9 Signs Of An Insecure Partner & How To Deal With Their Insecurities

Insecurity in a romantic relationship can manifest in a number of ways and have a significant impact on both partners and the relationship itself.

Common signs that may indicate insecurity in a relationship include excessive jealousy, low self-esteem, overprotectiveness, a fear of criticism, and a constant need for reassurance. These signs can vary in intensity from person to person, and not every insecure individual will exhibit all of them.

insecure partner

Recognizing and addressing the signs of an insecure partner is essential for fostering a healthy and fulfilling relationship.

It’s important to approach a relationship with empathy and understanding when dealing with an insecure partner. Both partners should work together to address these issues through open and honest communication, boundary setting, and the help of a professional, if necessary.

What are the signs of an insecure partner?

Below are some common signs to watch for:


Overprotectiveness is a common manifestation of insecurity in romantic relationships. An insecure partner tends to exhibit behaviors aimed at controlling or monitoring their significant other’s actions and decisions.

They may read their partner’s text messages, check their social media accounts, or track their location in an attempt to maintain a sense of control and minimize perceived threats.

Or, they may try to limit their partner’s interactions with friends and family, particularly those of the opposite gender, out of fear that these connections might lead to infidelity.

Overprotectiveness is rooted in a lack of trust in the relationship as one partner tries to control or monitor the other out of fear of losing them.

Excessive Jealousy

While some level of jealousy is considered healthy in a relationship, excessive or unfounded jealousy can be problematic.

Insecure individuals often experience intense jealousy, even in situations where there is no obvious threat to the relationship. They may become suspicious or anxious about their partner’s interactions with others, fearing that any connection outside the relationship threatens their bond.

Jealousy in a romantic relationship can manifest in a number of ways, and it often includes signs like possessiveness and a constant need for reassurance. Such jealousy can be damaging to a relationship if left unchecked as it erodes trust, creates emotional turmoil, and can ultimately lead to the deterioration of the partnership.

jealous partner


Paranoia in a relationship is characterized by an unfounded and irrational belief that one’s partner is betraying them. It involves persistent and excessive mistrust and suspicion of the partner’s actions and intentions.

A paranoid individual may frequently make baseless accusations of infidelity or betrayal against their partner, often without any concrete evidence to support their claims. They may interpret innocent actions, conversations, or interactions as evidence of betrayal or infidelity.

Paranoia is often accompanied by high levels of anxiety and emotional distress.

Such behavior can be highly damaging to a relationship as it erodes trust, creates conflict, and makes it difficult for both partners to feel secure and emotionally connected.

Inability to Trust

Trust issues are a common hallmark of insecurity in romanic relationships. Insecure partners often struggle to trust their partner’s words, actions, or intentions, usually due to their own fears, doubts, or past experiences.

Insecure partners may frequently doubt their significant other’s commitment, feelings, and loyalty towards them.

Individuals with an anxious attachment style often find themselves attracted to partners with an avoidant attachment style, who fuel their insecurity by avoiding intimacy and emotional connection.

This dynamic is often referred to as the “the anxious-avoidant trap” or the “push-pull cycle.” Addressing the anxious-avoidant trap often requires both partners to become aware of their attachment styles and how they contribute to the relationship dynamic.

Constant Need for Reassurance

Seeking constant communication, support, and reassurance is a common behavior exhibited by an insecure partner in a romantic relationship.

Insecurity often leads to a deep-seated need for validation and emotional reassurance from their significant other to alleviate their doubts and anxiety.

They may repeatedly ask for verbal affirmations of love and commitment, asking questions such as “Do you still love me?” or “Are you sure you want to be with me?”

Individuals with an anxious attachment style often exhibit this behavior, driven by a fear of abandonment. They often worry that their significant other will leave them if they are not constantly reminded of their importance.

While healthy relationships often involve open communication, support, and reassurance, when these behaviors become excessive and are driven by insecurity, they can create challenges for both partners.

Difficulty with Intimacy

Insecurity can create barriers to intimacy, even when there’s a strong longing for it.

Specifically, people with avoidant attachment styles find it challenging to develop emotional connections with others. They typically have a deep fear of being vulnerable and exposing their true selves, worrying that revealing their insecurities or weaknesses will lead to rejection or criticism.

