How to Stop Being Insecure in a Relationship

Learn how to stop being insecure, improve your relationship and feel less stressed and anxious.

an image of a woman looking insecure with her partner

What is insecurity and how does it manifest in a relationship? Well, insecurity stems from “anxiousness” or a lack of confidence. It is an unpleasant and highly stressful emotional state or inner feeling that causes you to question everything around you.

Insecurity is a feeling of intense fear and the belief that you are being “threatened” by someone or something. An insecure person may also feel inadequate, when compared to someone else.

This “uncertainty” can trigger a variety of complex and distressing emotions. Insecurity can lead to self-doubt, low self-esteem, jealousy, depression, frustration, hostility, confusion, and anxiety. It often creeps up in relationships.

Insecurity can cause you to question the status and stability of your relationship. In other words, it can cause you to doubt your partner’s love and commitment – even when there is no cause to do so.

It is “normal” and even healthy to have some level of anxiety, fear, and self-doubt from time-to-time. But, escalating or chronic insecurity can cause a-disconnect between you and your partner.

After a while, even the most loving partner may tire of the jealousy, accusations, and constant need for reassurance, and back away from you. In other words, your insecurity may erode the trust in your relationship, leading to a breakup.

It is common to think that relationship insecurity stems from a partner’s words and actions. In reality, however, it lives within every person. This feeling may first arise during early childhood or pop up during the teen or adult years.

For some, this insecurity began with an insecure, unstable, sporadic, or non-existent attachment to their parents. For others, it may have developed after being rejected, taunted, bullied, betrayed, or hurt by someone they loved.

If you are looking for ways to stop being insecure in a relationship – you have come to the right place. The purpose of this article is to improve your relationship, and reduce your stress and anxiety.

6 ways of dealing with insecurity in a relationship

Listed below are ways you can stop feeling insecure in a relationship

  1. Work on improving your own self-esteem first

    a woman looking proud of herself

    Feeling good about yourself can boost your confidence and strengthen your relationship. You’ll not only reap the benefits of having a high self-esteem, but you’ll also appear more attractive to your partner. He or she will want to be as close to you as possible, hopefully alleviating your insecurity.

    Studies suggest that people with low self-esteem also tend to be insecure in their relationships. For example, if you don’t like yourself or feel good about the person you are, you are more likely to look for acceptance, love, and validation from others.

    The worst thing you can do in a relationship is seek approval and acceptance from a partner. When your happiness depends on someone else, you lose control of yourself, your life, and your relationship.

    Keep in mind that the more emotionally-secure partner may become “fed up” with the pressure to “make you happy” and slip away from you – emotionally and physically.

    So, how can you focus more on yourself? First, do things that make you happy. For instance, if you enjoy going to the spa, but haven’t had much time to pamper yourself lately, schedule a spa day on your next day off. Try to relax your mind by immersing yourself in the experience.

    How does the massage feel? How does your new hairstyle look? How does the facial make your skin feel? What about your manicure and pedicure – how do they look on your fingers and toes?

    Next, take a look at your health.

    Are you getting enough rest? If not, it may be time to start going to bed earlier. Do you have a healthy diet or are most of your foods laden with sugar and salt? If your daily diet consists mostly of junk, you may want to switch to a healthier menu.

    How active are you? Do you have a more sedentary lifestyle? If so, you may want to get a gym membership, walk around the neighborhood, take hikes, or join a sports team to get your body in tip-top shape.

    The goal is to take your attention away from your partner and put back on yourself. Once you start to think about yourself, you be less inclined to spend your days worrying about what your partner is doing or thinking

  2. Use guided imagery to remove the emotions that drive that feeling of insecurity

    woman listening to guided imagery recording to stop being insecure in her relationship

    Guided imagery, also known as ‘self-hypnosis’ or ‘visualization,’ is a therapeutic technique commonly used to help people relax and replace compulsive and negative thinking patterns with more positive ones. More specifically, it teaches you how to imagine positive situations, so you are not focused on worst-case scenarios.

    This technique is rooted in the belief that the mind is unable to distinguish between imagined scenarios and real-life experiences. You can change negative thinking patterns by repeatedly imagining that you are secure in your relationship, anxiety-free, and focused on the positive aspects of your relationship. Over time, the debilitating self-doubt and worry is replaced with confidence and peace.

    Guided imagery can also help you get a better grasp on your emotions by helping you understand the connection between your thoughts (mind) and behaviors (body). As a result, you can learn to control your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Thus, the purpose of guided imagery is to help you become more in-tune with who you are, as an individual and a partner, so you are more confident in your relationship.

    No relationship is perfect, and there will always be arguments, stresses, and conflicts. But, with guided imagery, you can remove exaggerated thinking patterns that are unrealistic.

    Although guided therapy is a common therapeutic technique, you can also practice it in the comfort of your home with self-help books and guides, or with pre-recorded guided imagery programs. You can also find guided imagery scripts online and instructions on how to create your own scripts. It is important to note that even though guided imagery can be practiced independently, it may be beneficial to see a professional at least once or twice to learn how to perform it correctly.

  3. Stop trying to be a mind reader

    a man trying to read his lover's thoughts

    Most relationship anxiety problems stem from poor communication. Poor communication can lead to “trying to be a mind reader.” Mind readers tend to believe they know what other people are thinking, even when they really don’t. The truth is trying to figure out what someone is thinking is the quickest and messiest route to relationship insecurity.

