Self-love and self-respect in relationships are essential. Sure, the idea of ‘love thyself’ is not too far-fetched. If you do not believe that you are worth it or good enough, how can you expect your partner to think so?
Here’s how low self-esteem in a relationship looks like.
1. You are always the victim
It is one of the trickiest of things, having to deal with your own insecurities.
You are always in defensive mode. The fight and flight mode is always on, and you are in constant flux.
Low self-esteem can make one test or sabotage their potentially good relationship. Or it can result in you settling for less.
Low self-esteem can also result in severe defensive mode. One can hide behind childish banters or arguments. You could try and travel the wave and wait it out, but it would rarely set out in your favor.
The romance is blooming, the fragrance is everywhere, and you are enamored by everything. You start to live in a fantasy and everything you see or touch is love. However, seldom is the case. When such idealization starts to take hold, it is pretty easy to lose hold of reality and always defend your loved one.
Because of self-esteem, one usually thinks too less of themselves and takes the blame of every lacking upon themselves, be it from the partner as well.
3. Jealousy is never a flattering shade
Let’s be honest; we all have been jealous of that one person who was a tad bit too close with your significant other at that particular moment.
A healthy amount of jealousy is not too wrong; however, one must keep a check on what is triggering bouts of jealousy, and try to steer clear of those particular tasks.
Agood life partner will never let you feel jealous; however, the blame cannot be completely one-sided. Jealousy is usually the side effect of low self-esteem. If you think that your partner deserves better, you become more susceptible to the fear of being dumped.
4. You have the need to change and will change if need be
One should not sacrifice their personality for anything. We are all unique and made for a different purpose. It is our destiny to shine and create sparks in our own unique space.
It is only because of low self-esteem that people feel the need to twist and change themselves just so they can be praised by others and fit better.
Changing your personality for someone else is never the sign of a healthy mind or relationship.
5. Playing the blame game and drawing a constant comparison
Happiness comes from within.
If you are happy, being in an unpleasant situation would not be able to squash your spark, however, if you are sad or unhappy from within, it would be difficult even to crack a smile.
If you think that your partner lost their temper because you did not do the dishes or because you forgot to call them which resulted in the start of the downward spiral, you start believing that everything is your fault – this kind of thinking is the first sign of low self-esteem and an unhealthy relationship.
In several worst-case scenarios, significant others start to exploit this habit.
The best way for this is to seek help; try and make your partner understand so that they can be patient with you – thus you can carve your way towards a healthier and more mutually beneficial relationship.
6. You stick with a bad seed even though they are bad for you
The relationship is going downhill, your significant other is mistreating you, life is a chaos, you are losing yourself and your loved ones – yet you refuse to leave them.
Such a kind of dependency is a result of low self-esteem. When you feel that you cannot survive without your partner.
The idea of always being together is notromantic or a gesture of love, quite on the contrary it suggests dependency and lack of trust.
7. Your intimacy depends on your self-esteem or the lack of it
Intimacy isn’t just about lovemaking. There is emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical intimacy.
A person whose self-esteem is momentarily threatened or is lacking won’t be able to open up and be intimate with their partners.
Let’s talk about physical intimacy. When a person feels insecure, they won’t be able to let go of their inhibitions and thus won’t reach that level of arousal needed to be intimate. Your partner can feel this, too.
This goes the same with emotional, mental, and spiritual intimacy. It’s like a shield that prevents you from connecting to your partner.
8. You can’t express yourself or your emotions
Communication is vital for a relationship to grow. This affects low self-esteem and relationships because it goes together.
You don’t feel confident enough to even stand up for yourself. You also feel insecure and could not express your feelings.
Therefore, in relationships, people with low self-esteem are often seen as a person being “walked on” or even abused.
9. You find yourself dependent and in need of constant emotional fix
When a person with low self-esteem finds a partner, there could be two effects. This person could gain their self-esteem back or be dependent.
It’s like you can’t function without your partner. Instead of finding a solution for your problems, you depend on your partner’s reassurance.
It’s called an emotional fix when you think you need your partner to function, decide, and ultimately, be happy. You also couldn’t bear to be alone.
Unfortunately, this could drain your partner.
10. You become possessive
As a partner with low self-esteem depends on their partner, soon, you’ll develop a sense of possessiveness due to fear.
You feel threatened that someone might take your significant other away, or they might tempt this person to cheat.
