8 things men do in relationships when they lack self-esteem

Navigating relationships can be tricky, especially when self-esteem comes into play. It’s not uncommon for men to struggle with their self-confidence in a relationship.

When a man lacks self-esteem, it can manifest in many different ways. He might act out of character, or do things that don’t align with his true self.

Understanding these behaviors can be instrumental in helping to support your partner or even yourself through a difficult time. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 8 things men do in relationships when they lack self-esteem.

Stay tuned, as we unravel these behaviors together.

1) They constantly seek validation

A man who lacks self-esteem often seeks perpetual reassurance in relationships. This can manifest in him constantly asking for his partner’s approval or affirmation.

This behavior stems from the fear of not being good enough. He may obsessively seek validation from his partner for everything, from his appearance to his career choices, and even trivial everyday decisions.

It’s like he’s looking for a mirror that reflects back a positive image of himself – something he struggles to see on his own.

This craving for validation doesn’t come from a place of vanity. Rather it’s a desperate attempt to fill an internal void, a void created by low self-esteem.

Understanding this behavior can help partners approach the situation with empathy. It’s not about indulging every request for validation but about helping him build his self-worth from within.

2) They avoid confrontation

You know, I’ve seen this first hand. I had a friend who would go to great lengths to avoid any sort of confrontation or disagreement in his relationship. Even when things were clearly bothering him, he’d keep quiet, brushing it off with an “it’s no big deal” or “I don’t want to argue”.

It was as if he believed that voicing his concerns would lead to conflict and possibly drive his partner away. His fear of losing the relationship was so intense that he preferred to swallow his feelings instead.

But the truth is, avoiding confrontation only leads to resentment. It’s crucial for both partners in a relationship to feel heard and understood. And that’s only possible when there’s open communication, even if it sometimes involves uncomfortable conversations.

So if you notice a man constantly avoiding confrontation, it could be a sign of low self-esteem. And it’s crucial to address this issue, for the health of the relationship and his personal well-being.

3) They give too much in the relationship

Interestingly, studies show that people with low self-esteem tend to give more in relationships. This isn’t about generosity or altruism, but a desperate attempt to make themselves indispensable to their partner.

Often, men with low self-confidence feel they have little to offer in a relationship. So they try to compensate by doing more, giving more, being more. They might constantly go out of their way to please their partner, even at the cost of their own happiness or comfort.

The problem is that this kind of over-giving can lead to an unhealthy imbalance in the relationship. It becomes less about mutual respect and more about one person’s need for approval. Recognizing this pattern can be the first step towards fostering a healthier dynamic.

4) They constantly compare themselves to others

Comparison is a common trap for those lacking self-esteem. Men with low self-confidence often measure their worth against others, especially in the context of a relationship.

Whether it’s comparing themselves to their partner’s ex, their friends, or even fictional characters in movies, they constantly feel the need to measure up. There’s always someone smarter, more attractive, or more successful they feel inferior to.

But the truth is, comparison is a destructive habit that only fuels feelings of inadequacy. It’s essential to remember that everyone has their own unique strengths and qualities that make them special. Learning to value oneself without comparison is a crucial step towards building self-esteem.

5) They struggle with trust issues

Trust is the bedrock of any healthy relationship. But for a man battling low self-esteem, trusting his partner can become an uphill task.

He might constantly worry that his partner will leave him for someone ‘better’. He might struggle to believe that he is loved and valued, despite reassurances. This fear can make him suspicious and overly protective, damaging the bond of trust in the relationship.

It’s heartbreaking to see someone you care about struggle with such insecurities. But remember, trust issues often stem from deeper self-esteem problems. Encouraging him to seek professional help can be a significant step towards healing.

6) They apologize excessively

I remember a time when I would say ‘sorry’ for everything, even when it wasn’t my fault. I’d apologize for things beyond my control or for simply expressing my feelings.

This pattern of excessive apologizing is often seen in men with low self-esteem. It’s like they’re constantly walking on eggshells, afraid that any misstep might ruin the relationship.

But the truth is, over-apologizing can be counterproductive. It not only reinforces feelings of inadequacy but can also be frustrating for the other person. Learning to understand that not everything requires an apology is an important step towards building self-esteem.

7) They struggle with decision-making

Making decisions can be a daunting task, especially for someone grappling with low self-esteem. They might constantly second-guess themselves or defer to their partner for every decision, big or small.

This isn’t about being considerate or inclusive. It’s more about their fear of making a ‘wrong’ choice and facing disapproval. They might feel safer letting their partner make the decisions rather than risking a mistake.

But decision-making is an integral part of personal growth and confidence-building. Encouraging them to take the lead on decisions, starting with small ones, can be a great way to boost their self-esteem.

8) They have difficulty accepting compliments

Men with low self-esteem often struggle to accept compliments. Instead of seeing it as a genuine appreciation of their qualities, they might dismiss it as flattery or believe they don’t deserve it.

This is more than just modesty. It’s a reflection of their deep-seated belief that they are not good enough. Accepting compliments can feel uncomfortable because it contradicts their self-perception.

The most important thing to understand is that self-esteem issues aren’t solved overnight. It takes patience, understanding, and consistent efforts to rebuild one’s self-worth. And sometimes, professional help may be necessary. Remember, everyone deserves to feel valued and loved, just the way they are.

Final thoughts: It’s all about self-love

The complexities of human behavior, especially in the realm of relationships, often boil down to one crucial element: self-love.

Psychologists and relationship experts agree that our ability to love and respect others is deeply connected to how we love and respect ourselves.

For men struggling with low self-esteem, navigating relationships can be like walking through a minefield of insecurities. Their actions often stem from a place of fear and self-doubt rather than confidence and self-assuredness.

But it’s important to remember that everyone is deserving of love – both from others and, most importantly, from themselves.

Building self-esteem isn’t an overnight process. It requires patience, understanding, and consistent efforts. Sometimes, professional help may be necessary.

The most potent antidote to low self-esteem is nurturing a sense of self-worth. Whether it’s through therapy, self-care practices, or supportive relationships, it’s about learning to see oneself in a positive light.

As the renowned psychotherapist Carl Rogers once said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

So whether you’re reading this for yourself or someone you care about, remember: It starts with self-love.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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