It’s a bleak truth, but the fact is that people who enter relationships with low self-esteem are more likely to be unhappy and break up (according to research).
Many studies have found that low self-esteem can have a hugely negative impact on a person’s relationships.
Sometimes, reacting poorly to things your partner says and does can be a sign that you’re in a bad relationship that’s wearing away at your self-esteem.
But other times, it can just be coming from you and your own past.
It can be difficult to spot whether your actions are coming from a place of insecurity.
So, let’s take a look at the 9 things women do in relationships when they lack self-esteem.
1) Gets all their validation from a partner
Research shows that it’s perfectly normal to seek validation from your partner to maintain a loving, committed relationship.
Wanting regular compliments and reassurance that your partner still adores you is normal. It’s also very important to maintain a healthy relationship.
However, relationship experts are clear that it becomes unhealthy when you seek all your validation from your partner.
This means you don’t (or can’t) find any internal validation for the things you do, and you don’t have good support networks to validate you when your partner can’t.
2) Checks in with their partner 24/7 when they’re out with friends
Many studies tell us how important it is to continue our friendships when in a relationship.
Good friendships prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation. They also boost your happiness, reduce stress, and increase your sense of belonging.
Wanting your partner to check in with you when they’re out with their friends is normal in many relationships.
How often you and your partner speak to each other when you’re out should be a joint decision, so it’s satisfactory for both partners.
However, wanting to text continuously, and/or speak on the phone, is not generally considered healthy when a partner is out with friends for only a few hours.
Getting upset or anxious when your partner doesn’t check in 24/7 is often a sign that you lack self-esteem.
It can also mean that you don’t know how to spend time alone or without your partner.
3) Can’t see friends and family without their partner
For a relationship to be happy and healthy, it’s important to spend time apart and time alone.
According to relationship experts, spending too much time together can lead to codependency, which goes hand-in-hand with poor self-esteem.
It’s normal to want to do things with your partner and invite them into your social circle when you love each other.
But a sign a woman lacks self-esteem in a relationship is if they want to spend every minute with their partner and no time alone.
That means they never see their friends and family without their partner in attendance.
While this may not seem problematic, it can mean you lose out on the benefits that come with having support networks outside of your partner, according to VeryWellMind.
Like a boosted sense of belonging, a more positive sense of self, and (most importantly), a sense of interdependency in your relationship.
4) Goes through their partner’s phone, likes, and following religiously
Religiously tracking and going through your boyfriend’s social media likes, follower counts, and Snapchat scores says one of two things:
The woman is insecure in the relationship, or they lack trust in their partner.
Granted, your partner shouldn’t be going out of their way to make you feel insecure.
That can include not doing things like liking lots of other women’s photos and flirting with other women.
But obsessively checking these things without a good reason is a sign of insecurity and poor self-esteem.
5) Asks their partner’s thoughts on every outfit
Everyone wants to look good for their partner when they’re in a relationship, especially if you’re going somewhere nice. Like on a date or to a wedding.
It’s also very normal to ask a partner’s opinion on an outfit occasionally when you’re unsure about it, or want reassurance that everything matches.
However, if a woman asks their partner’s thoughts on every single outfit and wants reassurance on all things they wear, this is a clear sign of low self-esteem.
Whether you’re in a relationship or not, it’s important to have confidence in the way you look, even if you want to better your body or overall image in some way.
That means choosing your own outfits, deciding for yourself if you look good, and being able to go ahead with an outfit without needing someone else’s confirmation that it looks good.
6) Picks unnecessary fights about past relationships
Talking about an ex-girlfriend is never a good idea in relationships, especially in certain contexts (like comparing them or talking fondly about past memories).
But everyone has a past and sometimes, your new partner will mention an ex.
A clear sign that a woman is insecure and lacks self-esteem in the relationship is if they take any opportunity to pick a fight with their partner about their past.
Whether that’s irrational jealousy, a sudden annoyance about sexual history, or an out-of-proportion argument about an ex being mentioned casually.
7) Asks their partner to stop speaking to every woman they know
Everyone has boundaries and it’s important to set them in a relationship.
Having clear boundaries around what your partner can and can’t do with the women in their lives is generally considered normal and healthy.
For example, a boyfriend having movie night with a girl friend of theirs on a Friday evening or late-night phone calls will likely cross a boundary for many women in relationships.
But there’s a difference between setting healthy boundaries and taking things too far.
If a woman asks their boyfriend to stop talking to their female boss, work colleagues, family friend, relative, or friend’s girlfriend on a day out, it’s usually because the woman is feeling insecure in the relationship.
8) Lets their partner disrespect them time and time again
This one isn’t a studied fact, but it’s something many of us learn after years of experience
The term “love is blind” exists for a reason. It can mean you find someone the best person in the world regardless of their tatty jeans and unshaven face because you love what’s on the inside.
But it can also have a very negative deeper meaning, where you let your partner disrespect you time and time again because you love them.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
If a partner says they don’t want to be with you one minute, and wants to be with you the next, staying with them while they “figure things out” isn’t something someone with high self-esteem does.
They know their worth and that they deserve to be with someone who is sure about them.
Similarly, if a partner continuously does something to hurt you, knowing it will hurt you, and you tolerate it over and over, you probably don’t have as much self-esteem as you think.
9) Is afraid to leave, despite being unhappy
When you’re unhappy in a relationship, leaving is a very, very, very difficult decision.
Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship (including myself) knows how hard it is to decide when it’s time to end things.
This is especially the case if it’s been a long relationship lasting many years.
Particularly if you have strong ties to one another, like a mortgage, tenancy, or kids.
Relationships are an investment, and giving up on that investment can feel terrible and scary.
However, being afraid to leave a bad relationship, even when you’re not happy, is often a sign that you lack self-esteem.
Because, even though it’s hard to call it quits, having high self-esteem means you know your worth and you know there’s someone better out there for you, that’ll treat you better and make you happier than you are right now.
Having high self-esteem isn’t always an easy trait to possess. This is especially true if you’ve had a rough past or bad experiences in relationships.
But good self-esteem can improve both your relationships and your own sense of self.
It can make you feel better about yourself, more confident, and even happier in everyday life.