We all have them. We’ve all experienced them in a partner. We all know – they’re not much fun.
If you’ve ever dated a fundamentally insecure man – you’ll know first-hand how damaging insecurities have the potential to be in an intimate relationship.
When it comes to insecurities – severity matters. No one is perfect, and loving someone means taking the good with the bad. Moderate levels of insecurity in a man can be managed for a happy, healthy relationship. If the guy you’re dating is worth it, knowing how to deal with his insecurity will be vital for your longevity as a couple.
Insecurity is a beast that can take many forms. The early warning signs are subtle. On your first couple of dates, you notice he’s quite judgmental of others. He gets overly curious about intimate details of your life that he doesn’t need to know. You start to notice he seems needy for attention and doesn’t respond well when it isn’t forthcoming. It’s once you’re in a relationship with him that the real cracks of an insecure man become apparent.
He pesters you for details of who you’re seeing and when you’ll be back, and you start to feel increasingly smothered. If you don’t bend to his wishes, the insecure man responds with anger or resentment. Me may swear, yell at you or break things to get his way. You find him snooping through your emails or you just give him your phone and let him go through it to avoid another argument. He becomes hyper curious or jealous, and wants to know everybody you talk to. He may be very critical of you. As time goes on, his external communications to you increasingly reflect his hypercritical inner dialogue.
I’m sure you’re getting the idea. Mild insecurity can be dealt with. Major insecurity is a deal-breaker.
Here’s 5 critically important ideas if you’re in love with an insecure guy and serious about making things work.
Don’t try to “Love” him out of it.
Perhaps, the biggest mistake I see women make with insecure guys is one where their hearts are in the right place. It’s the idea, that if you love a man enough, you can be the woman to come along and save him. “With my support behind him, he’ll flourish into the man I know he can be” you think to yourself.
Unfortunately, this one’s been perpetuated by Hollywood, and not surprisingly, it gets lived out without success in the real world. This ‘rescuer’ mindset is all too common, and one that, sadly, has the opposite effect on the man.
Let’s crudely reference men to dogs and use the following analogy: If a dog does something, then gets rewarded for it with love, what is the dog likely to do next time?
The same thing!
If you keep rewarding a man’s snooping and unacceptable behavior with reassurance and love, you train him in that behavior.
Not that you don’t reassure him. The somewhat insecure guy will need a little more love and reassurance than the average guy. It’s just that you can’t be dishing it out at his beck and call. There comes a point when you’ve got to let him deal with it himself.
It’s not your fault he’s insecure
If you’ve done nothing during the relationship to increase his insecurity – cheating, acting suspiciously, intentionally misleading him – then his insecurity is 100% his responsibility.
Insecure men will try to pin the blame on you, and this is where things can go badly, because if it works, it begins a pattern of you adjusting your behaviors to comply with his insecurities, rather than letting him deal with them. This cannot work long-term and is a pattern you don’t want to start.
An example would be when a man says “You MADE me jealous by flirting with that guy.” Or “I’m only checking up on you because I love you. Don’t you want that?”
While it might seem obvious reading it here, you’d be amazed how tempting it is, when you’re in the situation, to buy into his rhetoric. You bend to his will and change your behavior, beginning a trend that leads you to losing who you are and resenting him, while he gets his toxic behavior reinforced.
Keep doing the things that make you, you
The greatest mistake you can make, dating an insecure man, is to lose yourself trying to protect his insecurities. If dressing up and going out with the girls is something you enjoyed before you met him, it’s something you must continue to enjoy. If you had a hobby or interest you loved before you got together, it’s essential you keep at it, regardless of his feelings towards it.
Remember, his insecurity isn’t your problem to solve. If you give up these things, not only will you feel sad and resentful, you’ll lose your relationship in the end, anyway.
Hold onto some privacy
Some individual privacy is normal in any relationship, but it’s especially important in helping an insecure man deal with his insecurities.
He’s doesn’t get free rights to your phone, your email, and your Facebook when he wants. If you give him access to these things, not only do you feed his insecurity, you don’t help him to build the critical skills of trust and self-assurance. These are skills he’s going to need if he’s to build and have a fulfilling relationship with you.
You have to call it, and he has to recognise it
Trying to dance around the fact he’s insecure to avoid hurting his feelings will only slow his progress. You need to call a spade a spade. He has to acknowledge his insecurities to have a chance of tackling them.
It should be a conversation that reassures him, but also clarifies that his unwarranted jealous displays of insecurity won’t be tolerated.
“You know I love you, and we need to talk about why your insecurities are coming up in this way and what we can do about them, because this does need to change. Are you willing to do this and work on learning to trust me?”
Watch how he responds. Is he able to acknowledge his insecurity and take responsibility for his behavior? Does he agree to work on things with you?
Or does he defend his unreasonable displays of snooping, jealousy and criticism, blaming them on you and something you did?
His answers tell a lot about his suitability as a long-term partner.
When speaking about this to women, I’m often asked the following question:
“The things I’m doing – keeping my own life, some of my own privacy. I feel like they’re making things worse. The insecure episodes are more frequent… wouldn’t it just be easier to be open and show/tell him everything?”
The answer is no. The more you feed his insecurity by complying with his every wish, the more it grows. Again, reassure him without being excessive. To successfully date an insecure man, you will have to learn to expect his insecure episodes and to stand your ground when they occur.
Can you have a happy relationship with an insecure man? Absolutely. Your chances are good if his insecurity is mild. Always remember though, the success of the partnership is more on him and his decisions than it is on you. If he can recognise insecurity within himself and work through his fears (with you as his supporter) the odds of the two of you finding long-lasting fulfillment are excellent.