All of us like to be in control of things, but this is clearly not always possible. And when the uncertainty gets out of hand, we are faced with the fiend of insecurity. When you’ve been a counselor for a significant period of time, you learn how insecurity plays a key role in almost all relationship problems.
Every single person out there has struggled with feelings of insecurity or inadequacy, and people tend to carry these with them when they start dating. The “whys” of it can be tricky to figure out, and overcoming insecurity is also complex. Grappling with insecurity is never easy because it demands a lot of introspection. But if you’re here reading, then you’ve already taken the courageous first step.
So let us begin this journey together, which will help you understand yourself a little more by finding an answer to “Why am I so insecure in my relationship?” In this article, psychologist Juhi Pandey (M.A Psychology), who specializes in dating, premarital and breakup counseling, writes about the signs and reasons why you’re so insecure in your relationship.
What Are The Signs Of Insecurity In A Relationship?
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Has your partner been telling you that you are acting insecure? Your knee-jerk reaction must have been denial. “No, of course not. I’m not insecure.” And I’ve heard a lot of clients say the same when they’re confronted with their behavior during therapy for insecurity in relationships.
In fact, a lot of them turn the tables on their partners, accusing them of insecurity instead. Coming to terms with our own patterns can be challenging. People often try to avoid this diagnosis like it’s the plague, and even if they don’t avoid it, they’re not quite sure what to do with it.
“I know my boyfriend loves me, but I feel insecure. I constantly need him to tell me that he loves me over and over again, otherwise I feel he’s about to leave me,” someone once told me. It’s a narrative I see over and over again since there’s a bit of jealousy and insecurity in every relationship.
What makes a woman insecure in a relationship, you ask? There are certain signs all insecure people display; going through them will be a lot like standing in front of a mirror. I urge you to spot the similarities with honesty because this is a safe space.
So before we dive into answering the question, “What causes feelings of insecurity in a relationship?”, it’s important to note that you mustn’t enter into this conversation with preconceived notions about yourself. Even if you think there is no substance to your partner’s claim of you being insecure, go ahead and take a look at the signs that show you’re insecure in your relationship, what you find may surprise you.
Related Reading: How To Stop Worrying About Your Relationship — 8 Expert Tips
1. Trust issues: Why so anxious?
Do you find yourself doubting everything your partner says? Are your follow-up questions sounding like an interrogation? Are you fighting the temptation to check their phone? Or have you already done it? A certain sign of insecurity is that you are facing difficulties in placing trust in your partner. You are struggling to place your faith in him, and this generates a lot of anxiety.
Insecurity corrodes us from within. We think, “Am I not enough? Is he cheating on me?” Anxiety caused by insecurity can also be the reason behind your mood swings, irritability, distraction, panic, and anger. Many people are torn between wondering if they’re paranoid, or actually being cheated on. This is a really damaging mental space to occupy.
“I’m so insecure in my long-distance relationship, my partner has just made a new work friend and I can’t stop thinking about it. Even though I’m pretty sure he’s not cheating on me, just the prospect of him having a new friend who he’s spending a lot of time with while I’m not around makes me go green with envy,” a client told me.
The most common manifestation of insecurities in a relationship is debilitating trust issues. If you’ve found it hard to trust your partner despite them constantly telling you how much they love and value you, it could signify that you need to work on your self-esteem.
2. Always on the defense
Most individuals, when dealing with insecurity, feel attacked by their partners. A lot of times, their defensive behavior is unwarranted because they have misconstrued what was being said to them.
If you find yourself offering justifications for no reason or taking things personally, you need to sit with yourself and recalibrate. A lot of women say, “My partner makes me feel insecure with his taunts.” But is the offense you’re taking, actually being given?
Maybe you’re reading into things because you are projecting your issues. Maybe because of the fact that you think you don’t look your best, you assume he’s making fun of you every time he tells you something about your appearance. Maybe because you don’t think you’re earning well enough, you take offense every time she mentions her brother who earns more than you. The question you should be asking yourself is, “Why am I so insecure in my relationship?”
3. A need for constant attention
Is it normal to feel insecure in a new relationship when your partner can’t spend time with you? In the very beginning, it’s often not a big deal to be worried or insecure. But here’s a hypothetical situation: Your boyfriend decides to spend his weekend with his friends instead of you. You both just saw each other, and he would like to catch up with his gang. He informs you that he’s got plans.
How do you react? Are you hurt or angry that he won’t spend all his time with you? If yes, then you’re insecure in your relationship. You have trouble accepting the fact that people lead individual lives even when they’re dating. If you’re a clingy partner to a severe extent, maybe you are not ready for a relationship.
Requiring or demanding attention constantly are unhealthy indicators of insecurity. Tracing their cause is very important in the long run.
4. (Over)Reacting a lot
A major drawback of insecurity is the overthinking, and consequent overreaction it causes. Making mountains out of molehills, incessant nagging or aggression are not healthy behaviors. I’d like to mark an important difference between “responding” and “reacting”.
