6 Practical Tools To Overcome Insecurities In Your Relationship
Many of my clients struggle with insecurity in dating and their relationships. Insecurity is relatively common in the early stages of dating, and any time there have been ruptures in trust in the later stages of a relationship. Feelings of security and trust characterize a healthy relationship. However, you don't feel those in your relationship right now. In that case, that indicates some work in the relationship and possibly within yourself that needs to be done to create that security.
What are the Causes of Insecurity in a Relationship?
There are many causes of insecurity in relationships - both internal and external. Internal causes may be low self-esteem, traumatic or suboptimal life and relationship experiences, and insecure attachment style - such as anxiety, avoidant, or disorganized. Examples of external causes are a violation of trust in your relationship, poor communication, behaviors of your partner that breach trust or your needs (anything from lying, minimizing, or ignoring your needs), or your partner's attachment style.
What are the Signs of Insecurity in a Relationship?
- Strong reactions such as lashing out: Past negative experiences in your life or the relationship may cause you to overreact to your partner's actions. Likewise, your partner having overly strong reactions may be a sign of their insecurity.
- Low Self-esteem: Constant questioning of your worth, whether to speak your needs, or whether your partner values you is a sign of insecurity.
- Envy or jealousy: While these feelings may be normal in small amounts if you find envy or jealousy dictating your behavior or causing you to try to control your partner's behavior, this is a sign of insecurity. The cause may be internal or may be an appropriate reaction to your partner's behavior.
- Intimacy issues: These can range from sexual intimacy issues such as painful sex and erectile dysfunction to not being emotionally intimate or sharing vulnerably, and can point to a lack of security in the relationship or insecurity in oneself.
What is the Impact of Insecurities on your Relationship?
Feelings of insecurity cause a person to lash out, withdraw, or project untrue stories of their partner's actions. These behaviors begin to erode the health and the strength of the bond, and generally create further emotional distance between you and your partner, which in turn may lead to "acting out" by either partner. It is essential to interrupt and transform this cycle through learning healthy communication and conflict resolution skills like active listening, asserting your needs, not making assumptions, and being honest, reliable, consistent, and accountable.
How do I “get over” Insecurities in a Relationship?
Insecurities are not something to "get over" but to explore. It's essential to explore the root causes of insecurity and address each root cause directly. It is okay sometimes to feel insecure. In a healthy relationship, you should be able to express that directly to your partner on occasion and be met with receptivity and actions that aim to alleviate your insecurity. For example, if the root causes of your insecurity are that you tend to be anxious when your partner does not communicate and your partner tends not to communicate, you would need to address both your anxiety (how to self-soothe), and your partner's lack of communication skills (this is where couples therapy can be helpful in identifying the individual issues, the dynamic between you two, and how to make changes on both sides of the partnership).
Relationship Therapist might look like support for you learning to self-soothe and express your feelings, i.e., "I feel insecure when I don't hear back from you," and needs, i.e., "I need and want to feel more connected and secure with you," and a request from your partner about how to do that. Your partner is developing skills, tools, and a strategy to communicate more proactively with you.
Tips to Address Insecurity in your Relationship:
Practice open + regular communication
I recommend something called "Heart Talks" to clients in my practice. This is a regular time each week for 30 minutes to an hour, where each partner can express their feelings and needs while the other listens. This allows couples to create a secure foundation for communication between them.
Learn Mindful Self-Compassion
Mindful Self-compassion is one of the best tools I know for self-soothing and managing anxiety. It also can help you better hear, listen, and be attuned to your partner and their needs.
Journaling for Self-Reflection
Journaling is a great way to make space for self-reflection and a greater understanding of yourself, your partner, and your dynamic. Try writing question prompts you would like to ask someone else (like a therapist or an expert) and answer them yourself in your journal. For example, "What is my part in this dynamic and my partner's role?"
Feelings and Needs Tools
There are various mental health tools like the feelings wheel, and you need an inventory that can help you identify what is going on in moments of distress or feeling triggered. These can help in moments of distress to improve communication and closeness. Check out cnvc.org for more resources.
Create a Couple Agreement
A couple of agreements is developed by psychologist Stan Tatkin in which a couple can create an agreement that creates safety and security in the relationship. In this agreement, each partner takes accountability for their part in creating safety and outlines what they will do (i.e., communicate proactively) and will not do (i.e., storm out or ignore texts) to create a "couple bubble" or safe space together.
Mental Health or Coaching Support:
Both couples counseling and individual counseling can be helpful in more profoundly understanding the feelings and needs of both you and your partner, as well as identifying and addressing the root causes of insecurity in yourself and the relationship. Hiring an online dating coach can be helpful for those experiencing insecurity in the earlier stages of a relationship. At the same time, premarital counseling can be helpful for those looking to bolster the foundation of their relationship before moving to the next stage.
Developing security in partnership is, more often than not, a two-way street. If you or your partner is unwilling to work on the issue by learning new skills and changing your behaviors, there may be a bigger problem in the relationship.
Frequently Asked Question
Q.1 What issues can be addressed through personal counseling?
A. Personal counseling services are a powerful tool to help individuals address a range of issues. From mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, to relationship issues and career decisions, personal counseling can provide people with the guidance and support they need to navigate life’s challenges.
Q.2 What are the benefits of online couples therapy?
A. Online couples therapy is a great way for couples to access professional help without having to leave the comfort of their own home. This type of therapy offers couples an opportunity to work through their issues in a non-judgmental and confidential environment. In addition, online couples therapy can provide numerous benefits such as improved communication, increased understanding, and increased empathy.
Q.3 How long does it typically take to see results from a mindfulness coaching session?
A. Mindfulness coaching can be a powerful tool to help individuals gain clarity and insight in their lives. It can provide an opportunity for personal growth and development, as well as help individuals manage stress and cope with difficult situations. But how long does it typically take to see results? The answer depends on the individual's goals, commitment, and the type of coaching they are receiving. Clients usually work with our mindfulness coaches 1-2 times monthly for about a year.