What is Security in a Relationship?

What is relationship security?
on August 18, 2023
Read time: 10 mins
by Moraya Seeger DeGeare

Some relationships are defined by the shifting sands of insecurity, plagued by doubt and fears of rejection. In the absence of trust and security, it’s hard to look long-term. 

Security in a relationship is about feeling completely safe and supported by your partner. This feeling of security allows you to approach everything life throws at you as a team, with your foundations built so strong that nothing can break you apart. 

So what’s the secret to a secure relationship? Even though there’s no clear blueprint for success, at Paired, we have a few ideas up our sleeve that might set you up for success. 

What does security mean in a relationship? 

Security in a relationship refers to the emotional, psychological, and physical comfort and trust that partners feel when they are together. 

When you feel secure, it’s easier to foster a sense of safety and stability in a relationship. With this established, it allows both individuals to be vulnerable and authentic with one another without fear of judgment or rejection. 

“This means you feel content, happy, and safe to be yourself in your relationship,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Expert at Paired.

“You’re able to trust your partner will share their needs and hear yours. Your partner will consider your feelings and honor your autonomy.” 

In a secure and healthy relationship, both partners are comfortable communicating their needs clearly and feel confident that their partner will support them no matter what. This dynamic naturally allows the couple to build trust and deepen their connection.

Security also means being able to rely on your partner for support during difficult times and feeling confident that they will be there for you through thick and thin. 

Why relationship security is important? 

Relationship security is crucial for fostering a healthy and stable connection between two people. Without this feeling of emotional safety, every aspect of the relationship is affected as both partners feel like they’re constantly walking on shaky terrain. 

For example, if you don’t feel secure in your relationship, it becomes difficult to trust your partner or even communicate honestly. Therefore, security defines your overall relationship satisfaction and without it, there’s no guarantee for the future. 

“With deep security and trust in your relationship you feel safe to play, both in trying new things out in the world and trying new things sexually,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

“You have to have safety and trust before you feel open to trying new things together.”

The most important thing to remember is that security doesn’t magically appear overnight. Over time, through reassurances in both words and actions, partners feel like they can let go of any insecurities and fully put their trust in this relationship. 

Once this security is in place, everything else starts to come more naturally, with the belief that everything is going to work out in the end. 

What causes insecurity in a relationship? 

Insecurities in a relationship can stem from a variety of factors, both from the current relationship dynamic and any emotional baggage either partner carries with them. 

Feeling insecure in a relationship rises from various sources, and it’s important to recognize signs of insecurity in order to respond appropriately. 

Past experiences: Everyone has a past, and if you’ve been exposed to lying, cheating, or abuse, it’s difficult to believe that your new relationship won’t evolve into the same toxic dynamic.
Low self-esteem: Individuals with low self-worth or self-esteem may doubt their own worth and question how their partner feels about them. These underlying insecurities make it seem like rejection or abandonment is a constant possibility.
Communication issues: Without open and honest communication, it’s easy to fill in the blanks with anxious or intrusive thoughts. This kind of dynamic can lead to misunderstandings and uncertainty in the relationship — with words of assurance coming to save the day.
Unclear expectations: When you enter into a romantic relationship, it’s normal to have clear expectations about your future together. However, if these expectations are never explicitly verbalized, it’s very easy for confusion and insecurity to develop
Comparison: Social media has a lot to answer for when it comes to unrealistic expectations. If you see everyone on your socials professing their love for each other, it’s easy to compare your relationship to this supposed fairy tale dynamic. If your relationship doesn’t quite measure up, it’s hard to move past these fears.
Inconsistency: Relationships thrive on routine. If your partner feels like you're being inconsistent in your actions or your affections, it’s easy to jump to conclusions — with insecurity proclaiming only the worst outcomes.
Attachment style: Depending on your attachment style, it can be harder to trust your partner without constant reassurance. Insecure attachments, such as anxious or avoidant attachment styles, make it more difficult to establish security in a relationship — as they naturally assume the worst.

No matter the cause of the insecurity, it’s important to try and understand where this fear is coming from and take steps to resolve these issues.

By providing a non-judgemental and supportive environment, there is no space for doubt to grow — making it easier to work towards a secure attachment and long-term relationship. 

What are the signs of a secure relationship?

Secure relationships are defined by trust, emotional intimacy, effective communication, and a strong sense of teamwork with your romantic partner. 

When you’re in a love bubble, it can seem like your bond is truly unbreakable. If you want to put this to the test, look out for these signs of a secure relationship to make sure you’re all set for the future. 

1. Trust 

It may seem like we’re repeating ourselves, but trust truly is the foundation of a healthy relationship. If you’re in a secure partnership, you’re self-assured in the knowledge that if your partner says something — they mean it. 

Trust is not something to be trifled with, as it's earned over the course of your relationship, and if broken, it takes a long time to get it back. 

