Feeling insecure in a relationship can be awful.
Although there are some relationship insecurities that are totally normal, others can make you wonder if something is wrong with you. If you feel like you're with the right person and that you've done everything you can to build a healthy relationship, the insecurity can be compounded by something else: frustration.
It's hard when you know you don't feel good, but you don't know why. If you're constantly wondering to yourself, "Why am I feeling insecure in my relationship?" with no real answers, it may be time to delve a little deeper.
I spoke to an expert to get some thoughts on questions you can ask yourself when your relationship isn't feeling as great as it used to.
1. Is My Insecurity About My Partner Or Myself?
Dr. Nikki Goldstein, a sexologist and relationship expert, says the most important thing to ask in a situation where you're feeling insecure in your relationship is whether it's honestly your partner making you feel that way or whether it's an internal issue with yourself.
"Often when we are feeling a bit low in the self-esteem department, we can be paranoid that our partner might not want us or be looking at other people because we are not good enough," she says.
But it's not always because we're with someone that makes us feel bad. Sometimes it is, of course, but many times, we're the cause of our own anguish. "It's our own doubts that send us to doubt the relationship because we don't feel worthy enough to be in it."
Dr. Golstein says in this case, the best thing you can do is talk to your partner. Although it may seem scary to share, it'll be worth it just to let your partner know that it really isn't them. It's likely they've already felt some stress of your insecurity and they may be wondering if they're doing anything to impact you negatively.
Also, spend some time working on yourself. Figure out things you can do to get your self-esteem back up, like seeing friends or diving back into a hobby you used to love. When you feel better about yourself, your relationship will do better, as well.
2. Am I Comparing My Relationship To Other Relationships?
Another big cause of insecurity in relationships is pressure and expectation, says Dr. Goldstein. If you are feeling insecure, ask yourself if it's because you might be comparing yourself and your partner to others.
"Do you have unrealistic expectations and are feeling insecure about your relationships because it doesn't seem to measure up to others? Do you scroll through social media and wish your relationship looked like those around you? Do you think all your friends are happy in their relationships and wonder why yours isn't as perfect?"
Going down this rabbit hole can wreak havoc on a healthy, happy relationship because the truth is, no two relationships will ever look alike. And you may be putting even more pressure on your partner to perform when they really aren't the problem — your expectations are.
If you suspect that you might be spending too much time stalking other people's relationships on social media, take a breather and shut off your Facebook or Insta for a while. It's not worth it to cause heartache in your own relationship.
If you were happy until you started all the comparisons, giving your relationship time and space away from them is a good move.
3. Is My Partner Doing Something I'd Like Them To Change?
Maybe the cause for insecurity in your relationship is actually your partner. It's unfortunate, but there are times that we're with someone who does something that doesn't help our confidence in the relationship or actively hurts it.
It could be that your partner constantly checks out other people when you're with them, or makes comments about how attractive other people are. It could also be that they just don't meet your emotional needs a lot. Either way, if you feel like the problem might actually be them, you should assess whether you want to talk to them about it or consider ending the relationship.
Although it's not our partner's responsibility to keep us secure (that's our own responsibility), it is their responsibility not to do things intentionally that they know hurt our feelings.
4. Is My Insecurity Actually Intuition?
Dr. Golstein says although it can be hard to tell, sometimes what feels like insecurity is actually intuition or gut instinct telling you there might be a problem with your relationship. She says to ask yourself, "Are you insecure about your relationships because your body and mind are warning you?"
It's not an easy thing to take a hard look at your relationship through neutral eyes, but it is sometimes necessary. Maybe there is just something you aren't consciously catching about your partner that your body and mind have noticed already.
Keep in mind, says Dr. Goldstein, that you may not find the answers you are looking for right away: "One of the only things that might answer this for you is time. We all have periods where we feel insecure in our relationship, but if it continues for a long period of time, then you really need to ask yourself what type of relationship you want."
5. Do I Need Space And Perspective?
If you really aren't sure what might be causing your insecurity and how to fix it, you might need a bit of space from your relationship and a new perspective.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in our partner and our love that we lose sight of ourselves and the things that are important to us. If you're just feeling overwhelmed and insecure, it can really help to take a step back from it all and take some quiet time to yourself.
Your space could look like getting away for a weekend, seeing your therapist a bit more, or even just seeing your partner less during the week. You might be able to work on your insecurity with them, but you probably need some time to yourself first.
Ideally, this will help you figure out what you might be missing and how to feel more secure with your partner.
Insecurity in relationships is pretty common; it's not just you. That said, it can help to ask yourself these questions to figure out what's really going on and start to figure out how to fix it.