Feelings of insecurity are familiar for most of us.
We’ve all been overcome with feelings of self-doubt, worry, and worthlessness.
This is especially true in an age when society is realizing the true damage of strict gender roles.
For men, deep insecurities are often a direct result.
Why? They’ve been told their worth depends on their ability to provide, to be strong and fearless. Often they’re conditioned to think showing emotion is inappropriate or not suited to their gender.
However, this unrealistic picture of manhood can lead to serious insecurities.
In the dating world, falling for an insecure man might not seem very different — at first. But it can lead to serious relationship strain, potentially toxic romance.
With that in mind, it’s important to identify signs of insecurity.
This article will help you identify 16 signs of an insecure man in love. I’ll also go through 5 things you can try out in an effort to help him, without disrespecting yourself.
So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
16 signs you’re in love with an insecure man
1) Quick to fall in love
Men who are insecure are quick to “decide” that you are the one, then swiftly fall in love with you. Why?
It has to do with their lack of self-awareness.
An insecure man has a hard time facing his problems and spending time alone.
This leads to a strong need to use a relationship to avoid that. He’ll use a relationship to push his problems as far out of his mind as he can. He’d rather focus on you than his own issues.
However, it’s also a two-fold thing, because once the relationship is a little bit more established, he’s likely to use you as an emotional crutch.
What do I mean by that?
Once he’s comfortable, he’ll “confide” in you. In other words, he’ll unload on you and use you as a way to gain sympathy. More than that, he’ll use you as a scapegoat for his own problems; he’s liable to also project his insecurities onto you.
The result is that suddenly you’re the bad guy, never on his side, and somehow the reason for his childish, insecure behavior.
To say it another way, there’s nothing right you can do in his eyes. That’s because ultimately he’s responsible for his own insecurities, yet he’s unable to face that fact.
The faster he can fall in love with someone, the faster he can avoid his problems.
2) How does he view himself?
A lot of insecure men are really good at projecting. What do they project?
A better, more confident version of themselves.
Instead of doing the soul-searching and healing necessary to be a healthy, powerful, and dynamic male, they’d rather perfect the “art” of bluffing.
They’ll come off as confident in themselves, assured in their decision-making, and proud of who they are, their tastes, etc. However, those walls are not very strong; often they’re made of sand.
So, as you’re getting to know him, pay attention to how he really views himself.
How does he talk about his past actions? Or how does he feel about his personality and character? Additionally, it’s especially important to note how he reacts when he makes a mistake.
If he’s excessively self-degrading or gets overly upset about even small things, it’s a big sign that he’s insecure. And remember, the way he views himself will directly affect how he treats you.
3) Mind games
For a person who’s insecure with who they are, there’s no telling exactly how that might manifest.
A principal reason that people are insecure, though, is because they’re unwilling to face their inner-self and confront their fears/traumas. This can pair surprisingly negatively with most men’s need to be dominant.
Once his worldview is challenged, the tendency might be to manipulate and play mind games with his partner in an attempt to preserve himself.
An insecure man who plays mind games will never accept that he’s in the wrong. He’ll bend the truth to fit his own narrative, often directly at your expense. That means that somehow it’s always about him: playing the victim game. Or, somehow it’s never about him, and you’re always the one to blame.
These kinds of behaviors can be extremely toxic and damaging, especially in a trusting and intimate relationship.
Manipulation and mind games are a big sign of dangerous insecurity in a man.
4) Abandonment issues
To carry on with psychological aspects, often the most insecure males deal with abandonment issues. What exactly would that look like?
Since fear of abandonment stems from a form of deep-seated anxiety regarding loss, your significant other might bring up the idea of you leaving him regularly.
Couched in passive-aggressive phrases, it might sound like “I don’t deserve you,” “I don’t know why you’re still around,” “you deserve so much better than this” or anything similar.
It’s a cry for help. It’s a way for him to push you away and avoid dealing with his fear of loss.
Simultaneously he’s making you feel bad for him, or even feeling guilty for leaving, if you’re thinking about it.
A man with abandonment issues might sabotage the relationship, hang on to unhealthy relationships, avoid true intimacy, or need constant reassurance. These forms of abandonment issues are a big sign of insecurity.
