How to Cope With Insecurities and Anxiety About Your Relationship

Four Parts:Coping with Your Relationship AnxietyAddressing Your Relationship InsecuritiesCommunicating with Your PartnerDealing with Recurring Anxieties and/or Insecurities

Romantic relationships are emotionally intense, partly because of the closeness that you share with another person. Unfortunately, that closeness makes you vulnerable, and can lead to anxiety and insecurity, especially if you are prone to either. Anxiety is a fear of what may happen, whereas insecurity is self-doubt and a lack of confidence, and insecurity often leads to anxiety. There are ways to address your relationship anxieties and insecurities, which can promote a healthy, happy, and emotionally safe relationship with your partner.

Part 1
Coping with Your Relationship Anxiety

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    Recognize that you’re feeling anxious. It’s not easy to distinguish between healthy nervousness and anxiety and unhealthy, disruptive anxiety. If you find that your anxiety is disrupting your life or relationship, you may have relationship anxiety or even an anxiety disorder. If you think that this might be the case, talk with your doctor in addition to making healthy emotional changes. Signs of anxiety include:[1]
    • Worrying excessively
    • Disrupted sleep
    • Chronic indigestion
    • Feeling depressed
    • Sweating
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    Get to the root of your anxiety. Relationship anxiety is often a symptom of an underlying fear. Identifying these insecurities will help you address your feelings and reduce your anxiety. You might recognize that you’re feeling anxious but not know why. Consider what you’re anxious about and how that might be based on an insecurity of yours.[2]
    • Doctors believe that traumatic life experiences can trigger anxiety disorders in people that are already susceptible to anxiety. We can also inherit anxiety traits.[3]
    • Some medical conditions, such as thyroid problems, diabetes, heart disease, IBS, drug abuse, respiratory issues, and chronic pain problems, can bring on anxiety.
    • If you think that you have anxiety, speak with your doctor to rule out underlying health issues. Then, seek the assistance of a therapist to work through any life trauma that may be triggering your anxiety.
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    Consider couples therapy. Seeking therapy as a couple doesn’t mean that your relationship is a flawed or broken. It just means that you and your partner could benefit from the assistance of a trained professional that will help you navigate communication, insecurity, and intimacy issues. Attending couples therapy may also indicate that both partners want the relationship to succeed, and they recognize that they could benefit from professional assistance.[4]
    • A couples therapist might not see you and your partner individually, as that may pose a conflict of interest.
    • Some couple seek therapy as a pre-emptive measure, even when both partners are feeling no relationship anxiety.
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    Evaluate your relationship. You need to honestly evaluate your relationship to determine if it’s contributing to your insecurities and anxieties. You might find that you’re in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, and that dysfunction is setting off your anxiety. On the other hand, you might realize that you’re in a very healthy relationship and that you need to focus on self-work. If you find that you are in an unhealthy relationship, figure out what your next step is, be it counseling or ending the relationship.[5]
    • An excellent indicator that you’re in an unhealthy relationship comes from your friends and family. They might tell you that you’ve changed, or they might make lame excuses not to get together with you and your partner. They might directly tell you that they don’t like your partner or keep bringing up a time when you were single and happy. This is all important feedback to consider.

