How can I stop being insecure in my relationship?

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Last Updated: 01/08/2018 at 7:51pm
How can I stop being insecure in my relationship?
★ This question about Managing Emotions was starred by a moderator on 5/12/2016.
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Top Rated Answers
Emily619
July 22nd, 2015 3:05pm
You can stop being insecure in your relationship by developing more trust for the person. You could develop trust by doing trust exercises, for example.
Anonymous
July 10th, 2015 6:29pm
Jealousy is a killer. Relationships end because of jealous conflicts and people kill other people because they are jealous. Imagine this. You are at a party and someone is friendly and you smile. Your partner thinks that you are betraying her. Or your partner tells you a funny story about a former lover and you feel threatened. You feel the anger and the anxiety rising inside you and you don’t know what to do. Susan could identify with this. She would glare at her partner, trying to send him a “message” that she was really annoyed and hurt. She hoped he would get the message. At times she would withdraw into pouting, hoping to punish him for showing an interest in someone else. But it didn’t work. He just felt confused. At other times Susan would ask him if she still found her attractive. Was he getting bored with her? Was she his type? At first, he would reassure her, but then---with repeated demands for her for more reassurance---he began to wonder why she felt so insecure. Maybe she wasn’t the right one for him. And when things got more difficult for Susan, she would yell at him, “Why don’t you go home with her? It’s obvious you want to!” These kinds of jealous conflicts can end a relationship. But, if you are jealous, does this mean that there is something terribly wrong with you? My colleague, Dennis Tirch, and I just published a paper on jealousy---and how to handle it. Click here (link is external) to get a copy of the article that appeared in the International Journal of Cognitive Therapy. (link is external) We describe a step-by-step approach to helping people cope with their jealousy. Let's look at what is going on when you are jealous and how you can handle it. Jealousy is angry agitated worry. When we are jealous we worry that our partner might find someone else more appealing and we fear that he or she will reject us. Since we feel threatened that our partner might find someone more attractive, we may activate jealousy as a way to cope with this threat. We may believe that our jealousy may keep us from being surprised, help us defend our rights, and force our partner to give up interests elsewhere. Similar to worry, jealousy may be a “strategy” that we use so that we can figure out what is going wrong or learn what our partner “really feels”. We may also think that our jealousy can motivate us to give up on the relationship—so that we don’t get hurt any more. If you are feeling jealous, it’s important to ask yourself what you hope to gain by your jealousy. We view jealousy as a coping strategy. Similar to other forms of worry, jealousy leads us to focus only on the negative. We interpret our partner’s behavior as reflecting a loss of interest in us or a growing interest in someone else: “He finds her attractive” or “He is yawning because I am boring”. Like other forms of worry, jealousy leads us to take things personally and to mind-read negative emotions in other people: “She’s getting dressed up to attract other guys”. Jealousy can be an adaptive emotion. People have different reasons—in different cultures---for being jealous. But jealousy is a universal emotion. Evolutionary psychologist David Buss in The Dangerous Passion makes a good case that jealousy has evolved as a mechanism to defend our interests. After all, our ancestors who drove off competitors were more likely to have their genes survive. Indeed, intruding males (whether among lions or humans) have been known to kill off the infants or children of the displaced male. Jealousy was a way in which vital interests could be defended. We believe that it is important to normalize jealousy as an emotion. Telling people that “You must be neurotic if you are jealous” or “You must have low self-esteem” will not work. In fact, jealousy—in some cases—may reflect high self-esteem: “I won’t allow myself to be treated this way”. Jealousy may reflect your higher values Psychologists---especially psychoanalysts---have looked at jealousy as a sign of deep-seated insecurities and personality defects. We view jealousy as a much more complicated emotion. In fact, jealousy may actually reflect your higher values of commitment, monogamy, love, honesty, and sincerity. You may feel jealous because you want a monogamous relationship and you fear that you will lose what is valuable to you. We find it helpful to validate these values in our patients who are jealous. Some people may say, “You don’t own the other person”. Of course, this is true---and any loving relationship with mutuality is based on freedom. But it is also based on choices that two free people make. If your partner freely chooses to go off with someone else, then you may rest assured that you have good reasons to feel jealous. We don’t own each other, but we may make affirmations