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Low Self-Esteem In a Relationship

low self-esteem in a relationship symptoms

The most common misconception about lower self-esteem is that we believe it only affects women who struggle with their weight, are considered less desirable in the beauty department or come from humble beginnings.

But that’s not true. 

Low self-esteem affects women from all walks of life. I know because I’ve experienced it myself in the past.

From the most beautiful to the most unconventionally beautiful, every girl has an area in which she struggles with poor self-esteem. And this frequently has an impact on your romantic relationships. 

That is why today I’m sharing the signs of low self-esteem in a relationship.

low self-esteem in a relationship symptoms

What does low self-esteem look like in relationships?

Unfortunately, low self-esteem is one of the biggest reasons why women and men self-sabotage relationships. The negative thoughts created by low self-esteem issues a lot of time lead to jealousy, neediness, and trust issues. 

When you experience low self-confidence you oftentimes question your worthiness and your value in a new relationship. You don’t believe that you are worthy of love and therefore doubt that you have what it takes to satisfy your partner. 

This leads to an imbalance in intimate relationships, increases fear of abandonment, and can cause arguments. 

Low self-esteem in a relationship symptoms

1) Insecurity

When you are very insecure and have low self-worth, a lot of times your perception of your partner is that he is out of your league and you feel unworthy of his love for you.

You have a hard time believing that you are good enough for him and therefore tend to test your man’s love for you. You ask questions such as: “Why do you love me?”, “What do you love about me?”, etc.

Eventually, that constant need for reassurance will lead to relationship problems.

how does low self-esteem affect relationships

2) Over apologizing

Another sign of low self-esteem is a tendency to over-apologize. Whenever you have low confidence in yourself, you are prone to apologize even when you are not at fault. 

This impulse to apologize comes from your assumption that you must be the one to blame because you hold his opinion and reaction in high regard. 

Your negative self-image increases your self-doubt, thus increasing your insecurity even further. 

In addition, if you become the only one that always apologizes it leads to a power imbalance in the relationship. Because you are compromising your personal values and appearing as the weaker partner. 

Over-apologizing to your partner means that you do not believe in your decisions and actions and feel like you have to justify your behavior. 

low self-esteem in a relationship

3) Neediness

When you are needy you have a constant need for your partner’s attention and love, because you fear losing him at any moment. 

This leads to clingy behavior as you try to control his every move in a desperate attempt to hold on to the relationship. 

You become emotionally so dependent on him that you only feel good about yourself when the two of you are together, but feel lost and incomplete when you are apart.

When you don’t have good self-esteem, you start to build your whole life around your boyfriend, because you do not know what to do by yourself. 

Unfortunately, being needy is a big threat to your relationship, because it places too much responsibility on your partner to make your life worthwhile. 

4) Indecisiveness

This is one of the symptoms of low self-esteem that is often ignored, but is actually a big indicator of a person’s self-esteem.

If you struggle to make decisions and constantly second-guess yourself it’s a telltale sign that you suffer from a lack of confidence. 

Rather than advocating for your desires and making decisions that reflect them you worry that your partner won’t approve of them. And because you desire to please him, even when it means compromising your own needs, you are unable to decide.

The problem is, that when you wait for his approval of your decision, it shows that you believe that his feelings and needs are more important than yours.

confidence in relationships

5) Not setting boundaries

The most important thing people do in a good relationship is to set healthy boundaries. Meaning you teach your boyfriend how you want to be treated.

You communicate the rules to your love and demand him to keep them.

If you struggle with low self-esteem you tend to avoid setting those boundaries, because you are afraid that he will leave. You will deny yourself the safety you need to thrive in the relationship, which means you put his comfort and happiness before your own.

Instead you accept the status quo or even specific situations that don’t serve you at all.

Sadly, if you never speak up for yourself he will assume you are fine with his behavior and continue on. That will in due time breed negative emotions in you and eventually lead to tension. 

low self-esteem issues in relationships

6) Obsessing about being liked

When you are in a relationship, you ideally want your partner to like your looks, your character, and your decisions. At the same time it’s unrealistic to assume that he will like everything you wear, you say, and you do. 

One of the low self-esteem symptoms, is when you worry so much about being and doing what he likes, that you give up who you really are. 

You change your appearance because you want to be his type, disregarding your desire for self-actualization. 

You give up on your favorite hobbies, if he doesn’t like them and instead pick up some of his interests. 

If you are constantly obsessed about being liked by him and his loved ones, it shows that you don’t take pride in who you are and are willing to betray yourself for him.

self-esteem and relationships psychology

7) A poor choice of partners 

A very obvious sign that you don’t have healthy self-esteem is when you put up with men that don’t treat you well.

Women with positive self-esteem, choose men that have a positive impact on them. But women with low self esteem choose that have a negative impact.

You do so because the emotional abuse feels familiar. Your partner mirrors back your own image of yourself, so you subconsciously gravitate towards men that make you feel less. 

You are willing to accept disrespectful behavior such as being left, being cheated on, or being lied to because you feel lucky that someone chose you at all. 

