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Have you ever experienced insecurity in a romantic relationship and questioned whether that meant that your S.O. was not the right person for you? Those with a secure attachment style usually have fewer problems, are often happier, and are usually better at supporting their partner, so this begs the question: Can you actually teach yourself to stop being insecure in your relationship—and if so, how?
First off, it's worth mentioning that insecurity is so much deeper than trust since it fuels a lack of emotional confidence and security. "You may have all the trust in the world that your partner isn't going to cheat on you but still feel insecure," says Alysha Jeney.
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And although an increase in technology use can cause jealousy and affect how secure we feel with our partner, Jeney says it's not the root cause of overall security in our relationships. According to her, our core insecurities actually often stem from attachment wounds, which is a way to describe any time there was a significant relationship that has ruptured our trust in the past. "This can create defensiveness that pushes people away and robs us of the opportunity of ever letting anyone truly in," she explains.
Which is where being insecure in your relationship and wondering whether you're with the right person comes in. "You can be insecure in your relationship and absolutely be with the 'right person,'" she explains. "You may just be self-sabotaging because you are afraid to let anyone in too closely." When this happens, it can be because of the fact that you're not aware of (or just don't know how to handle) your insecurities, projections, assumption, attachment style, and behaviors. Jeney says if you find you're insecure, she'd suggest counseling as well as self-awareness work to determine if it's coming from external sources or you are just in an incompatible relationship. Keep reading to see seven signs you may have insecurity in your relationship—plus expert-approved tips and tricks to combat each issue.
You Don't Trust Easily
Sign: You doubt every little thing, you stalk social media sites, you snoop on your partner, or you feel threatened easily.
Action to Take: Practice mindfulness and journal about when you feel this way. "Can you challenge your thoughts and look at a scenario giving your partner the benefit of the doubt?" asks Jeney.
The Why: "It helps you challenge your negative thought patterns and helps you become more aware of where your feelings are coming from. You will learn how to better cope with reactions and thoughts rather than projecting them onto your partner and then laser focusing on something potentially superficial and irrelevant."
You Struggle With Intimacy
Sign: You struggle with feeling close sexually or emotionally (or both). You can feel your guard up during intimate moments.
Action to Take: You need to first understand intimacy and what it means to you and your partner. Ask yourself whether you and your partner experience closeness and intimacy in the same way. Then work on where your guards come from—society's expectations, insecurities, past abuse, fears.
The Why: "It will help you communicate with your partner so you can both be on the same page. Be patient with each other and understand your differences."
You Become Panicked Easily
Sign: During a conflict, you panic that your partner will leave, will reject you, or may judge you.
Action to Take: Identify the first time you felt this sense of panic and pinpoint it to an event to see how it's playing a role in your current situation. What did you need to hear then, and what do you need to hear now? If it's the same, try telling yourself that message when you start to feel triggered again.
The Why: "It gives you permission to feel how you feel, which is actually validating and soothing. It also gives you insight into past patterns and influences which can help you see things from a different perspective so you can de-escalate the panic and communicate more rationally."
You Easily Feel Attacked
Sign: You feel immediately offended, hurt, or shut down by something your partner asks of you. You instantly feel criticized and want to defend yourself by arguing or by shutting down completely.
Action to Take: Ask yourself these questions:
- "How many of my thoughts are assumptions?"
- "What did my partner actually say?"
- "Can there be a possibility I'm internalizing this scenario and making it something it's not?"
The Why: "It helps you challenge your thoughts and look at the scenario from an objective lens. You're able to understand what your partner is trying to communicate without the hyper-emotion."
You Create Mountains Over Molehills
Sign: You pick fights and make them extreme issues, you use hurtful or definitive words, and create huge arguments around something that isn't very big once you've taken a step back.
Action to Take: Reflect on three to five fights you've had in the past and look at them objectively. Ask yourself what was underneath the content you were arguing about and try to identify patterns.
The Why: "You may be able to identify internal patterns you weren't aware of. Maybe you are making bigger arguments out of smaller details because you never felt a big issue was repaired fully; maybe you struggle with allowing yourself to feel truly close to someone so you're sabotaging happiness; maybe you have needs that aren't being met in your relationship but it's easier to fight about the laundry or who they added on Instagram rather than directly address them."
You Don't Accept Yourself
Sign: You struggle when it comes to giving yourself permission to just be you, you judge yourself often and hold yourself to high standards.
Action to Take: Work on yourself so you don't fall into a trap of co-dependency and never allow your authentic self to grow. Go to counseling, read books, practice your spiritual or soulful work. Look at how your past has influenced your present, and give yourself permission to work through it. Most importantly, give yourself grace and love.
The Why: "You learn not to rely on others in an unhealthy way to 'fix or soothe' your perceived issues. You will get the emotional confidence and empowerment to show up authentically. It also helps you to identify triggers and subconscious influences so you can soothe, repair, or avoid them in the future."
University of Minnesota. Relationships at a glance: Trust, security, and emotional well-being. Updated May 5, 2017.