- Dealing with an insecure partner and knowing how to love an insecure man can be a nightmare. Not to worry, at the end of this article you will have a better understanding of insecure men in relationships and 9 ways of how to deal with an insecure man in any relationship.
Insecurity in a relationship can cause tension and strain that can spell the end of that relationship if it is not properly handled/dealt with. Being insecure in a relationship, and generally in life, is not something peculiar to just men. Even women can have insecurity issues in a relationship. But for the present moment, we will focus on the issue of the insecure man in relationships.
What causes a man to be insecure?
How secure people are with their bodies by nationality and gender. Survey of 1,000 Europeans and Americans. Source: Online Doctor
Fragile and fractured masculinity is almost always the cause of insecurity in men. Society and culture are very much to blame for this state of affairs. It tells men that masculinity looks, feels, and acts a certain type of way. And when a man looks at himself and realizes he can’t seem to measure up to the sometimes unrealistic standards set on what a “real man” looks like, this almost invariably tears down at his sense of self-worth. This in turn leads to insecurities such as the one shown in the chart above.
If that man is not mentally and emotionally strong to affirm to himself that his masculinity is not defined by those standards, insecurities will automatically set in. And suddenly, you have a very insecure man with a very fragile ego who tries to overcompensate and tries all the time to assert his manliness. An insecure man is a man with very low self-esteem because insecurity is a symptom of low self-esteem. (And if you haven’t read it yet, our article on What is low self esteem has all the gist on understanding low self esteem).
And then if that man peradventure gets cheated on by his partner, with another man that seemingly fits the bill of what a “real man” is, that insecurity is compounded all the more. Suddenly he feels he can never be good enough for any woman in the state he is in. And thus his insecurity continues and takes on more complex dimensions.
When he eventually “manages” to get a lady interested and she ultimately gives him a chance, he cannot believe his good fortune. He wonders to himself “so she could settle for small insignificant “unmanly” me”!?
He hasn’t however dealt with his insecurity, and it still lurks very much in the shadows waiting and ready to sabotage this new relationship.
It won’t take long, those demons of insecurity rear up their ugly head and remind him that he is not after all “man enough”. That voice begins to whisper into his ears that you are already starting to see his “unmanliness” and have started down the road of his worst fears.
And then it starts. He is monitoring your every move, smoldering, and annoying you, and you can’t understand where it all went wrong and who the man in front of you is anymore.
What you are experiencing has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with his fragile and fractured masculinity that was either brought about by his upbringing, his environment, or his negative experiences later on in life.
Does this however excuse his insecurities and the negative impact and effect it is having on you and the relationship? Absolutely not! In the next sections, we will show you how to handle and deal with such an insecure partner, as well as the signs of an insecure partner.
15 Signs of an insecure man in a relationship and characteristics of insecure men.
If you want to know what the signs of an insecure man in love are, look out for most or all of these 15 telling signs.
1. He doesn’t have much of a social life.
At first, this may seem like introversion, until you realize that it is not a normal type of introversion. He has no friends, and the little he seems to have can’t seem to hang around him.
This is no accident. Insecure men generally do not know how to keep friendships because of their self-doubt and low self-confidence. This tends to sabotage their relationships even with their peers because they tend to see other men as competition that they cannot measure up to.
To avoid constantly being reminded of what they can’t seem to attain, they would much rather not make meaningful friendships and stay all by themselves.
2. And because of this, you are the only person he spends his time with.
His unwillingness to make or keep friends that he can hang out with spells doom for you because you are now his everything. You are the friends he doesn’t have and all of a sudden he always wants to hang out with you.
At first, this would appear sweet and almost intoxicating because who wouldn’t love that kind of doting and attention. But ultimately it will start to get to you and become very draining because it appears like you are literally his life force.
3. He becomes possessive of you in an unhealthy way.
Becoming his life force will start to turn into a nightmare. He wants you all to himself and when he can’t have you to himself all the time, he starts to sulk. He becomes moody and angry and cannot understand why you can’t spend time with only him especially since he loves you so much and wants to be with only you. This may sound sweet but it is dangerously unhealthy. You cannot be what gives his life a sense of meaning and direction. He has to have these before you come into his life.
4. He doesn’t want you spending time with other people and wants to isolate you to himself.
Part of his possessiveness means he also doesn’t want you spending time with other people. And this includes your close friends and even your family too. This guy is so possessive, controlling, and insecure he believes he has the sole right and monopoly over you. Except he doesn’t.
