What an indescribable feeling it is when you meet a guy who values you and treats you like you are the most important woman in the world to him. You feel so cherished and loved, especially if none of the men you’ve been with in the past have showered you with such undiluted attention and care. But what if this rosy beginning is a prelude to a stifling relationship with no room to breathe? Well, that is exactly how dating an insecure man tends to pan out.
Initially, you will be showered with gifts, compliments and so much love that you will feel like the luckiest girl alive. However, this showering of affection and attention may soon lead to clingy, needy behavior. An insecure and jealous boyfriend or partner will begin to demand your constant attention and need you to prove your love for him all the time. From spending every waking moment together to staying in touch over the phone or through texts when you can’t be physically together, the relationship can get exhausting pretty quickly.
Over time, you will realize that he takes a no holds barred approach to manipulation and mind games just to have his way and assuage his insecurities. The trouble is you may already be in too deep by the time you begin to see the red flags for what they’re. What do you do then? How do you salvage your relationship and protect yourself from his need for obsessive attention and reassurance? Well, we’re here to tell you all you need to know about how to cope with your boyfriend’s insecurity and perhaps even help him break the pattern of needy, clingy behavior.
Dating An Insecure Man – What Is It Like?
Are insecure guys worth dating? The constant fighting, silly relationship arguments, and offering reassurances, all because he has a hard time trusting you can make it seem like the answer is no. Since you’re already got yourself an insecure boyfriend, the question of whether he is worth dating becomes moot.
As the “my partner is insecure and it’s annoying” feeling begins to take hold, the best thing you can do is to prepare yourself for what’s in store for you so that you can navigate the situation as best as possible and give your best shot to make it work if you truly love him and aren’t prepared to walk away. Here’s what you can expect when you’re in a relationship with an insecure man:
- He will display overbearing possessiveness
- He will get jealous and territorial over the smallest of threats – real or perceived
- You’re dating a man with low self-esteem
- He may consider himself unworthy of your love and will need reassurances to feel wanted in the relationship
- You may find yourself dealing with unpredictable mood swings
- Your need for personal space may be met with accusations like “you’re pushing me away”
- He may call or text incessantly whenever you’re not together
- It can be hard to communicate with an insecure partner and make him view situations without the prism of self-doubt that colors this judgment.
The bottom line is, his internal turmoil spills all over your relationship and you may find yourself letting out a sigh of exasperation, saying, “I’m so tired of my boyfriend being insecure.” Curiously, these signs of a controlling insecure boyfriend may seem like endearing traits at first. For instance, when you first started dating, it may have seemed quite cute when your boyfriend kept asking you what you were doing or who you were hanging out with. You probably liked the fact that he was taking such an active interest in your life, showering you with concern, not really realizing that you were actually dealing with an insecure partner.
However, with time, you begin to see the red flags for what they are, and all the things that once made your heart flutter can quickly turn into an annoyance. The question is: where do you go from here and how do you deal with a partner who is intent on encroaching upon every single aspect of your existence? Before we answer this question, it’s vital to establish that you are, in fact, in a relationship with an insecure man. Let’s look at some telling insecure boyfriend signs for more clarity.
Related Reading: 15 Top Signs Of A Selfish Boyfriend
10 Sure Shot Signs That You Are Dating An Insecure Man
Insecurity is the one trait that can single-handedly impede any scope of a healthy relationship between two people. You may love each other with all your heart, but since insecure behavior eats away at the element of trust, which is a cornerstone of a healthy partnership, you’re always on shaky ground. And the relationship is characterized by unrealistic expectations, and excessive neediness, which results in fights, bickering, reassurances, and the cycle continues to feed itself.
Intense and draining is what the experience of dating an insecure man can be best described as. If this description hits too close home for you, you certainly have reason to say, “My boyfriend is insecure”. But to be doubly sure, it helps to understand the signs you are dating an insecure man so that you’re absolutely sure about what you’re dealing with. Get ready because this is quite a list.
1. He spends all his time with you
He hardly has any friends or interesting hobbies to keep him engaged. His world only revolves around you, almost as if he doesn’t know how to function individually. “I am tired of my boyfriend being insecure and clingy.” If your partner’s presence evokes this emotion in you because he just doesn’t have a life outside of the relationship, you can say with a fair degree of certainty that his insecurities get the better of him more often than not.
2. He controls every aspect of your life
One of the classic signs of a controlling insecure boyfriend is that instead of giving you space and respecting your opinions, he’d want to meddle with every aspect of your life – from how you dress to who you spend your time with. It can be suffocating dealing with an insecure partner and you may feel like you’re losing yourself in order to keep him happy and your relationship afloat.
