With the huge pressures that life can put on relationships — from work-related stress to health issues, becoming parents and even social media — it’s no wonder many of us feel insecure at times. Likewise, most of us have, at one point or another, found ourselves trying to reassure a partner who doesn’t feel as confident in a relationship as they should.
When one person in a partnership becomes insecure, the need for reassurance can sometimes set off an unpleasant cycle of neediness, impatience, and more insecurity. If dealt with correctly, however, it’s possible to break the negative behavioral patterns and reach a stronger, more confident phase in your relationship.
This, of course, has to be a labor of love between the two of you. If you are currently in that stage, here’s how to deal with an insecure partner.
1Identify the source of the problem together
There are countless reasons why people feel insecure in relationships. It could be leftover pain from a previous romance, your partner’s sense of self-worth or something you have done or continue to do.
These issues can be big: perhaps you fear commitment or have cheated in the past. They can also be small: your new hobby clashes with date night. Health issues like erectile dysfunction can also be tough on a partner since this impacts intimacy.
Whatever the root of this insecure feeling is, you must identify it together in order to move forward. That’s the first step in learning how to deal with an insecure partner.
2Who does the problem lie with — and are they willing to change?
If your partner is generally jealous and needy, this could stem from their past experiences and overall level of self-esteem. Knowing they can trust you may not be enough. That FOMO or feeling of being left out and the inability to share you with friends can all add up to make your daily lives tricky.
Can your partner identify that they are the problem? Are they ready to find new ways to deal with this?
Likewise, if you regularly go out partying till the early hours, without so much as a friendly text to your other half, can you put yourself in your partner’s shoes and understand how such behavior might make them feel?
3Communication is key
When a person is insecure, they tend to jump to the most negative conclusions. They fill in the blanks with the most disastrous possible assumptions and let their imagination run to the worst-case scenario time and again.
By making a bigger effort than usual to communicate, you can prevent your partner from having to guess what you’re doing and feeling. Send a straightforward text message explaining where you are and who with. Make the effort to put into words how much you appreciate your partner, even if that’s out of your comfort zone. Who knows, it may not just be your partner who benefits from this openness.
Very often, one person in a relationship assumes dominance. They take the lead on travel plans and their friends are central to the couple’s social world. Their life choices may inform those of their partner.
As the leader in your partnership, you can support your partner to feel more secure by helping them form bonds and achieve things outside of your relationship. Making a new friend they can hang with when you’re working or taking up a shiny new hobby could help take their mind off irrational doubts and fears.
If you’re convinced that this insecurity is coming from a harmless place and you’ve talked about it sensibly, calmly and with each other’s best intentions at heart, it’s time for you both to stop indulging your partner’s doubts, move on, and get the fun back. While it’s paramount not to make little of your loved one’s insecurities, finding ways to laugh together is a surefire way to strengthen the bond you share.
It sounds obvious, but your favorite sitcom, play fights, and stand-up comedy evenings are some of the quickest methods to get you laughing together and feeling connected.
6Respect these changes long-term
Having a quick chat and whisking your partner off for a night of fun is rendered useless if the following week you’ve entirely forgotten your other half’s distress. While they may seem to be dealing with things better, it’s up to you to keep in mind that future scenarios could trigger their doubts.
If you know your partner can trust you and has no deep-seated reason to be insecure, other than the lack of confidence that plagues us all at times, make the effort to renew your reassuring actions over the weeks, months and years of your relationship. Small changes can often reap the biggest rewards.