So, you recently started going out with a guy who seemed to knock you off your feet with grand overtures and romantic gestures. He opened doors, pulled chairs, checked up on you, made sure you reached home safely, and stared back at guys who dared look at you. His attention and protection were very flattering. Not in a million years would you’ve thought him to be one of those insecure men who cling to their partners and leave them feeling stifled in the relationship.
Until, one day, when he bangs at your door in a fit of rage because you had missed a dozen calls from him. He doesn’t care that you told him your friends were with you or that you were visiting your parents. And you realize he finds it impossible to trust you.
You don’t have to wait for an angry, jealous boyfriend to show up at your doorstep or a hysterical partner to call you names and threaten you with self-harm to realize that you are dealing with an insecure lover. Acquaint yourself with habits and signs of insecure men so you wouldn’t have to touch them with a ten-foot pole. But if you do find yourself in love with one of them, read till the end for tips on handling an insecure boyfriend situation.
Signs Of An Insecure Man
Insecurity in men can surface due to a negative perception of themselves, their physical traits, background, identity, sexuality, and their financial and professional success. An in-depth study proves this. The study examined the influence of a romantic partner’s success or failure on one’s self-esteem.
The results were unfortunately not surprising at all. While women’s self-esteem was unaffected by their partner’s performance, men’s self-esteem plummeted. The findings only add to our fear that, while anyone can suffer from poor self-esteem, the chances of your male partner demonstrating signs of relationship insecurity are higher.
But what does insecurity mean? Insecurity is nothing but a feeling of inadequacy. That one is not good enough. Such a person finds it hard to trust the love and good intentions of others and may compensate for it or cope with it in different ways. If you have an insecure boyfriend, his relationship insecurity might be surfacing in any of the many ways we discuss ahead.
Instead of bearing the brunt of his unpalatable behavior, isn’t it better to equip yourself with the right knowledge and learn to recognize insecure men traits before it’s too late? Here are 10 signs of jealousy in men to watch out for:
1. He tries to keep up a “macho man” image
If your guy is constantly trying to assert his masculinity, he most probably is extremely unsure of himself and has a poor self-image. He might seem too preoccupied with proving his manhood in some of the most stereotypical ways or low self-esteem behaviors:
- Rash driving. Not letting a passerby takeover
- Aggressive demeanor around other people
- Gulping down drinks in an undeclared competition about who finishes first
- Boasting about that time when he saved the day wherever he goes
- Showing off his physical assets or material things in an obnoxious way
Confident men do not feel the need to show off. If the guy you are dating shows no humility, watch out for other signs of an insecure man we discuss ahead.
2. He is a Mr. Know-it-all
Have you often caught your guy shamelessly mansplaining at a party? Does he always correct you? Or follows up all your ideas with a sentence of his own? Does he find it hard to let anyone else have the last word?
Only an unsure person feels the need to insert himself everywhere and assert his opinions. Deep down, he does not have faith that his opinions matter to other people. He compensates for it by showing off his knowledge and being an annoying Mr. Know-it-all.
Related Reading: Why Do Men Mansplain? Reasons And Ways To Address It
3. He feels jealous of your male friends
This is surely one of those predictable insecure men traits. An insecure guy is a jealous guy. It’s comparatively easier to spot signs of jealousy in your insecure boyfriend when it comes to other male friends or coworkers. It may look like, but is not limited to, any of these:
- He sets a curfew time for your socialization with unrelated males
- He tries to monitor your phone calls or texts with them
- He stalks you or sneaks up on you or when you have a plan with another male friend
- He complains or fights with you if you spent too much time with another guy
- He threatens your friends and shows passive or active aggression
4. He is even jealous of your friends and family
You wouldn’t have thought of your family as one of the relationship insecurity triggers. But if you are with an insecure man, neither your friends nor your family would be spared of the throes of his jealousy. No, he isn’t just jealous of your male coworker, he is also competing with your mother for your attention.
A Reddit user on r/AskWomen complained, “I got married very young and my mother died of cancer shortly before our first anniversary. My now ex-husband stated that I chose my mother over him since I spent so much time with her while she was dying. He also would get upset with me for grieving and crying in the year after she died.”
