If you’ve ever experienced insecurities in a relationship, you know firsthand how they can take a toll on your relationship.
Everyone deserves to feel secure in their relationship, and like they belong with their partner, but feelings of relationship insecurity can often get in the way. Insecurity can wreak havoc on a healthy relationship because it makes you constantly question your self-worth and whether you deserve to be with your partner.
“The most common insecurities people experience in relationships is the feeling of whether or not they’re enough for the other person,” explains Lena Suarez-Angelino, a therapist at Choosing Therapy.
Feeling insecure in a relationship isn’t uncommon, and many people experience insecurities in a relationship in one way or another.
You might worry that you’re not attractive enough, that you’re not meeting your partner’s needs, or that they’re too good for you and will leave you for some “better” — and no one wants to live in a constant state of anxiety like that.
Insecurity can be caused by so many different factors that it can be hard to pinpoint what is causing these feelings. To help make more sense of it all, keep reading to learn about the different types of insecurities in a romantic relationship.
There are many different types of insecurity, with each having a different effect on your own well-being, as well as the well-being of your relationship.
As you progress through life with your partner, your insecurities can manifest in different ways. It’s important to recognize your own personal insecurities, and how they are affecting your emotions and actions in a relationship, so you know how to deal with them in the right way.
Everyone has personal insecurities that we battle every day. Whether you’re plagued by thoughts that you’re not as good as your co-workers, or believe that you’re inadequate because of your dress size — every insecurity is valid.
To tackle your insecurities, it’s important to fully understand what you’re dealing with.
“Some of the most common insecurities and relationships include emotional insecurity, attachment insecurity, physical insecurity, financial insecurity, professional insecurity, and social insecurity,” explains LaTonya P. Washington, a therapist at Choosing Therapy.
“Someone who’s emotionally insecure may have a difficult time articulating their feelings or being assertive in various situations,” Washington explains. “They may also experience constant worry regarding the future and whether or not their partner will continue to love them. It may also clue a fear of abandonment.”
Emotional insecurity often makes partners feel like they’re a “burden”, making them avoid confrontation or stop bringing up their past experiences or issues within the relationship.
Having tough conversations with your partner is never easy, but knowing how to talk about difficult feelings is crucial for a relationship to succeed.
For an insecure person, mustering up the self-confidence to tackle these issues can feel very overwhelming, but learning how to deal with these situations head-on is necessary to foster a healthy and loving relationship.
“Attachment insecurity often has roots and childhood and the type of attachment one experiences with their family,” says Washington. “Someone who experienced unpredictable, strained, inconsistent, or complete absence of connection, love, or affection may develop insecure attachment styles.”
When one cannot rely on their parents for love, affection, support, or basic needs it makes it difficult to trust others.
“Sometimes this manifests in anxiety in relationships that may contribute to excessive neediness and demands for constant attention from one’s partner,” says Washington.
Moreover, having an insecure attachment style might lead a person to develop feelings or emotional attachments with a partner more quickly. In this case, feelings of insecurity push the person to latch on to their current partner for reassurance and support. While these tendencies are driven by a fear of rejection, this kind of pressure can cause a new relationship to stall.
“Consequently, when attachments are formed quickly, it may result in one-sided relationships, where one’s needs are not met,” Washington adds.
“It becomes the self-fulfilling prophecy of never being enough to be loved, wanted, or accepted, amplifying the fear of abandonment.”
Physical insecurity can look like not feeling attractive enough for your partner. In this case, low self-confidence can lead to excessive overthinking about their appearance, convincing themselves that they are not worthy of their partner’s time or affection.
Signs of physical insecurity may include constantly comparing your looks to your partner’s exes, celebrities, or people on social media. These destructive patterns can have a huge impact on your mental health, with self-doubt resulting in a reduced sense of self and low self-esteem.
“Those who have experienced body shaming, insecurities about their weight, height, or other aspects of their physical appearance are especially susceptible to experiencing physical insecurities in relationships,” explains Washington.
That’s right, poor body image can impact your relationship, too.
Money is one of the main causes of conflict in a relationship, so it’s unsurprising that it can show up as a source of insecurity — whether it’s because one partner earns more than the other, or because one is more financially responsible than the other.
Without open communication, these concerns can lead to feelings of resentment as one partner feels insecure about the power balance in the relationship.
“While it’s not uncommon for both men and women to experience insecurities related to finances, they may manifest differently among them,” explains Washington.
“For instance, a woman who is financially insecure may fear appearing as if she is overly reliant on her partner and may exude excessive independence to the point where she is unwilling or unable to ask for help even if needed. Whereas men oftentimes feel insecure in relationships where their partners out-earn them. This can often create distance, emotional strain, and a difficult power dynamic that results in competition between partners.”
“Similarly one may experience professional insecurities in their relationships if they feel that their partner has achieved more success, is on a higher level, or is more well-educated,” Washington explains.
Even though everyone loves the idea of a power couple, professional insecurity can make someone feel like they’re “less than” their partner.
“Sometimes this may result in one, not being supportive of their partners, professional endeavors, or accomplishments,” says Washington.
“For instance, the husband of a successful woman with a demanding career may not want to support her by taking on more responsibility at home. In fact, he may make unreasonable demands that she does more than her fair share of childcare or household chores.”
Research has found that even when women earn more, they’re still likely to do more housework than their male partners — and that the housework gap increases the more female partner earns.
Social insecurity may stem from a number of sources. For example, you may have been treated badly in a past relationship, resulting in feelings of inadequacy, or that no one cares about you as you have nothing to offer or contribute.
“Social insecurity often stems from one’s beliefs that they have little or no importance or value in the eyes of others,” says Washington.
“Those with a history of strained or otherwise unhealthy family relationships, a lack of friends, or support outside of their significant other are more likely to experience social insecurity.”
Experiencing social insecurity might make you excessively demanding of your partner's attention and validation.
Overcoming insecurities takes time and effort, but it’s not impossible. With the dual effort of both self-love and reassurance from your loved ones, it’s possible to unearth the root cause of your insecurity and learn how to move past it.
“The most effective thing you can do to overcome these insecurities in a relationship is to communicate them with your partner,” says Suarez-Angelino.
“While this is the last thing you most likely want to do, it’s the one that is going to help you overcome your insecurities to better understand them and work on them both as an individual and within the partnership,” she adds.
Even though it may feel like a sign of weakness, expressing your concerns in your current relationship is the best way to move forward. If you have a strong partner by your side, it’s easier to shed your insecure tendencies and work towards developing a secure attachment style that suits you both.
“It’s equally important you keep in mind that your partners are not in charge of ‘fixing’ these insecurities, but rather creating a safe space for you to overcome these insecurities,” she adds.
“It’s vital that the partner who is experiencing insecurities accepts responsibility for what they’re feeling, takes ownership, and learns how to assert the need for support to their partner,” adds Washington.
Therefore, while your partner shouldn’t be your crutch, they have the self-awareness needed to help you move past your insecurities. By identifying the causes of insecurity, it’s easier to work on building trust in the relationship, so these issues are quashed before they even arise.
As you move forward on this journey, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Be patient with yourself, trust issues or insecurities don’t have to contaminate your relationships if you don’t let them.
To aid you on your journey, and to aid your own wellness, Suarez-Angelino also recommends journaling your feelings to identify any common themes within or patterns, whether your insecurities are related to intimacy, finances, attractiveness, or something else within your relationship.
“You can then work with a therapist to learn strategies such as self-talk, self-compassion, and challenging negative thoughts in order to overcome these insecurities,” she says.