Have you ever experienced feelings of jealousy, suspicion, or anxiety in a relationship? You’re not alone — feelings of insecurity are very common and part of being human. But they can also cause damage to a relationship if left unchecked. If you find yourself repeatedly thinking, “why am I so insecure in my relationship?”, there may be some issues to address.
Insecurity usually comes from a lack of self-confidence, which can come from many potential causes. It’s also possible that past experiences are making you feel insecure in your current relationship.
“Those with insecure attachment can often struggle with feeling like they are not enough in the early stages of a relationship. Because even when the relationship is solid that individual's brain is still throwing up flags saying don’t trust this, you are going to lose this good thing,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a marriage and family therapist and In-House Relationship Expert at Paired.
“One thing that can be reassuring is that attachment theory tells us that with a solid relationship your attachment style can change and move to a more secure place.” So if you identify with some of these points, don’t feel like all hope is lost.
Whatever the cause, learning more about these insecurities is the key to improved mental health, communication, and well-being. In this blog, you’ll see the potential signs and causes of relationship insecurity — and ideas on developing a healthy relationship with your partner.
Many people have feelings of insecurity in their relationships. While those feelings might be common, they can also lead to damaging behaviors. People with relationship insecurity can constantly worry about rejection, argue with partners, and become jealous.
Often, these actions are caused by deeper issues. Feelings of insecurity typically come from a low sense of self-worth or feeling like you are not good enough for your partner. This can leave you feeling like you don’t deserve love or that your partner might leave at any moment.
The key to dealing with insecurity is to spot the signs and address them.
Feeling insecure in a romantic relationship can often lead to several common behavior patterns. Common signs of insecurity can include:
Have you found yourself arguing with your significant other more than usual? Maybe you’ve started to fall out over more minor things? Do you struggle to share the deeper emotions and so you get stuck in an argument pattern of disconnection when all you wanted was to feel closer to them?
While communicating and fixing real issues is part of a healthy relationship, ongoing and more trivial arguments might signal some underlying anxieties.
Jealousy in a relationship can also be a sign of insecurity. Of course, the occasional feelings of jealousy can be completely normal, showing that you care for your partner. But irrational jealousy can cause real issues and come from a fear of your partner leaving. Signs might include snooping, monitoring social media, and being too clingy.
Many people with relationship insecurities also find themselves looking for validation. Temporarily, this can help them feel more secure. For example, people with relationship insecurity might look for compliments, need regular reassurance, or find it difficult to spend time away from their partner. In a moment that the insecurity is feeling deeply uncomfortable that need for validation might even become a priority over your partner, and they can feel like you are less emotionally available to them.
Feeling insecure in a relationship can also lead to overthinking small things. You might ask lots of questions, try to verify the answers, and appear angry. To your partner, this can seem like a lack of trust or self-awareness.
A person with relationship insecurities might spend considerable time worrying that their partner will break up with them. In some cases, it can start to dominate their thoughts. Not only is this unhealthy for the relationship, but it can also have a massive impact on mental health.
So, what are the possible causes of insecurities in a relationship?
In many cases, feeling insecure in a relationship comes down to a fear of rejection. An insecure person might have low self-confidence in the first place, making them think their partner could leave them at any time. Even the smallest things can trigger this fear and lead to feelings of insecurity. Ironically, the fear of rejection can lead to behaviors that drive the current partner away.
People with low self-esteem might believe they are not worthy of a partner’s love. This can come from previous negative experiences like bullying, which can hugely impact a romantic relationship.
Personal insecurities can also harm a relationship. A typical example is physical insecurity, or feeling like you are not attractive enough for your partner. You might also have self-doubt over career success, financial security, or social anxiety — all of which can affect self-confidence and cause insecurity.
Many people also carry their past experiences into new relationships. It’s understandable. The brain is wired to defend itself — if you’ve had an unhealthy relationship in the past, it might project onto the current relationship. But this emotional baggage can impact an otherwise healthy relationship — potentially leading to new insecurities.
There may also be a deeper reason for relationship insecurity. At a very early age, we develop an attachment style with our primary caregivers. It’s how we learn to manage our future relationships. An anxious or insecure attachment style might leave us vulnerable and cause insecurities, so it’s important to understand how attachment styles impact our relationships.
Do these causes of insecurity have a common theme? Mairead Molloy, a relationship therapist, highlights how many of life’s challenges can lead to a lack of self-confidence.
“Insecurities can come from being bullied at school or constantly scrolling through social media and comparing yourself to others,” says Molloy.
“Past experiences can follow us forward and haunt our self-confidence today, or daily events can trigger feelings of inadequacy. All of our insecurities can come from a lack of self-esteem.”
Being insecure in a relationship can cause stress and division. If you feel like you’re not good enough, you might constantly worry and overthink things. Likewise, if you always feel like your partner could leave, it’s easy to become angry, irritable, and jealous. This can affect both your mental health and your relationship.
People with insecurity may struggle to trust their partner. If you find yourself doubting, snooping, or asking lots of questions, it’s a key sign that you may feel insecure in your relationship. Try to address what is causing these doubts in the first place by talking openly with your partner.
Learning how to be less insecure in a relationship is the first step towards a healthy, loving life with your partner. Overcoming insecurities isn’t easy — but the effort is worth it.
One of the first steps towards a healthy relationship should be an honest, open conversation with your partner. This can be scary.
Admitting your insecurities can make you feel vulnerable, but you’re in this together, after all.