Related Reading: Husband Has Trust Issues – A Wife’s Open Letter To Her Husband
5. He needs constant reassurance from you
He asks, “Do you love me?”, all the time. No matter how many times you tell him you do, he doesn’t seem satisfied with your answer, not quite ready to believe he is good enough for you. Maybe, at first, you found it cute, but over time it can become frustrating to always have to convince him that you love him.
If it is his looks a man is insecure about, he will fish for compliments and crave flattery. If he is unsure of his intellect or ability to handle problems, he would keep checking with you to make sure he hasn’t done anything wrong.
Sexual performance, virility and infertility in a relationship are other issues that may easily trigger insecurity in men. Unfortunately, societal gender tropes have ensured that most men, irrespective of how secure they are otherwise, deal with some sort of insecurity when it comes to pleasing their partners in bed. These are sure shot signs of sexual insecurity in men:
- You feel pressured to fake orgasm to soothe his ego
- He takes offense when you tell him what you would like him to do
- He obsesses over your body count being higher than his
6. He resists equality in the relationship and wants to be superior to you
A Reddit user says, “When I was 20, I was dating a man for about 4 or 5 months. We were going out to a Halloween party with a bunch of his friends. He and I were roughly the same height. Not thinking about it, I wore heels…He wouldn’t talk to me the entire night and when we got back to his place, he screamed at me for an hour that I was an embarrassment. All because he was insecure about his height.”
Insecure men suffering from a god complex obsess with forcing their superiority over the girl they are dating. The misogynistic obsession over being superior to their female partner is not confined to height. They must not only be taller but also richer, wiser and more successful than their significant other.
Related Reading: Living with a Narcissist Husband? 21 Signs & Ways to Deal
7. He holds sexist views
This study titled, Delusions Of Gender: Men’s Insecurities May Lead To Sexist Views Of Women, suggests exactly what the title says. 400 heterosexual men were asked questions about their attachment styles, sexism, and on romance. It was inferred that personality traits such as insecurity may predispose men to have sexist attitudes toward women.
Has your new insecure lover lately put you off by his views on abortion or women’s rights? Does he expect you two to divide daily chores based on traditional gender roles? Does it hurt his pride if you offer to pick up the check? If he seems to have vowed to serve the patriarchy, it would be safe to assume that he might be suffering from poor self-esteem.
Bonus insecure men traits
Because we are nowhere close to the bottom of the list of signs of an insecure man, here are a few more examples of the things men with poor self-image do:
- They love bomb you or shower you with gifts and attention early on
- They pick up fights in your name. They try to save you even if you didn’t need them to
- They invalidate your success
- They play mind games with you
- They make you apologize for not giving them attention
- They are yes-men and feel scared to assert themselves
- They ask a lot of questions to inquire about your day
- They show controlling behavior. They have a long list of the things that you must or must not do
- They criticize you but do not take criticism well
- They come off as needy. You don’t get enough personal space
How To Deal With An Insecure Man
We are all insecure in our relationships at times. There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend more time with your partner, feeling worried about them, and looking for little pick-me-ups. But life with a partner who has an insecure personality type can get suffocating.
If you can’t seem to overlook the anxiousness and neediness in the guy you are seeing but would like to see him anyway, you might be wondering what you can do to help him. And help yourself. If you have realized that you have an under-confident man in your life, who is otherwise charming and worth spending your love on, here are a few things that may help you learn how to deal with an insecure man:
1. Try to get to the root of the issue
There is a difference between feeling insecure in a relationship and being a person who suffers from an insecure attachment style. In either case, reaching the root of the problem will help you figure out what to do about it.
Insecurity in adulthood is often seen in people who were brought up by unreliable parents – parents who were sometimes there and sometimes not. Such children with abandonment issues grow up to have an anxious-insecure attachment style in their adult relationships. If you are with such a man, depending on how invested you are in the relationship, you can nudge them to seek therapy and offer support in his healing journey.
2. Talk to your partner about their insecurity
Have an open discussion with this guy about what has been bothering you. Ask him why he does not believe you love him when you say you do. But approach the subject with sensitivity. You might have to ask him to set time aside for a conversation or be tactful in figuring out the best time for this talk.