3. He keeps telling you to be as simple as possible
An insecure and jealous boyfriend will ask you to dress down because he either thinks you’re way out of his league or he does not want other guys ogling at you. If he cannot handle his partner getting a little attention or even a compliment from someone, he sure has a lot of emotional baggage to deal with. That emotional baggage is spilling onto your relationship in the form of his insecurity.
Related Reading: How To Get Out Of A Controlling Relationship – 8 Ways To Break Free
4. Feelings of jealousy are second nature to him
Insecure men and jealousy go hand in hand. He is jealous not only of your male friends but also of any man who tries to come close to you. He doesn’t like it either if you have close relationships with your girlfriends. He gets rather angry if you buy them gifts or go out of your way to do things for them. This is a clear red flag in any relationship and can become a breeding ground for a whole host of other problems such as lying, trust issues, and incessant fighting.
5. He puts you down
Dating someone with insecurities looks a little like this: An insecure boyfriend will belittle you and fail to empower you. He will constantly have a problem with everything you do. Instead of being your biggest support system, he will put you down and make you feel bad about yourself. A relationship with an insecure man can seriously dent your self-esteem and confidence in the long run.
6. He’s always keeping a check on you
He will keep tabs on you and will want to know where you are, what you are doing, and who you are hanging out with ALL THE TIME. So be prepared to have him start texting you or calling you endlessly when you go out with your friends. It’s really no surprise that you struggle with the “tired of my boyfriend being insecure” feeling more often than not. Catering to his emotional needs can feel like a full-time job. This lop-sided, unhealthy dynamic has the makings of a bad relationship written all over it.
7. He never accepts his mistakes
If he does something wrong, you will notice that he will start blame-shifting, placing the entire responsibility on you or someone else. While confident men can gather the courage to admit when they are wrong and apologize for their actions, insecure men find it hard to say, “I’m sorry, I messed up” or “This was my fault”. Because their self-esteem is already battered, they have an overwhelming need to present an infallible exterior. Even if it is built on lies, half-truths, or pure gaslighting.
8. He wants to hear praise, not criticism
He will revel in any compliments you pay him as his entire self-worth is dependent on external validation but criticism of any kind – no matter how constructive and well-intentioned – is off limits. Try telling him that needs to change his behavior or suggest that there are certain personality traits that he needs to work on, you’re most likely to be met with a cold shoulder and some stonewalling. It’s not easy to communicate with an insecure partner, especially when you’re trying to address the issues plaguing your relationship.
9. He doubts your loyalty and commitment
One of the insecure boyfriend signs is that he either accuses you of cheating on him or insinuates that pursuing other romantic interests while being in a relationship with him. He is always suspicious about your motives and keeps testing your loyalty with mind games. “If you love me, you’d do this” or “If you love me, you won’t do that” or “If you don’t do this for me, we’re through” – threats and ultimatums like these become routine when you have an insecure boyfriend. And you may find yourself lamenting, “My partner’s insecurities are ruining our relationship.”
10. He becomes aggressive if things do not go his way
Angry outbursts become a common phenomenon and he becomes aggressive when you try to confront him. Fights can get ugly with him. Any deviation from the behavior he expects of you can trigger his temper tantrums. Even when you have done nothing that warrants an apology or an explanation, you will find yourself trying to justify your actions to him. His anger issues may leave you walking on eggshells around him. Sadly, it won’t seem to matter to him that his behavior makes you feel uncomfortable. If he doesn’t feel wanted and desired, he will lash out.
If these signs seem relatable and you strongly feel that you are indeed dating an insecure man, it’s time to look into how to tackle this situation. Acknowledging this relationship problem is the first step so well done on that. But what to do now? Read on.
Related Reading: 8 Ways To Overcome Insecurity In A Relationship
16 Tips To Deal With An Insecure Boyfriend
Insecurity is often deeply rooted in past emotional trauma and unmet needs. And it takes time and the right kind of help for a person to be able to break free from the shackles of insecurities. Both you and your boyfriend will need to put in the effort to break this pattern, celebrate small successes, take things one step at a time, and patiently wait for significant changes in his behavior and your relationship dynamic.
Of course, it’s vital to remember that you can reassure your boyfriend about the relationship and your feelings for him all you want, but things won’t change unless he is willing to do the necessary work for improving himself. And if he is ready and willing to accept your help, here are 16 ways you can work toward bettering your relationship with him:
1. Evaluate your own conduct and behavior in the relationship
Sounds frustrating and almost unfair that you need to introspect and analyze your behavior when he is the one who has been hurting you. We’re asking you to be the bigger person here. You must examine the way you behave with your insecure boyfriend. Ask yourself:
- Do you give him enough love and attention?