Insecure men never feel sure about themselves, their status, where they stand socially, and worry constantly about what people think of them. Since they have no bearing on it and worry constantly, they feel a perpetual need to overcompensate.
This can manifest in gaudy, showy, and very over-the-top ways. However, it’s actually a defense mechanism, and it often points to deeper insecurities.
Furthermore, overcompensation doesn’t always show itself immediately. It could be little things that come up, so pay attention while you’re getting to know him.
Does he get defensive about things? What are they?
How about his reaction to criticism or simple questions about what he says?
If he’s overly defensive, insistent, or stubborn, it could be a sign that he’s overcompensating.
Keep a sharp eye out for overcompensation, it’s a big sign that he’s an insecure man falling in love.
Here’s a look at some signs that a man might be confused about his feelings for you.
6) His reaction when you talk about your exes
No one really likes hearing about old exes. It can make even the most cool-headed of us feel uncomfortable, uneasy, or agitated.
However, for the insecure man, his reaction isn’t likely to be as mild.
Even though stories of previous love can be hard to listen to, the plain fact is this: there’s a reason your significant other isn’t with them anymore.
They’re with you.
For an insecure man, that’s just a hard concept to grasp. He’s going to feel threatened by any men in your life, past or present. The way he reacts when you bring up exes will give you a big clue into his insecurity.
If he shows signs of being extremely uncomfortable, jealous, protective, threatening, or just generally very upset, it could point to his issues with insecurity.
Wondering if your ex is still in love with you? Here are some telltale giveaways that he/she still is.
7) Intense need for validation
When insecurity plays an unbalanced part in a guy’s day-to-day life, he’s going to be starving for validation. What do I mean?
No amount of commendation, support, compliments, or reassurance is going to be enough. His self-worth just isn’t healthy.
Your guy might seem thirsty for compliments, but quick to disregard them. It may seem like you have to give him a constant stream of validation just to appease him and keep him from moping. This points to deep insecurities.
Here’s the truth: being in love with a man who is like this can get exhausting.
Why? Because no matter how much validation you give him, it’s like there’s a reset button somewhere that just keeps getting pressed.
He always needs more validation.
The hard part about a dynamic like this is you’re left out of the picture. If you try to bring up your own valid needs and wants, that’s often seen as a personal affront or attack. It makes falling in love with him very hard, and potentially dangerous.
8) He buys you all kinds of gifts
Of course, gift-giving is something that many people consider one of their key love languages.
Furthermore, gift-giving is a wonderful thing to do. Well thought out and meaningful gifts can be a sign that a guy is really, truly falling for you.
But for an insecure man, there’s probably going to be an ulterior motive, and chances are you’ll catch onto it quick.
Like what? His gift-giving will be a kind of diversion tactic. It might start to feel like he’s buying you stuff to make up for something else. He might be trying to “buy your love” in a sense.
He’ll want to flatter you, but he might want to take things even further.
How do I mean? It could be that he’ll use the excessive gift-giving as an attempt to make you feel indebted to him.
That way he can keep you around, to support him and his crippling insecurities.
There are really only two kinds of jealousy: healthy jealousy and unhealthy jealousy.
For the most part, when we think about jealousy, we think of the unhealthy kind. And that’s the kind that the insecure man falling in love with you is going to be exhibiting.
How so? Unhealthy jealousy will manifest itself in a number of toxic ways.
He will feel overly protective of you. That means he’s going to act kind of like a guard dog, worrying about your friendships, being mistrustful of the guy friends in your life. He could even try to control where you go and when in an effort to “keep you safe.”
How else will he show jealousy?
He will make you feel bad for spending time with other people.
For instance, when you get back from hanging out with your friends, he might seem insecure, sad, or neglected. He’ll do everything he can to make you feel guilty for spending your time with anyone besides him.
His jealousy will compel him to feel possessive of your time and how you spend it. Sounds pretty unhealthy, doesn’t it?
10) His world revolves around you
It’s hard to find a guy who’s willing to prioritize you and treat you the way that you deserve.
So many guys are too self-involved to put forth the effort necessary for a healthy, dynamic, and balanced relationship.
When you fall in love with an insecure man, at first it might seem like the cool drink of water that you’ve been looking for. You might be relieved to finally find someone who sees your value and treats you accordingly.