You might discover that he worries so much because he has been dumped several times in the past and his past is affecting his present. Or that he was always bullied as a child for his short height. Maybe he has been facing sexual issues and does not know how to talk to you about it. This conversation will not only help you empathize with him and do a little more to give him your reassurance but it might also help him heal from his traumas.
3. Ask him what he needs
If you are set on helping him out, instead of assuming his needs, you must ask him what will make him feel better. He should be able to come up with things that will help him ease his nerves while he works on his issues.
Do remember that he must acknowledge his issues and show intent to work on them for this to be a healthy arrangement. You cannot commit to accommodating his emotional needs rooted in insecurity all your life. If you do, the unfairness of it will only lead to you bursting out when the frustration has accumulated enough.
4. Establish clear boundaries
Having to support an insecure partner is unfair business. After all, you would be giving more than you receive in the relationship. This can take a toll on your mental health. You must not let yourself be consumed in the process and need to take time out for yourself. You need to introspect about your own needs from the relationship, the things you cannot compromise on.
Lay them out to establish healthy relationship boundaries with your insecure partner. Be empathetic and offer reassurance when you do. Your partner should be willing to give you that space knowing that you are going out of your way to support him. The boundaries can look something like this:
- I need to visit my family once in two weeks, and once I do, I need to be alone with them, but I will keep you posted
- I will need to meet my coworkers over the weekends sometimes, but you will know where we are
- I like going for a cup of coffee by myself sometimes. I need to clear my head. We can go together the next day
- Please don’t read my journal. I won’t be able to take it if you do. In fact, you too should keep a journal
Related Reading: The Idea Of Solo Travel For Women To Assert Freedom
5. Be ready to let go of a toxic relationship
Insecure men can make life hard for their partners. Your jealous partner can resort to extremely unhealthy and abusive ways of dealing with their feelings. They may manipulate you, play mind games, and threaten you with passive or active violent behavior.
If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
Even though it may be hard for your partner, they should be willing to acknowledge their problems and sort them out. On the contrary, some insecure men refuse to admit to their insecurities altogether, nipping all possibilities of change in the bud.
You need to understand that you cannot help a person who refuses to accept help. You must ready yourself to let such a relationship go. Letting go of someone you love is not easy when you have stayed long enough, overlooking red flags. To be able to make a clean break, you can do the following:
- Try to focus on yourself by taking up old hobbies
- Develop other relationships in your life that you can depend on
- Seek support from family or friends
- Seek professional support from a trained therapist
- Insecurity in men can surface in their relationship due to a negative perception of themselves, their physical traits, background, identity, sexuality, and their financial and professional success
- A study has suggested that men’s self-esteem plummets when faced with their romantic partners’ success
- Insecure men either need constant reassurance and find it difficult to assert their opinions or show off, brag, assert their manhood and try to be a Mr. Know-it-all
- To deal with an insecure man, you need to get to the root of their issues
- Ask him what he needs, offer support but also establish boundaries for the sake of your mental health
- Do not be afraid to walk out if the relationship gets toxic or abusive in nature
Remember, the onus of finding a solution to your partner’s insecurities rests solely on him. Do approach this advice with this clarity. Dealing with an insecure partner is anyway an exhausting struggle. As much as is coping with complex insecurities. But neither you nor your partner has to undertake this task alone.
Should you need support from a professional or should you want to recommend therapy to the insecure man in your life, Bonobology’s panel of experienced counselors is here to help you.
Insecurity is nothing but a feeling of inadequacy. That one is not good enough. Such a person finds it hard to trust the love and good intentions of others and may compensate for it or cope in different ways.
Some amount of relationship insecurity and healthy jealousy is normal and common. But jealousy shouldn’t adversely affect your relationship and consume you in an unhealthy way.
Your boyfriend’s jealousy issues can be deeply rooted in his childhood or past relationships. His attachment style, abandonment issues, and trust issues could all be manifesting in the form of insecurity in his current relationship. There could also be simpler explanations such as a lack of communication and insufficient trust building in the relationship leading to his insecure behavior.