about our commitment to each other. But if your higher values are based on honesty, commitment and monogamy, your jealousy may jeopardize the relationship. You are in a bind. You don’t want to give up on your higher values---but you don’t want to feel overwhelmed by your jealousy. Jealous feelings are different from jealous behaviors Just as there is a difference between feeling angry and acting in a hostile way, there is a difference between feeling jealous and acting on your jealousy. It’s important to realize that your relationship is more likely to be jeopardized by your jealous behavior---such as continual accusations, reassurance-seeking, pouting, and acting-out. Stop and say to yourself, “I know that I am feeling jealous, but I don’t have to act on it.” Notice that it is a feeling inside you. But you have a choice of whether you act on it. What choice will be in your interest? Accept and observe your jealous thoughts and feelings When you notice that you are feeling jealous, take a moment, breathe slowly, and observe your thoughts and feelings. Recognize that jealous thoughts are not the same thing as a REALITY. You may think that your partner is interested in someone else, but that doesn’t mean that he really is. Thinking and reality are different. You don’t have to obey your jealous feelings and thoughts. Notice that your feeling of anger and anxiety may increase while you stand back and observe these experiences. Accept that you can have an emotion—and allow it to be. You don’t have to “get rid of the feeling”. We have found that mindfully standing back and observing that a feeling is there can often lead to the feeling weakening on its own. Recognize that uncertainty is part of every relationship Like many worries, jealousy seeks certainty. “I want to know for sure that he isn’t interested in her”. Or, “I want to know for sure that we won’t break up”. Ironically, some people will even precipitate a crisis in order to get the certainty. “I’ll break off with her before she breaks off with me!” But uncertainty is part of life and we have to learn how to accept it. Uncertainty is one of those limitations that we can’t really do anything about. You can never know for sure that your partner won’t reject you. But if you accuse, demand and punish, you might create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Examine your assumptions about relationships Your jealousy may be fueled by unrealistic ideas about relationships. These may include beliefs that past relationships (that your partner had) are a threat to your relationship. Or you may believe that “My partner should never be attracted to anyone else”. You may also believe that your emotions (of jealousy and anxiety) are a “sign” that there is a problem. We call this “emotional reasoning”—and it is often a very bad way to make decisions. Or you may have problematic beliefs about how to feel more secure. For example, you may believe that you can force your partner to love you—or force him or her to lose interest in someone else. You may believe that withdrawing and pouting will send a message to your partner---and lead him to try to get closer to you. But withdrawing may lead your partner to lose interest. Sometimes your assumptions about relationships are affected by your childhood experiences or past intimate relationships. If your parents had a difficult divorce because your father left your mother for someone else, you may be more prone to believe that his may happen to you. Or you may have been betrayed in a recent relationship and you now think that your current relationship will be a replay of this. You may also believe that you have little to offer—who would want to be with you? If your jealousy is based on this belief, then you might examine the evidence for and against this idea. For example, one woman thought she had little to offer. But when I asked her what she would want in an ideal partner---intelligence, warmth, emotional closeness, creativity, fun, lots of interests---she realized that she was describing herself! If she were so undesirable, then why would she see herself as an ideal partner? Use effective relationship skills You don’t have to rely on jealousy and jealous behavior to make your relationship more secure. You can use more effective behavior. This includes becoming more rewarding to each other--- “catch your partner doing something positive”. Praise each other, plan positive experiences with each other, and try to refrain from criticism, sarcasm, labeling, and contempt. Learn how to share responsibility in solving problems---use “mutual problem solving skills”. Set up “pleasure days” with each other by developing a “menu” of positive and pleasurable behaviors you want from each other. For example, you can say, “Let’s set up a day this week that will be your pleasure day and a day that will be my pleasure day”. Make a list of pleasant and simple behaviors you want from each other: “I’d like a foot-rub, talk with me about my work, let’s cook a meal together, let’s go for a walk in the park”.
seighheart - Expert in Managing Emotions
November 16th, 2014 8:05am
I'm probably the most insecure person in my life. This caused me one of my most horrible losses. Trust the person you are with. Trust in God. God wouldn't have put that person in your life for nothing.
