We can all feel insecure at times. Some of us may feel ‘less’ than others. We may suffer from low self-esteem and confidence and so we erroneously compare ourselves and our personalities to others and feel ashamed and inadequate in comparison. Our past experiences with abuse and invalidation may cause us to wonder why anybody would want to be in a relationship with us. The point is, the insecurity which arises within intimate relationships can be caused by any number of factors.
Sometimes we have to look as far back as our childhoods and examine the attachment styles that we have developed and other times we may need only to look as far back as our last relationship (insecurity stemming from being cheated on, lied to, etc). Either way, the insecurity that we feel in our present relationship CAN be managed and overcome regardless of its origins. Here are some tips which may help you to overcome insecurity within your intimate relationships.
1. Stay true to who you are no matter what;
When we enter intimate relationships, it is easy to lose ourselves and our sense of identity. We all want to impress our potential lover and sometimes this causes us to pretend to be someone that we are not. If we are a ‘nerd’ for example, we may try and ‘hide’ that aspect of ourselves and so pretend to be a ‘jock’ instead. When we give up or hide too much of who we truly are, we can become insecure about the relationship ending if our partner was to find out the truth about us.
2. Take advantage of alone time;
Successful relationships are not necessarily determined by how much time a couple can spend together in any given day. It is just as important for couples to spend time apart as it is for them to spend time together. Alone time really gives us time to connect to ourselves. It allows us to spend time in our own heads with our own thoughts, our own desires, our own interests, etc, etc. This strong connection to ourself is often what gets lost when couples spend too much time together. This is when couples become enmeshed and insecurity arises.
3. Don’t isolate yourself or allow others to isolate you;
Alone time is not the same as isolation. If you become isolated from those who really know you, you run the risk of these people not being able to spot negative changes in yourself that you may not have noticed. Likewise, these people can also help encourage and support you in times of need. A controlling and abusive person will seek to isolate you from support networks as doing so fuels your insecurity and so makes you more dependent on them.
4. Be open and honest with your partner;
There is absolutely nothing wrong with expressing your insecurities with your partner. Open and honest communication is always better than keeping things in the dark. Hopefully you and your partner can find some ways to help ease your insecurity. In saying this though, your partner is not your therapist. They do not have to check in with you every five minutes just so that you can feel at ease. A loving and supportive partner can help you with your insecurities by being both empathetic and sympathetic. They will understand the importance of calling you to say they are running late but again you also need to put in the internal work to overcome insecurity.
5. Negotiate relationship rules;
This follows on from the last tip. If you notice that your insecurity tends to activate when your partner is not where they said they would be, it is perfectly ok to set a boundary and say “I find myself becoming increasingly anxious and insecure when you say that you will be home at 5pm and you don’t get home until 8pm. It would help me to ease my anxiety and insecurity if you could call me to let me know that you won’t be home until later”. You may even set rules about transparency (should we have access to each other’s phones, emails, etc).