Personal relationships are a very important part of our lives. It’s what we are constantly thinking about and our actions, behaviors and perspectives often revolve around them. That’s why, if you’re grappling with relationship insecurity, its effects can spill over to other aspects of your life as well. You won’t feel completely at ease or give your 100% to your career if you are not happy in your personal relationship.
While being with an insecure partner drains a relationship, being insecure yourself can be an exhausting experience too. Anxiety and insecurity in relationships can take a toll on a lot more than just your bond. To be able to manage insecurities and prevent them from spiraling out of control, it’s imperative to understand how and why they manifest in relationships and their potential effects.
What Is Relationship Insecurity?
“Relationship insecurity is a real problem,” says Sushma Perla, UAE-based Emotional Alignment Specialist and Master Life Coach, NLP, and adds, “It stems from long-term conditioning, carrying emotional baggage and the tendency to look at the world through a black and white lens. We usually have filters through which we see the outside world. If our past experiences were bitter, it will cause anxiety and insecurity in relationships in our present phase in life as well.”
Relationship insecurity also means an inability to trust anyone in your life. You tend to bring a lot of baggage to the table, projecting your negative feelings onto your partner instead of taking care of what needs to be healed within you. The stress is immense as a bad relationship with a key partner will influence your health, work and spills over to all other realms of life.
What Are The Signs You Are Insecure In Your Relationship?
According to Sushma, relationship behaviors are associated with your attachment style. “Your attachment style could be of three types – Secure Attachments, Insecure Attachments and Avoidance Attachments. In Avoidance Attachments, a person tends to run away from a problem, they get pressurized easily and fail to do the inner work.”
“Secure attachments means where a person’s emotional needs were met as a child and as a result, they face no relationship insecurity. They don’t get rattled when they face trouble in their relationship,” she explains.
The correlation is clear: relationship insecurity rises out of insecure attachment styles. Such people tend to be vulnerable, are suspicious and envision the worst. It leads to chaos and inner conflict which need to be resolved to be able to lead a happy life. But first, you need to understand the signs of relationship insecurity.
1. Limiting beliefs
People suffering from relationship insecurity have limiting belief systems. It could be because of what they witnessed as a child, their parents perhaps did not have a strong healthy relationship themselves. Negative childhood experiences often lead to forming limiting thought patterns that prevent a person from leading a full life.
2. They believe they do not deserve love
Relationship insecurity leads people to believe that they are not worthy of love. The problem is that even if they break up from their current relationship, unless they break the pattern of their limiting beliefs, they can’t make a fresh start again. They will repeat such behavior even in their next relationship.
3. They find it difficult to trust
One of the big dangers of dating an insecure woman or man is that even if you are perfect and go all out to woo them, they won’t trust you. These trust issues can place your relationship on shaky ground. A little slip up here or there, a few actions that rouse their suspicions are enough to act as relationship insecurity triggers which lead to bigger problems.
4. Struggles with intimacy
Sex is one of the most wonderful expressions of love but to enjoy sex you need to be completely in tune with your partner. Unfortunately, if relationship insecurity clouds your thinking, intimacy will always be an issue as you won’t find it easy to give your all. Stilted dynamics of sex and intimacy are one of the most telling signs of relationship insecurity.
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5. They panic very easily
One of the dangers of dating an insecure woman or man is that even the most trivial incidents can trigger their insecurity. They tend to panic very easily. For instance, if being away from their partner even for brief spells can leave them overwhelmed with separation anxiety. And their natural tendency to be suspicious and read between the lines makes them imagine scenarios where none exist.
6. They get defensive
“Living with an insecure partner drains relationships since their insecurity makes them feel they are constantly under attack. They get rather defensive and it all stems from the feeling of not being worthy enough. They project their perception onto their partner. Now, if their partner also has his or her insecurities, it’s a recipe for disaster,” says Sushma.
7. They find it tough to accept their partner
A healthy marriage or committed relationship is all about accepting the other person as he or she is. There can’t be perfection but when you have relationship insecurities, acceptance is tough. You can’t let go and let the other person be. The key reason is that they find it difficult to accept themselves and their problems which is why they can’t tolerate flaws in others.
