We all become insecure in our relationships sometimes. I live with my boyfriend—I got him to give up the lease on the apartment he loved, spend weeks apartment searching, and face a rent hike, all so that he could be with me more. And I still have thoughts like, “He probably wishes I looked more like this or that” or “He is probably bored with me.” No matter how loving and committed a partner is, it’s normal to feel insecure sometimes.
There is a special word for people who never feel insecure, narcissists. But just because feeling insecure in a relationship is normal doesn’t mean it feels good, or is good. Insecurities can cause you to say or do things that stir up fights, or make your partner feel alienated from you, all over something that was just in your head. Learn to tackle those moments of paranoia and sensitivity, so they don’t blow up your day — or your relationship.
Assess if it’s him or you
First of all, have a little conversation with yourself. Before lashing out at anybody, ask yourself if your partner is doing something to provoke your feelings of insecurity, or if this is just personal stuff creeping up. Your partner shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells to appease your unresolved issues.
Tell your partner if it’s him…
If your partner is doing something that makes you feel insecure, like failing to call when he goes out of town or not bringing you around his family enough, bring it up. You shouldn’t sit silently and suffer if he’s doing something that would upset anybody.
Tell him if it’s you
If you realize you just have some unresolved issues, or you’re particularly sensitive about something you shouldn’t care about, tell your partner what’s up. Don’t do it in an accusatory way: own your issues. You’re just telling him, so he knows why you’re acting strangely.
Do something kind
There’s nothing like helping somebody in need to get yourself to stop feeling sorry for yourself. Walk dogs at a shelter or serve lunch at a soup kitchen. You’ll feel very dumb for feeling sorry for yourself, and you’ll realize so long as you are kind, you are beautiful and worthy of love.
Meditation is a great way to bring thoughts that we didn’t even know we had to the surface. You may subconsciously believe things that are detrimental to your happiness. Things like, “I’m not lovable” or “People don’t enjoy being around me.” Sometimes only meditation can bring those thoughts forward so we can dismiss them!
It will give you a boost of happy-feeling endorphins, and it will make you feel good in your mind and body. Sometimes you just need some oxygen to the brain to stop thinking dumb things like, “My partner doesn’t think I’m wife material.”
Call a friend who loves you
Call that one friend who always supports you and praises you. Sometimes you’re too weak to tell yourself how awesome you are, so your friend will do it for you.
Reflect on your past
Something may have triggered these feelings. Did your partner do something that resembled a traumatizing experience? If so, it’s important to be aware of that trigger, tell your partner about it, and avoid it when possible.
Do something you’re good at
There’s nothing like totally crushing it at something to make you feel good about yourself! Whether you’re great at karaoke or bench pressing to perfection, do that now.
Don’t read into his actions or words
Recognize that you’re in a sensitive place, and you can’t trust your perception. Don’t read into it if your partner takes 20 minutes to respond to a call, or cuts a hug short.
Don’t force him to be around you
Try to refrain from being needy. You’ll end up feeling even more insecure. Even if your partner agrees to stay home and cuddle with you, you’ll wonder if he’s doing it just to make you happy and if he’s secretly miserable. The cycle never ends.
Confront your baggage
Your current partner shouldn’t pay for your last partner’s mistakes. If you have an ex that you need to tell off or write an angry letter to, do so. Otherwise, you’ll just keep replaying those old fights in this new relationship.
Leave his phone/email alone
Do not, no matter what you do, go looking through his phone or email. If you’re dealing with paranoia and concerns that a partner is cheating on you, here’s some bittersweet news: if he is, it will come out whether or not you betray his trust.
Recognize that some thoughts are wrong
It’s okay to acknowledge that you had a thought, that that thought is crazy, and to let that thought float away. It’s a very valuable practice. Not all thoughts that pass through our minds deserve our attention.
Remember all the good things he’s done for you
Take a moment to remember the times he’s surprised you at work with lunch from your favorite restaurant, or drove you to the airport at 4 in the morning, or sat through your dad’s hour-long stories. Those memories should be more powerful than the insecurity you’re currently feeling.