Insecurity can also lead to a constant state of self-doubt, making it challenging for the individual to believe that their partner genuinely cares for them. This doubt can interfere with one’s ability to fully engage in an intimate connection.

Invasion Of Privacy

Insecurity can lead an individual to invade their partner’s privacy as a way of alleviating their own anxieties and insecurities. This behavior often stems from a need for reassurance and a desire to uncover potential threats to the relationship.

These behaviors might involve going through their partner’s text messages, snooping through their personal belongings, monitoring their social media accounts, or tracking their whereabouts.

Criticizing and Belittling

Some insecure individuals cope with their own insecurities by belittling or criticizing their partner to make themselves feel better.

If your partner criticizes you, puts you down, or makes hurtful remarks about your appearance, abilities, or actions, this could be a sign of insecurity.

An insecure individual might criticize their partner because they:

  • Feel threatened by their partner’s success or accomplishments.
  • Want to gain control or dominance within the relationship.
  • Are shifting blame onto the partner for the individual’s own insecurities or problems.
  • Are projecting unresolved trauma or emotional baggage onto their partner.

No matter the intention, this behavior is neither healthy nor productive, and it can lead to a toxic and harmful relationship dynamic.


Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that involves lying, distorting facts, or denying events, in order to make the other person doubt their own memory, perception, or sanity.

Gaslighting is designed to create doubt in the other person’s mind. Over time, the victim may begin to question their own memory and judgment.

Gaslighting can be highly destructive and emotionally abusive. It can erode the victim’s self-esteem, cause anxiety and confusion, and lead to a sense of powerlessness.

Signs Of An Insecure Partner

How to deal with a partner’s insecurities

Dealing with a partner’s insecurities requires patience, empathy, and effective communication. It’s important to create a safe and supportive environment in the relationship where both partners can work together to address these issues.

Here are some steps to help you deal with a partner’s insecurities:

Help Them Identify the Problem

Helping your partner identify the underlying issues contributing to their insecurities is an essential step in addressing and working through these challenges.

Ensure that your partner feels comfortable discussing their insecurities with you by making it clear that you are there to listen and support them, not to criticize or judge.

Encourage your partner to open up about their feelings and thoughts by using open-ended questions like, “Can you tell me more about what’s been bothering you?” or “What do you think might be causing these feelings?”

Guide them to reflect on their past experiences, especially those that may have contributed to their insecurities, such as childhood upbringing, past relationships, or significant life events.

Regardless of the root causes, it’s crucial to validate your partner’s feelings. Let them know that their emotions are real, even if you don’t fully understand or share the same perspective.

Engage in Open and Honest Communication

Start by having an open and non-judgmental conversation with your partner. Discuss how their behavior makes you feel and then work together to find a solution that works for both of you.

Encourage them to express their feelings without arguing, criticizing, or invalidating their experiences.

Let them know that you are there to listen and understand their feelings.

The book Attached by Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller outlines some principles of effective communication:

  • Be completely honest about your feelings and concerns.
  • Express your needs without criticizing your partner. Focus on what you’re trying to accomplish by using verbs (‘need,’ ‘feel,’ ‘want’).
  • Be specific about what is making you insecure (e.g., ‘when you don’t contact me all day…’).
  • Wait until you feel calm to have these conversations.
  • Don’t blame or accuse your partner or make them feel inadequate.
  • ‘Be assertive and nonapologetic.’ While others may not see your relationship needs or concerns as reasonable, they are valid and important for your happiness.

Show Affection, Support, and Empathy

You cannot fix your partner’s insecurities for them. However, you can offer love, support, and empathy.

Try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and understand their perspective. Remind them that you care about them and want to work together to address their insecurities.

Provide them with reassurance that you love, accept, and appreciate them. These small gestures of affection and affirmation can go a long way in boosting their self-esteem.

Overcoming insecurities can take time. Your partner may have deep-seated issues that can’t be resolved overnight, so be patient and supportive as they work on improving their self-esteem and confidence.

Set Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries help define the limits and expectations within a relationship, ensuring that both partners feel respected, safe, and comfortable.

Identify the boundaries that are essential for your well-being and the health of the relationship. These might include boundaries related to personal space, time management, communication, or shared responsibilities.

