For a relationship to operate in a healthy and loving way, a degree of trust is required, as well as open and honest communication. Hiding things and being secretive can usually only spell disaster.
There are a lot of reasons to be insecure in a relationship. Perhaps we’ve had a painful experience in the past that has colored all other relationships for us. We’d rather jump to conclusions to face the potential hurt head-on rather than risk it surprising us when we’re caught off-guard. Sometimes, we’re just insecure people who have never felt like we were good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, or funny enough, so why would this awesome person want to be with us? We might convince ourselves that they’re just biding their time until they can find someone better.
It’s important to look at why these 20 signs might apply to our current relationship, so we can evaluate our own behavior and reassess how we might approach normal issues and arguments that arrive throughout the course of a relationship. After all, recognizing that there is a problem is the first step in solving it, right? Being obsessive or constantly in self-doubt means that we could be negatively impacting our relationship, and, while some situations may warrant this, we need to learn when we’re making mountains out of molehills.
20 We Set A Timeline
When we worry that something has the possibility of ending faster than we’d like, we might put some insurance policies in place to make it less likely that our SO will run for the hills. While a breakup isn’t easy, there’s a lot less red tape surrounding it if we’re not living together, married or sharing children.
If we feel insecure in our relationship, we might be rushing into these milestones before either of us is ready, so that we have tangible proof that everything is running smoothly. This is a Band-Aid solution to the real problems that lie beneath the surface and can only lead to trouble in the end.
19 We Keep Tabs On Them
If we’re insecure in a relationship, we find comfort in knowing where our SO is at all times. We’ll ask them about what they plan on doing that day and might jump down their throats if they deviate from what they’ve told us. Keeping tabs on someone is a way of controlling them, and where does that behavior come from if not from a place of insecurity?
Knowing where our SO is and who they are with alleviates some of the stress and anxiety we no doubt feel about our relationship. When we know all the things they are doing, we can cross off all the things they aren’t doing.
18 We Overanalyze Every Situation
It’s a common, if uncomfortable practice, of the anxious to lie awake at night and review everything we’ve said and done throughout the day, parsing it for deeper meaning or figuring out where we may have gone wrong. The same is true for those who are insecure in their relationships, except they do it all the time.
When we don’t feel secure with the person we’re with, we overanalyze every situation to learn its “true meaning.” We wonder if our SO is mad at us, if we did something wrong, if we’re not doing enough, or if we’re doing too much – the list goes on!
17 We Manipulate Their Emotions
While we might not like to admit it, when we’re insecure in our relationship, we may try to manipulate the emotions of our partner in order to feel better. This could take many forms, like sulking or pouting when we don’t get our way, so that they feel the need to comfort us, or turning an argument around so that they become the person at fault rather than us.
This is unhealthy behavior and insecurity turned outwards, which is unfair and toxic. While we want to bring our partners closer to us, this type of action only serves to push them further away.
16 We Try Too Hard
It’s good to put effort into a relationship; it helps to keep the spark alive and shows our SO how much we care about and value them. However, when we’re feeling like we’re losing our grip on someone we love, we might resort to desperate measures to keep them with us.
Trying too hard to cling to someone is a sure sign of insecurity and one that only succeeds in doing the opposite. Maybe we push the boundaries of what is comfortable or necessary because we feel as though they’re slipping away, but our behavior comes off as desperate, which is a turn-off for pretty much anyone.
15 We Love-Bomb
Another manipulative tactic, “love-bombing” is a very real thing insecure people do in a relationship, especially in its early stages. In this case, we’ll gush ad nauseam to them about them and how happy they make us, how perfect they are, how much we love them. Think of that scene from Friends where an insecure Ross lavishes Rachel with gifts and even tries to have a picnic at her office.
When we love-bomb someone, it’s partly because we want them to return the favor and let us know that they feel just as strongly about us. It’s a way to coerce someone into caring.
14 We’re Jealous Of The Women In Their Lives
When we’re insecure with our SO and our relationship, we might get jealous of any of the other women (or men, depending on your situation) in their lives. We’ll get suspicious of any old friends who message them or they happen to run into when they’re out getting groceries.
We’ll read too much into conversations they have with cousins, sisters or their own mother. The only way we can feel that we’re the only woman (or man) for them is by being the only one, period. If we weren’t insecure, we could see that these relationships are natural, healthy and normal, instead of reading disloyalty into all of them.
13 We Compare Ourselves To Their Exes
It’s normal to be curious about our SO’s past loves and relationships. After all, they might have a few questions about ours! Being open and honest about our past is healthy, but if we become obsessive over our partner’s exes and constantly compare ourselves to them, that’s when things start to get a little risky.
If we feel unstable in our relationship, we may want to learn what happened to the exes to ensure we don’t end up the same way. Or, we may feel competitive with them, even though they’re no longer in the picture. We ask about them to learn who they are and what we should and should not do based on their actions.
12 We’re Physically Clingy
Some people just aren’t fans of PDA. It could be the way they were raised, or a natural shyness, but maybe our SO doesn’t like kissing in public and would prefer we hold hands instead. Under normal circumstances, we would respect that and be fine with it. However, if we’re insecure in our relationship already, a lack of PDA might signal to us that he’s unhappy about being seen with us.
In retaliation, we’ll get clingier, more demanding for affection and attention in public spaces and in private, so we can signify that this person right here is ours and only ours.
11 We Check Their Social Media
Trawling through our SO’s social media is a red flag for unhealthy relationship behavior. If we’re refreshing their feed to see what they’re posting and are searching all the profiles of the people in their friends’ lists, we have a problem with insecurity.