This mindset turns to possessiveness, then jealousy.
Soon, to pacify the uncontrollable emotions, you will need another emotional fix. This becomes a cycle that will eventually cause the relationship to fall apart.
FAQS about low self-esteem
Now that you’re familiar with the signs of low self-esteem in relationships, there could still be questions you want to clear out, and this is a good start.
Aside from the low self-esteem in relationship symptoms, here are other frequently asked questions that might help.
How do you deal if you have low self-esteem in a relationship?
One of the most common low self-esteem in a relationship symptom is the feeling of fear. This fear increases and will damage your relationship if you don’t face it.
That’s right, you need to face the problem and find a solution.
Don’t depend on your partner to make you happy or to make you feel good. Instead, start with yourself and work from within.
Why do people with low self-esteem choose to stay in toxic relationships?
A person with low self-esteem in a relationship might think that they don’t deserve better.
They develop a “this is the best that I could get” mindset, thus allowing them to get walked on and abused.
How can you tell if a person has low self-esteem?
Once you get to know a person, the traits of having low self-esteem are undeniable. Sadly, lacking confidence is painful and is a challenge.
Making fun of yourself
Thinking that you’re not good at anything
You say negative things to yourself
You lack self-compassion
You think you’re always at fault
You don’t believe it when someone compliments you
Afraid of trying out new things
You feel empty and sad
You are overly sensitive, jealous
You need constant reassurance from someone else
You depend on your significant other
It’s hard for you to believe that your partner loves you
What should I do if my girlfriend/ boyfriend has low self-esteem?
“I love this person so much, but loving someone with low self-esteem can also be tiring.”
It’s true. Loving someone who is unsure of themselves, lacks self-acceptance, self-love, and self-esteem could drain the both of you. The constant jealousy, doubt, and even emotional fix can seem like a cycle.
You might feel like you’re not growing. This is one reason why low self-esteem ruins relationships.
One of the biggest mistakes that partners make when they are dating a person with low self-esteem is that they try to give them love, emotional fix, and reassurance. Overtime, you would just find yourself walking on eggshells.
If you really want to help, then there is one thing that you could do. Talk and support your partner.
Instead of always fulfilling emotional fixes all the time, help your partner practice self-love, self-compassion, and even self-respect. In any event they would agree, you can also support them into going into therapy. This is how to improve self-esteem in relationships.
How to boost your self-esteem
Losing your self-esteem in a relationship is something we all dread happening.
Before you can fully commit yourself and your love to someone else, it’s better to work on yourself first.
Here’s how you can improve your self-esteem:
1. Count your strengths
Create a journal and list them. This way, you can remind yourself about all the things you can do.
2. Celebrate your small victories
You can find so many reasons daily to celebrate. These little things are also important and it shows how amazing you are.
3. Focus on the things that you can change
We all want to be better. List the things that you can actually change. Don’t focus on the things that you can’t.
Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes
4. Avoid people who bring you down
It is perfectly okay to distance yourself from toxic people. Not all people close to you want the best for you. If you feel they are trying to bring you down, remove them from your life.
Being fit and exercising will definitely boost your self-confidence. Aside from making you healthy, you are also able to release hormones that make you feel good.
6. Do things that make you happy
You can start doing the hobbies that you love and see how it can uplift your mood and even boost your self-esteem.
Do things because you’re happy, and not because that’s how everyone wants to see you. Put yourself first.
7. Practice self-love, self-respect, and self-compassion
Learning these three will change how you view yourself. Remember. If you can give these three to others, don’t you think you deserve them too?
Talk to yourself like you’re talking to a friend, have compassion. Love yourself because you’re lovable and you deserve to be loved. Lastly, respect yourself because you are a human being.
In any event that you feel your low self-esteem in a relationship is causing trouble, ask for help.
You can ask for help and talk to your family, close friends, or if need be, to a licensed therapist.
More than anyone, they could help you address the issue, and help you with getting your self-esteem back.
No one is perfect if such problems arise one should seek help instead of giving up and just living one day after the other.
Don’t let your low self-esteem in a relationship strip you of your happiness and your chance to enjoy life.
The point of life is to live and experience each day with new opportunities and happiness. Self-esteem, at the end, is just you loving yourself and being happy for what you are – whatever it may be.
Remember, before you can fully love someone and be in a relationship, you must first learn how to be happy on your own, and to love yourself first.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.