2. Communication 

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, your partner can’t read your mind!

Being able to communicate openly and honestly with your partner is a great sign of a secure relationship. 

While an insecure relationship is filled with uncertainty, a secure partnership means you that can voice your concerns and opinions honestly. This is why it’s important to advocate for transparency, with both partners feeling comfortable talking about anything and everything! 

3. Emotional intimacy 

If trust and communication are in place, research shows that these components naturally help to foster emotional intimacy in a relationship. 

Being in a secure relationship means being able to tell your significant other everything or at least feel like you can share every intimate detail of your life — without any judgment or retribution that could shake your unconditional love. 

By building this connection with your partner, you feel comfortable being vulnerable with each other and sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings — that you may never have shared before.  

4. Independence 

Healthy relationships thrive without resulting in codependency

Space is healthy in a relationship, where both partners go their separate ways in order to pursue individual hobbies or interests. Even though it’s tempting to become attached at the hip, secure relationships are happy to take this space in order to work on their personal growth — returning to the relationship even stronger. 

5. Conflict resolution 

In a secure relationship, you won’t find anything brushed under the carpet. 

No matter how secure you feel in the relationship, it’s natural to argue from time to time — some would even say it’s healthier this way! However, in healthy relationships, couples work together to come to a resolution, rather than resorting to blame or criticism. 

6. Consistency 

As important as it is to spice things up, consistency is also a pretty attractive trait in our eyes. 

Consistency shows you that your partner is reliable and trustworthy, leaving no room for doubt. For example, your partner promises they’ll be there for you and they are. 

Very simple, but very effective in secure relationships. 

7. Boundaries 

Setting boundaries in a relationship is not a sign of weakness, but a sure way to preserve your union in the long run. 

As a collaborative process, setting boundaries allows both parties to identify behaviors that they believe would jeopardize the relationship. By having these clear lines in the sand, it’s easier to not overstep the mark, providing security to everyone involved. 

8. Compromise

They want to have pizza, you really want to order Indian. 

To avoid conflict, compromise is needed. However, in a secure relationship, there should be healthy compromises rather than one person simply people-pleasing to keep the peace. For example, “Let’s get pizza this time, and maybe I can choose next time.” 

"Compromise can lead to resentment in relationships, especially when one person is focused on winning for a feeling of security," says Seeger DeGeare. 

“Understanding the deeper need underneath a partner’s request can help couples move away from keep score, and move towards mutual understanding.” 

9. Appreciation 

Secure relationships may be strong, but even the most secure partners need some reassurance from time to time. 

Healthy partnerships showcase their affection and appreciation for each other regularly. Love languages help to decide how to show this appreciation, while research shows that physical touch brings every couple closer. 

10. Fun

We’re not picking favorites, but we can’t emphasize the importance of fun in a relationship. 

When trust and security are present, it allows couples the freedom to explore and most importantly to have fun! From spicing things up to more adventurous date nights, secure relationships don’t shy away from trying new things — knowing they have someone by their side on the journey. 

How do you build a secure relationship? 

Since every relationship is different, there is no exact formula for fostering security in a relationship. 

However, there are a few essential building blocks to factor into your relationship to make sure no insecurities can uproot the foundations you’ve put down. 

“Firstly, you need to focus on your own understanding of yourself,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

“By sharing yourself openly and freely with your partner, it’s easier to connect your inner world with your outer world. Value honesty always, both with your partner and with yourself.” 

Once you have established a clear understanding of what you want from a relationship, it’s easier to start building that together from the ground up. 

“Ask for help when you need it,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

“Even though it’s good to rely on your relationship, they do not have to thrive in isolation. Your partner does not need to be your entire support system.” 

However, if you do have any fears or worries, share them and talk them through as a team. Or, as Seeger DeGeare suggests, take a step back from the relationship to gain additional perspective from your loved ones. 

Intimate relationships are fragile in the beginning, which is why it’s so important to take this collaborative approach. Working together on your relationship will contribute towards your long-lasting success as a couple.

"The foundation of your relationship is built from day one,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

“Are you playing games or being direct in your communication with your new partner? If you're interested in creating more security in your relationship, consider the importance of trust. When you trust someone, you feel safe with them, and how wonderful is it if someone feels safe with you.”

Quick-Fire Questions

What is emotional security in a relationship? Emotional security refers to the feeling of safety, comfort, and stability that partners experience when they feel supported by their partner — no matter what. Through reassurance and words of affirmation, both partners feel secure in the knowledge that their emotional needs will be met and they can be wholly themselves without fear of judgment or rejection.
What are the different types of security in a relationship? Even though emotional security is usually the priority in a romantic relationship, there are several other factors to consider. For example, providing physical, financial, and future security are also important factors in a sustainable and successful relationship.
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