However, that feeling is short-lived.
Why? Because it’s actually just a sign of his insecurity.
He’ll soon blur the lines of considerate and helpful, to overbearing and clingy. Before long, you’ll find out he has a hard time giving you your personal space.
He might have a hard time trusting you, leaving you alone, or allowing you to do as you wish. Or maybe he’ll start weighing in on the personal things in your life. Like all the decisions that you have every right to make on your own.
Because of his insecurity, he has to exert possession of you and keep tabs on you.
Why? Because he’s afraid that you’ll leave him.
11) How many friends does he have?
As you get to know this guy, it might seem so nice at first to have someone who’s willing to give you all the time and attention you need.
But how much time does he give to himself? What kind of personal life does he have?
It’s a really good idea to get a picture of his personal life.
Find out this: how many friends does he have? What kind of personal obligations does he have?
If he doesn’t really have any friends or much of a personal life, that’s a pretty big flag.
Once you do start a relationship with him, he’s liable to become very codependent, and desire you to do the same.
For an insecure man, having a life beyond the relationship that you share is a threat.
So find out what his social life is like. If there isn’t much of one, it’s a pretty big warning sign.
12) He’s controlling
It could be guised as so many things, honestly. I’m talking about his need to be controlling.
For manipulative or insecure people, their ability to exert control over the other person can manifest in many insidious ways. How so?
For instance, it could start out as questioning where you’re going, when, and why. From there he might “reason” with you as to why it’s a bad idea, or persuade you to do something with him instead.
What might start as being a bit nosy might transform into an outright violation of your personal space and privacy as he does everything he can to keep tabs on what you’re doing (social media, phone, texts, email, etc).
How does he react when you want to do something different than what he “thinks is best”? Disagreeing with an insecure person can be an almost impossible thing.
In other words, when you try to have your own autonomy, he won’t stand for it.
If a truly insecure guy could control your thoughts, he’d do it in a heartbeat.
13) He’s threatened by all the guys in your life
I mentioned this concept briefly when we talked about jealousy and his reaction to your exes. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t just stop with your exes.
His insecurity leads to him being threatened by any (and every) guy in your life.
Why? Because he just can’t handle it. He can’t help but be threatened by every male that comes into his life.
As sad as it sounds, it’s how things are for a lot of guys with deep insecurity.
Especially is this the case when it comes to romantic love and the inevitable amount of possession that he’ll have once he falls in love.
Just remember, possession isn’t a part of healthy love
Kind of like a one-two punch, he’ll be threatened by any guys who he thinks might be “better than him,” and he’ll feel an unhealthy need to “protect” you and “keep you safe.”
It can all be categorized as unhealthy relationship behavior that belittles you, your agency, and your independence as a woman and as a human being.
Plus, it’s just kind of exhausting being with someone who thinks of every guy as a personal threat.
14) Pushy — he wants to rush things
All of us would like to believe in love at first sight. And it is, according to science, quite possible.
On the other hand, true, lasting love is hard to come by. It’s not easy and it never will be. Nothing that lasts can be categorized as “easy”.
So when the cute boy that you’re falling in love with starts to rush things, it should raise a flag. Of course, no matter the reason, rushing into things is pretty much always a bad idea.
There’s a lot of psychology behind the importance of taking things slow in a relationship.
When you take the time to take it slow, the relationship will be stronger, healthier, and blossom even more.
An insecure man will be pushy, he’s going to want to rush things. Why is that?
There could be a few reasons. Maybe he’s using you to avoid his own problems, to cover over his insecurities, and feel bad about himself. He could be using you for his own validation.
If he’s pushy physically, trying to get you to do things that make you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to take a firm stand against him. If he doesn’t want to respect your wishes, your personal space, or your dignity, he’s not worth your time.
Men like that are a danger to women and to society. Their toxic, predatory behavior is degrading and unacceptable.
15) How does he respond to your success?
An insecure man might not stop at being threatened by other men. How so? It’s possible that he’s actually threatened by you, too.
It doesn’t seem like it makes sense, but insecurities lie deep. They can show themselves in a lot of different ways.
Maybe you’ve just gotten a new job, or a raise or something good has come your way. How does he respond when you tell him about it?
