Though you adore your partner and are fully devoted to them, they come with their own history and baggage. Your partner may have been a victim of cheating in a past relationship or had a difficult childhood. These experiences can shape how they act in present relationships.
Your partner may feel insecure in the relationship at times. They might need extra reassurance from you that you still care about them and everything is okay. In some cases, these insecurities can manifest in controlling behavior or picking fights.
You might feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of giving to your relationship and not receiving anything back. If this constant one-sidedness is something you’re struggling with, it may be due to attachment insecurity.
Unstable and unhappy relationships are typically the result of attachment insecurity, says Gina Wheatley, a relationship counselor with over 20 years of experience.
“The strength of a relationship is not only based on the connection between two people, but also on how well each person is able to keep the other in check,” she says.
When one’s partner is feeling down, it’s typical to try and offer support in order to help them feel better. This act is known as “partner buffering” and is something that comes instinctively for most couples.
For instance, you meet a new colleague at work. You mention this meeting to your partner who doesn’t seem thrilled with the encounter. Perhaps its jealousy or something more innocent, but you definitely feel a sense of tension in the air.
You suggest planning an outing as a group and including your partner. This helps them deal with that feeling of jealousy, which leads to less conflicts in the future.
It’s important to feel secure in your relationship, but there’s always a limit. If you’re constantly needing to reassure your partner or give up things that make you happy, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship.
It can be difficult to know how to respond when your partner feels insecure. You don’t want to make the situation worse by appearing uninterested or unconcerned. “At the same time, you don’t want to feed into their anxiety and create a vicious cycle of needing constant reassurance,” Gina Says.
If your partner is overly insecure, it might feel like you’re walking on eggshells. They may get jealous easily or constantly ask for reassurance. This can be tough to deal with, but there are ways to help your partner feel more secure in the relationship.
Where Do Their Insecurities Come From?
It’s essential to unpack the main reasons for your partner’s insecurities. This way, you can develop coping mechanisms to help combat the negative emotions and behaviors that are seeping into your relationship.
A lack of self-confidence, a history of unsuccessful relationships and past traumas can all play a role in someone’s inability to feel secure within a partnership.
Your partner may suffer from self-doubt. In these moments, you can be a pillar of support and encouragement. However, it’s important to remember that only they can truly work on strengthening their own self-admiration.
You can provide love and reassurance, but the journey to a strong sense of self must come from within.
Your partner seems to need a lot of reassurance and they frequently express anxiety in regards to the relationship.
The best way to provide support is by being clear with your communication, having consistent actions that show you care, and maintaining healthy boundaries. If your partner has experienced trauma, it might be beneficial for you both to get professional support.
It can be difficult to identify and solve problems if you don’t understand what is causing the issue in the first place. In order to get to the bottom of this, it’s important that you and your partner communicate openly with each other. By approaching the problem as teammates, you’ll be better equipped to handle it together.
Tips on Supporting an Insecure Partner
After you understand the root causes of your partner’s anxiety, you can help them by incorporating these practices into your relationship:
Listen with Intent and Let Them Feel Heard
Gina believes that words of affirmation can go a long way in helping those who feel insecure. By regularly affirming your partner, you let them know that you see them and appreciate them. This does wonders for relationship satisfaction.
You might notice your partner’s fidgeting or the way their voice changes when they talk about a certain topic. You want to let them know that you’re there for them and whatever it is they’re feeling, they can trust you with it.
When they are feeling anxious, you can try to help by gently asking what the matter is. This type of validation lets them know that their feelings are important to you.
Physical touch, such as a reassuring hand on the shoulder or a light squeeze of the hand, can also provide comfort in moments of insecurity.
“According to research, anxiety levels decrease when partners embrace one another or simple hold hands,” Gina explained.
Help them to Self Sooth
If they are frequently looking for reassurance on the same issue, Gina suggests trying to reassure them a few times before suggesting they soothe themselves.
This will help build their confidence and eventually allow them to feel more secure in the situation.
According to Gina, if your partner’s insecurities don’t go away, you should try to help them feel more secure. If they still need you to constantly reassure them, it can become a codependent relationship which can be difficult for the other person.
Your partner can explore different ways to calm themselves down and feel better. This can involve talking to a good friend, going outside for a stroll, taking several mindful breaths, or writing down their thoughts in a journal.
The Importance of Being Consistent
Insecure partners often tend to overthink things. They might be second-guessing your every move and word. It’s important to be consistent in your actions and words to prove to your partner that you can be counted on.
If you’re frequently doing the opposite of what you say, it creates an atmosphere of insecurity for your partner. Something as simple as getting home when you promised shows that your words match your actions.