- Have you been spending quality time together?
- Do you tend to flirt with other guys even though you know it makes him uncomfortable?
- Have you been making an effort to connect with him on a deeper level?
While we’re not condoning his overbearing possessiveness or insecure behavior, it can help to assess if you’re in any way triggering these behaviors. What you consider harmless and inconsequential could be a big deal to him. This is especially important if he does not show any signs of insecurity in his interactions with others or other aspects of his life.
You must stop and think about whether your actions are causing him to behave in this manner and making your relationship toxic. If that’s the case, small changes on your end could go a long way in streamlining your relationship with him.
2. How to have a relationship with an insecure man? Extend your support and understanding to him
Genevieve Bachman, an interior designer once told us that her boyfriend was extremely controlling and demanded that he select her outfits for her every morning. He would constantly text her while she was at work and would ask her to sit by herself during lunch and speak to him over the phone.
“To deal with an insecure and jealous boyfriend is not an easy thing, I learned that the hard way. Colin would always be glued to me and try to control parts of my life that were truly none of his business. All that only ended until I sat him down and talked about the issues with him. Things did not get tremendously better, but once he saw that I loved him, he backed off a little,” she said.
Learning to communicate better with your partner can go a long way in helping you address the issues that may be triggering unhealthy behavior patterns and help you see things from each other’s perspective. Remember at all times that you are dealing with an emotionally fragile man. So be careful with your words and try to be as kind as you can be. Follow through with the promises you make to him and try to live up to the realistic expectations he has of you.
Related Reading: 18 Ways To Show Someone You Care
3. Show him that you care
Connie Jensen told us a similar story about dating an insecure man. She said, “Ricardo would often get angry when I attended office parties or was out late with my friends. He even threw tantrums if I came home a little late from work. He kept doubting me and was convinced that I was involved in some kind of office romance that I was not telling him about.”
When they sat down and had an honest conversation she realized that his issues stemmed from the fact that her boss had a bad reputation for making passes at his female employees. When she assured him that she would never pay attention to any advances by her boss, he calmed down.
She made him understand that she was not okay with him trying to control the way she dressed or who she socialized with. Connie’s insecure boyfriend came to realize how badly this was affecting her and began to make a conscious effort to give her space. Now their relationship is better than ever. Sometimes, the answer to how to deal with an insecure man can be as simple as not dismissing his concerns as an outcome of his insecurity and hearing him out with an open mind.
4. Let him know of his importance in your life
“My boyfriend is insecure, what do I do?”
“My boyfriend is very insecure and jealous all the time and it’s ruining our relationship.”
We hear such grievances a lot, so trust us and follow through on this piece of advice we have to offer: When this happens, make an effort to let your insecure boyfriend know how much you value him. He needs it more than you can ever imagine. This will reassure him and he might realize his insecurity is baseless or that he’s probably just overthinking it. Here are some ways you can let your beau know how much he matter to you:
- Make small romantic gestures like getting him his favorite dessert or getting him something you know he’s wanted for a long time
- Post some cute for him on social media
- Initiate plans to spend time with him
- Keep him updated about your plans for the day
- Drop him an occasional text in the middle of the day to tell him that you’re thinking of him
Related Reading: 55 Unique Ways To Tell Someone You Love Them
5. Encourage him to discuss his past with you when you try to deal with an insecure man
The insecurity issues that your boyfriend is displaying cannot be attributed to a single thing or life experience. It’s likely that he has dealt with a series of traumatic and emotionally scarring events in the past that have left him grappling with low self-esteem and insecurities. So, encourage him to talk about those past experiences – be it his past relationship or growing up with toxic parents – to get to the root of the problem.
Dealing with an insecure partner is not always simple. Sometimes, it entails nudging him to do a deep dive into his triggers and emotional baggage. That can be hard for someone who has years of bottled-up hurt, anger, or trauma to work through. So many people go through their lives actively trying to avoid facing their emotions. So, you have your work cut out for you.