How Do Relationship Insecurities Affect You?
As mentioned above, being with an insecure partner drains relationships to such an extent that you feel you are constantly walking on eggshells. There are various types of insecurities in a relationship – caused due to jealousy, money problems, sex or emotional problems.
But the signs, triggers and end result remain the same. It becomes a relationship of stress, over-dependence, fights and negativities. In its extreme form, relationship insecurity can also lead to violence. Even when present to a mild degree, insecurities can lead to constant fights and unhappiness.
The main problem is that you never know what behavior will result in insecurity causing arguments in the relationship that snowball into big fights and slanging matches. It kills the joy of being in love. It does not take a long time for relationships marked by insecurity on the part of either partner to break up. Here are some of the ways in which insecurities in your key relationship affect you, your partner and your relationship as a whole:
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1. You can never enjoy the moments fully
You may be enjoying the most beautiful romantic moments but negative thoughts will creep up and spoil them. You will never be able to fully enjoy the moment you are sharing with your partner as the nagging belief that he or she is perhaps lying to you or cheating on you always plays at the back of your mind. This only causes anxiety and insecurity in relationships to multiply and grow.
2. You feel unhappy all the time
On most occasions, you know that your fears regarding your partner are unfounded and unnecessary but you may find it difficult to shake off the negative feelings. It takes a lot of convincing that there really is nothing wrong with your relationship. Often you may tend to go through these arguments in your head which can be rather exhausting.
3. Your relationship is imbalanced
Relationship insecurity impacts both the partners – the one feeling insecure and the one at the receiving end of it. For the latter, the need to constantly reassure his or her partner that there is love and commitment can be tiring. It leads to a situation where one person’s needs overshadow that of the other leading to a great imbalance. Relationship insecurity can be the breeding ground for lop-sided power dynamics between partners.
4. Your natural personality feels stifled
If your partner is the insecure one, you may find yourself suppressing your most instinctive responses to avoid relationship insecurity triggers. You may even end up killing your natural self when you have to give in to your partner’s egos and insecurities.
For instance, if your husband feels jealous seeing you chat up a male friend and creates hell for you, you may consciously avoid it in the future. Gradually, you will withdraw from being a naturally friendly person since you want to avoid conflict at home. You may start feeling insecure yourself.
5. You may get caught in an vicious cycle
If you are the ‘victim’ of the relationship insecurities of your partner, you will be caught in an endless cycle of explaining, over-explaining and reassuring them over every little thing. This can get very emotionally draining for you. You will be constantly wondering what action of yours will be misunderstood by your partner and turn into one of the relationship insecurity triggers.
6. You find it difficult to form healthy relationships
When your core relationship is unhappy, it spills over onto your other relationships too. Whether you are the victim or the perpetrator of relationship insecurity, you will find your fears being reflected in other aspects of life. Perhaps you may not be able to function normally at work. You may have fights with your colleagues or bosses and may find it difficult to concentrate.
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7. Your dependence on your partner increases
Insecure partners tend to cling to each other. Your fears lead you to believe that the only person who can complete you is your partner. However, being clingy can sabotage your relationship. You will never feel fully happy both with yourself and your relationship if you solely rely on your partner to make you feel attractive, fun, smart or kind. You need to feel these emotions yourself.
In a nutshell, it is important to remember that EVERY relationship has its own share of insecurities and ego problems. It is not possible to have a smooth-sailing affair all the time. There will be occasions when your partner gives you reasons to feel insecure about them. There might be instances when your behavior leads your partner to feel slighted because of differing expectations. All this is normal.
What matters is how each of you deals with your personal insecurities and to what extent they affect the health of your relationship. It is important to have trust and honesty and have the ability to be vulnerable with your partner about your worries. But if the insecurities are proving to be unhealthy and affecting your peace and that of your partner, it is best to seek therapy or outside support to unravel the deeper issues that may be causing them.