    So, how can you stop being an amateur mind reader? Well, if your partner says one thing, don’t automatically assume there is a hidden message or his words mean something else. And, if your partner doesn’t say anything, don’t automatically assume his or her silence means that “they are up to no good.” Because, that may not be the case.

    Also, don’t put your partner in the position of trying to be your mind reader. Be clear and honest. Speak up and don’t say anything you don’t mean.

    If you give your partner the information he or she needs to effectively communicate with you, you may feel less insecure in your relationship.

  4. Stop comparing a new relationship to an old one

    A woman sadly hugging her partner and thinking about how their relationship compares to past relationships

    According to studies, a major catalyst for relationship insecurity is comparing your new relationship to an old one. It is common for insecure people to unfairly judge their partners based on things previous partners did to them.

    Sometimes, these individuals judge love interests because they remind them of their exes. Specifically, the ones that treated them poorly. Unfortunately, this often leads to anxiety and insecurity. This may prevent the relationship from reaching its full potential.

    How can you stop comparing your new relationship to your old ones? Simply by reminding yourself that although your exes were rude, condescending, abusive, and dishonest, you are with a new person. This person is a blank slate – your relationship is a blank slate, as of this point.

    This is especially true if your partner has been nothing but kind, loving, and supportive towards you. So, if your partner hasn’t done anything to make you question him – trust him. Believe in your relationship.

    Keep this in mind, if you carry the heavy weight of your previous relationships with you, you will continue to make the same mistakes in your present and future ones.

    Thus, the next time you find yourself comparing your current relationship to your past ones, stop and think. Take a few minutes to reflect on how your present relationship is different from your past ones. Then, focus on the things you love about your partner and why.

  5. Stop looking for a perfect relationship

    a women day dreaming about having a perfect relationship

    Another way to banish insecurity from your relationship is to stop looking for a fairytale one. Because, they do not exist. Spending your life looking for the perfect partner is a waste of time.

    And, setting ridiculously high expectations and standards for your partner will ultimately lead to a failed relationship. Remember, no one is perfect.

    Looking for a Hallmark movie relationship can and will lead to relationship insecurity, depression, and anxiety. In the end, you’ll become more and more insecure with every relationship that is not perfect.

    How can you stop looking for a fairytale relationship? Truthfully, this comes with time, experience, and maturity. After you’ve been in numerous relationships, you realize there are no “flawless people.” Although, there may be a person who is “perfectly imperfect” for you.

    Choose your battles. In other words, cut your partner some slack. Your partner will make mistakes from time-to-time. There may be times when he or she does not live up to your expectations – and that’s okay because your partner is human, just like you. You are not perfect, so don’t expect your partner to be.

    Therefore, the goal of eliminating your relationship insecurity is to find someone, who is not perfect, but who balances you out.

  6. Look at your relationship as half-full instead of half-empty

    a picture of a glass half full

    If you are feeling insecure about your relationship, you may want to start looking at your relationship as half-full instead of half-empty. In other words, stop concentrating on everything that is wrong with your relationship and start focusing on what is right.

    As mentioned above, there is no such thing as a perfect partner or relationship. And, even if your partner and relationship appears to be infallible right now – that could always change. The most beautiful and raw thing about people are their imperfections. It’s what makes them unique.

    Once you accept your partner’s flaws, you can experience an emotionally-secure relationship. Now, that doesn’t mean you should attach yourself to someone, who continuously betrays you. But what it does mean is that you shouldn’t be so quick to throw in the towel when the “going gets rough.”

    Don’t let one or two “unpleasant or unfortunate events” define your whole relationship. So, when you start feeling insecure, take a time out and think about all of the things you love about your partner and relationship.

Should I seek treatment for my relationship insecurity?

It depends. If your insecurity is negatively affecting your self-esteem and your relationship, you should definitely seek professional help. Treatment would most likely consist of psychotherapy (individual, couples/marital, group, and/or family).

A psychologist will help you get to the root of your relationship insecurity, so you can enjoy healthier relationships in the future. She will also help you bond with your partner in a more positive way. More specifically, she will teach you how to communicate better, resolve issues, build trust, and re-connect again. 

On the other hand, if the insecurity does not strike you in every relationship, but is affecting the overall quality of your current relationship, you may want to reflect and reevaluate whether your current relationship is the right one for you.   

In summary

It is important to understand that everyone comes with baggage. No one is perfect – not even you. And, that is okay. Perfection is not one of the keys to a happy, healthy, and emotionally-secure relationship. Rather, a successful relationship involves respect, trust, faith, a healthy self-esteem, and good communication and problem-solving skills.

Studies suggest that when you stop scrutinizing what your partner says and does, you put the attention back on yourself. Your self-confidence soars because you know your value as a person and a partner. As a result, you no longer feel insecure in your relationship.

About R.Y Langham, PhD

Psychologist and Marriage Therapist

Dr. R.Y. Langham is a certified psychologist and marriage therapist. She holds a PhD in family psychology from Capella University and an MMFT in marriage and family therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University.

Dr. Langham serves as a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, where she writes, edits, and reviews professional materials and articles on the topics of sex and relationships.