Spirited1
December 4th, 2014 1:12pm
Our most personal and valued relationships often bring out the very best and very worst in us. Close relationships, especially those of a romantic nature, require us to be vulnerable on some level… to show more of our true nature…. to suspend our fear… to let someone in… to let down our guard. This vulnerability can trigger powerful emotions, the heady whirlwind of the ecstatic energy of 'love' can drudge up all kinds of unresolved stuff from the dregs of your past. This can be unexpected and scary. Some insecurity in love can be natural and normal... to wonder 'does he really love me?' 'is she thinking the same way as I am about us?'. Any romance novel or movie would seem to suggest that these thoughts are part and parcel of the romance game. But, as in most things, what is important is balance. If you are feeling out of balance and if the insecurity in your relationship is heavily weighted towards your side of the scales, then maybe it's time to reflect on how you can strengthen your own self esteem and thus be a more attractive romantic partner and happier human being. Here are some thoughts: 1). REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE. Ask 'Who am I?' What makes me ME?' 'What do I like/want/do?' (other than him/her). It's easy to forget yourself in a romantic relationship… to morph into a hybrid shadow of the other person. But this is a dangerous path. Successful relationships, in my opinion, involve two separate people, with some separation in their lives, views, interests and social activities, who come together willingly because they enjoy each other's company. If you feel you are morphing into a 'hybrid shadow' and spending most of your days with or thinking of another human being, it's time to reach down the well, grab hold of what's left of the former you and give him or her a shake. Get back to the things you used to enjoy, make some plans with friends, join a class or interest group, write some poetry, play sports. These kind of things are magic dust for relationships… You feel happier, more balanced, and less obsessive and when you see your significant other, you have interesting and intriguing new things to talk about. 2). YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS NOT THERAPY. It is natural to want the support of those close to you, and hopefully they are supportive. But, unless you have specifically chosen someone with a psychology degree, he or she is not your therapist (even a psychologist probably doesn't want to practise therapy at home). Your insecurity, ultimately, is your problem, not theirs. One would expect him or her to be considerate and sympathetic of your concerns, but their job is not to heal you. Their job, if it is a job, is to enjoy spending time with you and to share life experiences with you. They came of their own free nature and may leave in a similar way. Practise being positive and happy when you talk to him and her. Practise being calm. Practise having fewer expectations and going with the natural flow of things. If you have unresolved issues, consider actual therapy with a trained professional. No shame in working on yourself. You will probably be a better human being and thus more attractive romantic partner as a result. 3). TALK (AND LISTEN)! To your loved one. Employ the principles of active listening in your own relationships. Check your significant other is in the right frame of mind for a conversation before you jump into one (if they never want to talk, you may have to draw your own conclusions about this). State your thoughts and feelings clearly but calmly… be conscious that heightened emotions have a way of escalating our interactions with others, leading to confusion and drama. Make a conscious effort to balance and ground yourself. Try to start sentences with 'I' not 'You'. 'I feel' rather than 'You make me feel'. 'I would like' rather than 'You should'. Listen carefully to what you hear. Don't jump to immediate conclusions. Consider what you have heard, then form your view. 3). CONSIDER YOUR EXPECTATIONS (BUT BE FLEXIBLE). As part of remembering you are a separate individual in your own right, it might be helpful to set your own expectations of what you will and will not tolerate in your personal relationshipa - not as some kind of autocratic love dictator but in the spirit of living and acting in accordance with your own values and respecting yourself. Ask 'What is the minimum level of respect/attention/care I will tolerate?' 'What are ultimate deal-breakers for me?' If someone you care about consistently disregards your feelings without explanation, leaving you to feel insecure and riddled with doubt, then it's probably time to question whether you are prepared to invest any more of your time and valuable energy into them. If it's worth it, perhaps keep them as a friend, and always (unless they have been abusive in some way) give them an explanation as to why the relationship cannot continue. Think carefully. If it's a choice between carrying on with a relationship you've tried to work on that makes you feel insecure, sad and doubtful or scouring the horizon for a more rewarding way to spend your time, I hope I would choose the latter. Good luck :)
frothySmiles42
June 27th, 2015 11:10pm
Well it starts within you and learning to believe in yourself it will take time of course but you need to find what you enjoying doing yourself it could be sports or social group activity to build up own self esteem and own self worth because this relationship is affecting you that way then once you do that you will have a very clear picture of what you should be doing for yourself and if this relationship really worth staying in if it makes you feel this way in the first place
Athena86
July 17th, 2015 12:56am
Relationship insecurity comes from one of two sources: either you don't think you're worth it regardless of how the other person treats you or the other person doesn't respect you and/or treats you poorly and makes you feel like you arejust holding a spot until something better comes along.
