Whenever you enter into a relationship with a new person, you open yourself up to a wide range of feelings. There’s affection, passion, intimacy, desire – wonderful sensations that you’ll want to hold on to forever. And that’s exactly why relationships can also bring up feelings of insecurity. OpenUp psychologist, Soesja, is here to talk about relationship insecurity – and offer some tips that can help reduce it.
“Obviously, there are always exceptions to the rule, but in general, pretty much everybody experiences a certain degree of insecurity in their relationships. It’s only natural, because entering into an intimate relationship – both physically and emotionally – involves making yourself vulnerable. That vulnerability can be exciting, but it also makes you feel insecure, especially because you’re still trying to decide how much you can really trust this other person. That can sometimes make you feel anxious and uncomfortable, but it’s actually totally normal. At a certain point, however – and when this moment arrives is different for everybody, it could be weeks, months or even years – these feelings of insecurity should fade away to be replaced with a strong sense of trust.”
From Fear to Growth
“You might feel insecure in your relationships because you’re always questioning the things you say and the way you behave – you’re afraid you’re doing something wrong. This often comes from a place of being overly focused on the other person and whether or not they like you enough to want to stay with you. If you start to notice that this insecurity is causing arguments or that you’re avoiding certain conversations or potential confrontations, this isn’t necessarily a sign that your relationship isn’t working out. Often, it’s just a good prompt to start engaging in some self-reflection: what exactly is making you feel so insecure? How much of this is coming from the other person and how much is coming from yourself? Are any particular events causing you to feel a sense of rejection? And what would help you to let go of those feelings? By examining the situation this way, you should start to develop more trust – both in yourself as an individual and in your relationship.”
If You Can’t Move Passed It
“Basically, you can’t really avoid feeling insecure in the early stages of a new relationship. But even when you’ve been with somebody for a while longer, feelings of insecurity can still arise. Sometimes it’s that same uncertainty that started in the early days of your relationship and hasn’t gone away, but it can also emerge as the result of a major life event – maybe you were recently made redundant or lived through the loss of a loved one, for example. Other times it’s caused by a major event within the relationship itself, such as cheating. At this point, it’s a good idea to try to determine the root of this insecurity: is it yourself, the situation or the other person? One way to do this is to write down exactly what’s happened, as well as the intrusive thoughts and feelings it’s causing you to have. Then establish what needs to happen next so that you can release those thoughts and feelings. Once you’ve mapped this out, you’ll usually be in a pretty good position to decide whether you need to take some space from a particular person (it’s caused by somebody else) or if you’re just looking for some support and reassurance (your insecurity is the cause). If it’s the latter, then it’s important that you discuss this with your partner – that way, you can look at the situation together and figure out ways to reduce this insecurity. Being open like this is also nice for your partner – it creates trust on both sides.”
5 Tips to Reduce Insecurity
Does insecurity tend to show up in your relationships? Here are 5 tips to help you tackle it.
1. Focus on what’s going well
What are you proud of – both individually and in your relationship? When did you last enjoy yourself and how did that come about? Write down all the things that are going well and how you contributed to making them happen.
2. Ask yourself: what do I want?
When you’re feeling insecure, you automatically focus a lot on other people. So, forget about everybody else for a moment and ask yourself: what do I actually want? And to what extent can I integrate that into my relationship? Don’t tell yourself that there isn’t room for your own needs in a relationship – most people are totally fine with you setting boundaries. It creates clarity.
3. Find a distraction
You’re just so in love with this other person and you don’t want to lose what you have. As a result, you might start to notice yourself drifting away from the life you had before your relationship began. Maybe that’s friends, sports, movies, eating out. When you’re feeling insecure, distract yourself by engaging with things that fill you with positive energy.
4. Talk it out!
Don’t suffer in silence if you’re feeling insecure – speak to your partner about it. Not just at the start of your relationship, but any time the feelings arise. Set aside a specific time, for example during dinner, and try to communicate in a non-aggressive manner: make it about your own feelings and don’t try to blame the other person.
5. Ask for help
Sometimes insecurity is caused by events from your childhood. A partner can play a calming and soothing role here, but they won’t necessarily be able to solve it or cancel it out. In cases like this, it’s a good idea to seek help from a psychologist.
Want to discuss your personal questions with a psychologist? Feel free to book a free consultation with one of our psychologists.