Relationships bring out the best and worst in everyone.
A good relationship challenges us and forces us to look within and grow.
You’re more likely to feel happy when you have confidence in a relationship.
But low self-esteem can cause feelings of insecurity and neediness.
Fortunately, if you lack confidence in a relationship, there are some things you can do to bolster your self-esteem while addressing the underlying issues.
Why Do I Lose My Confidence in a Relationship?
A healthy relationship is a balancing act between how you interact with each other and your lives when you are not together.
Throw your needs and past baggage into the mix, and keeping the relationship happy and healthy can be difficult.
Many lose confidence in a relationship and themselves if they do not get enough attention. They feel neglected or unappreciated.
When someone feels ignored, they question their worthiness of being loved, and feelings of isolation and anxiety begin to surface. You scrutinize every detail and action until trust is eroded. This cycle damages an individual’s self-esteem.
Lack of communication can also contribute to losing confidence while in a relationship. We feel unheard if we believe we cannot voice an opinion or make a request.
When our faith in the relationship and ourselves is diminished, we act out, putting the relationship at risk.
Here are a few ways that low confidence can manifest in a relationship.
- You need constant reassurance
- You continuously apologize
- You are clingy
- You overanalyze words and actions.
- You don’t trust your partner, or you test them.
How to be Confident in a Relationship: 15 Tips to Feel Self-Assured
If you have a pattern of insecurity in relationships and life, it can be tempting to blame it on others or past experiences.
But to build self-esteem and develop a strong relationship, you must take responsibility for your actions.
1. Take care of yourself.
Self-love is the most challenging type of love in many respects. We are taught to be supportive and nurturing, sacrificing and benevolent to others, especially our families.
And sometimes that is taken to the extreme, to the detriment of ourselves, our health, and our mindfulness.
If you are wondering how to be confident in a relationship, try working on yourself, not the relationship. Be the best version possible of you.
2. Identify your needs.
All humans have specific needs. These drive all other actions and decisions. We look for our lives to be filled with reliability, significance, variety, intimacy, change, and purpose. If these needs are met, then we feel we can accomplish anything.
However, if they are not met, it leaves us questioning our self-worth. To be confident in a relationship, consider if your needs are being met.
3. Let go of the past.
Our past teaches and shapes us, but it should not control our every action. Friendships can be good or bad. We are lucky to have both. There are also good romantic relationships and bad ones – really bad ones.
Relationships succeed, and relationships fail. Everyone experiences heartbreak. The only way to learn to be more confident in a new relationship is to let go of your past.
Release your burden. And move forward. If you cannot let go, it is time for a more professional approach.
4. Define your expectations.
People don’t cause us heartache. Our expectations cause it. We feel sad, hurt, or disappointed if they fail to act as we expect. If you’re feeling awkward around your partner, find a way to let them know your expectations.
Practice that conversation in front of the mirror. Don’t demand. Just let them know you are struggling. If you can positively communicate and express gratitude to your partner, your confidence will soar.
5. Be honest.
Someone once said honesty is the best policy. But being honest with someone is hard. It involves a certain level of trust. Open up to your partner if you have trouble feeling confident in a relationship.
It may be a misunderstanding, or it may be something you need to know about. Keeping your feelings bottled up can be damaging to everyone concerned.
6. Learn to be friends.
It is not a coincidence that passionate, successful partners also speak about friendship. But, low self-esteem may prevent you from achieving the emotional closeness and communication necessary.
One of the best ways to strengthen this part of the relationship is through shared experiences. The more you laugh and trust each other, the more likely intimacy and passion will follow.
7. Be yourself.
Confidence is a huge turn-on, whether you’re wearing jeans and a t-shirt or an expensive outfit. And a significant component of confidence is communicating your wants and desires.
Stop trying to please by hiding your inner self. Let your radiance shine. You might be surprised at the reaction.
8. Look your best.
Feeling comfortable in a relationship, no matter how you look, is essential to a successful partnership. But dressing up isn’t just for your partner. Looking the best you can for an occasion increases confidence.
Dressing for a meeting or a social situation can provide that extra boost needed to succeed. In a relationship, dressing up for dinner is an easy way to rekindle the original attraction reaffirming your partner’s interest.
9. Give each other space.
No relationship can be all things all of the time to all people. No matter what the storybooks or our friends say. Everyone needs their own space – a few hours where they are alone with their thoughts or family.
If you have trouble allowing your partner their own space, insecurity may be the problem.
Smothering can be as simple as always asking where they are or who they were with. Or can include tracking them on social media or calling and texting non-stop when they are out with friends.
In the extreme, it can involve checking their messages and emails (a felony in many states). And the tighter you hold on to your partner, the worse it becomes.
A crucial step in overcoming this obsessive behavior is realizing that these thoughts and the accompanying anxiety and jealousy stem from insecurities. Identifying and discussing the issue with your partner or a professional is a way to return to normalcy.
10. Don’t ignore your insecurities.
Most of us have something we would change about ourselves. But what is insignificant to a partner may be insurmountable to you.
If you struggle with relationship insecurity, take a moment to tell your partner. Together you can come up with a viable solution for you both.
Admitting you have insecurities is the first step to overcoming them. Tackling the issue together can reaffirm your self-worth and draw you closer together.
11. Be independent.
Maintain your friendships and your hobbies. It is one of the things that attracted your partner in the first place. By placing your relationship at the center of your world, you begin to lose yourself.
Step back and reclaim your independence. When you have friends, hobbies, and dreams, you minimize the pressure on your partner and the relationship to be all things and fulfill everything in your life.
