Are you feeling like you’re in a cycle of needing reassurance?
You’re not the only one!
Now, it’s very normal to feel like we want reassurance occasionally, but it’s not healthy to need constant reassurance.
If you’re feeling like you have a constant need, here are 10 reasons why this might be and how to overcome it.
1) You need to work on your self-esteem
Our self-esteem can take a beating as we go through life.
The little things that people say to us or about us can linger for years – and affect our self-esteem without us even realizing!
This means, our self-esteem is a constant work in progress.
It takes work to keep it high, and to rebuild ourselves from the negative things that happened to us.
But it’s easier said than done…
…I think I speak for everyone when I say: we can be so hard on ourselves!
Think about how you speak to yourself when no one else is around.
Are you nice and supportive to yourself, in the way you would be to a friend? Or are you mean to yourself in a way that you wouldn’t want someone else to speak to you?
If it’s the latter, it needs to change!
Get honest with what your relationship with yourself looks by journaling. I suggest making a note of the way you’ve spoken to yourself recently, and to think about whether it’s been contributing to either building yourself up or breaking you down.
You see, it’s important that you work on ensuring you speak to yourself in a gentle and kind way, in order to build up your self-esteem.
In other words, you need to be your best friend.
So what does this have to do with needing constant reassurance?
Well, when our self-esteem is low and we don’t feel good about ourselves, we look to others to feel good.
We might ask others things like: do I look OK or does this sound alright?
However, this shouldn’t be our default. Instead, we should have a sense of confidence in ourselves and trust our own judgements and abilities.
Of course, there are times when a second opinion can be valid… But our default shouldn’t be to seek reassurance from someone else because we don’t believe in ourselves in the first place!
Simply put, we seek validation from external sources because we’re not giving it to ourselves – even though we should be!
2) You overthink too much
I’ve been called an “overthinker” more times than I can count.
You see, it’s because I’ve been someone who has doubted myself endlessly, and I’ve sought reassurance from others.
Those closest people to me would confirm that I’ve sought out constant reassurance about the same things, time and time again…
…For instance, even when they’ve told me that my idea is good or that I’ve made a good decision, I’ve still asked for more reassurance down the line.
In my experience, the overthinking I’ve experienced has not only been around things like how I look or the work I put out, but it’s been around my romantic relationship choices too.
Simply put, rather than looking inwards and thinking about whether I want to be with someone and if our values align, I’ve asked friends what they think about said partner.
What’s more, I’ll tell them that I’m not feeling sure about what I should do in the relationship as if they might know what I should do!
It’s a classic case of overthinking…And it’s just not helpful!
If you feel like you can go round and round in circles overthinking, it’s a good idea to consider speaking to a professional.
In doing so, you’ll be able to get to the bottom of why certain thoughts are cropping up, which will free you from needing constant reassurance.
3) Because of a past relationship
There’s a chance you need constant reassurance from someone – be it a friend or romantic partner – because of how you experienced a past relationship.
Simply put, you might be worried that history is going to repeat itself and you’re going to experience the same thing over again.
This is a totally valid feeling!
If you’ve had something negative happen to you in a previous relationship, such as a partner cheating or a friend stabbing you in the back, it’s understandable that you might need constant reassurance from someone new.
It’s likely that you’re sussing out this person and trying to make sure they’re not going to do what that other person did to you!
Don’t beat yourself up if this is what’s happening.
But just remember that this person is not that person…
…And unless you have any evidence to suggest they might be like that, don’t assume they are.
I can tell you from experience, you can burn a lot of energy and miss out on all the good things about a relationship if you spend your time worrying about whether they’re like someone else you’ve encountered in life.
I had this with my boyfriend in the early days.
You see, because my mum was married to a narcissist who emotionally abused her, it meant that I approached my new relationship with caution.
I spent a lot of time wondering whether he was insincere and if he was going to follow through on the things he said he would.
It was because I needed reassurance from him that he wasn’t a liar and that he wasn’t manipulative, which took its toll on the relationship!
I found that communicating honestly with him and letting him know this was where I was at allowed me to have an understanding and to handle me with care.
So what does this mean for you?
Tell the other person if something has happened to you in a previous relationship that’s making you seek constant reassurance, and let them know that you’re doing your best to let go of the situation and to move on.
You’ll find that they’ll likely want to work with you to help you move past it.
4) You have different communication needs to this person
One reason you might be feeling like you need constant reassurance could be that you and this person have different communication styles.
