How Low Self-Esteem Can Affect Your Relationship with Your Partner

Woman with low self-esteem
Cultura RM Exclusive/ Attia-Fotografie /Getty Images

Are you battling with low self-esteem? Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to struggle with a poor self-image, and you may find yourself dealing with feelings of doubt, distrust and even despair. And when you’re constantly bombarded by these negative thoughts and emotions regarding your own sense of self-worth, they can directly impact your relationship with your partner in many different ways.

1. You end up settling for less than you deserve. In many instances, people with self-esteem issues end up settling in their relationship because they mistakenly believe that they don’t deserve any better.

In fact, many people end up staying with a partner who may treat them poorly and/or who doesn’t provide them with care, kindness and emotional support because they don’t think they’re worth it. But staying in an unfulfilling and unsatisfying relationship with a partner who doesn’t respect you is only going to make you feel worse in every respect.  

2. Your connection stays on a superficial level. In addition, there are many people who are afraid to be completely vulnerable around their partner due to a lack of confidence. In other words, because of a poor self-image, you may feel as though being totally open, forthright and honest is going to push your partner away. However, if you stay guarded and are afraid to open up and be your authentic self, you’ll never get to know your partner on a deeper and more intimate level because you’re not being the real you.

3. You have negative expectations about your relationship. Another way that having low self-esteem can directly impair your connection with your partner is that it can cause you to have a negative outlook about the relationship itself.

And when you think that you don’t deserve a happy, healthy and long-lasting relationship, this can directly impact your future actions and behaviors and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Specifically, when you think that your relationship is going to fail, you’re actually laying the foundation for this outcome to occur.

4. You act in a clingy and jealous way. In many cases, people with low-self esteem have a tendency to become needy, jealous and even possessive. In fact, because of a lack of confidence, you may find yourself wanting to spend every waking moment with your partner because you’re constantly worrying that he or she’s going to break up with you. However, if you turn into a person who acts in a clingy way, the irony is that this behavior will actually push your partner farther away.

5. You constantly need reassurance. Additionally, having low self-esteem can impact your relationship with your partner by causing you to consistently seek reassurance from him or her. For instance, because of your insecurities, you may find yourself constantly asking your partner if he or she is still interested in you and/or if you’re actually lovable. However, these questions will do little to convince him or her, as well as yourself, that you’re good enough, and they can even cause your partner to question his or her true feelings for you.

6. You’re with your partner for the wrong reasons. Additionally, many people who lack confidence often stay in relationships for misguided motivations. For example, they may be too afraid of being alone and/or they’re worried about what others might think if they end their relationship.

However, if you’re obsessed with the opinions of others and fear being viewed as a failure, you’re actually failing your partner and yourself by staying in a relationship for all the wrong reasons.

What can I do to improve my self-esteem? Fortunately, if you’re struggling with low self-esteem, there are steps you can take right now that’ll not only benefit the relationship that you have with your partner, but the one that you have with yourself as well. Specifically, it’s time to put an end to negative self-talk and refrain from comparing yourself to others. In addition, you can start off each day by writing down one thing that you like about yourself, as this simple exercise can help you recognize just how much you have to offer—you’re definitely worth it.