Breaking promises is one way to erode trust in a relationship, but it’s not the only way. If you’re constantly putting your partner’s needs last, or neglecting to communicate effectively, those are also trust-breakers. Trust is the foundation of any good relationship, so it’s important to be mindful of anything that might be shaking it.
When Is It Time to End it?
Your partner’s insecurities are driving you up the wall. You’ve tried reasoning with them, being understanding and patient but nothing is working.
Their behavior is beginning to take a toll on your mental health too. You wonder if continuing this relationship is the right thing to do. That’s a question you have a right to ask.
Gina says that if your partner is constantly insecure, it might be a sign that they’re narcissistic. If this is true, then it’s unlikely that they’ll change and remaining in such a relationship may not be the best decision for your health.
There are certain signs that may indicate someone is a narcissist, such as emotional manipulation and verbal attacks. However, it’s important not to jump to conclusions and judge someone without further evidence.
Here is a list of other red flags and signs that might indicate it’s time to move on:
- Your partner is overly possessive or jealous.
- Your partner constantly puts you down, criticizes you, or calls you names.
- Your partner controls what you do, who you see, and where you go.
- Your partner withdraws their love or affection as a way to control or punish you.
- Your partner is physically abusive or threatens violence.
- You always feel like you are walking on eggshells around your partner.
- You feel like your partner is never happy with anything you do.
If any of these sound familiar, it’s important to communicate with your partner about your concerns.
When it comes time to decide whether to stick it out or end a relationship with an insecure partner, it really comes down to how satisfied you are overall and if the relationship is actually getting better.
If it feels like your partner’s anxiety is becoming too much to handle, you might want to consider a couple’s therapist. This could help save an otherwise good relationship.
If your significant other constantly refuses to seek therapeutic help or address any relationship issues, it’s probably time to reevaluate the situation. These problems can become extremely detrimental if left unaddressed, so it may be best to end the relationship if your partner isn’t willing to work on resolving them.
“If it’s only your partner’s insecurities that are causing problems in your relationship and they’re not willing to work on themselves, it could be time to end things,” says Gina.
How To End a Relationship with an Insecure Partner
If you’re in a relationship with someone who is insecure, it’s likely that they are constantly seeking validation and reassurance from you. This can quickly become emotionally draining and absolutely exhausting
“It’s not uncommon for people in these types of relationships to feel trapped, and like they’re never good enough,” Gina says.
If you’re tired of feeling like you’re constantly walking on thin ice, or if you’re simply tired of feeling emotionally drained, it may be time to end the relationship. Here’s how to do it, according to Gina.
Be honest with your partner
If you’re feeling like you’re ready to end the relationship, it’s important to be honest with your partner. “Tell them how you’re feeling, and why you’re thinking about ending the relationship,” Gina says. “It’s also important to be clear about what you need from them, and what you’re willing to work on.”
If your partner is unwilling to work on their insecurity, or if they’re unable to meet your needs, it may be time to end the relationship. “It’s not fair to stay in a relationship where you’re constantly having to reassure someone,” Gina says. “You deserve to be with someone who makes you feel secure.”
Be prepared for their reaction
When you tell your partner that you’re thinking about ending the relationship, they may react negatively. “They might try to convince you to stay, or they might become angry and lash out at you,” Gina says. “It’s important to be prepared for their reaction, and to have a plan in place.”
Do It in Person
If possible, it’s always best to break up in person. But if your partner is overly insecure, or if you don’t feel safe around them, breaking up over the phone or via text message is ok.
If you’ve been the relationship a long time or you truly care about the person, then it is worth it to have that awkward conversation face to face.
Doing it in person also allows for a more civil break-up, rather than just ghosting them or cutting off all communication.
Set boundaries with them moving forward
“Just because you’re no longer in a relationship with someone doesn’t mean that they don’t have a place in your life,” Gina says.
“If you have mutual friends, or if you see them regularly, it’s important to set boundaries with them.”
Let them know that you’re not interested in speaking with them, and be clear about what you expect from them moving forward. If they continue to try and contact you, block their number or block them on social media.
Take Care of Yourself
Sure, you feel bad for your partner, it’s only natural. “But don’t forget about you!” Gina says. “Give yourself time to grieve the loss of the relationship, and allow yourself time to heal.”
It can be easy to get wrapped up in taking care of your partner and making sure they’re okay, but it’s important to remember to take care of yourself too. This is a difficult time for both of you, so make sure to give yourselves the time and space you need to heal.
Pick up a new hobby, start going to the gym, or do something that makes YOU happy. “Do something for you,” Gina advises. “It will help take your mind off things and make you feel better.”