Insecurity is an interesting personality trait when it comes to dating. Perhaps you’d imagine that a therapist like myself would say that insecurity is a trait that repels men and women alike – that it will prevent anyone from being attracted to you or wanting to start a relationship with you. The (paradoxical) truth is that insecurity actually has two different effects depending on the type of person you’re dating. In a nutshell, if you’re insecure, psychologically healthy men or women will avoid dating you, while psychologically unhealthy men or women will be attracted and want to date you. But how do relationships work out when you’re insecure and you start a relationship anyhow? Without sugar-coating it, those relationships always end.
You don’t want to end up with someone who is attracted to you if you have significant emotional insecurities. Why? Because they can see your insecurities and they also know that your insecurities mean that you are, to some degree, psychologically unhealthy. Men or women who are attracted to individuals who have clear insecurities are “turned on” or attracted based on unhealthy psychological drives.
An example of an insecure person
I will paint a quick portrait of someone who has insecurities that will attract the wrong kinds of partners. Alison is a woman who always ends up falling for men who have some sort of significant emotional insecurities. Why would Alison like men who are emotionally broken in some way? Alison must be motivated by any of the following factors: she needs to have the control and power in a relationship, and she believes that broken-winged birds will be more likely to do what she says; she needs to be a savior and she loves playing the rescuer role; she is codependent and believes that someone emotionally broken will be less likely to leave her; or she secretly has anger or disrespect for men, and finding broken men allows her to be sadistic and to play him like a fiddle. (Note that I could just as easily switch the pronouns because men and women have insecurities to similar degrees.)
Why would someone want to be with someone who has significant insecurities?
If you are struggling with major emotional insecurities, you have to be careful because the people who are attracted to you are probably attracted to you for the wrong reasons. They want to save you; they want power over you; they are codependent; or they want someone broken because they believe someone broken would be less likely to leave them down the road.
How to break free from your insecurities
In a word: therapy! Therapy is the most effective way to deal with your insecurities. Go for either a few sessions or stay in it for a year or two. That may sound annoying, unnecessary, or expensive, but think of therapy as the best insurance policy you could buy to ensure your chances of finding a relationship that actually works. Remember, if you don’t have insurance that will cover psychotherapy or you don’t have the money to pay out-of-pocket, there are many low-cost therapy providers who will base your fee on your income. In Los Angeles, for example, I recently connected a young man in his 20s to a therapist who charges only $30 per session. Do an exhaustive search to find a therapist if you have insecurities that bring down your mood and inevitably end up messing up your romantic relationships.
Read, read, read about how to get over insecurities.
Scour a local bookstore or search online for relationship advice, much like the advice that you are reading right now. The more you educate yourself about emotional insecurities – where they come from and how to recover from them – the faster you will boost your self-esteem.
Remember the basics of self-care
Ultimately, finding a good relationship isn’t rocket science. Protect your emotions and self-esteem by only keeping people in your life – friends or dates – who make you feel wanted and good about yourself. Treat your body well by exercising. When you’re feeling down or frustrated, write in a journal or, heck, use a piece of scratch paper that you throw away later. Call your friends or family members and ask for their advice about how to get over your insecurities. Finally, every time you say something negative to yourself about your personality, body, or chance of finding love in the future, start using a mantra to counter those negative thoughts. Say to yourself “I’m worth it;” “I would date myself;” “I will find love as long as I keep being nicer to myself and those around me;” and “No one is perfect, but I know I have some good attributes that someone is going to find valuable.”
About the Author:
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.