Marriage vows say, “for better, for worse”, right? Well, an insecure partner ensures that it is more the latter than the former. Living with an insecure partner can be a distressing experience, which leads to a toxic relationship that undermines the love that brought them together in the first place.
Everyone wants to find a soul mate; it is one of the greatest and most important quests people embark upon over their lives. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to complete that quest. They might meet someone who, for a period, feels like “The One”, and then, over time, reveals that they are just a mistake.
A partner who is not ready to prioritise you and your marriage above all things reasonable is insecure about your future together. They have a vague perception of marriage and want the commitment to be on their own terms and selfish interests alone. This is one of the glaring signs of an insecure partner.
Causes of insecurity
Lack of confidence
This is usually the main cause of insecurity in a relationship. If one partner holds on to harmful and limiting beliefs, like fear of failure or thinking that they are undeserving of love, they will be unable to trust completely. And trust is the foundation of any relationship.
If you’re always doubting your own emotions, behaviours and thoughts, not only will you project these doubts onto your partner and relationship, but it will also lead to a series of irrational thoughts and worries, further amplifying those feelings of insecurity. We may project a confident image but sometimes feel undeserving and inadequate. And because of this, we sabotage ourselves and our relationships.
Negative Past Experiences (Emotional Baggage)
Many people leave a relationship due to something bad happening, like infidelity or dishonesty, or maybe the relationship itself has become too toxic. The healthy thing to do while leaving such a relationship is to leave those negative memories behind and move past them to start afresh.
However, some hold onto those negative emotions and even bring them into subsequent relationships as unresolved emotional baggage. This creates anxiety and insecurity, as they end up projecting and holding against their new partners whatever hurt or pain their exes inflicted on them. Because of this, they develop certain insecurities and have difficulties trusting them, even when their partners haven’t given them any reason not to.
By bringing emotional baggage into a new relationship, people automatically create an insecure environment and sabotage the new relationship by holding the new partner guilty for something they are innocent of.
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Personal Life Fulfilment (or Lack Thereof)
Before a couple came together, they were previously different individuals with different unique aspects; careers, hobbies, views, goals, foods, etc. All of these things not only created their identities but provided a sense of fulfilment. However, upon getting into a relationship, many people tend to lose this individual identity and, consequently, that sense of personal life fulfilment. As a result, they turn to their partners and start relying on them for it.
While considered unhealthy, this factor by itself may not necessarily turn either party into an insecure partner. However, when we rely on someone to give our lives fulfilment and meaning, there is usually also a subconscious expectation for them to feel the same way about us.
And whenever they experience an external form of happiness or positive change unrelated to us, this could cause insecurities and even jealousy. Instead of feeling happy and supportive of our partner, we instead feel insecure and bitter, all because something else (aside from us) had made them happy and given their lives meaning.
According to psychological research, attachment theory states that early childhood relationships often influence and affect how we perceive and ultimately behave in intimate relationships as adults. A person with a neglected childhood and insecure attachment style could grow up to become an insecure partner with attachment issues because their emotional needs were not catered for at a young age.
This causes serious insecurity projections, especially in relationships because, having had little to no experience with fulfilling their emotional needs, an unhealthy reliance is created when they finally get a taste of it. And with this comes an irrational fear of losing it. They get jealous easily, are extremely sensitive, always seek validation, and get extremely clingy because anything that pulls their partner’s attention away from them looks like a threat.
In other words, you have become their precious, and they will never let you go.
Unequal Past Relationship Experiences
Everyone, at a certain point in their adult lives, will exhaust their relationship ‘first times’. As mentioned earlier, some might have even met someone they’ve called their soulmate or even come close to going all the way, while others have not. Everyone progresses at different paces, which means the amount of relationship experience varies for each individual.
If you are not a confident person from the start, getting together with somebody who has significantly more experience than you, relationship-wise, could easily cause insecurities. If you keep making comparisons between you and your partner’s exes, or the fact that they probably had a greater emotional connection, feelings of insecurity could start cropping up as you begin doubting yourself and wondering if you would ever measure up.
And bam! You become an insecure partner.
Signs of an insecure partner
An insecure partner feels jealous whenever their partner is with friends and calls or texts them constantly. They are the ones you hear saying, “Let’s do video call” after you told them you’re at David’s place playing FIFA, just so they can confirm that you’re indeed at David’s place, playing FIFA.
They don’t really have a social life. They don’t like going to the gym, hanging out with their friends, going shopping, or any other social event with other people. They just want to spend all their time with you, and they demand that you’re with them at all times. And this is different from being an introvert because introverts are okay BY THEMSELVES. They prefer their own company to other people’s.
An insecure partner, though, wants yours all the time.
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Someone who is an insecure partner will never hesitate to invade your privacy. They’re always checking your call history and messages and asking who Anita or Jack Daniels is and why they called you six times that day. They will also demand to know every little detail of your life, which they will file away for further analysis, and God help you that you forget to tell them when they ask…
A constant need for validation
An insecure partner needs validation and reassurance every time. They are always fishing for compliments and seeking for you to tell them that you love them just to assure themselves and boost their self-esteem.
Always the victim
They are never at fault in their past relationships. It is either Lara liked money too much, or Gbenga liked other women too much, or Nkechi was manipulative, and Danjuma was too stingy. They’ve never dated anybody good; all their exes were lieutenants from Lucifer’s army.
An insecure partner will never tolerate criticism. They always want compliments about themselves, and any attempt to point out mistakes or correct them will be taken as an attack on their abilities. They also care too much about what other people say about them, which greatly bothers them.
After a certain time, an insecure partner might start trying to control your entire life and dictate what you and must not do. They won’t want you talking to certain friends, visiting certain places, or doing certain things, and any attempt to resist means you don’t love them.
How to deal with insecurity
One might take a look at all that has been said and decide that insecure partners are too much trouble, so we should just do away with them. However, it should be noted that almost everyone is insecure, to a certain degree; just that some people are more insecure than others, or are better at managing it by themselves through self-awareness.
So, here are some ways to deal with insecurity in a relationship:
Practice open communication
One way to deal with an insecure partner is to frequently talk with them to ensure that both of you are on the same page. This will alleviate concerns about one party being untrustworthy and encourage you to communicate your needs with each other.
If you identify yourself as an insecure partner, trying to locate the cause of your insecurities and triggers will help a great deal. Developing this kind of self-awareness will help you communicate effectively with your partner and identify when an issue surfaces, which helps in personal growth.
As mentioned above, one of the root causes of insecurity is a lack of self-love, which is needed in order to have a healthy relationship with someone else. It is hard to give someone else what you don’t have, so try to practice self-care like doing activities that you enjoy and spending time with loved ones.
The more you value your interests and time, your self-confidence will increase.
When arguing with your partner, try to evaluate it from an outside perspective and consider whether or not your accusations may have stemmed from one of your own insecurities.
Work with a mental health professional
Consider seeking the services of a relationship expert or therapist, either on your own or with your partner. These people are trained to point out how your mutual securities are affecting your relationship and will advise you on overcoming any problems caused by an insecure partner.