A response is a well-thought-out answer, while a reaction is an emotionally-driven one. Our cognition drives our responses, while our emotions drive reactions. If you reflexively or naturally react to your partner in a suspicious or hostile manner, I invite you to transition to response. Since unlearning our habits is a long process, what we can do meanwhile, is think before acting them out.
Related Reading: Am I A Jealous Spouse? How To Deal With Jealousy And Insecurity
5. So close and yet so far
Insecurity creates a paradox. On one hand, you may be acting clingy, but on the other, you have trouble with intimacy. You might be struggling with being your authentic self around your partner. Are you wondering if they will accept you for who you are? Being vulnerable takes much bravery, but it is a step we have to take to strengthen our relationships.
It’s time to ask yourself, “Why am I so insecure in my relationship?” Problems with emotional and physical intimacy are sure-shot signs of an insecure individual. After going through these signs, you must have gotten a clear idea of where you stand. Now that you know what the common insecurities in a relationship are, the next step is figuring out the reason behind it.
Wondering Why Am I So Insecure In My Relationship? 9 Reasons To Consider
You’re correct in asking, “Why am I so insecure in my relationship?”, since the reasons behind insecurity can be complex and varied. Pin-pointing them is a bit of a challenge but the 9 most common causes will help you grasp why you’ve been feeling this way. The biggest trigger for insecurity in relationships is often a lack of self-confidence or poor self-esteem.
It’s no surprise that the way a person thinks about themselves indicates the kind of relationships they will have with the outside world. If you’re not too thrilled about yourself, you’re going to think nobody else is, either. Try and see these reasons behind jealousy and insecurity in relationships with an open mind. Set the intention that you want to better yourself, and these 9 reasons are a step toward your wellbeing.
1. Your own beliefs – Are there any grounds for you to be insecure?
Nine times out of ten, our own perceptions of ourselves and how the world perceives us are responsible for how we feel. Firstly, what is your idea of a relationship? Your belief system will determine how you approach dating, and how you expect to be loved. If you think you’re being cheated on, it might be because your partner is unhappy with the relationship.
Their unhappiness might be exaggerated in your mind, prompting you to think they’re betraying you. If your personal idea of seeing someone is having no social contact beyond them, your insecurities will be greater. You will have more grounds for feeling insecure because your view of a relationship is kind of limited.
If your outlook is broader and you are usually not inclined toward feeling threatened in a relationship, you can consider whether your concerns are valid. But if you’re constantly feeling like the strength of your relationship with someone is janky, just because your relationship with yourself isn’t the best, it’s what causes feelings of insecurity in a relationship in most cases.
Related Reading: 8 Most Common Causes Of Insecurity
2. Childhood trauma and attachment style
The past isn’t as far behind as we think it to be. Your insecurity could be rooted in childhood issues. Perhaps you faced sexual or physical abuse, emotional abuse, the loss of a parent, neglect, prolonged illness, bullying, divorce of parents, etc. The attachment style we develop as children largely depends on our relationship with our primary caregivers. If we didn’t trust them to be reliable parents for us, if they were ambivalent in their approach or completely absent, we develop an insecure approach toward our future relationships.
Take, for example, a client I recently had. “I know my boyfriend loves me but I feel insecure,” she said, adding, “On days when he’s busy and can’t give me attention, I immediately assume he’s going to leave me stranded.” With the help of therapy, she realized that this fear of abandonment was instilled in her when her mother would disappear for months on end.
A common thing said by people who deal with insecurity stemming from childhood trauma is, “My boyfriend unintentionally makes me feel insecure” or “My girlfriend makes me insecure without meaning to”.The words “unintentional” or “without meaning to” are key because past trauma is making you construe their actions in a certain way.
Sometimes, what makes a woman insecure (or a man) is something that happened in their childhood. You can resolve these problems because therapy for insecurity in relationships is always a good option. If it’s help you’re looking for, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists is only a click away.
3. Jealousy and insecurity in relationships can be caused by hurtful events in the past
Dating disasters of previous relationships can exercise a lot of influence on us. Maybe your ex gave you a very good reason to be suspicious. Partners who cheat, lie or gaslight can leave a lasting footprint on our behavior. During sessions, I often hear clients say, “My ex used to make me feel insecure about my body.” Or “My partner made me feel insecure by texting other women.”
Overcoming these can be very tough, but ultimately, it is your life that insecurity damages. Scars that haven’t yet healed is what makes a woman insecure in a relationship or leaves a man riddled with insecurity. Being cheated on changes you immensely, and recovery is difficult. You may think that even the current relationship won’t pan out.
However, it’s important to note that you must not let the baggage of your past relationships affect your current ones. The biggest insecurities in relationships usually stem from the fact that they’ve seen something turn out badly before. One of the best ways to tackle such a situation is to work on what we’ll talk about next, your low self-esteem.
