In a healthy relationship, partners support each other and work to build a strong connection over time. This, in turn, gives them emotional security and validation.
Unfortunately, sometimes, one needs more validation than the other, and the problem starts when this need becomes obsessive, and it’s impossible to fulfill it fully.
In this article, we’ll explore how validation works in relationships, how to overcome this difficult problem, and what are the 10 signs you’re in a relationship with someone who needs constant validation.
1) They create a spectacle
This is a strong sign that someone’s using you for validation: they only want to show off their perfect relationship in public. In private, they might change their attitude or not even express any signs of affection towards you.
The hard truth is that they might not actually like you all that much, but they want to show others that they’re not lonely.
This means when others are around, they will create a love spectacle with you as a main character.
But don’t get deceived, just like a play in a theatre–it’s a lie.
2) You have to praise them all the time
When someone seeks constant validation, they will always want to be complimented and appreciated on their terms.
If your partner’s self-worth depends on you approving of everything they do, they might have a deeper issue going on.
Don’t shame them; instead, talk to them and be honest about how that makes you feel. Nobody is capable of giving validation to someone all the time.
Most importantly, no one’s self-esteem should rely on external validation.
3) They give a lot of importance to status
People who are very insecure and need tons of validation enjoy collecting status symbols in every sense of the word.
For example, they’d pick designer clothes that grant them attention, or they would choose a coffee from a famous coffee chain even if they don’t like the taste. They also like flashy cars and expensive accessories.
If everything has to be shiny and new, you’re probably just another part of what brings validation to them.
4) They don’t have empathy for others
This is very evident; if you notice it, it’s a red flag.
Empathy is crucial when it comes to validating other people’s experiences. If your partner doesn’t have it, they are using you for something, most likely validation.
You cat test that by observing how they react to others in trouble or if they express any form of empathy when you tell them that someone’s going through hard times.
5) They brag about their sex life
Bragging about sex life in public isn’t normal. Most people try not to mention what’s going on in their bed, especially if they’re in a long-term relationship, out of respect for their partner.
However, if your partner is going into graphic detail about the things you do in bed, they just want to be considered great at sex and they aren’t concerned about respecting you.
6) They don’t deepen their relationships
People who need external validation never progress in their relationships because, deep down, they’re insecure about themselves and don’t want to open up to others. They keep a facade that they can sustain for a long time.
But if another person gets to know them, they bail. This also means that they lack internal validation and can’t find what it takes to feel good about themselves.
That’s a surefire sign they’re using others for validation.
7) They constantly brag about dating hot people
People who talk about the appearance of their dates or the people they’ve been with, usually want external validation. They use others as trophies for their self-worth.
This is a sign of deeply-rooted insecurities; their ego is acting instead of their authenticity.
Deep down, they don’t see themselves as worthy of attention or love, and that’s why stating that they’ve got a hot date makes them feel better about themselves.
8) They don’t support you unconditionally
Does your partner only support you when it’s convenient for them?
Do they want others to know that they’ve gone the extra mile to help you with something?
They probably use you for validation if they’re not consistent with their support. Being supportive only when it’s noticed or “seen” is just another sign of their insecurity.
9) They comment on your body
Compliments are fine and welcomed, but we’re not talking about that.
People who’re looking for constant validation subconsciously try to put others down. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to comment on their bodies because so many of us are insecure about that.
Even if someone who needs constant validation starts off by giving you nice, genuine compliments, their remarks will eventually become passive-aggressive and hurtful.
This is a sign that they don’t see you as a real person with real feelings. Instead, they see you as someone who they can put down to feel better about themselves.
10) They’re manipulative
If you notice manipulative behavior from your partner–don’t be afraid to bring it up and set clear boundaries of how you want to be treated. It’ll only benefit you in the future.
Common characteristics of people who need constant validation
Here are the most common signs of somebody who needs a lot of validation:
- They ask other people about what they should do at any given moment. They struggle to make their own choices because of their insecurity.
- They don’t feel good about the things they do. Self-doubt is one of their greatest weaknesses.
- They don’t take on criticism very well, not even constructive criticism. That’s why they’ll overreact if you try to point out something wrong with their behavior.
- They always want to make others happy, even at the cost of their time, because they want to feel loved. Their intentions aren’t selfless; they need that validation to be comfortable in their skin.
- They worry about what others will think. They will do anything to avoid being seen in a negative light, and they will likely want you to do the same.
- They need reassurance all the time, and you will often have to compliment their appearance, their behavior, and everything else.
How to deal with someone who needs constant validation
Seeking validation isn’t a bad thing. It’s important for all of us to feel loved and appreciated. Especially if we’re with the people we trust.
But what happens when that’s not enough? The problems start to arise. Here’s how to help somebody in this situation:
1) Practice active listening
When you’re dealing with somebody who needs validation all the time, listening is crucial.
When you practice active listening, you give them your full attention, showing real interest in what they’re going through. Remember to make eye contact, nod, and repeat what they said to make sure they know you’re listening.
For example, if they say something like “I feel like a failure, ” you can ask them why they think that and what they feel they should do instead. This simple action reassures them.
2) Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you’re in a serious relationship, it’s best to seek professional help, like therapy or couples counseling.
A professional will give you the right guidance, supporting you both through this bad moment. Remember, no feeling lasts forever, and unhealthy dynamics can change for the better.
3) Evaluate the relationship
Think about what you feel, regardless of the other person. Do you feel supported? Are your needs being met?
If you’re constantly feeling empty or undervalued, see what you can do to change it, and talk to your partner.
4) Let them know that you care
If they know you care, they will start changing that self-perception that makes them always seek reassurance. You can ask how they feel, show interest, and ask the right questions.
Validation doesn’t mean that you tell them everything they’re doing is right. It’s just being understanding and attentive.
5) Exercise patience
Being with someone who requires constant validation can be tiring, and changing long-standing habits takes a lot of time.
If they’ve always been insecure, they will need you to be there to start changing for the better.
6) Don’t solve their problems for them
Instead, ask them what they think the solution to their problems is.
They will talk about everything more positively, and you can still support them if they try something different.
If you know the problem, offer your help and navigate this new phase with them.
7) Don’t validate them in public
Instead, compliment them in private.
This is more genuine; they can absorb and appreciate your words without external pressure.
Remember that they’re susceptible to what others think about them.
8) Set clear and firm boundaries with them
Establish boundaries regarding what you will and won’t tolerate in the relationship.
Don’t be afraid to communicate your expectations, and make sure that your partner is on the same wavelength regarding respect and mutual validation.
9) Don’t allow them to take advantage of you
Normally, people who need validation will try to take advantage of you, especially if you’re giving them the attention that they need.
They will drain your energy. Remember to set boundaries early on.
They’re not always doing this deliberately; most of the time, this is a learned behavior from their childhood. You need to know if you’re willing to tolerate it or not.
10) Recommend a professional
A professional is your best bet if their need for validation is causing you stress or harming the relationship.
They can provide a wider set of tools to deal with emotional responses and to manage that constant need for reassurance in a healthy way.
To sum up
People who are constantly seeking validation can be similar to energy vampires in the sense that they will drain your energy and leave you feeling kind of used in a sense.
However, if you learn to handle them in all their uniqueness, and if you love them despite it all, they can change for the better and form a healthy relationship with you.
You can learn from the tips above and manage how you give and receive validation.