Even though you are not happy you settle for a partner that is bad for you because it makes you feel a little better about yourself. 

When looking at this list of the different symptoms of low self-esteem in a relationship it is important to acknowledge that everyone struggles with low self-esteem from time to time. 

Especially, if you struggle with mental health issues or just went through a breakup.

When life throws you these curveballs it is common for your inner voice to appear in your mind with doubts such as “I am not good enough” or “I will never find love”. 

However, it becomes an issue when you constantly practice negative self-talk. That’s when you need to practice boosting your own worth without depending on external factors. 

how to overcome low self-esteem

Can low self-esteem ruin a relationship?

Absolutely! Low self-esteem can ruin a relationship because it becomes too exhausting for the partner to deal with your depressive symptoms.

If you constantly disrupt the relationship with negative feelings and thoughts, it has a significant impact on your partner and how he feels on a daily basis. So much so, that it makes him question his happiness.

That’s when it’s important to seek professional help and make sure that you develop a healthy sense of self-worth.

A poor choice of partners

What causes low self-esteem in relationships?

Low self-esteem is caused by a negative self-image. The beliefs and opinions you hold about yourself play an important role in how you see yourself, which then affects your self-esteem.

One of the main reasons why we have negative beliefs about ourselves is due to experiences in our early childhood. Maybe you were criticized a lot or experienced trauma at the had of a dysfunctional family. All these situations have a negative effect on your self-esteem.

Can low self-esteem ruin a relationship

How to overcome low self-esteem

It is no secret that a confident person will attract another confident person.

But did you know that an insecure woman will often unconsciously attract men that will make her feel even more insecure? 

That’s why it’s important that you improve your self-worth and learn to think about yourself positively. Here are some ways to work towards high self-esteem.

Identify your value

As mentioned all throughout this article, low self-esteem stems from a feeling of unworthiness. The only way you would ever feel unworthy of love is if you don’t know who you are and what you bring to the table.

So, the first thing you have to do to fix it is to become aware of your own value.

Who are you? What makes you special (every human being is special)? And what are you contributing to the relationship that only you can provide?

Make a list of all your strengths. From physical features to personality traits to behavior. Whatever you put on the list need to be characteristics that are unique to you.

So no academic, career, or superficial achievements. Think along the lines of the things that no one can take away from you.

What does low self-esteem look like in relationships

Positive Affirmations

Now that you have an understanding of what makes you you, you can use these beautiful characteristics to affirm yourself.

Get in the habit of reminding yourself daily that you are enough, smart, beautiful, etc. Or make it more specific and tell yourself that you are a very attentive and compassionate girlfriend.

Whatever makes you feel good!

You will see that it will positively affect your relationship. After all, the reason why positive affirmations are so helpful is because you are telling yourself what you would like to hear from others.

Rather than seeking approval and reassurance from your man, you get in the habit of approving of yourself, thus becoming less reliant on outside compliments.

Knowing how to be nice to yourself and mastering positive self-talk is the best way to battle your inner critic, who is the source of your low self-esteem.

Become your own bae

Just like Lizzo sings in “Soulmate” you have to become your own soulmate and learn how to love yourself.

Before getting into a relationship or while being in one it is crucial that you get in the habit of making yourself happy.

The best way to find out what makes you feel good is by asking yourself what you would like your boyfriend to do for you. Maybe you would like flowers, maybe you would like to go to the movies, maybe you would like to go on vacation.

And then go ahead and do that for yourself. Instead of waiting for him to make you feel good about yourself, take initiative and feel good without him already.

That will have two effects. For one, you and he will be able to enjoy the relationship more, because he is not responsible for your well-being. And secondly, you will decrease your fear of abandonment, because you know how to be happy by yourself.

Over apologizing

Communicate with your partner

I know this may come as a surprise to some of you, but your boyfriend can not read your mind. Unless you tell him that you tend to experience relationship anxiety and what you need from him to feel safe in the relationship he will not know.

That’s why you have to be bold and honestly tell him if you struggle with something.

Learn to be vulnerable with your partner and let him know when a situation makes you feel anxious or his behavior triggers an insecurity in you.

And once you communicated it in a loving and non-judgmental way, then you have to hold him accountable whenever he ignores your requests.

Overcoming low self-esteem in a relationship is not about hiding it from your loved one, but about consciously working on it.

Focus on the good

Last but not least, in order to overcome symptoms of low self-esteem in a relationship, you have to train your mind to see the good in your relationship rather than worrying about the bad.

Choose to trust your partner whenever he assures you of his intentions for the relationship and dismiss any doubts whenever they come to your mind.

Believe him when he says that he loves you, finds you beautiful and enjoys your company!

And whenever challenges occur, do not jump to conclusions and fear that he will leave you. Instead, ask yourself whether you are thinking logically or allowing your fear to take over.

Remember that the reason why you want to overcome low self-esteem is that it can be destructive to your mental health and sabotage your love life.

Low self-esteem in a relationship

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