4. A low self-esteem is what causes feelings of insecurity in a relationship
How can one expect to feel confident in a relationship if they aren’t confident about themselves? Low self-worth can create numerous problems in a relationship. It may look like you’re skeptical about your partner, but in reality, it is your own self you’re doubting.
If you’re an individual who has low self-esteem, you keep thinking that you aren’t good enough. Your insecurity develops because you think, “Since I’m not good enough, he must be with someone else to make up for my flaws.” You may feel insecure in a new relationship especially. But this can lead to self-sabotaging behaviors if not handled with care.
You ask, why am I so insecure in my relationship? It’s because you don’t think too highly of yourself. You have to work on yourself and strive toward becoming a self-sufficient individual. Sure, it won’t be an easy journey, but it’s almost a necessity for you to be happy with yourself so you can accept the fact that your partner loves you for who you are, and that you are enough.
5. Do you love yourself enough?
Self-love is a part of the most important relationship of our life – the one with ourselves. No one can compensate for the lack of self-love, and it is a task we have to accomplish by ourselves. The first step toward self-love is acceptance.
Before we talk about, “My husband made me feel insecure about my body” or “My wife makes me feel insecure by behaving like I’m not enough”, I want you to address whether you feel insecure, irrespective of their opinions. Do you accept yourself in entirety, flaws and all? If not, this could be the root of your insecurity. Embrace yourself (like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love) before you expect your partner to do so. Finding satisfaction externally comes after you are content on the inside.
6. Lack of communication with your partner
Another solid reason behind insecurity is a lack of communication between you and your partner. Perhaps, you’ve both been busy or been having a few problems. Either way, the conversations might have stopped flowing. Is it normal to feel insecure in a new relationship when you’re both experiencing the first few fights? Sure, since you’re just trying to figure each other out.
But when you’re a few years down the line, a lack of communication can send the whole thing spiraling down. Since you’re not in touch with each other (emotionally), you’re feeling insecure regarding the relationship. This is a problem that can be addressed by sitting down and having a difficult talk.
I urge you to listen better in your relationship, rather than just putting your own points forward. I hate to bring up a cliché, but communication is key. A relationship cannot and will not function in a healthy manner unless you’re willing to talk. Therapy for insecurity in relationships is always available.
7. Changes in your relationship
Each relationship goes through phases of development. It also has its rough patches. If your relationship has transitioned from a casual one to a serious one or from a live-in to a marriage, insecurity may be stemming from this change.
“After 2 years of being in a live-in relationship, I feel so insecure in my long-distance relationship. Every time she goes out, I’m always assuming the worst. Every time she makes a new friend, I’m already trying to stalk that person online,” Jason told us, about how suddenly shifting to a long distance has been quite hard.
Adapting to a new couple dynamic can take a while. As you settle into it, you may feel a teeny bit insecure. Individuals who’ve just begun dating may feel insecure in a new relationship. As far as the dreadful rough patches are concerned, they’ll pass, taking the insecurity with them. However, if you’ve diagnosed your relationship problems to be more severe, do reach out to a professional for help.
Related Reading: 8 Ways To Overcome Insecurity In A Relationship
8. The dream of a picture-perfect life
I came across this splendid quote on Facebook by Steven Furtick the other day. “The reason we struggle with insecurity is that we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” Maybe you suffer from the malady of perfectionism. Your idea of a relationship is borrowed from the movies and is picture-perfect.
If you’re just realizing that actual relationships are different from fictional ones, you may be feeling insecure. When you ask, why am I so insecure in my relationship? I tell you that movies, books, or social media are never points of reference. A real relationship has its highs and lows, some of which you have no control over. Get comfortable with the fact that not everything has to be right.
9. Social anxiety can be the reason for jealousy and insecurity in relationships
And finally, maybe you suffer from social anxiety. This can be causing your low self-confidence, your constant worrying, and your insecurity. Social anxiety affects all areas of your life, in ways you cannot begin to imagine. If you’re someone who has social anxiety, your fear of rejection and judgment will be significantly higher, leading to greater insecurity. Therapy and counseling are great ways to cope with social anxiety as they equip you with the right tools.
We come to the end of our expedition into the murky waters of insecurity. It is my sincere hope that I have been of help, and have brought you one step closer toward a more harmonious relationship, devoid of any “Why don’t you love me?” questions, every time your partner doesn’t reply to you for half a day.
Depending on your self-assessment of the cause, you can take action to start the process of healing. You should work on your insecurity for healthier and stronger relationships. But a good place to begin would be to examine your bond with yourself.
Really look into how you feel about yourself. Work on building your self-esteem, spend some time with yourself, and love yourself. You should also address these concerns with your partner. A relationship works with the efforts of two people, and he should pitch in to do whatever he can to make you feel safer and secure. I would advise you to consider therapy or counseling too.