How to Overcome Your Insecurity in Relationships

December 4, 2023

We’re always looking for that last first date. Going out with somebody and realizing at the end of the night that you’d like to see each other again. Hoping things continue and that you might be able to look back at that first night together, wishing you could go back to be in the shoes of those two people who didn’t know what was yet to come.

I remember my first date with my wife, one where I had a pretty good feeling right off the bat. She possessed all the things that I was looking for in a new partner. I almost said at one point we should take a selfie “just in case this whole thing worked out” and we could show our kids later. I ended up not pulling the trigger on that one. She later told me it probably would have been cute but whose to say it wouldn’t have scared her off.

At the end of the evening we parted ways and I drove home with a full heart and clear eyes. I elected for silence over the normal indie folk I would usually choose for such a drive as I reflected on what I thought was the first step in a beautiful journey.

All of those feelings were erased in a moment though as all of my feelings of insecurity began to rear their ugly heads.

“You’re going to mess this up,” my critical inner voice told me. Thanks, inner critic!

I was coming off of a number of previous relationships, all of which obviously hadn’t worked out. I was an insecure person and knew that if I wanted a chance with this woman I was going to have to get to the root of my own insecurities.

Relationship Insecurities

Can we first admit that we all have signs of insecurity? We are for the most part a bunch of insecure people walking around trying to figure out how to have a health relationship with another individual. And for the most part I’ve given up on trying to fight how this “shouldn’t be the case.” I certainly don’t like that I didn’t learn perfect attachment and wish that I could have achieved that earlier in my life, but I think that is just part of the refining process of life, painful as it may be.

In order to understand the feelings of relationship insecurity, we have to first understand our past relationships. And I am not just talking about romantic relationships, but also the way that we related to family members, and more specifically caregivers.

No we always have to give the disclaimer that your caregivers did the best that they could with the tools that they had. Doesn’t mean it was great or that they shouldn’t have gotten better tools, but we aren’t here to light your parents on fire either.

As we learn how to attach to our primary caregivers, we take note of the different ways that create more connection with them. When we are talking about attachment, we are basically talking about the way that we respond to having a feeling come up and what we do with that feeling in relationship with another person. One of the primary things that we take note of in regards to these emotional reactions is how conflict was handled in our home.

As we try and create a healthy relationship with a new person, all of these old patterns start making their way back into our life. We realize that there is a certain lack of trust that we are going to be able to get our needs met by our current partner. If we want to not be reactive to all of these emotions and bodily cues that we receive, we need to first take some inventory of what the triggers are for us.


One of the biggest things that I see in insecure relationships is fear that the relationship is going to end for minuscule reasons. People with an anxious attachment style tend to do this when their partner is not being as responsive as they would like for them to be. Their partner takes a few hours to respond to a text or shows up for lunch and is in a bit of a melancholy mood. These partners will either move to criticism of the other person for not behaving the way that they think they should or not modeling the type of open communication that they would want to see, or seeking to appease and repair the relationship, even though it may not be damaged.

In order to overcome this and integrate this part of ourselves, we have to recognize the trigger that is taking place and the story that we are telling ourselves. Let's go back to the example of our partner not texting us back as quickly as we'd like.

Our minds can cook up stories about as fast as chatGPT. Our anxiety will autogenerate this story about how the other person is not interested in the relationship for any variety of reasons. We will also begin to fight with all of those reasons trying to prove them wrong or offering ourselves subtle reassurances about how the other person might just not have their phone with them. "But who doesn't always have their phone with them these days?! If they really cared about me they'd text me back immediately, that's what I would do. But I guess I want to be with someone who isn't glued to their phone all the time, maybe this is okay."

You see how these arguments can be never ending?

Rather than trying to defeat the so called "negative thoughts" i like to employ some skills to learn how to get some space from them. Rather than trying to escape the situation of prove my thoughts wrong, I try and become present to them and approach them with an open mind. I'll usually pull open the notes section of my phone and write down a few of my thoughts that are taking place. "My mind is telling me that since I haven't heard back in a few hours that they are probably going to break up with me." It's not necessarily a comfortable thought to sit with, but we can work on becoming better at sitting with those sorts of thoughts.

When don't implement some skills or tools around such personal insecurities, we will be more likely to over attend to the relationship can can come off as a clingy, insecure partner.


Avoidant partners tend to appear a bit more distant, but that doesn't mean they do not carry any fear of abandonment in their relationships. These partners generally learned at a young age that voicing their thoughts and concerns was a dangerous thing to do in the relationship and could lead to more disconnection. They tend to withdraw from their partners and keep emotions to themselves, for fear that bringing their own thoughts or feelings to light might be too disruptive.

Let's go back to our example of the texting conversation, but let's put this partner on the side of being the one who received the texts. Let's say that they have seen the texts come through but haven't responded because they got some bad news at their job that day. Again, our minds can cook up stories at lightning speed and so perhaps theirs goes a little bit more like this:

"They want to hang out with me right now but I just don't have it in me. I could probably just tell them that I got some bad news at work, but what if they think it's stupid and I should just get over it? I hate conflict like this and never know what to do."

In this situation, honest communication is a trigger and brings out feelings of inadequacy. Perhaps this person has some past trauma about being punished for being too vocal about their needs.

The best way to overcome this is to communicate with your partner that you have a tendency to withdraw. Let them know that you've had trouble using your voice in past relationships but you want this relationship to be different with more effective communication. This also let's your partner know to respond with some more grace when you do use your voice.

In my own relationship, my wife has a more difficult time voicing feelings and concerns in the relationship. When she does do that, I try and reinforce that communicating is a good thing by responding openly. This can be difficult to do when she is giving me feedback that I don't like to hear, but helps defeat the lack of confidence in using her voice.

What Relationship Is For

I had a friend give me some sage advice when I was in college. He said "we've all got our own emotional baggage, we are just looking for someone whose baggage goes with ours." He was far from an expert on relationships, but this one has stuck with me over the years. And I believe that intimate relationships are the perfect vehicle to getting to deep-rooted insecurities and healing our attachment wounds.

And as you do that you are going to have to sit in some major discomfort. You will have to learn to sit in the uncertainty of waiting for the text back and not responding with insecure behaviors. Or using your voice with the risk of it causing some discord in the relationship. The way that we are talking about insecurity in relationships I think could fit under the anxiety tree. And there is a saying in anxiety treatment, which is you can't talk your way out of anxiety, you have to behave your way out of it. So as you work to overcome the feeling of insecurity, you can ask yourself if your behavior is helping you feel more secure in your own body or if it is perpetuating the cycle of insecurity.


The relationship you want is on the other side of some hard work, and we are here to help you get there. We have a variety of in person options for couples - Thriving Couples, Couples' Intensives, Hold Me Tight®, Relationships 101/202, as well as a few (ever growing list of) options on our online membership for you to start the work. I highly recommend looking at our Attachment, Journey to Core Self, and Gift of Emotions courses first! Then as a couple head to our Values Course and start a solid foundation for your relationship moving forward.

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