You will notice this sign when you go out for example to see a friend or family and he can’t seem to stop calling you. If you decide not to take his calls as a way of ignoring him to try and teach him a lesson, it will only get worse. He would go off the rails and accuse you of vile things because you didn’t take his calls. And all this drama just because you went out to spend time with other people that weren’t him.
5. He flies off the rails when you talk with other men, even male coworkers.
A very insecure man is almost always insecure about his looks and his body. As a result of this, he sees every single man as a threat and someone who will “steal” his prized possession, you. And to make sure this doesn’t happen, he wants to see to it that you don’t have any interaction of any kind with any guy.
The fact that you have to interact with your male coworkers means nothing to him. He does not want you having any male company around you, or it could mean you’re cheating on him.
This is of course an extreme and unhealthy form of jealousy that has the potential to become dangerous for you. It should be nipped in the bud sooner rather than later.
6. He gets too attached too quickly and uses the “L” word almost as soon as you start dating. And wants you to say it back too.
This happens because he has no real friends. It also happens because he feels so insecure about himself and can’t believe his good fortune in having you choose him.
A man who professes that he loves you after 2 – 3 dates is one to be wary of because he is most likely a very insecure man. Under normal circumstances, it would take more than 2 – 3 dates to fall deeply in love with someone enough to start using the “L” word.
If it ended with him using the “L” word it wouldn’t be extremely bad. What makes it very bad is the expectation he would have that you should say the words right back to him, even if you are not there yet. And if you don’t say it, he becomes even more suspicious and upset because he thinks you’ll hurt him.
Don’t feel coerced to say the words back to him if you’re not there yet. Gently tell him you appreciate his love but in all honesty, it’s too soon for you and you are not there as yet. It would hurt him but with an insecure man, you need to start from the outset to set the ground rules.
7. He always picks on your dressing and your general appearance and wants you to change it to suit him.
And the reason why he is this way is because of his fear that other men will take you away from him. As a result, he feels that when you dress a certain type of way, you will only end up attracting all those other guys that he is afraid will steal you from him.
You see this sign when he starts trying to dictate to you how you should dress and not dress. He may make remarks like “don’t you think that dress is too short and clingy for you to be wearing?” Or anything else that would immediately tell you that he has a problem with your dressing and general appearance.
8. He manages to blame you for every fight even when he’s at fault.
Have you noticed how somehow he always finds a way to make the fights you guys have your fault? Had you not done so and so, he would not have had to react in such a way.
He never wants to take responsibility for his actions because his fragile ego tells him that as a man he must always be right and lord his correctness over you. He wrongly believes that if he takes responsibility for a fight, it means he is weak and less of a man.
9. He is never wrong.
This goes hand in hand with his making every bad thing in the relationship your fault. Whatever he does must have a logical and rational explanation for it, or so he thinks. This thinking means that he will always have a justification for everything he does wrong, even when it is total BS.
10. He’s always the victim in all his stories.
Critically think about all the stories he has told you about himself and his past relationships. You are likely to find the victim card as the running theme in all of his stories. He is the poor victim and all these women broke his heart and took advantage of his good-naturedness. Perhaps some did, but chances are that he is not exactly always the victim he paints himself out to be.
11. He has a very fragile ego and can’t handle criticism, even constructive ones.
This is a classic symptom of everyone who has low self-esteem. For the insecure man, his fragile and fractured ego makes it even worse. He can’t take any form of criticism even when it is constructive. He sees it as an attack and affront to his masculinity and person.
And when your relationship is such that you are stifled in expressing genuine concerns about your partner, the relationship will not survive and it won’t be long before it dies out.
12. You feel like you’re always walking on eggshells around him.
This would invariably happen because you are not allowed to be yourself around him and voice legitimate concerns about him when it is needed. It always feels like he’s a bear with a sore head and you have to watch everything you do and say. You are not sure what words will upset him and what words will appease him. One minute he is very jovial and exciting to be around, and the next minute he is someone completely different.
13. He stalks you on your social media pages.
You will see this in how he seems to always be the first one to comment or like your posts, whether they are status updates or pictures. And heavens forbid that you either did not talk about him so much, or you posted something without telling him about it. You will not hear the last of it if any of these two happens. He will find a way to say that it means you don’t love him enough and might be cheating on him.
