're always happy so you won't leave them.
7. They Have A Hard Time Saying "No" To You
It's nice to be with someone who does their best to make you happy. But if you've been dating for a while and you've noticed that you always get what you want, this is a red flag. "Your partner may fear disappointing people and believes that you will leave [them] if they don’t please you," Baechle says. "They may use this persistent need to please you as a seemingly 'romantic' gesture to cover up for their insecurities." This is also a sign that they don't know how to set firm boundaries. According to Baechle, they'll often struggle with expressing how they really feel and what they really need.
"It can be a slippery slope with some of these behaviors and [red flags for ...] an abusive, controlling partner," Dr. Issa says. "If you believe you are in an abusive relationship or if you are fearful of your partner, it can be helpful to see a therapist and make a plan to extricate yourself from the situation."
It's also important to keep in mind that not all of these gestures mean that your partner is insecure or potentially abusive. You may be with someone who just really likes texting all the time — you really just have to trust your gut on this one. If something feels off or "too good to be true," it just might be. Your partner may need to work on some of their personal baggage in order for you to have a healthy and well-balanced relationship.
Editor's Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.