low self-esteem in a relationship

The most common misconception about low self-esteem is that we believe it only affects women that 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. From the most beautiful to the most unconventional beauty, every girl has an area in which she struggles with her self-esteem. 

And a lot of times that affects your romantic relationships. 

low self-esteem in a relationship symptoms

Self-esteem and relationships psychology

Unfortunately, low self-esteem is one of the biggest reasons why women self-sabotage relationships. The insecurity caused by low self-esteem oftentimes leads to jealousy, neediness, and trust issues. 

Women who experience low self-esteem question their worthiness and their value in the relationship. They don’t believe that they are worthy of love and therefore doubt that they have what it takes to satisfy their partner.  

This leads to an imbalance in the relationship, increased fear of abandonment and can cause arguments. 

7 symptoms of low self-esteem in a relationship


A woman with deep insecurity and low self-esteem feels unworthy of her partner’s love while in a relationship.

She has a hard time believing that she is good enough for him and therefore tends to test her man’s love for her. Questions such as “Why do you love me?”, “What do you love about me?” become a habit. 

She is so unaware of her own worth that she constantly seeks reassurance as to why her partner would choose her. 

how does low self-esteem affect relationships

Over apologizing

If you lack confidence in your relationship, you will be 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. 

It’s a self-defeating pattern of behavior that 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


When you are needy you have a constant need for your partner’s attention and love, because you fear to lose 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 lost and incomplete when you are apart.

If you lack self-esteem, you will start to build your whole life around him, because you do not know what to do by yourself. 

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


This behavior might seem innocent to most of you, but it is actually a big indicator of low self-esteem in a relationship.

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

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 standpoint, 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.

Not setting boundaries

The most important thing that you have to do in a relationship is to set boundaries. Meaning you have to teach your boyfriend how you want to be treated. You have to communicate the rules to your love and demand him to keep them.

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

In return, you will put up with situations that do not serve you.

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 resentment in you and eventually lead to tension. 

confidence in relationships

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. 

A symptom of low self-esteem in a relationship, 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 or don’t 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

A poor choice in partners 

A very obvious sign that you have low self-esteem is when you put up with men that do not treat you well. Because you are familiar with feeling insecure, you subconsciously gravitate towards men that make you feel less than. 

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. 

how to overcome low self-esteem

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

Maybe you just got out of a relationship and feel rejected by the other person or maybe you have been single for so long that you compare yourself to your peers. 

When life throws you these curveballs it is common for your inner critic to appear in your mind with doubts such as ‘I am not good enough’ and ‘I will never find love’. 

However, it becomes an issue when you are constantly lacking self-esteem. That’s when you need to practice boosting your self-esteem without depending on outside factors. 

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 challenge your mindset and begin to make positive changes in the way you think about yourself and interact with your partner.

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.

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. Because the reason why positive affirmations are so helpful is that it is a way to tell yourself the things 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.

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 what makes you feel anxious 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 insecurity in you.

And once you communicated it in a loving and non-judgmental way what you think and feel, 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 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.

Therefore, use these tips to strengthen your self-esteem and the stability of your relationship.

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