Insecurities are almost implied in life. Everyone has something that they’re less-than-confident about – even the most confident people I’ve ever met. Personally, most of my insecurities are based on my own perceived inadequacies. If I’m passed over for a job I want, I find myself questioning whether I’m unqualified, even if I know I was. It’s a fact of life, though – there’s always going to be someone out there who’s better at something than you are.
When we apply our insecurities to our relationships, though, there is a host of other complications that can arise. Sometimes, insecurities are necessary, since they motivate us to overcome them. But when it comes to your relationship, this is not usually the case.
Even though insecurities are, to some degree, totally normal, the following behaviors are not normal and show a sign that the relationship might not be right. If your insecurities are warranted (such as a partner who has proven that they have a hard time with monogamy), simply checking up on them isn’t going to make anything better. And, of course, if they’re not warranted, this is a sign that you are not ready for a relationship right now – you’ll need to work on these things before you can be involved in anything happy and healthy.
So, what are the big signs that there is a problem?
1. You need to check their phone.
I’m a firm believer that partners should be able to look through each other’s phones. I’ve peeked before – but I’m a lot more likely to peek if I’m told that I’m not allowed to. A healthy relationship means that you should know that you’re allowed to look through her phone – but that doesn’t mean you actually do it.
If you wake up in the middle of the night and have the urge to look through your girlfriend’s text messages or call history, this is not good. She should be able to trust that you are not going to invade her privacy. What’s even worse is that looking through her phone won’t fix anything – either you find that you had nothing to worry about (and you destroyed her trust for no reason), or you find that you did have something to worry about, and you should have just trusted your gut instinct.
Instead of checking her phone, you should be able to ask her who she’s been talking to, and trust the answer she gives you. Believe it or not, you are not entitled to know what they talked about. You are, however, allowed to ask for clarification if she’s been talking to someone you don’t exactly approve of – but she should personally show you that you have nothing to worry about. You shouldn’t have to snoop.
2. You need to be together at all times.
Fun fact: Alone time is necessary in a healthy relationship. It seems like a good relationship would mean that the two of you want to spend every minute together, but that’s not necessarily the case. You (and your partner!) need to be free to spend time unsupervised with friends, without worrying that something is going to happen.
There are obviously some exceptions to this. Your partner should tell you when she’s going to be hanging out with friends – but that doesn’t mean you’re always going to be invited. Your partner should not be going out for drinks with her exes – but that doesn’t mean that she should go anyway and just drag you along. This is awkward and generally frowned upon, by all parties involved. If you’re not secure enough to let your partner be without you, then going along isn’t going to stop the insecurities – it’s just going to make you wonder what happens when you’re not around.
This actually holds true if you want them to come with you all the time, too. Again, it seems romantic that you wouldn’t want to leave each other’s side. But the reality of the situation is that you’re destroying your ability to have your own life and your own autonomy. Backing out of plans when your partner doesn’t want to go means that you’re conditioning yourself to be just like her – which is not a good thing.
3. You avoid any possibly confrontational discussions.
No one wants to fight with their partner all the time, and it’s important that you pick your battles. But if something is genuinely bothering you, you need to bring it up – otherwise it will inevitably lead to a blow-out later. It’s much better to talk about it when it’s just a little uncomfortable, instead of waiting for it to turn into a bigger problem.
Confrontation is necessary in relationships. “Never fighting” seems like the epitome of a perfect relationship, but that’s a bunch of garbage. If the two of you honestly never fight, this means that at least one of you is not speaking your mind. You’ll need to figure out if it’s you or your partner – sometimes this isn’t so obvious.
(But if it’s not you, it’s your partner. That’s a fact. All healthy relationships have arguments sometimes.)
4. You compare yourself to her ex, or other women in her life.
If you find yourself asking questions along the lines of, “Do you think she’s prettier than me?” or “Do you still miss her?”, you might think you’re squashing your insecurities when you get the answer you want to hear. That’s not exactly true, though, because there is an implied right-and-wrong answer here – and your girlfriend definitely knows that. She knows that if she says yes to any of these questions, it’s going to hurt your feelings – so the answer will (almost) always be no.
The problem here is that you know there are implied right answers, too – so even though she says things that temporarily make you feel better, you’re always going to wonder in the back of your mind if she was actually being truthful. For some women, it’s helpful to just tell ourselves that we are better than her ex, but that’s not exactly healthy either – as women, we shouldn’t feel the need to be in direct competition with one another.
A healthier approach would be to simply remind yourself that your partner is with you because she wants to be with you. If she didn’t think you were worth her time, she wouldn’t have agreed to date you. You need to be confident in what you bring to the table, without looking over the fence. If you find yourself continually comparing yourself to someone else, you are bound to get wrapped up in painful feelings.
5. You need to be reassured of everything.
This one is a little tricky for me, as someone who suffers from some pretty bad anxiety. I do ask for a lot of reassurances of certain things. Even still, this isn’t an everyday thing – just on the days when my anxiety is particularly bad. If you find yourself questioning your relationship every day, this is not a good sign, and your partner is quite likely to grow tired of it – sooner, rather than later.
It’s normal to question things every now and then, of course, particularly whenever you make a big new step. But once your partner has given you that reassurance, that should be the end of it. She is under no obligation to continually set your mind at ease. She shouldn’t be doing things that make you question everything, of course, but it’s important to realize which questions are reasonable and which are completely built on made-up scenarios.
The hard part here is that, sometimes, reassurance is necessary. If your partner routinely disappears and leaves you wondering where she is, it’s normal that you’d ask extra questions. But if this happens all the time, even after you’ve let your partner know that it bothers you, it’s possible that there is actually a problem there – and your partner’s reassurances are basically worthless anyway.
6. You encourage your partner to fail.
This one is often very subtle, but it is present in those who have a lot of insecurities. In a healthy relationship, the partners will motivate each other to reach their goals and then exceed their own expectations. But in an unhealthy relationship, you might not want your partner to be doing better in life than you – so you make sure to sabotage any of their efforts to improve their own lives.
This seems like it’s malicious – after all, who doesn’t want their partner to have a great life? But for those who are prone to insecurities, there may be a belief that their partner doing better in life would cause them to walk away from the person who just can’t seem to keep up. Instead of working to improve themselves, insecure women might try to keep their partners from finding success.
This is extremely damaging to both people involved, as it is (in some ways) a form of abuse. You should be lifting your partner up – not bringing them down. If your partner does end up leaving you when she is “better than you”, she’s not someone you need to be with in the first place. Anyone who would leave their partner instead of motivating them to improve their lives is basically a jerk. No exceptions.
7. You are full of accusations.
I have known a lot of women who berate their partners and accuse them of cheating when they are not, in fact, cheaters. I’ve even lost some friends on Facebook when I spoke out against a friend who posted a meme about how “only good girlfriends worry about who their significant other” is talking to. No. Your partner is allowed to have friends – it doesn’t automatically mean she’s sleeping with those friends.
This is a pretty slippery slope, too. We may think that it’s a trust problem from being cheated on in a previous relationship, but sometimes it’s a lot worse than that. Constant accusations of cheating, more often than not, are because you don’t think you’re good enough for your partner – whether it’s all in your head, or it’s because your partner tells you you’re not good enough. (Note: If it’s the latter, leave her – she is not a good girlfriend.)
The sad thing about this is that your partner will probably feel guilty about any thoughts of leaving you, and may stay with you just to prove that your insecurities were invalid. That might sound like it’s exactly what you want, but most cheating occurs when someone feels pressured to stay in a relationship that’s not right for them – so your constant accusations of her cheating might actually make her cheat for real. Be warned!