7 Signs Your Insecurities Are Affecting Your Relationship, According To Experts
We're only human, which means that we all — even the most confident folks among us — have our own individual insecurities of varying magnitudes. These insecurities can be difficult to pinpoint and acknowledge, let alone work through, but if you want to lead a healthy, happy life, figuring out how to manage your insecurities is crucial. If left unchecked, those insecurities can have a serious impact on so many parts of your life, including your love life. That's why knowing how your insecurities affect a relationship — and recognizing the signs that yours are causing problems in your love life — is so important.
"When thoughts become action — that is where it really starts to break down," Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "Being somewhat insecure or a little jealous/paranoid is natural. We can be very possessive, sometimes without even meaning it. You can think all kinds of things, and it doesn’t necessarily guide your decisions. But this changes when you start acting on your insecurities. If you don’t keep your insecurities in check, you may become too dependent on your partner."
Simply put, if your insecurities are causing you to think negative thoughts, which later manifest into negative actions, that's when your relationship can start feeling some of the side effects of your insecurity. It might not happen overnight, but know that it's OK if you need to work through some insecurities, whether that's on your own, with a therapist, or with the love and support of your partner. Here are seven signs that your insecurities are having an impact on your relationship, according to experts.
1. You Have Trouble Fully Trusting Your Partner
If you want a healthy relationship, having mutual trust is essential. When your insecurities prevent you from fully trusting your partner, that makes it difficult for you to open up emotionally, too — which can really stunt your relationship's growth.
"You are unable to place trust and faith in someone, and because of that you can’t or won’t open up," Backe says. "This could hurt the relationship, because it kind of puts a limit on the amount of emotional intimacy you are going to share."
2. You Internalize Your Negative Thoughts, And Turn Them Into Actions
It's OK to have negative thoughts from time to time, but if you frequently put yourself down, you could eventually internalize those negative thoughts, and those insidious thoughts can then change how you act — which is bound to impact your relationship.
"If you repeat something enough times and constantly act it out as an individual, your relationship may change due to your actions," Backe says. "For example: if you keep saying things that make you feel weak and pathetic, eventually you may begin to feel precisely that. This, in turn, can spill into the relationship and affect your partner in a big way. It’s not that you are not allowed to judge yourself. Do it, but remember as you do it to be a wise advisor, not a vicious tyrant."
3. You Compare Yourself To Your Partner's Exes
It's only natural to be curious about who your partner was with before you came along, but if you're constantly comparing yourself to their exes and worrying you don't measure up, that's a sure sign that your insecurities are affecting your relationship.
"If your partner is into you, and you insist on comparing, it could ruin you," Backe says. "All the negative 'what ifs' are potential relationship killers. If you and your partner have good communication, then this is an insecurity which should be silenced with the phrase 'Who are they with now? Me, or their ex?'. If you are going to compare yourself to anyone, let it be to who you could be, for yourself and for your partner."
4. Your Partner Is Constantly Having To Reassure You
There's nothing wrong with craving some reassurance from your partner every now and then, but if you constantly need them to validate you, that's a sign that your insecurities are getting the better of you — and if they grow tired of reassuring you, that can cause you to become even more insecure.
"Your partner’s drifting patience [with reassuring you] can mean you are leaning too heavily on them and not doing enough for yourself," Alicia H Clark, PsyD, PLLC, licensed clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. "When your partner loses patience with your need for reassurance, this could be the mark of a critical, unaccepting partner who is actually contributing to your insecurity."
5. You Rely On Your Partner To Make You Feel Like You're Enough
Self-acceptance isn't something you can summon overnight, but if you rely solely on your partner to make you feel like you're 'enough' — attractive enough, fun enough, smart enough, kind enough — you'll never be fully happy, both with yourself and in your relationship.
"You name it, an insecure person will wonder if they are ever 'enough' [of any given quality]," Clark says. "I call this the 'tyranny of enoughs'. You don’t feel adequate enough, and you look to your partner to redefine this for you, when all along you are looking for something that comes from within: radical self-acceptance."
6. There's A Feeling Of Distance In Your Relationship
One of the best parts about being in a relationship is feeling an intimate emotional closeness with your partner. But if your insecurities are causing you to keep your partner at a distance, that can really negatively impact your relationship.
"[Your insecurities are] making you both feel distant from one another or you are having issues communicating and expressing your insecurities, and it's being translated in other obvious ways that something is bothering you," Phillia Kim Downs, a shaman, reiki healer, and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "Your partner is able to pick up on the energies or facial expressions, or simply feel[s] that there is something going on inside of you that [they] cannot fix."
7. You Read Too Much Into What Your Partner Says
If you frequently catch yourself assuming what your partner is thinking of you in any given situation — and you always assume the worst — that's a clear sign that your insecurities are interfering in your relationship.
"You begin to read into the words of your partner in a way that reinforces the insecurities you are feeling," Dr. Kelsey M. Latimer, PhD, CEDS-S, assistant director of operations for Center for Discovery, tells Bustle. "You might perceive them to be unfaithful or 'not into you' and the focus of the relationship becomes about proving the feelings the person has rather than enjoying the time."
How To Manage Your Insecurities In A Relationship
Ultimately, it's important to remember that everyone has insecurities, and thus it's virtually impossible to avoid having any moments of insecurity in a relationship. What really makes or breaks a relationship is how each individual handles — or doesn't handle — their own personal insecurities.
"Some insecurities are normal and healthy, particularly if you are in a relationship for the first time," Latimer says. "That comes with any new experience. It is important to have trust and honesty in the ability to be vulnerable with your partner about your worries. If insecurities are at an unhealthy and excessive level, then it may be important to seek outside help from a professional who can assist in further understanding what is happening on a psychological level."
If you want to learn to manage your insecurities and minimize their impact on your romantic relationships, taking the time to work on your relationship with yourself is paramount — *how* you begin your journey to self-love and acceptance is totally up to you.