aShhhley
July 4th, 2015 4:10pm
Its often a lack of self esteem or an issue in the past causing you to be insecure. Personally, what works for me, is to look at the big picture. I was insecure in myself and thought my SO would find someone better and cheat on me or leave me. I took a step back one day, and realized how devoted my SO was to me, how all of his friends, family, co-workers etc knew of me and how much he loved me. I knew then I needed to work on myself at that point. It helps you love stronger when you learn to love yourself, too.
strawberryRainbows89
August 8th, 2015 7:21pm
Stop comparing yourself with others, we all secretly do that. When we will stop it, we will gain freedom, new breath for valuing ourselves. If you're in relationship, your partner has already accepted you, with all your beauty and flaws. Now it's your turn to accept yourself, to love yourself enough.
Anonymous
July 2nd, 2015 2:13pm
Insecurity often stems from low self-esteem and it can cause problems in relationships. You might put yourself down, be worried that your partner would cheat on you or that they would leave in some way because you believe you aren't good enough. When you feel insecure, stop and think about the facts. Is there any evidence that suggests your partner doesn't think you are good enough? Chances are, you are so used to being put down, that even though you feel very insecure, there is usually nothing to worry about. Don't forget to talk to your partner as well, and let them know when you are feeling insecure. Don't blame them, instead say things such as 'I'm feeling insecure because...' It's also helpful to find ways of boosting your self-esteem. Perhaps write down on a sticky note your positive qualities and place them somewhere where you will see them everyday. When you feel insecure, remind yourself of these things. Try challenging the way you think too. Instead of blaming yourself when things go wrong, try to remove your feelings from the situation and look for other factors that may have influenced the situation. Don't compare yourself to others either as this can lead to further unhappiness and fuel the insecurities. Lastly, never let anyone put you down! Remember that we all have flaws, but each of us is unique in our own special way. Focus on the positives :)
UJF81092
August 13th, 2015 2:25pm
talk to your partner, explain to them what is making you feel this way and try to come to an agreement to fix things
KeeKee
November 29th, 2014 1:56am
I would say to talk to your significant other. If you're feeling insecure, talk to them about it. I always thought communication was key in relationships.
Arkelight
December 27th, 2014 10:55pm
It depends on where your insecurities come from, the first question that you should be asking yourself is what is making you feel this way. Realizing this and rationalizing it may help.
Aurelius735
August 5th, 2015 8:26am
Next time you feel insecure, ask yourself what it is you are imagining. Write it down on paper under, 'Stuff I am making up in my head.' Being able to distinguish between what you imagine and what is actually happening is a massive step toward self-assurance.
sunnyTree44
August 9th, 2015 5:58pm
Change the way you think in your relationship, stop letting your insecuritys run your life as this will only destroy you mentally
RiseFromObscurity
November 9th, 2015 9:41pm
Has your relationship ever given you a reason not to trust it or the other person? If not, then recognize that there are good people in the world and you may have found one. You probably feel insecure from past relationships falling and breaking. Well, don't let your past write your future. You are loved and cherished. You are worth something.
Anggi
June 26th, 2015 4:53am
Well, I think that you can start by trusting your partner and yourself more. I think it's worth noting that you are both are currently involved in a loving relationship and just the sheer fact that you guys are in it together already shows that you're both committed.