14. He is too intrusive and invasive of your personal space and privacy.
You may find him peering over your shoulder to see who sent you the message you appear to be so engrossed in. He wants to know who called you and what it was they wanted. If he could, he would also keep tabs on your work email to be sure you were not flirting with a male coworker over email. This guy is all over your space and you can’t breathe. And the worst thing is he doesn’t care. On the contrary, he sees it as the manifestations of his deep love for you.
15. He always finds a way to belittle you and make you doubt yourself.
He would make seeming small remarks or comments about you that are meant to sow seeds of doubt. He wants you to be less confident and just like him and so that you can rely solely on him to give you a confidence boost. But don’t fall for it. You are a strong, confident woman, and you don’t need his affirmations to feel what you already know to be true.
9 Ways how to handle and deal with an insecure man/husband/boyfriend
Dealing with an insecure partner and learning how to love an insecure man is never easy because their insecurity makes it difficult to know where to start in trying to broach the subject and tackle it head-on.
You wonder to yourself if you should even bother. A part of you loves him though, and you know he loves you too, even though he has a funny way of letting his insecurities get in the way of things.
If you still love him dearly and also know that he loves you too, and you want to give things one last shot before throwing in the towel, try out these 9 strategies.
1. Have an honest discussion with him about it and how it is affecting your relationship.
This is where it has to start. Sit down with him and dispassionately talk about all the signs you are seeing and how it is affecting you and the relationship.
The tone and approach of this conversation are critical to its success. Remember that he still has a rather fragile ego. Outrightly being accusatory and having a hard tone will immediately put him on the defensive and he will only be interested in showing you how right he is. This will only frustrate and annoy you further and nothing will come out of that discussion.
2. Ask him what are the triggers for his insecurity and its source.
This will help you know what to avoid and the likes. It will also help you understand him better as well as any outbursts he might have.
3. Reassure him that you are with him because you love him and want to be with him and that he has nothing to be afraid of.
Realize that given his past encounters he probably already thinks and believes that he is not good enough for you. He believes that you will eventually leave him like every other woman in the past. Reassure him that he has nothing to worry about and that you would not be in a relationship with him if you didn’t want it.
4. Define your boundaries clearly and make it clear that you are not okay with him not respecting them, and that the future of the relationship depends on him respecting these boundaries.
It is at this juncture that you have to make it clear that the smoldering, and taking up all your personal space, as well as being intrusive are not okay. You will also need to be clear that wanting to be possessive with you and stop you from hanging out with other people and trying to change you are also not okay. Be firm that if he cannot change all of these unpleasant behaviors you will be left with no choice but to walk away from the relationship for your sanity and wellbeing.
5. Make it clear that you are not going to change who you are because of him and that if he’s not okay with it then the relationship has to come to an end.
You should never have to change who you are because of anyone. You don’t have to change your wardrobe and general appearance just because you are trying to please and keep an insecure man happy.
Understand that it will never be enough, and this is why you should never go down that road. He will always still find a way to make it an issue.
It is better to be yourself and make it clear that it is part of the package. And if he’s not okay with it, then he can walk out the same door he walked in through.
6. If he threatens to leave the relationship, LET HIM WALK! You don’t need that kind of drama in your life.
He may be that type of insecure man. He threatens to leave to emotionally blackmail you or maybe get you to beg him and the likes. Don’t fall for it. Once he says this, don’t even try to convince him otherwise. Tell him it’s been nice knowing him and wish him well.
If he makes a 360-degree switch and says he wasn’t serious, it is very advisable not to take him back because what he did in threatening to leave is a reflection of the downward spiral of toxicity the relationship will take.
It hardly ends well because he is not asking to stay out of any genuine desire to want to work on his insecurity. He is asking to stay because his plan of getting you to beg him did not work out. He will continue such manipulations and games in the relationship from there out.
Our helpful article on What to do if your boyfriend wants a break has more important points for you to consider. It is worth checking out.
7. If he chooses to stay and agree to your terms ask him what you can do to help him feel more secure in the relationship that does not involve you changing who you are.
This will also communicate to him that you love him and want to make things work out.
8. Help him as best as you can.
You can help him by doing the following practical things:
- Avoid the things you know to be trigger points for him. Our helpful article on What not to do in a relationship with your boyfriend can help you with helpful ways of how to do this.
- You can try to involve him as much as possible in your social outings. You can do this by inviting him to join you the next time you’re going to hang out with some male or female friends. This will have the added advantage of getting him to meet and hang out with your friends. This will also make him feel more secure about you spending time with other people.
