Feeling Insecure in Your Relationship?

4 questions to ask yourself before blaming your partner.

Posted Sep 19, 2020

nd3000GettyImages/Canva Pro
Source: nd3000GettyImages/Canva Pro

Worrying that your relationship might suddenly crash for no reason?

Suspecting your partner of cheating?

Feeling on edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Not able to settle in and get comfortable in the relationship?

These are all symptoms that you’re feeling insecure in your relationship. It’s a terrible feeling, especially when you have to live with it day after day, week after week.

You might even think about breaking up, just to get it over with.

But you really like this person, and you want this relationship to work. How do you deal with the anxiety?

When you’re feeling insecure in your relationship, ask yourself the following four questions:

1. Have you felt this way in other relationships?

If you have, that’s a clue that the insecurity might have already been there before you met. Do you have a hard time trusting others?

If you learned early in life not to trust others, it’s not your fault. The complicating factor is that people who have difficulty with trust sometimes have a pattern of choosing partners who aren’t trustworthy. They get let down in relationships, time after time.

If that describes you, your emotional safety meter was likely damaged at some point and doesn’t work properly anymore.

You can heal this damage, but it will probably require therapy and time.

Find a compassionate counselor, and let them know you want to explore early incidents of being let down by important others, and how that has affected your relationships today.

2. Do your feelings change depending on how you feel about yourself?

If you sometimes feel perfectly comfortable in your relationship and other times find yourself feeling insecure, it might be due to issues of self-esteem or self-worth.

Low self-esteem turns relationships into constant tests of your worth. When you feel you’ve done well, things look great. But when you make “mistakes,” you agonize. 

Mistakes for you might be anything from making a social faux pas in front of your partner’s friends to choosing a gift that your partner didn’t absolutely love. You’re on continuous probation. Failure is always just around the corner.

Anybody would feel insecure in that position.

If you feel like you must always measure up or risk losing your partner, that’s a scenario you most likely brought to the relationship.

Whether your partner tries to make you feel that way or tries to help you relax, as long as you believe you must do something special in order not to fail, you’ll continue to feel insecure.

Low self-worth often brings about perfectionism. Therapy is usually needed to unravel these attitudes.

3. Are you focused on changing your partner?

The opposite side of the “I don’t measure up” coin is, “My partner doesn’t measure up.”

Maybe you can’t relax until your partner gets a better job. Stops eating with her mouth open. Agrees to move in with you.

If you need your partner to behave a certain way in order to relax into the relationship, you’ve created a win-lose dynamic with your partner. Which means you’re both set up for failure.

If your partner ends up doing what you want, he may be acting out of his own comfort zone. He could end up either resenting you or reverting to his former ways.

If he doesn’t do what you want, your resentment and frustration will probably affect other aspects of your relationship. 

The win-lose mentality in a relationship paves a path to the very breakup you fear.

Instead, ask yourself, “What will I gain if my partner does X?” Then dig into the why’s behind your need.

For example: If my partner moves in with me, I’ll be happy.

Why? Because we’ll be together more often.

Why does that make me happy? Because I suffer when he’s not around.

Why? Because I don’t like being alone.

Etc.

Needing your partner to do something in order for you to feel secure, even if what you’re asking for seems totally reasonable, may be a red flag for the relationship.

Couples therapy can help both of you explore your needs and how to navigate when those differ, using a win-win mindset.

4. Is there a reality-based reason for your feelings?

Have you found incriminating text messages on your partner’s phone? Was she not where she said she would be multiple times? Have you noticed a pattern of your partner lying to you?

Sometimes we feel insecure in a relationship because we are insecure. 

If there is concrete evidence that your partner has breached your trust, that’s cause for concern. And of course, the security you felt before with her will naturally be shaken.

If none of the previous three questions rooted out other issues, and if you felt secure in your relationship until something happened, you have real-world reason to question things.

Just be sure you’re not taking a single, ambiguous situation and turning it into something sinister. It’s usually a good idea to ask your partner about anything that’s concerning and note how he handles it. 

Ultimately you can trust your gut, and that unaccustomed insecurity, to lead you in the right direction.