Sweeterheartsyouxo
July 30th, 2015 2:09am
Wake up every day and focus on one thing you love about yourself instead of focusing on the bad. You will become more confident.
Khalid812
August 2nd, 2015 2:53am
Don't look for security in your partner, provide security for him / her. The most common reason why we feel insecure in relationships is because we expect to be taken care of too much. When we take responsibility of our partner and act out of a place of security, even If we might not feel like it, the other one feels loved immediately - love is always stronger than any kind of insecurity, and the light you provide by being committed will reflect back on you and make you feel secure.
Anonymous
December 17th, 2015 7:58pm
Insecurity in a relationship can stem from unresolved problems in a past relationship. Examine what is making you feel insecure about your current relationship, and then be open about how you feel with your partner. In the end, you will feel better and have a stronger more resilient relationship.
Anonymous
December 23rd, 2015 4:02pm
The first step would be learning to have faith in yourself and your feelings and accepting the fact that everything in life cannot be controlled and imposed. So let it be… go with the flow and take things a little calmly. You cannot impose or control how anybody else chooses to live their life and neither would it be fair. But what you can do is your part …. trust, have faith ,believe and also live your life. I believe that to love yourself you have to learn how to love other people and you will be surprised by the strength and peace that it gives you...and you might end up discovering a part of u that you didn’t know was there .  :)
DipityEnigma
July 11th, 2015 2:37pm
Some people would say that there's no trust but from experience, I know this isn't always the case. Sometimes, you feel insecure in your relationship because of past experiences which is good and bad. It's good because you're more aware of what can happen but bad because sometimes your fears cause you to have illogical thoughts and expectations, even if you know the person wouldn't hurt you. What helps some people is to explain to their partner what happened to them and to let them know that they need their support and understanding; so for example, when you need your own space, they should respect that. It also helps some people to go to a counsellor who may also suggest that you go to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy but all this really depends on you and your situation as well as whatever is causing you to feel this way. I hope this helps and you feel better soon.
Anonymous
July 12th, 2015 9:12am
Insecurity really is about a lack of trust-- a lack of feeling secure about one's place in, or the state of, a relationship. To build trust requires both partners; not only must your partner reach out to you to earn your trust, but you must trust your partner. You must give your partner the opportunity to earn your trust in so doing. Although this makes you vulnerable, it is a necessary part of any relationship.
Anonymous
July 19th, 2015 3:52pm
There are two main emotions in life, love and fear. To a certain extent you can choose which one you believe more in and act upon. The best chance you have of being secure in your relationship is by behaving in a loving way, developing trust. This will hopefully allow your partner to reciprocate a loving and trusting behaviour, therefore establishing a strong and positive relationship.
Anonymous
July 29th, 2015 4:53am
I have learned that being honest with myself and open with a partner or potential partner can make a big difference. If my partner does not know why I am insecure, then many misunderstandings may occur that will drag both of us down. If my partner does know about it, they may be able to help me or support me in getting help with that insecurity. So, I think open communication as well as honesty with oneself is a good first step.
supportiveFreedom51
August 5th, 2015 2:16am
I definitely would open up to my partner and express my feelings and concerns. After all, a relationship is about being open and honest. If they can not handle the truth, maybe they are too immature to be in a relationship.
Bella20
August 14th, 2015 2:54pm
I am a Christian so to stop from being insecure in a relationship, I would just trust God and that he would lead me through. Because he loves me the way I am.
Anonymous
November 13th, 2014 2:12pm
You need to be able to trust your partner. Communication is the key thing here, talk and make sure you both understand each others needs
Anonymous
November 15th, 2014 1:31am
You can always tell your partner about your insecurities and maybe they can help you get over it by telling you some things you needed to hear
Anonymous
April 4th, 2015 8:24am
You need to trust your partner, you got to have faith that they won't ever hurt you, if you don't trust them then it's time to walk away.
Anonymous
June 24th, 2015 4:27am
Insecureness in a relationship comes from anxiety. What an individual thinks is what an individual imagines, it is best to stop being insecure, by mainly stop worrying and thinking about the positives in your relationship. More importantly, to do not jump to conclusions.