Healthy relationships are built on a solid foundation of trust and honesty, and when we look at their social media – or worse, log into their accounts – we’re betraying that trust and letting our insecurity shine through for everyone to see. If our SO has given us no reason to be suspicious of their behavior, this insecurity rests solely on our shoulders.
10 We Encourage Their Failure
In a healthy relationship, both people will encourage one another and lift each other up. Their successes are our successes and vice-versa. However, in a relationship that’s riddled with insecurity, we might actually encourage their failure.
This is because we want to foster a sense of dependency. Their success should be a direct result of us, and should be shared with us – and no one else. This is even truer if we’re in a professional slump, because if our partner is doing better, then that makes them better than us, which means that they could soon go of in search of someone who matches their success and potential.
9 We Are Always Defensive
The easiest way to get out of an argument is to change the subject by deflecting every comment that comes our way. When our SO asks something of us or confronts us about our behavior, we’ll give it right back to them and make it their problem.
Getting defensive is something insecure people do often, and it is used frequently in relationships that feel shaky. Our partner says we’re too sensitive, so we tell them that they always make us feel as though our emotions aren’t valid and they don’t take us seriously. Getting defensive makes them defend our mirrored insults, putting us back in control.
8 We Require Constant Reassurance
This should be an obvious one, but any time we’re feeling insecure about ourselves, our relationship and our partner, we need them to reassure us with words like, “You’re very pretty,” “I love you so much,” “You’re so much better than my ex.”
Seeking constant approval and validation is a hallmark behavior of the insecure, because we need to know for sure that things are going well and that we are enough for our SO, and that they haven’t considered leaving us for someone else or going back to an ex. A pat on the back and a kiss on the forehead are great and necessary, but requiring it all the time while offering nothing in return is exhausting for our partner.
7 We Put Off Confrontational Conversations
Arguing is natural in a relationship, so long as it’s resolved and doesn’t make up the bulk of our conversations. Bottling things up (or arguing all the time) is not.
In a relationship filled with insecurity, we’re a lot more likely to postpone uncomfortable conversations or situations because we don’t want to hear anything negative that our partner has to say. Conversely, we also don’t want to say anything negative that would risk pushing our partner away!
Keeping things light and breezy all the time may sound good, but confrontation is necessary in order to create a greater bond and healthier dialogue.
6 We Ask About Their Exes Often
Similar to comparing ourselves to our SO’s exes, we’ll ask about them all the time if we feel insecure in our relationship. We’ll want to know what they were like, if they were funny, what the two of them did together, why they broke up, if they still see them or speak to them, if things were serious, if they ever talked about marriage or kids, and so on.
Honestly, the list is endless in all the minutiae we want them to shore up so that we know as much about their past relationships as they do. It’s obsessive behavior, and one that makes our insecurity clear.
5 We Don’t Want To Do Anything Without Them
In a relationship where we feel insecure about our partner and our position, we may have merged our life with theirs completely. This means having our own friends, family and goals melt away in order to be the “other half” of our SO. While it’s natural to want to be together 24/7 in the early honeymoon phase of a relationship, if we find ourselves unable to be without them months or even years later, it could be because we’re insecure.
Having an independent life is important in a healthy relationship because, at the very least, it gives you something to talk about at the dinner table.
4 We Check Their Phone
A huge red flag in a relationship is not trusting our partner enough so we check their phone to keep our insecurity at bay. We peer over their shoulder to see who they’re texting, or we sneak a peek at their phone when they’ve stepped out for a moment or gone to the bathroom. Sometimes, when they’re asleep, we’ll reach across them, punch in their password and scroll through their texts, DMs and calls.
Phones are a private and personal item, and that privacy should be respected in a stable relationship. In one riddled with insecurity, though, we’ll look for any reason to grab their phone to soothe our anxiety.
3 We Give Them Ultimatums
A classic manipulation tactic, issuing ultimatums to our partner is a way for us to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we’re their number one priority, above anything and everything else.
Ultimatums are threats, plain and simple, and using them to get what we want out of our partner is a sign of insecurity and toxic behavior. In a secure and healthy relationship, these would never happen, but in a relationship filled with insecurity, we might think nothing of saying, “if you love me, you won’t go out with your friends tonight.” It’s controlling and it is not okay.
2 We Don’t Want Them To Do Anything Without Us
Insecurity in relationships largely stems from a lack of trust. Whether or not that has any merit depends on the specific relationship in question. Not wanting our SO to do anything without us is an example of that distrust. We don’t want them to go anywhere after work unless we tag along, we don’t want them spending time with their friends if we’re not there and we definitely don’t want them going away for a weekend unless we’re coming, too.
In these cases, it’s important to evaluate where the insecurity is coming from. Is it a result of only our behavior and perhaps our past, or is it because our partner has given us a reason to feel this way?
1 We Think They're Stepping Out
The biggest red flag for insecurity is when we think our SO is stepping out on us when he isn't. Perhaps we’ve faced a similar situation in a previous relationship, which has made us ultra-suspicious this time around, or perhaps we’re just the type to always see the glass as half-empty.
Accusing a partner of having someone on the side – especially if it’s without any proof – is a way for us to lay a guilt trip on them. It’s all our bundled insecurities rolled up into one: we don’t think we’re good enough, so why wouldn’t they find someone else? Accusing someone of constantly stepping out on us is arguably the number one sign we’re not secure in our relationship.