Why am I feeling insecure in my relationship?
First of all, what does insecurity feel like in a relationship? (Asking for a friend.) As Dr. Jennice Vilhauer, a psychologist and author of Think Forward to Thrive, writes in an article on Psychology Today, “insecurity is an inner feeling of being threatened and/or inadequate in some way.” If this hits a bit too close to home for you, you’re not alone. Most people experience insecurity about some aspect(s) of their life, including their career, their ability to parent, their physical appearance, and yes, relationships.
Vilhauer says that it’s normal to have these feelings of insecurity from time to time, but if it develops into chronic insecurity, it could do some serious damage to your relationship. “Chronic insecurity robs you of your peace and prevents you from being able to engage with your partner in a relaxed and authentic way,” she writes. “The actions that come from insecurity — always asking for reassurance, jealousy, accusing, and snooping — erode trust, aren’t attractive, and can push a partner away.”
As far as why you’re feeling insecure in your relationship, Dr. Nikki Goldstein, a sexologist and relationship expert, says that it’s important to determine whether the reason has more to do with something your partner said or did, or your own self-perception. “Often when we are feeling a bit low in the self-esteem department, we can be paranoid that our partner might not want us or be looking at other people because we are not good enough,” she tells Elite Daily.
While it’s absolutely possible to have a partner that directly causes your insecurity, Goldstein says that a lot of the time, we’re actually the source of our own insecurity. “It’s our own doubts that send us to doubt the relationship because we don’t feel worthy enough to be in it,” she explains.
How can I deal with trust issues and insecurities in my relationship?
Once you have a better idea of the source of your insecurities, it’s time to take a look at how to overcome — or at least deal with — them, as well as any underlying trust issues. Here are some strategies from Vilhauer and Goldstein:
Don’t compare your relationship to other relationships
Of course, we know that it’s very rarely productive to compare ourselves to other people, the grass is always greener, etc., but we may forget about this when it comes to relationships. Especially when things are just starting out, it can be tempting to look at other couples and their relationship benchmarks to see how you and your partner measure up. But this really isn’t a good idea.
If you’re not sure whether you’re doing this, here are some questions Goldstein suggests posing to yourself: “Do you have unrealistic expectations and are feeling insecure about your relationships because it doesn’t seem to measure up to others? Do you scroll through social media and wish your relationship looked like those around you? Do you think all your friends are happy in their relationships and wonder why yours isn’t as perfect?”
Trust in yourself
Yes, this may sound like a motivational poster hanging in your kid’s guidance counselor’s office, but when it comes to insecurity in relationships, trusting yourself is absolutely crucial. “Trust yourself to know that no matter what the other person does, you will take care of you,” Vilhauer writes. “Trust yourself to know that you won’t ignore your inner voice when it tells you that something isn’t right. Trust yourself not to hide your feelings, trust yourself to make sure your needs are met, and trust yourself that you won’t lose your sense of self-identity. Trust yourself to know that if the relationship isn’t working, you will be able to leave and still be a wholly functioning individual. When you trust yourself, feeling secure is almost a guarantee.”
Maintain your independence
If you’re someone who completely loses sight of themselves the minute they enter into a new relationship, this one’s for you. According to Vilhauer, when you become overly enmeshed in a relationship, it could lead to poor boundaries between you and your partner, and putting your own needs after theirs. These can be major sources of insecurities in a relationship. The good news is that there’s something you can do to prevent this from happening in the first place, or dealing with insecurities as they come up.
“Maintaining your sense of self-identity and taking care of your needs for personal well-being are the keys to keeping a healthy balance in a relationship,” Vilhauer writes. “When you aren’t dependent on your relationship to fill all of your needs, you feel more secure about your life.” If you’re not exactly sure how to maintain or regain your independence, Vilhauer suggests making time for your own friends, interests, and hobbies; being financially independent; and having your own individual goals, separate from your relationship goals. “In essence,” she writes, “don’t forget to do you.