12. Silence the inner critic.
There are two voices in our heads. One is kind, encouraging, and supportive, while the other is our inner critic. Left unchecked, it is a form of self-sabotage. Negative self-talk keeps us from new and healthy behaviors.
Research has suggested that constant self-judgment and shame can even shut down the brain’s learning centers, robbing us of the resources we need to adapt and grow.
13. Acknowledge the positives.
Whether it’s for yourself or others, make a solid effort to acknowledge the good things – the little things. If you have trouble getting started in the morning, thank yourself for clearing the table. If you lose weight, compliment your shapely figure.
Research shows five positive events are necessary to reverse the damage of one negative interaction. This 5-to-1 ratio is known as the Magic Ratio. It applies to all types of relationships and even to how we treat ourselves.
A positive interaction is a friendly conversation, praise, or a nonverbal wink. Negative interactions could be criticism or disapproving looks.
14. Keep your identity.
Your partner chose you for a reason. They like the way you look, laugh, and smile. No one wants to change you. You a great just the way you are.
If, however, you have personal goals, like becoming healthier or getting an advanced degree, you should work on that. But the person inside the way you dress, your swagger, is what makes you, you. Don’t change for anyone.
15. Set boundaries.
Be reasonable. Both you and your partner are likely to have boundaries. Open up to what you feel is acceptable in the relationship and how you expect to be treated. And listen to their expectations as well.
For instance, maybe neither of you is comfortable being talked about with mutual friends, or you shouldn’t expect access to your partner’s phone since that’s an invasion of privacy.
More Related Articles
How Do You Fix Low Self-Esteem in a Relationship?
Low self-esteem can influence your perception of yourself and also your relationship. Feeling unworthy of love or fearing adverse outcomes can lead to distrust and conflict.
But by actively changing how you view yourself, you can protect or even begin to repair a relationship.
Simply ask, “How do I make myself confident in love?”
1. Use positive mantras.
Positive self-talk is an easy way to improve your self-esteem. Using a positive mantra daily will have a surprising effect. And can be done privately or even silently.
Each day tell yourself that you are good, kind, and confident.
Some healthy affirmations include:
- I am good.
- They are lucky to have me.
- I deserve to be loved.
2. Avoid criticizing and blaming.
Criticism is demotivating – it doesn’t work. Nagging and criticizing can damage a relationship eroding an intimate connection. It also leads to chronic feelings of shame, resulting in low self-esteem and causing self-doubt.
Overly critical people are a telltale sign of those with low self-esteem. But there are ways to begin reversing the cycle:
- Managing personal stress and anxiety
- Actively look for positives
- Don’t take someone’s actions personally – it may not be about you.
3. Identify your strengths.
Low self-esteem often begins in childhood but can also stem from our constant exposure to unrealistic social expectations.
If we spend any time on social media, it is easy to believe that we are not good enough, wealthy enough, thin enough, or successful enough.
And amidst all the media hype about the “Top 10 Greatest People,” it is hard to see the positive in ourselves.
A great way to bolster one’s self-esteem is to prove those ideas wrong. Start by making a two-column list of ten of your strengths and ten of your weaknesses. This list will help you understand your self-worth and what you bring to a relationship.
If you are having trouble, consider the compliments or awards you have received. Focus on yourself, and avoid comparing yourself to others.
4. Practice self-compassion.
Give yourself a break. It is commonplace to find oneself in an overwhelming or uncontrollable situation.
You may have forgotten an appointment, a PTA meeting, or had an automobile accident. You are only human. Stop punishing yourself for your mistakes.
During those times, it is OK to feel, even emote. But don’t explode, saying something you can’t take back or direct your anger at your partner to feel better. Instead, practice mindfulness to bring your thoughts and emotions into the here and now.
A few deep breaths may help you avoid feelings of guilt and shame later. As humans, we are bundles of thoughts and feelings, but those emotions do not define us and certainly do not define our relationships.
5. Be realistic.
You have undoubtedly heard the old phrase, don’t bite off more than you can chew. It refers to being realistic in your wants and expectations and can apply to learning a new language, getting a new job, or something as personal as losing weight.
An unrealistic goal can create a situation where you are likely to fail — further damaging your confidence. Realistic goals also apply to your relationship. Take baby steps in your efforts. The results may surprise you.
6. Acknowledge your accomplishments.
The world around us is hectic. People sometimes get caught up in their schedules, and your deeds may not immediately receive the external recognition and fanfare you feel they should.
But your efforts are important, so try looking inward to strengthen your self-esteem. Use your journal to acknowledge your own accomplishments, large or small.
7. Stop testing your relationship.
Often called playing games, testing can be damaging to a relationship. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you feel unlovable, then you doubt your partner’s feelings.
You may test them by not texting or flirting with someone to get a reaction from your partner — proof of their love and fidelity. Unfortunately, no one likes to be played, and the reaction is more likely their response to being manipulated.
8. Involve your partner.
Self-esteem issues often stem from childhood and require time and attention to overcome. Be honest about your struggle.
Don’t expect your partner to be the solution. But if you are open, they may clarify and resolve some of your unfounded fears.
And you can work together to resolve the issue. After all, they have a stake in the relationship, too.
9. Get professional help.
You may need an outside objective perspective if nothing else seems to work. Maybe it’s time to consider seeking professional help. Talk therapies such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) can help you feel more confident.
We have been taught to look at relationships as perfect little fairytales. And we often spend a great deal of time comparing our relationships and ourselves to outside ideals – looking for “the One.”
But the reality is relationships are about positive interaction and support.
Good relationships involve compassion, strength, and love. But great relationships are also about growth – finding a partner helps you be the best possible person you can be.