At some point in every relationship, the dynamic between two people can change. Often for the better — you grow with each other — there are other times when one person may start to feel less confident about themselves.
Sexologist and relationship psychotherapist Carlen Costa, says people start feeling “not good enough” for their partners before they even get into the relationship.
“They doubt their self-worth,” she tells Global News. “They put up their own walls and boundaries when it comes to dating or automatically think they are not good enough.”
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Costa adds these relationship transitions of not feeling desirable tend to happen when there is a major life change.
“The partner gets a big promotion or there are money changes,” she says. “When we question those things, that’s when we start to see some of the foundation starts to crumble and we start making poor choices.”
The fear of being rejected
Costa says not feeling good enough for someone isn’t just about low self-esteem or low confidence. Often, there is a fear of being rejected, alone or being cheated on.
“When we worry people are cheating on us we start to push people away from us or we become overbearing,” she continues. “Or we start to compromise everything else about ourselves and create scenarios and lies in our head.”
People often jump to conclusions they are being cheated on if their partner is going out late or hanging out with new friends, she adds.
Be upfront with your partner
As important as communication is to any relationship, when you start feeling insecure about your self-worth, it’s crucial to bring it up with your partner right away.
“If you don’t, you are limiting the potential of your relationship.”
Be honest with your partner and tackle the problems head-on. She adds, these feelings also stem from other insecurities in your life, either involving work, friends or family members.
Taking care of yourself
According to Suzanne Lachmann in a post for Psychology Today, people with low self-esteem in relationships often test their partners to see how much they really love and value them.
“You may even sabotage the relationship because you know your partner will inevitably leave anyway. The end of every relationship allows you to say, ‘See, I told you so. I’m unlovable.’ More often than not, there is intense regret in the aftermath when you lose a partner this way,” she said.
Costa says not feeling good enough also means you need to put yourself first. “Be selfish with yourself … we start to evaluate what’s important to us and put energy and focus into that instead.”
This means surrounding yourself with other people that make you happy, focusing on things that make you feel good (the gym, work or other hobbies) and challenging yourself to be a better person.
Should you leave?
But should you really stay with the person in the first place? If you’re constantly having self-doubt, thoughts of insecurities or low self-esteem, it may be worth it to move on, Costa says.
“When it starts to become detrimental to you and your life, when you can no longer grow in that relationship with that person or move forward, it’s time to end that relationship.”
Communication and therapy, she adds can help both individuals get to a place where they feel confident in the relationship again, but it’s really up to the individual to take this step.
“The healthiest relationship is when people who are independent and come together to form a wonderful life together.”