Seeking Reassurance in a Relationship

Is reassurance healthy in a relationship?
on June 09, 2023
Read time: 10 mins
by Moraya Seeger DeGeare

Everyone needs reassurance. 

Whether you’re looking for confirmation on your new haircut or approval on your latest presentation at work — seeking reassurance is completely normal. 

Despite this, reassurance in relationships can feel like you are asking too much from your partner or being too clingy. So, what are the benefits and drawbacks of giving someone reassurance in a relationship?

Read on to discover the ingredients for the perfect reassurance recipe — it’s expert-approved. 

What is reassurance in a relationship? 

Reassurance in romantic relationships is about providing comfort, support, and security to one’s partner. It's an essential aspect of maintaining a healthy relationship, as it helps to build trust and foster a sense of security between partners. 

It involves validating your partner’s feelings by demonstrating care, understanding, and commitment to ease any anxieties or insecurities they may have. 

While reassurance is important during times of crisis, it shouldn’t have to be actively sought after in a healthy relationship. By naturally reassuring your partner, you help create an environment where your partner feels valued, understood, and emotionally safe.

“Expressing your intentions and feelings openly and honestly to your partner is important,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Relationship Expert at Paired.

“This can be done regularly and without any resentment or hesitation when your partner asks.” 

What are examples of reassurance in a relationship?

Reassurance in a relationship can take many forms, depending on the needs and love languages of both partners. 

Verbal reassurances include offering encouragement, compliments, or affirmations to boost your partner’s self-esteem. For example, simply saying “I love you,” or “I’m here for you,” can mean a lot to your partner. 

Physical reassurances such as hugging, holding hands, or cuddling can also provide an extra layer of comfort for your partner.  

For others, actions may speak louder than words. Reassure your partner with consistency — be reliable, engage in active listening and empathize with your partner’s concerns. 

Why is reassurance important in a relationship? 

Without reassurance in a relationship, it's difficult to know where you stand with your partner — which can lead you to overthink the simplest interactions. 

Even in secure relationships, relationship anxiety is entirely normal, and asking for reassurance from your loved one isn't something to be frowned upon. 

“Choosing to be in a relationship takes a lot of courage, as there is always a chance that it may not work out,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

Relationships require a certain level of vulnerability and this level of trust demands additional support from your partner. Communicating and clarifying your feelings about each other can be scary, but in the long run, helps to build a more secure attachment.  

“Depending on your past experiences with rejection and relationships, the fear of failure may be high. Offering reassurance to your partner isn't just about telling them you want to be with them, but also about being open and vulnerable enough to share your fears,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

Is reassurance clingy? 

The need for reassurance can often be characterized as clingy or as a sign of insecurity. However, looking for relationship reassurance from your significant other isn’t always a bad thing. 

“If you have an insecure or anxious attachment style, you may need more reassurance, and that is completely normal,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

“When couples are able to offer and receive reassurance, they can build strong and fulfilling relationships.”

If your partner is struggling with self-love, they may need more reassurance for their well-being. Writing off your partner’s needs with accusations of clinginess can have a huge impact on their self-esteem and mental health. 

“Dismissing your partner’s need for reassurance can invalidate their anxiety and limit your understanding of who they are,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

This dismissal could also trigger an avoidant reaction, whereby they look for ways to walk away before the relationship is jeopardized. Providing reassurance when asked can help limit overthinking and self-doubt  — building a stronger relationship as a result. 

How to show reassurance in a relationship 

Now that we’ve established reassurance can be healthy in a relationship — how do you reassure someone in a relationship? 

“Validation, validation, validation. You don’t need to understand your partner’s feelings or think you would have the same emotions to believe them and validate how they feel,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

“Validation does not mean the cause of the fear is true. For example, if your partner is scared that you will leave them. The validation, in this case, isn't confirming that you will leave, but acknowledging that abandonment scares them.” 

5 ways to reassure your partner in a relationship

Active listening: Listening is one thing — active listening is entirely another. Tune into what your partner is telling you and validate their feelings. “Most of the time, reassurance is around emotions and feelings,” says Seeger DeGeare. “Reassuring your partner might make you dig deeper into your feelings, understand your behaviors and work on sharing those more openly with your partner.”
Open communication: If you find yourself seeking reassurance, it can be difficult to verbalize this to your partner. “Even if there is a history of cheating in the relationship, it’s important to ask if there is anything either of you could be doing to offer more comfort,” says Seeger DeGeare. By advocating for transparency, it's easier to feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and concerns about the relationship.
Empathy: Everyone has different attachment styles and just because you don’t need reassurance, doesn’t mean you should disregard people who do. Try and understand where your partner is coming from and empathize with their emotions.
Consistency: If your partner is worried about the stability of the relationship — don’t just tell them how you feel, show them! Be consistent with your actions and show them that they can rely on you. “Checking in more frequently can help until the relationship is feeling more secure or having more transparency around who you are when you are not together,” says Seeger DeGeare.
Patience: Relationships are about accepting the flaws and vulnerabilities of your partner. Being patient with your partner helps to reassure them that you love and accept them for who they are. It’s not always easy… but as they say, good things come to those who wait.

Signs you need reassurance in a relationship 

The need for reassurance in a relationship varies from couple to couple based on a myriad of factors. The question is: what does reassurance in a relationship mean to you? 

Asking for reassurance isn’t about being needy. There are very legitimate reasons why you may want some additional support from your loved ones. 

According to Seeger DeGeare, these are some common signs that you may need additional reassurance from your partner. 

  • If you are wondering if your partner wants to be with you.
  • If you are wondering what they want out of the relationship or what they were thinking about a future together — we can’t read our partners’ minds after all!
  • If you notice yourself constantly asking your friends what they think of your relationship.
  • If your need for reassurance stems from deeper insecurities or trauma.
  • If you need clarity on feelings and intentions. For example, if you are worried about your partner dating other people.

Is it normal to ask for constant reassurance in a relationship? 

“This is completely normal, when it ventures outside of the scope of normal is normal when it's taking over other parts of the relationship moving forward,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

While seeking reassurance from time to time is normal, it's important to put healthy boundaries in place so that it doesn’t overshadow other aspects of the relationship. 

Research defines excessive reassurance seeking (ERS) as persistently looking for assurance from others that one is worthy, regardless of whether they have provided this already. Excessive reassurance seeking stems from anxiety and if this isn't managed, it can become a red flag in a relationship. 

“This means the anxiety is so high in one partner that they are not able to enjoy going on a date or just being together,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

This excessive need for reassurance can manifest in many different ways. For example, allowing jealousy to diminish your sense of self-worth and taking this out on your partner — even though they constantly reassure you that nothing is going on. 

“It's important to trust that your partner is being sincere when they offer reassurance,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

While asking for reassurance can be healthy in a relationship, you should be able to accept it from your partner when it's given. If nothing your partner says is enough, it could be a sign of insecurity and a lack of trust which can’t be remedied by any reassurance. 

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