- Randomly send him sweet messages in the middle of the day to show him you love him and are thinking about him. Our article on What to say to your boyfriend to make him happy can help you with a list of 29 sweet things you can randomly say to him. If the man in question is your husband, then check out our article on 23 Ways How to make your husband feel appreciated for sweet things to say to him.
- Encourage him to take on hobbies and interests. In this way, you don’t have to be his life force, and the only thing that has his attention. You can help him by suggesting some things based on what you know his likes and dislikes to be.
- Encourage him to try and make some good beneficial friends. This will also help to take the steam off you and help him get more socialized. Being more socialized will do a world of good to his feelings of insecurity.
- Gently broach the subject of trying to get professional help. Our article on 15 ways how to help a man with depression has helpful tips on how to bring up the topic of getting help with him.
9. Ultimately, it is up to him to work on himself and his insecurities. If he still doesn’t improve, cut your losses and leave the relationship. Staying won’t be worth it.
At the end of the day, this is the most important point when it comes to dealing with your partner’s insecurities. There is only so much you can do to help him. But until he faces up to the fact that he has a serious problem that he needs to get help for, and gets that help, the relationship will remain toxic and unhealthy for you.
If after doing all of the above, he doesn’t change for the better, you need to accept that you’ve given it your best shot and it is time to give up on the relationship and move on.
Staying on will only inflict far-reaching damage to your self-esteem and confidence that will take years to recover from. It will also affect your general quality of life, and your health and wellbeing.
In short, the damage you stand to suffer isn’t worth it. Care for yourself and love yourself enough to leave him. You are better off single and alone, yet happy, than being in a toxic relationship and miserable. Let our helpful articles on How to stay single and be happy and What to do after a breakup with boyfriend show you that you can do it.
You may also like this related article on How to get your daughter away from a controlling boyfriend.
Frequently Asked Questions.
1. How to talk to an insecure guy?
Insecure men have very fragile egos. Try not to attack him or come across as accusatory or the conversation will end up being a tirade of blames that will leave you both upset.
Rather start by asking questions and then telling him how you feel about having to walk on eggshells around him. Tell him you would like for things to improve and for him to work on his issues and that if he can’t then you’ll have to love yourself and leave him because the relationship is starting to be harmful to you.
He may still not take it too kindly but at the end of the day, you have to make the best decision for you and leave him to sort his issues out.
2. How to help an insecure man.
Only an insecure man can help himself if he really wants to deal with his insecurities. On your part, the best you can do for him is to follow the 9 strategies listed in this article.
3. How to handle an insecure man.
Adopting all the strategies listed in this article will help you handle him in a way that works out best for both of you.
4. How to make an insecure man feel secure.
Sadly, until he faces up to his insecurities and deals with them, your efforts at trying to make him feel secure will only be temporary solutions.
If you want to adopt the temporary solutions in the meantime, adopt all of the practical ways you can help him listed in this article. The practical solution of inviting him to occasionally hang out with you and your friends can help.
But like we said, all these are temporary solutions. He needs to own up to the problem and deal with it himself.
5. How to love an insecure man.
You can try your best to love an insecure man, but because of his insecurities, he won’t see your devotion and actions as love. He would self-sabotage the relationship and always question your love for him. The best way to love him is to follow the 9 strategies listed in this article. If they still don’t work, love him and yourself and leave the relationship.
6. How to overcome insecurity as a man.
It is great that you realize you have a problem with insecurity as a man. Now that you know the problem, deeply introspect on why or what are the reasons for your insecurity. Seek out professional help. In the meantime, try to make some friends to hang out with, take on other hobbies and interests, and change your mindset about your life and self-esteem.
7. My boyfriend is jealous and insecure, what do I do?
An insecure jealous boyfriend only spirals out of control if he doesn’t deal with his insecurities. Once you adopt all the 9 strategies in this article and he still hasn’t changed, it’s time to leave him.
8. Why is my boyfriend so insecure?
Fragile and fractured masculinity is responsible for insecurity in men. Upbringing, his environment, and his experiences have parts to play in his fractured masculinity. The only way to know for sure what it is that is making him insecure is by asking him.
The Conclusion Of The Whole Matter Is This!
An insecure man might be the way he is because of societal pressures and expectations, but it does not excuse his insecurities. He has to take responsibility for his actions and his feelings of insecurity and get the needed help.
If despite your spirited effort in trying to save the relationship by adopting the above 9 strategies, he is still not willing to own up to his problem of insecurity and deal with it, it is time to give up the relationship and move on. Deciding to stay on will only be detrimental to you both in the short and the long run.
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