Overcoming Insecurity in a Romantic Relationship
Whether you are just dating, in a new relationship or married, insecurity is as toxic to your romantic interests as it is to your self-esteem. Insecurity erodes trust, breeds conflict and promotes jealousy that, if left unchecked, can jeopardize the future of your relationship. Dealing with insecurity often requires stepping outside of your comfort zone by looking inward to address the problem at its roots.
What is Insecurity and What Causes It?
Insecurity is the persistent feeling that your relationship is being compromised or that you are somehow inadequate. It might seem to some that insecurity is an external problem caused by circumstances within a relationship or a partner’s behavior, but the truth is that insecurity is an internal problem caused by the mind. Most insecurities stem from negative experiences with past relationships that influence thoughts and feelings about your current relationship. If you were cheated on or lied to by a partner in the past, you may be tempted to assume that it will eventually happen again with your current partner even if he has never given you reason to doubt him. Your brain tries to protect you from suffering the same emotional pain again by creating unpleasant thoughts and feelings, but this attempt at self-preservation often comes at the cost of what could be a perfectly good relationship.
Let Go of Emotional Baggage
The emotional wounds born of previous relationships sometimes turn into baggage that can harm future relationships. Don’t punish your current partner for something that your previous partner did. You have no valid reason to assume that your current partner will make the same mistakes, so give her the benefit of the doubt and trust her unless she gives you a specific reason not to.
Stay Grounded in Your Current Reality
Don’t invent problems where they do not exist. Insecurity often leads you to obsess over things that might happen instead of focusing on what is actually happening and that can generate conflict within your relationship. Ask yourself if there is truly any real-world basis for the fears that you may have about your relationship or the way your partner feels. Does he really not want to go out with you because he is growing tired of you, or is he just genuinely tired after a long and hard day at work? Instead of doubting his motives, try to trust that he is being honest with you. Direct your energy toward what is actually happening instead of obsessing over what might be.
When in Doubt, Communicate
You are not a mind reader. If you make assumptions about what your partner is thinking or feeling, you are bound to misinterpret things. Talk to her about anything that you are unsure of. Ask her how she is feeling instead of drawing your own conclusions. The more effectively you communicate with your partner, the more secure you will feel in the relationship.
Kristina Barroso earned a B.A. in Psychology from Florida International University. She is happily married, works full-time as a public school teacher and enjoys mothering her 5-year-old daughter and 14-year-old stepson. She has also fostered several children and loves writing about parenting, families, education and relationships on WorkingMother.com and TheClassroom.com.