8 things men do in relationships that make them look insecure

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Insecurity is at the root of more relationship problems than we care to admit.

Controlling behavior and manipulation? Check.

Jealousy and trust issues? Check.

Clinginess and co-dependency? Check.

The reason is complex and simple at the same time. When you’re insecure, you want to hold onto your partner with all your might because you’re terrified of abandonment. That’s the simple part.

But once you delve into the nuanced psychology of attachment styles and inner child healing, it becomes obvious that insecurities are intricate and complicated systems that affect our behavior in more ways than we can count.

Unfortunately, you can’t see into your partner’s head and untangle all the mess in order to understand them better. As such, their behavior is the only marker you can rely on.

And oh, what a good marker it is. Insecurity is inherently loud – it bleeds into how your partner acts in one way or another, letting their true fears shine through whether they like it or not.

So, without further ado, here are the 8 things men do in relationships that make them look insecure.

1) They get jealous a little too often and a little too much

A man who isn’t confident in his ability to keep you will constantly remain on the lookout for potential threats.

Why are you being so friendly to that co-worker? Is what the bartender said really so funny? Why didn’t you immediately reply to his text on your girls’ night out? Why is your phone locked? Who’s that guy from your Pilates class?

The questions are never-ending. What’s more, they’re disrespectful – when a man suspects you of cheating despite your constant reassurances of loyalty, it means he doesn’t trust you and respect you enough to put faith in your moral principles.

A secure man will let you live your life in peace because he trusts you not to break the most basic term of your agreement – monogamy. A man who’s insecure, on the other hand, will always wonder whether you’re planning to leave him for where the grass is greener.

2) They want you all to themselves

Once his insecurities take over, the controlling and manipulative behavior begins.

Possessiveness is a big one – insecure men want to have all of you at all times because they’re too afraid to lose even a tiny piece of your love.

He might take some extreme measures, such as cutting you off from your family and friends by turning you against them, or he may be more subtle about it, such as texting you a little too much and expecting immediate replies as if you had nothing better to do.

Whatever it is, his intentions are clear: he wants you to be fully available to him because any sign of independence triggers his insecurities and fears of abandonment.

3) They love bomb you

If you’re looking for an example of obvious insecurity, look no further than love bombing.

This manipulation technique is all about over-exaggerated confessions of love, grand gestures, and lavish gifts in the early stages of a relationship.

“Hold on, though. That actually sounds really nice,” you might say.

But that’s precisely why it’s a manipulation technique. When a guy showers you with too much love early on – before he even gets a proper chance to get to know you and fall in love with who you are as a person – he’s pushing you to commit to him so that he can control you.

Moreover, the love-bombing phase has an expiry date. As Taylor Wendt writes for WebMD:

“A more hidden sign of love bombing is what comes next: devaluation. When your love-bombing partner settles into a relationship with you, they may become bored, irritated, and moody.

“They might insult you, belittle you, or even physically abuse you. If this happens, you might try to leave. At this point, your partner turns on the charm, beginning the love bombing phase again to win you back.”

Love-bombing is commonly associated with people who have either narcissistic personality disorder or an anxious insecure attachment style.

4) They often go through your phone or stalk you

Remember our first point about jealousy? That’s what fuels his behavior when he checks your phone while you’re sleeping or when he thinks you’re not looking.

There’s nothing that will make a man look more insecure than sneaking around to spy on you. It’s one thing to be jealous and ask annoying questions; it’s another to turn into Joe Goldberg from You.

He might tell you that if you have nothing to hide, there’s no reason you should be worried. He might say that people who trust each other should feel free to go through each other’s social media accounts and chat conversations.

But the truth of the matter is, everyone has their own boundaries. If you don’t want him to look through your phone whenever he pleases, that is totally valid.

In my last relationship, going through each other’s stuff behind our backs was out of the question – not because we were hiding something but because we honored the privacy of the friends we spoke with over text, as well as our own private thoughts.

5) They flip out when you offer constructive criticism

“I don’t like how you treated me yesterday. It felt disrespectful.”

“Oh, because I’m such a horrible boyfriend, right? Why don’t you break up with me then?”

This, ladies and gents, is the hallmark of insecurity.

When a man lacks the confidence and self-love to accept feedback and work on his behavior, it usually means he is so deeply insecure that every single piece of criticism will send him into overdrive.

He’s so terrified you don’t love him that he simply takes everything too personally.

As a result, a conversation that could have lasted five minutes turns into a two-hour argument.

6) They constantly mansplain stuff to you or belittle you

Insecure men will go to great lengths to feel better about themselves – often at the expense of their partner.

In many ways, he feels like he’s still a boy, but he wants to fit the role of an alpha male, so he grabs any opportunity to put you down.

He might give you unkind comments about your appearance to lower your confidence.

He might make fun of your weaknesses and insecurities to bring you down to his level.

He might mansplain everything to you because he wants to feel like he’s the smarter one.

When you’re dealing with a man like that, remember that men who are truly confident don’t need to compete with their partners. They only ever compete with themselves.

7) They change their behavior to conform to your value system

A girl once told me, “Don’t tell a man what you expect from him straight away. He’ll follow the guidebook to make you fall in love and only then will he reveal himself for who he truly is.”

Of course, not every man is like that. There are plenty of men out there who strive to form genuine connections with their partners and who don’t feel the need to invent a brand-new personality just to make someone fall for them.

But there’s a great lesson we can learn from what she said – men who aren’t fully secure in themselves will say and do whatever you seem to want.

If you’re a vegetarian, he’ll swear off meat two weeks after getting to know you (and will continue to eat it when you’re not around).

If your beliefs are on one side of the political spectrum and his are on the other, he’ll tell you he’s apolitical (and will slowly begin to reveal his true values three months into the relationship).

An insecure man wants your love – even if it means you’ll fall in love with a façade he’s putting on, not his real self.

8) They cheat on you

You may think he’s cheating because you’re not attractive enough, but the truth is that lots of men cheat for reasons that have nothing to do with you and everything to do with their own ego.

According to research, partners who are insecure and anxiously attached are more likely to cheat.

They strive to feel wanted. Loved. Adored. Attractive. Cherished.

You can shower them with as much love as you want, but somehow, it will simply never be enough, and so they go and seek love elsewhere without realizing that as long as they feel dissatisfied in their own skin, they’ll never feel whole.

No person can give them what they truly need.

Thus the battle of an insecure man.

But do you know what? It is not your job to fix him or convince him of your love. If a man is not confident in himself, he can date a thousand people and still keep himself stuck in the same traps.

The only way out is for him to start seeking love on the inside.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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