Is there anything more blissful than those first few months with your lover?
Entering each other’s worlds, discovering more and more about each other, falling deeper in love…
And suddenly feeling very vulnerable!
That’s the thing about romantic relationships; they are loaded with triggers that uncover our emotional wounds and expose all our insecurities.
And this is even more pronounced for those among us who feel unlovable in the first place.
But how do you know if you or your partner falls into that category? There are some universal signs.
People who don’t feel worthy of love usually display these 10 behaviors in a relationship (without realizing it).
1) They don’t argue in a healthy way
When someone doesn’t feel worthy of love, they are led by fear.
This means they can’t argue in a healthy manner but go one of two ways…
They may be constantly on the alert for signs of disrespect and disinterest, overreacting to the vaguest suggestion of them. And being overly aggressive, making accusations and showing disproportionate anger.
By being aggressive, getting angry, and initiating the argument themselves, they feel like they are anticipating their partner.
This is their attempt to gain control when they feel like they have none.
Alternatively, they might bury their head in the sand, ignoring all signs of trouble. Their terror of rocking the boat leads them to avoid conflict altogether.
But feelings cannot be buried, and the tendency to do so inevitably results in all that suppressed anger and frustration coming to the surface at another time.
These behaviors can be ascribed to a deep-seated fear of rejection and abandonment.
Sadly (and ironically), far from protecting them from these outcomes, not arguing in a healthy manner makes them much more likely!
And staying with self-sabotaging behavior…
2) They are overly critical
Those who feel like they are unlovable also tend to be hypercritical.
Rather than focusing on the many things they love about their partner and sharing lots of compliments and praise, they focus on the negative.
This could take the form of nitpicking, nagging, complaining, and being judgmental about their partner.
It’s almost like they are looking for flaws in everything from how their partner stacks the dishes to their choice of friends, clothes, cereal, etc.
And far from it being their partner’s issue, it’s likely there’s quite a bit of projection going on!
3) They’ve got to be perfect
But the critique can also be aimed inwards… and people who feel unlovable are extremely hard on themselves.
They often become convinced that the more successful, attractive, popular, accomplished they become, the more lovable they will be.
That if they are not perfect, or they don’t deserve love from their partner.
And this can lead them to adopt unrealistic standards.
As well as setting themselves up for failure… No one is perfect, we are all riddled with flaws.
But their lack of self-love and self-worth makes them think anything less than pure perfection means they are unworthy.
This ties in quite well with our next behavior…
4) They’re needy (and clingy)
A constant need for validation and tendency toward clinginess is the next sign of someone who doesn’t feel worthy of love.
This is the boyfriend who texts his partner constantly demanding updates of what’s happening when she’s out with her friends.
It is the girlfriend who anxiously checks her partner’s location even though he told her where he would be.
It is obsessing over their partner’s actions when they’re not around.
And although it’s common to have unresolved pain from past relationships, it’s the lack of self-love that drives people to act this way.
They will demand constant reassurance about how their partner feels for them. However, regardless of the amount of reassurance they get, it’s never enough.
This is because it is their lack of self-love that is causing their anxiety and nothing to do with their partner.
You can’t treat an internal problem from the outside.
Speaking of which…
5) They become jealous easily
When someone feels unlovable, they don’t believe they’re worthy of their partner’s affection.
They are always anticipating rejection and abandonment.
This leads them to feel threatened and fearful of losing their lover to someone better (i.e. someone who is worthy).
So, they will become protective and jealous easily.
This is the woman who feels the stab of anxiety when her husband mentions a new lady member at his golf club.
Or the guy whose imagination makes every other man on the planet his rival for his partner’s attention.
Jealousy leads people to act in ways that are ugly and damaging. It is literally poison for relationships!
And tragically, although it often raises its ugly head out of a desire to hold on to a partner, it generally ends up being the thing that chases them away.
6) They compare their relationship to others
Those who feel unlovable usually judge their partner’s feelings and their relationship in comparison to others.
For instance, if another couple went to Bora Bora on their holidays, they would want to go somewhere just as expensive and exotic.
If another couple shares a romantic proposal story, they will feel the need to outdo it.
Why? Because anything less means their relationship isn’t as strong or as real and is therefore a fraud.
What they don’t realize is that this comparison and the inevitable envy that follows is rooted in their personal insecurities and feelings of inadequacy.
It has nothing to do with their relationship!
7) They’re self-deprecating
And staying with behaviors rooted in insecurity and feelings of inadequacy…
Another sign of someone who doesn’t feel worthy of love is constant self-deprecation.
These people often massively undervalue themselves and what they bring to their relationship and consequently act in ways that go on to undermine it.
Deep down they don’t believe they are attractive, accomplished, or interesting enough to be the object of someone’s affection.
And despite their demand for constant validation, their lack of self-worth means they’re not able to take compliments or believe the reassurance they get.
It’s a vicious cycle that won’t cease until they learn to love and appreciate themselves.
8) They can’t be vulnerable
Vulnerability is vital to build closeness, trust, and a deeper connection in romantic relationships.
So, when someone doesn’t allow themselves to be vulnerable and fully share with their partner, it’s generally a sign that they don’t feel worthy of love.
They are afraid of being judged and getting hurt, and this shows up as avoidance and a fear of intimacy.
And from the invulnerable to the overly vulnerable…
9) They people please
People who feel unlovable are often big people-pleasers in their romantic relationships.
This is because they don’t believe that just being themselves makes them worthy of love, but rather that love is something they must earn.
So, they will often go out of their way to accommodate their partner and neglect their own needs in the process.
Unfortunately, their inability to set healthy boundaries makes them easy prey for manipulators and users.
And on to the final behavior of someone who doesn’t believe they’re worthy of love…
10) They neglect self-care
Investing in ourselves (our bodies, minds, friendships, goals) is the ultimate demonstration of self-love and self-worth.
So, it stands to reason that when someone doesn’t take care of themselves, it’s because they don’t feel that they are worthy of it.
Neglecting self-care can be not taking time to pamper yourself occasionally, not spending enough time with friends and family, or constantly prioritizing their partner’s needs over their own.
It is a dangerous road to go down, whether the relationship lasts or not!
How we behave in our romantic relationships teaches us so much about ourselves and our partners.
Those who believe they’re worthy of love generally feel secure in their relationships.
They engage in positive behaviors that strengthen (not threaten) their relationships, don’t compare their love stories to others, and handle conflict in a healthy way.
And sadly, the opposite is true of those who feel unworthy of being loved.
If you recognize yourself or your partner in the behaviors above, it’s probably time to tackle this lack of self-love before it destroys your relationship.
As the quote goes, “No one can love you until you love yourself, and you cannot love anyone else, until you love yourself.”
To learn more about how to fall in love with yourself, check out this article.