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'Using guilt to get their way.' 5 habits of a deeply insecure partner.

I hid inside someone's garage at a house party because I didn't want anyone to see me cry. The smell of petrol mixed with boxed Christmas decorations wasn’t exactly comforting, but at least I was alone.

I'd started another argument with my boyfriend. I felt overwhelmed and uninterested in cheap vodka shots. I wished I could be the fun girlfriend, the cool girlfriend, but in reality, I was the insecure girlfriend.

The last time I felt confident was probably in school. I ran around the playground without care and wore whatever I wanted. But that drastically changed just a couple of years later.

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I started caring about what people thought. I lost my confidence. I’m sure I wasn’t alone because puberty is pretty awkward for any teen. But that uncomfortable feeling never went away. It was always there, in everything I did.

Then I started dating. And instead of those insecurities magically disappearing, they got worse. A lot worse. 

My relationships became a mirror and reflected back at me was everything I didn’t like about myself. I didn't know what to do with what I saw.

I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self to be confident, authentic, and happy. That if someone left me, it meant our relationship wasn't meant to be. But, c'est la vie.

I learned the hard way how being insecure created problems in relationships. What's worse? My insecurities limited how happy I could be for years. Something I'll never be able to go back and re-do.

If you resonate with these habits, you may be an insecure partner in your relationship, too.

Seeking reassurance from your partner.

"But do you really love me?" is a phrase I must've said to my university boyfriend at least a hundred times. Even though I could hear in his voice how annoyed he was, I'd continue prying.

Because I felt insecure in life, I wanted to feel secure in my relationship. And how was I supposed to know if I didn't ask?

But that’s not how insecurities work. Your own beliefs determine how you feel, not what other people say. That’s why I couldn't accept the things my boyfriend told me, even if he declared I was a gift from heaven because I thought I was trash spit up from hell.

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Do you see the discrepancy?

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A thriving relationship is one where both partners are happy on their own. They don’t seek happiness from another person; an empty cup can’t fill up another.

You can't expect your partner to give you constant reassurance, hoping that it will magically lead to you having confidence. That kind of acceptance needs to come from within.

Complaining about everything.

It's a not-so-cute habit to see the worst in everything.

Always thinking negatively; mentioning inappropriate things at the wrong time; going to sleep dreaming about worst-case-scenarios.

I fell into a negative mindset without wanting to. But while some people complain about crappy weather or the food they ordered being cold, I complained about my relationship.

"You don't tell me you love me enough."

"We never go out like Sarah and Adam do."

"I'm always having to pick up after you!"

When you're not happy with yourself, it's hard to feel optimistic about other parts of your life. Letting that go unchecked will eventually turn you into a pessimistic partner who is never satisfied.

Dressing to get attention.

One night, while getting ready to go out with my best friend, I slipped on a low-cut, shiny bodycon dress.

"Why don't you ever dress up for me?" my boyfriend asked.

Ugh, I thought. He's just jealous.

But even after that relationship, I always chose revealing clothes when I went out. While I'm all for women wearing whatever the hell they want, I felt this nagging truth waiting to be revealed.

I started to wonder if I wore these sexy clothes purely because I wanted people's attention. It's one thing to want to look good for yourself or throw on a cute outfit for date night, but it's another when you dress differently because you crave the attention of people when you walk into a room.

You might think it's harmless — it's not like you're going home with anyone, right? — but it's a slippery slope that could lead to you thinking your partner doesn't emotionally satisfy you.

Because a stranger may give you compliments, but they won’t give you love, support, and respect.

Using guilt to get your way.

Ah, yes. I became quite the master at this.

I would cry to make my boyfriends feel bad for me. I'd pretend I had a bad day to make a boyfriend drop his plans and hang out with me. Not a good look, I know.

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Getting what I wanted at the expense of my partner's well-being wasn't fair. Nor did it foster a deeper bond between us.

Manipulation is damaging to any relationship. It breaks trust between partners and will slowly build up resentment. It's essential that a relationship feels emotionally safe for both people if you want it to thrive.

Small issues become big ones quickly.

During my last relationship, I picked a fight over the most ridiculous thing: a Snapchat post.

You might be thinking it was something my boyfriend posted, but you'd be wrong. 

It was over a story I made. I'd taken a cute picture of someone's dog and wrote, "About to steal this dog from there owner."

When I realised my grammar error, I felt deeply embarrassed to the point it ruined my day (a huge red flag of my insecurities). 

Later, I talked to my boyfriend at the time about how upset the incident made me and got mad when all he said was, "I'm sure no one noticed".

I blew up his indifference into one of those huge arguments that branches off into several more mini arguments.

Insecurities are deep-rooted. Sometimes, our needs aren’t met and when they forget to fold the laundry, we blow up on them to let out that energy. Other times, we’re unhappy with ourselves and pick a fight over a Snapchat post.

When you’re insecure, small problems become big ones because that problem is merely an outlet for pent-up emotions.

It was exhausting living a life where my insecurities controlled my behaviours.

It took a lot of reflecting and being honest with myself, but I finally was able to loosen the grip my insecurities had over me.

Sure, I'm not perfect. I still slip up. But being aware of my actions and how they affect my relationship have allowed me to make slow changes to feel more secure with myself and my relationship.

If your insecurities are affecting your relationship, take a moment to breathe. Identify what you’re insecure about and what your triggers are. Be honest with your partner if you’re struggling. And consider seeing a therapist if you feel you can’t make changes alone.

Once you begin working on being less insecure, your relationship with yourself and your partner will change for the better.

Kirstie is a dating + relationship writer from Los Angeles. She's also the author of the upcoming book, What I Wish I Knew About Love, with Thought Catalog Books. You can read Kirstie’s other articles on Medium or follow her on Instagram @wordswithkirstie.

This post originally appeared on Medium and has been republished here with full permission. 

Feature Image: Getty. The feature image used is a stock image.

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