In all relationships – whether romantic or platonic – it’s likely that your communication style will differ from another person’s style.
Simply put, while you’re one way; they’re another.
Often in relationships, we hear people talking about ‘love languages’.
This is exactly what I’m referring to here.
People have different ways of expressing their love and their needs.
For example, I love writing my boyfriend notes that tell him how much I love and care about him.
But it’s not something he does.
As he didn’t follow my cue and leave me notes just like I had for him, I used to seek reassurance that he really loved me.
It would manifest as me anxiously asking him repeatedly, and trying to seek constant reassurance.
However, I’ve learned to not get upset by the fact he doesn’t leave notes around as that’s not his style.
Instead, he likes surprising me with things like taking me out for a surprise dinner.
Simply put, we just have different ways of showing each other that we care!
What’s more, it’s OK to have different love languages and to communicate your needs differently to the next person – after all, we’re all different!
Take a minute to think about how your partner (or even friend) shows they care for you, as I’m sure they do have a way of showing they care for you, even if it’s different to your way.
5) Because of your childhood
Our childhood experiences shape us in more ways than we realize!
Just like I said earlier, things that are said to us can linger for yonks and affect us without us actually realizing that’s what’s going on.
For example, I had a belief that I was super annoying.
It’s because when I was young, my dad used to tell me I was so annoying, and not in an endearing way but in a ‘go away’ you’re annoying sort of way.
He thought I was a nuisance and too high energy.
Throughout my childhood and into my teen years, he would affirm that I was annoying…
Granted, as I got older, it was said more like a joke, but it was still said nonetheless.
Now, being told I was annoying manifested in my life.
It caused me to fear that I was like an annoying fly buzzing around the room, which everyone wants to swat away.
Unfortunately, this belief really hung around with me and it caused me to seek constant reassurance from my boyfriend when we first met.
I won’t lie: I regularly asked my boyfriend if he found me annoying.
Simply put, I thought I was ‘too much’.
So how did I get past this?
I told him what had happened to me in my childhood and the belief I held; I explained the situation to him…
…And it helped. He told me that I’m not at all annoying and I have nothing to worry about.
Naturally, it made the need to seek constant reassurance dissolve.
What does this mean for you?
Be open about your past experiences so the other person can understand the place you’re coming from… And help you get beyond it!
6) You have a lack of self-love
Going hand-in-hand with having a lack of esteem, a lack of self-love could be causing you to seek constant reassurance.
And it can cause a whole load of problems!
You see, if you hold a deep set belief that you are not worthy of love then you’re not going to accept love when it’s in front of you… Or believe it when it’s presented to you!
In other words, you’ll doubt whether the love another person is offering you is legit or whether it comes from a sincere place.
I’ve been in this position.
When I was struggling with truly loving myself, I wondered how my boyfriend felt the love for me that he said he did.
I second guessed whether he meant the things that he said.
Simply put, I just didn’t believe he loved me… Because I didn’t love myself!
And changing this didn’t happen overnight.
I had to build up my sense of self-love in order to not seek constant reassurance from him that he actually meant the things he said.
I started by upping my self-care, which meant doing more things that made me feel good…
…Literally just doing things for myself, by myself.
One thing I decided to do was to take myself on a weekly date.
Each week, I did something different… From taking myself to a gallery or sitting on a park bench with my book for a while.
I started to hang out with myself, and to tell myself that I deserved to take some time for myself to boost my mental health.
You should do the same!
So make a list of all of the things you could do by yourself, and start to up your self-care by taking yourself on a date.
7) You have anxiety
These days, we often hear everyone saying they have anxiety…
…And it’s true, we all have anxiety to one degree or another!
But some people suffer with anxiety in ways that can be debilitating.
What’s more, anxiety might ebb and flow for someone, meaning it’s alright one day and a nightmare the next.
Now, if you’re finding that you’re constantly needing reassurance from someone, it could be that you’re suffering with anxiety.
It’s definitely wise to speak to a professional who will be able to advise you about what exactly to do for your situation, but there are a few basic actions you can take today to help you feel like you have a handle on it…
Start by breathing. I mean, breathing properly.
Take a slow deep breath in, and a slow deep breath out… And repeat this cycle for a minute or so.
As you do this, you’ll take your body out of fight or flight mode, and you’ll help soothe your nervous system.
This will allow you to self-regulate, and to feel like you’re in control of your anxiety.