6. Avoid becoming like your insecure boyfriend
The “my partner is insecure and it’s annoying” feeling can quickly give way to “let me give him a taste of his own medicine”. However, behaving just like your insecure boyfriend will only lead to more problems in your relationship so do not tread down that path EVER! It’s a recipe for disaster that will only make your relationship more toxic and dysfunctional than it is. Here are some ways you can ensure that you don’t end up displaying unhealthy behavior patterns in order to get back at him:
- Don’t start flirting with other men or micro-cheating just to get back at him
- Don’t start secretly checking his phone or social media activity to keep tabs on him
- Don’t accusing him of cheating and lying just because he has been doing it
- Don’t say mean or hurtful things or use his vulnerabilities to attack him
7. Steer clear of the temptation to lie to him
When you know that telling your insecure boyfriend the truth will only result in yet another argument or a four-hour-long fight replete with tears, hurtful words, and angry outbursts, harmless white lies can seem far more appealing. However, if you lie to him and he catches on, his trust issues and insecurities will increase manifold.
As hard as it may be, be honest with yourself and with him. If his reaction to certain situations puts you on the edge, have a conversation about it with him. Tell him that his insecure behavior is making you anxious and impacting your mental health and emotional well-being. In such a situation, you can either tell him that certain aspects of your life will no longer be up for discussion until he becomes more accepting of them or ask him to tone down his reactions and convey his concerns calmly if he wants transparency in the relationship.
8. Make plans with your friends that include him
One of the problems with dating an insecure man is that he may have a hard time trusting your friends or the other people you hang out with. But there is a way to placate his concerns. If you know that when you go out with your friends, especially your male friends, your insecure boyfriend gets upset, then make plans with them that include him. This way, he can meet them, get to know them and get rid of his suspicions for good.
Sometimes the fear of the unknown is much worse than the reality. Who knows, when he meets your friends he might just love them and realize that he actually has nothing to worry about. When he observes your platonic relationship and builds a rapport with your friends, he will let his guard down and become more trusting of you and them too.
Related Reading: 12 Signs Of Insecure Women And How To Avoid Them
9. Let him know your concerns about the relationship
Yes, it may be hard to communicate with an insecure partner, but it is the only way to address the elephant in the room. Besides, if you keep all of that frustration and annoyance bottled up, it will lead to resentment in the relationship, which can quickly make this bad situation worse.
Being open and honest with each other is the foundation of any healthy relationship. Open communication means you both are comfortable and unafraid to bare your vulnerable side to each other. Isn’t that what true love is all about? You must encourage each other to share and discuss your problems and fears mutually.
However, since your man is already insecure, it’s vital that you choose your words wisely and don’t make him feel as if he is being attacked or cornered. Here are some examples of how your can voice your concerns to your insecure boyfriend:
- I feel hurt and humiliated when you don’t trust me
- I know you have been through a lot but it would be nice if you could find a way to believe that it’ll be different for us
- I wish you would ask me directly if you have any questions about my life rather than snooping behind my back
- While I appreciate that you’re protective of me, I’m an adult and perfectly capable of making my own choices
10. How to deal with an insecure person in a relationship? Give him time to improve
You cannot expect your insecure boyfriend to change overnight. So, give him the time and space he needs to deal with his issues and work through his insecurities. Do not rush this process. However, this does not mean that you put up with any abusive behavior on his part. If you don’t see any signs of improvement even after a significant amount of time has passed or he shows no inclination to do the work necessary to effect change, it might be time to accept that the relationship red flags won’t go away anytime soon and call it quits.
Staying in a relationship with someone who refuses to better himself as a human being and is set on his own redundant thinking and ways is bad for you and your mental health. You deserve much better than that. You can only do so much to improve your relationship; he needs to meet you halfway too.
11. Approach a therapist
Counseling is proven to be beneficial in uncovering past traumas, identifying problematic patterns, and breaking free from them. If you and your boyfriend sincerely want to change your dynamics but haven’t had much success, going into individual or couples therapy can be an effective solution.
If he is already toying with this idea, make sure you encourage this and help him find a good therapist to deal with his issues. You may do your best to figure out how to deal with an insecure man and save your relationship but may not have the necessary know-how and skills to help him through his issues. This is why nudging him to seek professional help is your best recourse. If you’re looking for help, skilled and experienced counselors on Bonobology’s panel are here for you.
12. When dating an insecure man, compliment him now and again
Dating an insecure man means you are dating a man with low self-esteem. Any attempt from your side to make him feel wanted, loved, and valued in the relationship can go a long way in assuaging his self-doubt and insecurity. So, whenever you get the chance, pay him a genuine, heartfelt compliment about something he’s accomplished at work or his personality traits. Here are a few examples of compliments you can pay your partner:
- I’m so proud of you
- I love how much you care about your sister
- I really appreciate how much effort you’re making to be more understanding of my life choices
- I love the way you make me laugh
The thoughtful words can go a long way in making him feel recognized. It never hurts to make your loved one feel special every now and then, uplifting their mood and self-confidence in the process.