Part 2
Addressing Your Relationship Insecurities

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    Get to know your inner critic. It’s healthy to have an inner critic; however, if that critic talks too much or too loudly, you might begin to feel insecure. Try to objectively listen to what your inner critic has to say. Really get to the root of what is causing the self-doubt. This allows you to stop or slow the progress from insecurity to anxiety because you’re isolating critical thoughts and thinking about the thoughts themselves, not the feelings associated with them.[6] Some examples of critical thoughts are:
    • You’re just going to get hurt anyhow.
    • S/he’s too good for you.
    • Once s/he gets to know the real you, they’re going to dislike you.
    • They’ll get bored eventually.
    • You’re not attractive enough.
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    Put your inner critic in its place. Make a list of the nagging critical thoughts that you have. Then, review the list when you’re feeling relatively calm. Consider what seems founded or realistic versus those thoughts that seem pretty unrealistic. Also, look at what generalizations you’ve made and if you think they’re really true or not. Scratch everything off of your list that doesn’t seem realistic or reasonable to you and begin to address those critical thoughts in a healthy and productive way.[7]
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    Look to your past. Insecurities are typically born from past experiences. Consider what experiences in your past may have contributed to your present insecurities. These experiences don’t need to be just relationship based; consider your school, friend, romantic, and familial relationships and experiences. Can you think of anything that happened that might contribute to your present insecurities or anxieties?[8]
    • Someone may have made a joke about your appearance or your intelligence.
    • Maybe a friend made plans with you and then ditched you, leaving you feeling hurt and unimportant.
    • Perhaps a parent or teacher scolded you for not excelling at something.
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    Stop the comparisons. Just as insecurities are born of past experiences, we learn about how to be in relationships by those modeled for us and our own past relationships. Comparing your current relationship to any of your past relationships is destructive and will only lead to self-doubt. Your current partner is unique and you are different than when you were in any of your previous relationships.[9]
    • Similarly, don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to your partner’s exes. Your partner is with you, not them, for a reason, and there is no reason to compare yourself to someone that your partner is no longer with.

Part 3
Communicating with Your Partner

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    Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. Your partner can’t read your mind any more than you can read theirs, and they can’t be expected to know what you’re thinking and feeling. You might assume that an interaction or situation is pretty obvious, and have heightened insecurity or anxiety because your partner doesn’t react the way that you think they should.[10]
    • Or, you might think that you’ve made it clear that you dislike a behavior, but your partner doesn’t seem to notice how you feel. Don’t expect that they see things as you do or that they know what you’re thinking and feeling.
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    Talk with your partner. Just as your partner cannot read your mind, they will never know what you’re actually feeling if you don’t tell them. When you’re not feeling anxious, talk with your partner about your feelings and needs. It’s important that you communicate these things, and equally important that you give them a chance to respond.[11] Be clear, concise, and plan what you’d like to talk about before you have the conversation.
    • Write down a list if you need to.
    • Be specific about your anxieties and insecurities. Don’t generalize and address the root of the problems, as you’re able.
    • Focus on actions, feelings, and resolution. Don’t assign blame or point fingers.
    • You might say, “When you don’t respond to my text messages, I get anxious that something has happened to you or that you don’t want to talk to me because you want to break up with me. I understand that I need to be more patient, and I need you to respond to my messages in a reasonable amount of time so that I don’t begin to worry.”
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    Keep talking. Healthy relationships take ongoing effort by both partners, and that includes open lines of communication. Don’t assume that one conversation with your partner about your feelings is going to solve everything. And don’t overwhelm your partner by bottling up your feelings and unloading them all in one conversation. Instead, make frequent, shorter conversations a habit in your relationship.[12]
    • An excellent approach is to reserve 15 minutes per day to talk with your partner. Ask one another open-ended questions and actively listen to one another’s answers.
    • Your questions might include: “what’s something that you’d like to try but are too scared to do?” or “tell me about your dream vacation” or “tell me about an event, in detail, that you feel really changed you, good or bad.”
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    Touch one another. Touching, embracing, and other physical intimacies reinforce the emotional bond that you share with your partner. Even if you are feeling anxious or frustrated, remember that touch is an important part of a relationship, and it’s soothing for both you and your partner. Of course, if one of you doesn’t want to be touched at a given time, talk about your feelings and respect one another’s space.[13]
    • There are different types of touching for different levels of intimacy. With your partner you’re looking for love/intimacy touching, which includes cuddling, kissing, face touching, and nuzzling.[14]
    • Put your arm around your partner or slip their arm around you if that’s more comfortable.
    • Hug your partner and hold it for longer than your normally would. Focus on the closeness that you two share.
    • Hold hands.
    • Kiss one another.
    • Brush the hair out of their face.