As a result, it will stop you needing to turn to someone else for reassurance on something because you’re feeling anxious.
8) You’re trying to avoid uncertainty
Now, nothing in life is certain.
In fact, the only thing that is certain is that change happens and things are uncertain.
We can try all we like to search for a sense of certainty that tells us this is the way something is going to go, but life just doesn’t work like that!
You see, it’s natural that we try to find reassurance that things will be alright, even if it’s impossible to know the outcome.
This happened when my mum was faced with a really tricky situation.
I found myself constantly asking her for reassurance that things were going to be OK, even though I knew she couldn’t give me an answer for certain.
I just wanted her to say they would.
But I realized, after finding that asking her didn’t get me anywhere, that it was useless to try and avoid uncertainty.
Instead of trying to control the unknown, I instead turned to mindfulness.
Every time I felt the feeling surge within me, where I felt compelled to ask her if things were going to be OK in the future, I instead decided to meditate.
There are so many great online tools that you can use to do the same!
9) You’re fearing the worst of a situation
We all have a level of fear that we live with.
After all, fear is designed to keep us safe.
But fear is also totally irrational in our modern society, and can do far more harm than good!
It can be paralyzing at times and bad for our health, causing us to shut the curtains and hide from the world.
In my opinion, fear generally warps the way things are too… It never paints a true picture of the possible future events.
In other words, it causes us to not see a situation for what it is.
I have an experience of this, where it wasn’t me that was fearing the worst of a situation and wanting reassurance – but my boyfriend instead.
It was when I was going away traveling for a while. He didn’t like the fact I was going away for an extended period of time and that I wouldn’t be able to see him in person…
…And it caused him to go into a state of overdrive where he was asking for constant reassurance that I wouldn’t be aiming to meet someone else.
He asked me repeatedly if I would promise him.
Every time, I would tell him that I wasn’t interested in meeting someone else yet instead I was focused on my own personal development.
Regardless, it didn’t stop him asking time and time again.
It came to a head one day, where we had to sit down together and share our perspectives to ensure that we understood each other.
10) It’s because of your attachment style
You might have heard people talking about their attachment styles in relationships.
It’s one of the first things relationship coaches talk about.
This is because understanding your attachment style can explain a lot about how you show up in relationships.
Your attachment style can meet that you’re either perhaps more go with the flow or more panicked.
There are three main styles of attachment styles in relationships.
They’re pretty self explanatory…
Someone with an anxious attachment style is likely to be a little uneasy about whether their relationship is secure; someone who is avoidant might be dismissive and cause a distance between themselves and their partner to protect themselves; someone who is secure is generally more relaxed in their relationship.
As much as I like to think that I’m on the ‘secure’ end of the spectrum, my attachment style is anxious.
This means I ask a lot of questions for reassurance.
If this sounds like you then it might be that you also have an anxious attachment style.
But why does this matter?
It’s a good idea to understand why you behave in a certain way, to better understand yourself.
By taking the time to understand what your attachment style is, you can understand the decisions that you make… And why might be seeking constant reassurance in your relationship.
In other words, there’s no harm – only benefit – to getting clarity about the nature of how you attach to another person.
Is it normal to feel insecure in a relationship?
Blueheart explains that feeling insecure in a relationship is common.
And, what’s more, they highlight that relationship insecurities can be linked to attachment styles – so if you’re more on an anxious type then it might be causing this behavior.
But, they say, it shouldn’t be considered ‘normal’ despite the fact it’s pretty common.
“Relationship insecurities, however, are not normal. They are common, yes, but they are not normal. And you should not try to simply bury them or put up with them. Chronic insecurity can lead to very real mental health issues if you don’t do something to make things better.”
That’s not to say you’re not normal if you’re experiencing the need to seek constant reassurance, but just that it shouldn’t be the standard.
In other words, you deserve to feel good and happy in your relationship…
…And to feel secure.
Blueheart suggests starting small to improve feelings of insecurity, and to talk honestly and openly. The relationship experts explain:
“Open the lines of communication with your partner. If you’re noticing an issue, it’s likely they are too. But whether they feel comfortable talking about it is another matter. Try to approach the conversation calmly and with empathy, keeping the intense emotions in check. Don’t express anger or blame but explain to your partner that you’re feeling insecure and need their help to resolve that. Discuss some things that might help you feel more secure, but remember these need to be things that feel doable for your partner, too.”
Simply put, get your feelings out on the table and communicate clearly to get to the root cause.