13. Watch what you say
How to have a relationship with an insecure man? Try not to say anything to intentionally hurt your boyfriend. Yes, you have every right to voice your opinion and share your side of the story but you must do it calmly. Be mindful of these little things, so that you do not upset him needlessly. Here are some hurtful things you should never say to your partner:
- You’re such a loser
- I hate the idea of spending time with you
- I could’ve done so much better than you
- I’m too good for you and you know it
Related Reading: 21 Elements Of Developing Respect In A Relationship
14. Be a good listener
To be able to help your boyfriend and navigate your relationship to the best of your ability, you need to know where he is coming from, understand him, and empathize with him. The only way you can do any of these things is by being a good listener. Listening intently really helps a relationship flourish. When he rants about things that he is insecure about, he has to feel that you are genuinely there for him and listen to his worries. That is the only way he will be able to shed the weight of everything that is bothering him so much.
Sometimes, a simple rant about a seemingly mundane thing can highlight an underlying issue that is making him act in a certain way. Therefore, you must listen to him when he is upset or going through something to understand better and make your relationship stronger.
15. Do not joke about his insecurities
Whether in public or in private, you have to make sure that you do not joke about his insecurities, as it can have devastating effects on your relationship. Joy, a reader from Hartford, shares her experience of how a joke gone wrong changed her relationship with her beau for the worse.
Joy and her partner, Hunter, were out having dinner with their friends. Hunter had recently put on a few pounds due to work-related stress and he felt uncomfortable in his body. He had shared this with Joy very openly and yet when his friends poked his belly and laughed at it, Joy jumped on the bandwagon and laughed with them. Hunter felt violated and had a hard time trusting her again. Needless to say, their sex life became non-existent after this as well because he felt so self-conscious around her.
That’s why we strongly advise that you refrain from criticizing him in public or cracking a joke in front of all your friends. You have to respect him and avoid hurting him, at all costs. Remember you’re not just dealing with an insecure partner here but also a man with low self-esteem. And poking at his vulnerabilities will only do more harm than good.
16. When dating someone with insecurities, encourage them to socialize
If you find yourself wondering, “My boyfriend is insecure, how do I get him to open up?”, we recommend that you encourage him to socialize. Meeting and interacting with new people is the best way to broaden one’s horizons. These experiences may go a long way in helping him let go of the negative thoughts he has been clinging on to. This change may not happen overnight but with consistent effort and a commitment to breaking negative thought patterns and replacing them with positive thoughts, he can get there.
- Dating an insecure guy can be a stifling, frustrating, and emotionally draining experience
- A man riddled with insecurities tends to be needy and clingy in relationships, wanting to have you all to himself and may not understand the concept of personal space
- Insecure behavior is often rooted in past emotional trauma and hurt and can be corrected with the right help and support
- Being empathetic, patient, and understanding is the best way you can help your partner if he wants to make and earnest effort to heal and change
- However, remember that you’re obligated to stay in a relationship that is stifling you and impacting your mental health. If it gets too much to handle, it’s perfectly okay to walk away
Your role in all of this is to help him stay on track and not get disheartened by small setbacks along the way. Dating an insecure man doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in a dead-end relationship. You just have to be wise, kind, and patient to ensure that the insecurity does not get worse over time. At the same time, if things do not improve despite you giving it your best shot and the relationship begins to take a toll on you, it’s perfectly all right to want to walk away.
Having an insecure partner can make your dating experience quite unsatisfying. Constantly fighting their insecurities can be a lot of work. An insecure man is overprotective, possessive and jealous, exhibits low levels of self-esteem and can be controlling. These attributes can lead to relationship doom.
You need to be supportive and understanding, and not react adversely when he has his issues. Discuss with him his childhood and past relationship issues, and suggest relationship counseling to get over his insecurities.
A little bit of insecurity is present in everyone and it could be a sign of love in small bits, yes. But if insecurity dictates your dynamics as a couple, then it becomes an unhealthy relationship very quickly.
With a man who is emotionally insecure, you have to be gentle, understand his issues, compliment him often and involve him in your life. Keep showering him with sweet, kind words to make him believe that you love him dearly.
If his emotional insecurity is playing havoc with your life and relationship, and if you have tried your level best to assure him that there is no reason to be insecure, you have done your bit. After that, if he doesn’t understand and continues to hurt you, it might be best to break up. Insecure guys are worth dating when you love them and you know that they will change for you. If they don’t, then there is no point.