If you love your partner, it can be impossible to think there’s a chance they don’t love themselves.
Truth is, many people don’t.
Feelings of unworthiness usually stem from childhood or past hurt.
And even if you grew up in a happy home where you learned to love yourself, someone you meet along the way can bleed on you.
In a culture that promotes being single, it’s easy to think about leaving your partner when their behavior doesn’t align with your standards.
But what’s often missed is that we all lead different lives that create who we are.
Sometimes, your partner just needs a little guidance on how to practice self-love.
Recognizing if they feel unworthy can help you understand their behavior better so you can guide them in this.
Ready to find out what someone who feels unworthy of love generally does?
1) They self-sabotage.
People who love themselves and feel worthy of it always try to bring their best to the table. Those who don’t, well, they self-sabotage.
For some, doing this is a way to confirm their negative self-beliefs. For others, it’s how they gain control over potential rejection.
Whatever the reason, it’s damaging.
Self-sabotage can take many forms. If your partner feels unworthy of love, they might:
- Push you away even when you genuinely care.
- Create unnecessary conflicts.
- Become emotionally distant.
- Deliberately make choices that curb growth.
The anticipation of being rejected drives these behaviors. People who believe they’re unworthy of love create self-fulfilling prophecies because, deep down, they believe they don’t deserve to win in life.
Breaking this cycle can be hard. Self-sabotage manifests as many different types of destructive behaviors.
If your partner feels unworthy of love, you’ll also notice that…
2) They strive for perfectionism.
While wanting things to work out perfectly isn’t necessarily a bad thing, setting unrealistic expectations and feeling inadequate when you don’t meet them is.
And this is exactly what someone who feels unworthy of love will do.
Your partner could have an intense fear of not being good enough. This belief is what drives their perfectionism. They tend to think they need to be perfect to be worthy of love and acceptance.
Everything they do will show this desire to be perfect.
Often, also their choice in you.
Perfectionism can lead to relationship dissatisfaction. Your partner could be pursuing an idealized version of you – one that’s flawless and reflects their life as perfect.
Want to know why they have these high standards?
Well, it’s simply because…
3) They constantly need validation.
When someone feels unworthy of love, they need external validation. Whether that’s approval, good feedback, or praise.
They think they’ll get this from family and friends if they have the perfect partner or relationship.
This is often the only way their deep-seated insecurities can be silenced momentarily.
Your partner might also have an insatiable desire for affirmation. They could expect you to:
- Reassure them that you find them attractive.
- Always tell them how much you like their ideas.
- Constantly thank them for everything they bring to your relationship.
And while doing this for your partner helps create a healthy relationship, if yours repeatedly needs this type of validation it can become emotionally draining.
Therapy can be particularly helpful in addressing your partner’s underlying insecurities and working toward building better self-esteem.
It can also help your partner figure out why…
4) They fear rejection.
Fearing rejection is a typical emotional response, but when someone feels unworthy of love, they can be hypersensitive to the possibility of it.
Therapy can help manage these feelings, but if you’re reading this, chances are your partner isn’t in any yet.
And if your partner does feel unworthy of love, they’ll do things to protect themselves against any perceived threat of rejection in your relationship.
This can make them hesitant to be vulnerable, genuinely connect with you, or express their true feelings.
It could also be a reason why…
5) They fear intimacy.
Intimacy issues happen more than you could imagine. Getting too close to someone emotionally or taking your relationship to the next step puts you at risk of getting hurt.
Most people know this.
But those who generally feel unworthy of love honestly believe there’s no chance for a positive outcome.
If this is your partner, you might notice that they feel uncomfortable opening up or even get anxious when you initiate physical closeness.
Are all your conversations superficial?
Does your partner avoid sharing details about their childhood or desires?
Do you sometimes think they’re sabotaging the development of a deeper connection by distancing themselves from you?
This behavior is typical for people who believe they’re unworthy of love.
You’ll have to gradually gain your partner’s trust and show them you’re safe and won’t let them go when they reveal their true self.
6) They can’t accept compliments.
It’s true that people who feel unworthy of love need constant validation. But the thing is, they don’t know how to accept it.
If this is your partner, you’ll notice that they downplay or deflect compliments.
This behavior ties back to low self-esteem and the deep-rooted belief that they don’t deserve positive recognition.
Simply put – the voices in your partner’s head contradict anything nice said about them.
Even when they want people to say nice things about them.
7) They excessively self-criticize.
So, no matter how much they’re complimented, praised, or given positive feedback, until their inner dialogue changes, they won’t believe it.
People with feelings of unworthiness walk around with an inner voice that continuously highlights their flaws and mistakes.
They’re also constantly reminded of the times they fell short of expectations.
This habit can become detrimental to their mental health. And more often than not, the only way to break it is with professional help.
If this is your partner, you might have noticed that they have a heightened sensitivity to constructive criticism or like to create distance whenever they suspect you’re unhappy about something they did or said.
Understanding where this behavior comes from can help you manage your expectations. But your partner should still get into therapy to rewire their inner voice.
8) They people-please.
If your partner feels unworthy of love, they can develop a people-pleasing habit.
They’ll try to make everyone around them happy in the hopes of finally hearing they’re worthy.
People who do this go above and beyond. They say yes to everything, even when it means saying no to themselves.
Want to know the worst part?
Despite all the effort, it doesn’t always work. Your partner might find themselves exhausted and still questioning if anyone truly cares about them.
If this is destroying their happiness and causing issues in your relationship, helping your partner realize their value is a big step in the right direction.
You’ll also have to encourage them to set some boundaries.
If you don’t, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll work themselves to the ground trying to prove they’re good enough.
This could also become the reason…
9) They neglect self-care.
If your partner is too busy trying to people-pleasing, they might reach a point where they stop considering their own emotional or physical well-being.
Feeling unworthy of love already puts someone at risk of doing this. People-pleasing increases it.
Does it seem like your partner isn’t getting enough sleep?
Do they rarely have time to do things they enjoy?
Do they sweep their feelings under the rug to keep the peace?
These are some of the different forms physical and emotional neglect can take.
Your partner might think sacrificing their needs is for the greater good. But the truth is, it only leads to exhaustion and a constant sense of emptiness.
And while you’re not responsible for how someone sees themselves, helping your partner realize that these behaviors are destructive can steer them towards a healthier relationship with their inner voice.
Sometimes, a person who feels unworthy of love just needs a partner who’s loving and patient enough to change their perspective of themselves.
But if this isn’t you, there’s no need to feel guilty.
At the end of the day, no one can make us feel differently about ourselves if we’re not willing to.
Staying with a partner who sabotages your efforts and negatively impacts your relationship can make you lose yourself, too.