When sharing your thoughts and feelings about what you need in the relationship, be clear and specific. For example, instead of saying, “I need more space,” you could say, “I’d like to have some alone time for an hour each evening.”

Establish expectations that define appropriate behavior in the relationship to ensure that you both feel safe and respected. Some boundaries may be non-negotiable and essential for your well-being, so it is important to communicate these clearly to your partner and stand firm on them (e.g., if you are not comfortable with them checking your phone, tell them).

Remember that setting healthy boundaries is not about building walls or creating distance in a relationship. Instead, it’s about fostering a sense of security, trust, and respect.

Don’t Risk Your Own Needs

It’s crucial to emphasize the importance of not sacrificing your own needs and well-being when dealing with a partner’s insecurities. Try to strike a balance between addressing their insecurities while also safeguarding your own mental health.

As mentioned earlier, setting healthy boundaries includes considering your own needs. You should not compromise your own well-being to accommodate your partner’s insecurities.

Sacrificing your needs for your partner’s insecurities can lead to codependency, where the relationship becomes unhealthy and one-sided. It’s essential for both partners to maintain their individual identities and independence.

While it’s important to be empathetic and supportive of your partner’s insecurities, it should not come at the expense of your own well-being.

Frequently Asked questions

Do insecure relationships last?

Insecurity in relationships can strain the emotional connection between partners, leading to lack of trust and poor communication.

Whether or not an insecure relationship endures over time depends on various factors, including the willingness of both partners to address and work through their insecurities

Insecure relationships are often characterized by jealousy, possessiveness, and control. These behaviors can lead to conflict, mistrust, and emotional distance. Unresolved insecurities can ultimately cause the relationship to break down.

In some cases, the insecurities in a relationship can become too overwhelming or damaging, leading one or both partners to decide to end the relationship.

However, not all insecure relationships are doomed to fail. With the right approach, support, and commitment, it is possible to improve the security and health of an insecure relationship.

Is it possible for my insecure partner to develop trust?

​​Yes, it is possible for an insecure partner to develop trust in a relationship over time. Insecure attachment styles can be influenced and potentially changed over time through intentional efforts aimed at promoting closeness and intimacy in a relationship.

Attachment styles are not fixed or permanent; they can evolve and become more secure with time and effort.

However, changing attachment styles can be a gradual process and may not happen overnight. It requires patience, effort, and a willingness to confront and work through past experiences and insecurities.

Both partners must be committed to making these changes for the betterment of the relationship.

What is the difference between an insecure relationship and a controlling relationship?

Insecure relationships and controlling relationships are distinct but related concepts.

An insecure relationship is characterized by one or both partners experiencing feelings of doubt, anxiety, or uncertainty about themselves or the relationship.

A controlling relationship, on the other hand, is characterized by one partner exerting power and control over the other. This can manifest in various forms, including emotional, financial, physical, or psychological control.

While insecurity and controlling behavior can coexist in a relationship, they are not synonymous. Insecure behavior may contribute to controlling behavior, as an insecure partner may attempt to control their partner out of fear or jealousy. However, not all insecure relationships are controlling, and not all controlling relationships involve insecurity.

Can a relationship work if one person is insecure? 

Yes, a relationship can work if one person is insecure, but it often depends on several factors, including the severity of the insecurity, the willingness of both partners to address and work through it, and the presence of effective communication and support.

The insecure partner must be willing to acknowledge their feelings of insecurity and work on addressing them. The other partner should create a safe and supportive environment where the insecure partner feels comfortable sharing their feelings and experiences without fear of judgment or criticism.

In a supportive and understanding relationship, partners can work together to help the insecure partner feel more secure and confident.

However, if the insecurity is causing significant distress, conflict, or harm to the relationship, and the insecure partner is unwilling to seek help or make efforts to address it, it can become a considerable challenge.

Julia Simkus edited this article.


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Olivia Guy-Evans, MSc

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Psychology of Education

Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

Saul Mcleod, PhD

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Educator, Researcher

Saul Mcleod, Ph.D., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years experience of working in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

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Education BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Mental Health Studies

Miss Haddi Browne is a freelance mental health writer and proof-reader with over seven years of experience working as a professional researcher with a diverse range of clients across the lifespan, including young adults with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.