Part 4
Dealing with Recurring Anxieties and/or Insecurities

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    Talk with a doctor. Don’t label yourself jealous or bad at relationships if you find that you have anxiety or insecurities about your relationship. And don’t discount your feelings. You might know that your anxiety about your relationship is irrational, but don’t know how to stop it. You could have a very real, legitimate anxiety disorder that could be treated by a psychiatrist. Talk to your physician or psychologist about your anxiety to see if you’re a candidate for treatment.[15]
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    Be your own person. You should always maintain your independence, protecting your sense of identity. Your life works in tandem with your partner’s and should be a partnership of two people. If you lose yourself in your relationship, you might become too dependent on your partner’s validations, leading to increased anxiety and insecurity.[16]
    • There is a difference between compromise with your partner and acquiescing your sense of self. Compromise is a give-and-take action, whereas acquiescence is only giving.
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    Don’t look for reassurance from your partner. Of course the one thing that you want when you’re feeling insecure or anxious about your relationship is reassurance from your partner that everything is alright and that they are happy with you. Unfortunately, this makes your feelings dependent on their validation, and it sticks them with an unfair responsibility for your emotions. [17] Remember, your feelings are yours and are not dependent on others, including your partner.
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    Get busy. Research suggests that mentally or physically occupying yourself helps reduce feelings of anxiousness and insecurity. The idea is that engaging in a mental or physical activity makes you expend mental energy on something other than your relationship insecurities and anxieties. Initially this may feel like a distraction, but if you stick with it, the activity will become a welcome routine and outlet.[18]
    • Consider joining a gym and committing to an exercise schedule.
    • Sign up to volunteer regularly, such as on Saturdays at your local animal shelter.
    • Take up gardening or another outdoor activity.
    • Learn a new language.
    • Participate in a book club.
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    Give up some control. It may feel as though you need to be in control of your relationship to ensure that everything is going as it should and that your needs are being met. Or, you may not recognize that you’re controlling your partner to soothe your insecurities. One problem is, of course, that you’re not allowing your partner to be an equal in the relationship. The other problem is that you’re too attached to how everything happens in your relationship, and when something happens outside of your control, your anxiety is likely to flare up.[19]
    • Part of maintaining your identity is not basing your feelings on how much control you have in your relationship.
    • Allowing your relationship to function as a partnership may be uncomfortable at first, but it will ultimately allow your partner to validate your feelings and soothe your insecurities because they’ll be acting of their own accord.
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    Support yourself. It’s easy to get down on yourself for feeling insecure or anxious about your relationship, especially when you recognize that some of your feelings may be irrational. Rather than berate yourself for feeling insecure, be supportive. Imagine how you’d talk with a friend who was feeling like you are. Treat yourself as you would treat your friend.[20][21]
    • Positive self talk might feel strange at first, but it will get easier and feel more natural with practice.
    • Acknowledge your feelings and then consciously make an effort to reshape your thinking so that you’re being supportive of yourself.
    • For example, suppose that your partner is going to a work function and you’re uncomfortable because spouses/partners aren’t invited. You tell your partner how you’re feeling and they get upset. Instead of getting down on yourself for upsetting them, say, “I’m glad that I expressed my feelings and did so calmly.”
    • Or perhaps you are feeling anxious because your partner isn’t picking up their phone, even though they told you that they’d be studying. You recognize that you are probably overreacting, but you’re still anxious. Be kind to yourself and say, “I’m proud of myself for recognizing that my reaction is inappropriate and for understanding that my partner needs time to study and that doesn’t take away from our relationship.”


  • Volunteering, writing, painting, video games, exercise, friends are all good examples on how to handle your anxiety.
  • Communication with your partner is key.


  • If your partner is intentionally making you feel insecure, then you are in a dysfunctional relationship.

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Categories: Relationship Issues