9 Signs of Insecurity in a Relationship

Hello Psych2Goers! Hope you are all doing okay and keeping safe. 

In a healthy relationship, partners should feel safe, secure and loved. However, at some point, most of us will have experienced insecurity in some form or another.

Relationship insecurity can manifest itself in a number of destructive and painful ways and many people may feel as though they are not in control of this. Regardless of peoples’ reasoning, unhealthy behaviour and intense insecurity can also manifest into health problems later on, as studies have found.

This article is designed for educational purposes only and is not to suggest that people who identify with some of these signs are insecure. If you feel that you may be insecure in your relationship, talk to your partner or somebody you trust and talk through how you are feeling. Seek further support from a professional if you feel like you are finding it hard to manage.

 Here are 9 signs of insecurity in a relationship.

You don’t accept yourself

Do you struggle when it comes to just being ‘you’?

It may be easy for you to be critical and hold yourself to unrealistically high standards. This can have an impact in your relationship if you are not able to give yourself time to work through your own insecurities. If you are unable to accept yourself, then you are less likely to be open to letting another person into your life. Take time for yourself and allow your authentic self to grow!


You feel ‘unseen’ by your partner

Do you feel like your partner does not see you in the way that you would like and expect? Do things go unnoticed even when you feel like you have made an effort for them? Do you feel like they don’t fully appreciate you and are seeking somebody else?

It is possible that you enjoy each other’s company but may not connect in the way you think you should in a romantic relationship. This can be confusing especially if you feel like they don’t fully take the time to understand you which can leave you feeling dissatisfied. Talk to your partner about your needs and emotions. If they shut you down or ignore what you are saying, then this may not be a healthy attachment.


You feel as if your relationship is in constant limbo

Making plans to spend time together is a part of maintaining a healthy relationship and attachment. Allowing flexibility is important so that both parties can be present and involved. But what happens if plans are never set in stone or plans are cancelled consistently last minute?

If you desire long term plans, commitment or stability with you partner and feel that other person is not reciprocating, this can leave you in ‘limbo’. This can make you question whether they are really interested in a relationship with you and can make you feel anxious.

Highly anxious individuals yearn for closeness and acceptance, but fear that regardless of their attempts to secure love, they may be rejected and abandoned (Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1980). Remind yourself it is a perfectly natural human need to want to know where you are headed and what to expect going forward.


You don’t trust your partner.

Imagine that trust is a see-saw and you and your partner are on either end of it. If you do not trust your partner as much as they trust you, there is already an imbalance which can tip the see-saw dramatically. When your insecurities prevent you from fully trusting your partner, that may make it difficult for you to open up emotionally.

You may doubt every little thing, stalk social media and snoop on your partner just to affirm that nothing sinister is going on. Helsper and Whitty (2010) reported that in about 30% of married couples, at least one partner has at least once secretly read the emails or SMS text messages of the partner (Utz, 2011).

Have you been hurt in the past? Has your current partner done anything to make you feel like you can’t trust them? Challenge your negative thought patterns and become more aware of where your feelings are coming from. You will learn how to cope more effectively rather than projecting them onto your partner, especially if there is no valid reason. 

You struggle with intimacy, emotional regulation and communication.

Do you feel your walls going up during intimate moments? Difficulties in dealing with and regulating emotions lies at the core of attachment insecurity (Mikulincer and Shaver, 2003; Simpson and Rholes, 2012).

You need to first understand intimacy and what it means to you and your partner. Ask yourself whether you and your partner experience closeness and intimacy in the same way and where your walls have come from. It is possible that you may have experienced societal expectations, insecurities, past abuse and/or fears. Communication is key in any relationship and being able to communicate in a way which works best for you both so that you understand each other is all part of your developing relationship


You Compare Yourself To Your Partner’s Exes

It’s only natural to be curious about who your partner was with before you, but if you’re constantly comparing yourself to your partner’s exes and worrying you don’t measure up, that’s a sure sign that your insecurities are affecting your relationship. If your partner compares you to their ex, then this is also not healthy and is likely to do more harm than good in the short and long-term. You should be treated as the unique individual that you are.


Your Partner Is Constantly Having To Reassure You

Am I attractive? Do you love me? Do you really want to be with me? Are you being faithful? Why do you like me anyway? Are these questions that you have asked your partner or vice versa? Are these questions that have been asked more than one occasion?

There is nothing wrong with craving some reassurance from your partner but the constant need for validation is a sign that your insecurities are getting the better of you. Seeking excessive reassurance from a partner can be an indicator of depression caused by attachment anxiety. If you feel depressed or need frequent reassurance, you may consider counselling or self-help  as a fantastic way to get to know yourself better and learn to love who you are!


You may experience jealousy, paranoia and disbelief.

There is a certain level of jealousy which is considered healthy; it in natural that when you are in a committed relationship, that you don’t want someone else breaking what you have worked so hard to build with that other person. But, there is a point where this healthy jealousy turns into consuming insecurity.

It is not helpful if your partner says or behaves in ways which suggest that they are trying to make you feel jealous. Common signs of jealousy include: controlling behaviour, becoming clingy and negative thinking. Jealousy can be extremely difficult to overcome, but it is not impossible. Practice learning to let go of certain hang-ups and build trust in a relationship.


You avoid confrontation and fear rejection

Often when you are dealing with insecurity in a relationship, you may choose to avoid confrontation like the plague! This often stems from an insecurity that your partner will leave you, judge you or reject you if you disagree with them or oppose them in any way, shape or form. To maintain psychological distance and prevent emotional vulnerability, highly avoidant individuals limit emotional closeness (Pietromonaco & Feldman Barrett, 1997; Tan et al., 2012, Tidwell et al., 1996)


If you want to pursue a healthy relationship, both you and your partner need to be able to be okay with having different opinions about things. You cannot be expected to agree on everything! Setting boundaries and practising honest and assertive communication will make it easier to have uncomfortable conversations and share your own opinions confidently.


Overcoming insecurity in relationships can feel like a lonely battle at times. Remember, your partner cannot take away your insecurities, only you can. Noticing signs of insecurity early means that they can be addressed quickly and then you can learn how to become more secure and fulfilled within a relationship.

I hope you have found this article useful. If you, your partner or somebody you know, can relate to any of these signs, then leave a comment in the comment box below. We love receiving feedback and sharing experiences as this is what connects us all as people as well as working towards the Psych2Go mission to make psychology and mental health more accessible to everybody.


Take care and watch this space for the next article!




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