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Insecure in Your Relationship? 3 Questions to Ask

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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD - Blogs
By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhDPsychologistApril 18, 2018
From the WebMD Archives

If you feel insecure in your relationship, you are not alone. Many people cling to their relationship like a security blanket. This strong need to be comforted can keep them from truly evaluating how well their relationship meets their needs.

To help you understand the role insecurity plays in your relationship, consider these questions:

Does your need for security exist mostly in your current relationship, or does it reflect a larger issue?

If you haven’t experienced this kind of insecurity in previous relationships, consider what about this specific relationship is causing this. Maybe your partner subtly puts you down. Or, maybe you are in the early stages of falling in love. You may not know for sure yet whether the person you are dating is serious about you, which can leave anyone feeling insecure. Once you understand the source of your insecurity, you will be better prepared to address the problem. For instance, if your partners talks about certain things that make you uncomfortable, explaining how you feel might clear the air and lead to change.

If your insecurity is a familiar feeling from other relationships, you might benefit from more reflection on what’s going on inside you. For instance, you might realize that you tend to pick controlling friends and partners, who give you a sense of being taken care of, but who also leave you feeling less than capable. You might even realize that this pattern goes all the way back to your childhood relationship with a parent, who tended to be controlling. You can engage in this process of self-reflection on your own or with the help of therapy.

How do you feel about your partner?

If this question brings up a negative reaction, reflect seriously on what you think and feel. Is it that you don’t respect their values, don’t like how they treat you, are uncomfortable with who they are as a person, or don’t like how they live their lives? Then ask yourself whether this is just a bad fit or a sign that you need to look inside at your biases, preconceptions, or other personal issues. For instance, the fact that your partner has hepatitis C may really bother you, but the health risks of that and your preconceptions about what it means may or may not be important enough to end the relationship. As you reflect on particular issues, ask yourself whether you want to ask your partner to do something differently, change something about yourself, or end the relationship.

Is there a difference in how you and your partner express physical affection or sexuality?

When partners differ in this area of their relationship, it can make them feel uncomfortable and unsure of themselves. If your partner is less affectionate, you might question whether you are too needy. On the other hand, if your partner is more affectionate, you might question whether you are too cold and distant. It’s important to understand that people are just different and that this difference doesn’t mean one person is right and the other person is wrong. It’s simply a gap that needs to be bridged. But you need to ask yourself whether you are willing to work on this. Or do you think your differences are too much?

In addition to these questions about you and your partner, there are many other issues that can make you uncomfortable, such as differences in your family background or financial status. As you identify the sources of your insecurity, you can begin to address them within the relationship, or you might realize that this relationship is not right for you. Importantly, you do not need to remain stuck in your insecurity, whether that means you make changes in yourself, ask for your partner to make changes, or work with your partner to make your relationship emotionally safe for both of you.

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About the Author
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Dr. Becker-Phelps is a licensed psychologist in NJ and NY, and is on staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Somerset. She is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotionally and psychologically healthy. She accomplishes this through her work as a psychotherapist, speaker and writer. She is the author of Bouncing Back from Rejection and Insecure in Love.

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