Does he seem supportive and excited for you? Or does he seem jealous, threatened, and upset?
It’s a really big sign that he’s an insecure man if he can’t handle his significant other being more successful than him.
16) He thinks you have some kind of hidden agenda
For some reason, you always have some kind of ulterior motive.
“You’re just doing that to hurt me.” “You did that on purpose.” “Why can’t you ever treat me right?”
These are the kinds of things he might say. He accuses you of wrongdoing and ill-will no matter the truth of the matter.
There’s always some kind of hidden agenda, some kind of secret plan where you’re trying to get at him.
It’s his insecurity talking. He can’t accept the fact that someone might love him and accept him for who he is.
So what’s the cause of his insecurity?
The answer to that question really depends on his personal circumstances and history. It could have been an old relationship that ended really badly for him.
In other words, he could have suffered a lot of pain and trauma from a previous relationship and hasn’t dealt with it healthily.
There’s the possibility that it goes even deeper. His insecurity could come from his childhood, whether it was a neglectful parent, a single damaging event, or something like a messy divorce.
Really, then, the possibilities are endless.
Here are even more signs that a man is hurt emotionally.
If you’d like to know, it might be a good idea to ask him about it. There’s a possibility he’ll open up about it.
Here’s the good thing about doing that: If he’s open to talking about it, you’ll be able to understand him better and adjust your behavior (within reason) to work with him in helping the relationship grow stronger.
In addition, his ability to talk about it is a good sign of his ability to heal. When he’s talking about it, he’s starting the healing process.
However, it’s important to note that you are not his therapist. Again, you are not his therapist.
The fact you’re in a relationship doesn’t make it your responsibility to help him sort through all his problems. It’s unfair for him to put that on you to deal with.
A healthy relationship won’t have this kind of dynamic.
With that in mind, here are a few things you could try to do to help the relationship if it seems in your best interests.
5 things to try
1) Identify his love language and try using it
I mentioned love languages briefly earlier. It’s always a good idea, no matter the relationship, to learn what these love languages are.
It’s possible he’s feeling insecure because his love language isn’t being spoken. Just make sure your efforts are valued and the accommodation is mutual, not one-sided.
2) Learn more about what exactly makes him insecure
Just to reiterate what I said earlier, learning more about the source of his insecurity might help.
Once you understand the source of it, you can be more understanding and patient. It can help you tailor your behavior to assist him in feeling secure and safe.
Everyone should feel safe in their relationship.
Just remember this: Keep yourself and the relationship healthy. Don’t overextend yourself.
3) Open communication
If the unhealthy behaviors he’s exhibiting are bothering you, don’t be afraid to bring this up with him.
Open and kind communication will always work in a relationship between two healthy people.
Make it clear to him the way his behavior affects you. Try not to be accusatory — rather focus on why it makes you feel unhappy.
On the other hand, if he’s unwilling to openly talk about relationship basics like this, it’s a big sign that he needs more help than you can give him.
4) Introduce him to your friends
It could be that he’s been hurt before and he’s afraid of it happening again. There’s nothing wrong with giving him a sense of security and reassurance.
Introducing him to your friends can give him a sense of belonging and importance that maybe he felt was lacking.
Here’s the best part: after you introduce him to your friends, you can ask them for their opinions. Sometimes those closest to us have the best advice.
5) Make the time you spend together higher quality
Instead of spending every minute together (like he probably wants), instead, make the time you do spend together higher quality.
What do I mean?
Instead of just watching a movie and not connecting, do something interactive. Do something that really enriches your bond and connection. Doing so will make the time seem more valuable to both of you.
A note on responsibility
Whatever you try to do to help, remember that it’s not solely your responsibility to fix him. In fact, it’s not your responsibility at all.
What do I mean?
Well, there’s a distinction between what you can do to help fix the relationship, and what you might do to help fix him.
The difference is that both parties should put forth effort into a relationship. But each person is responsible for their own health and own well-being.
So if he suffers from insecurities that lead to toxic, damaging behaviors that sabotage your relationship, it’s not your responsibility to fix them.
Far from it, in fact, that’s all on him.
First and foremost, respect yourself. Insecurity can display itself in all kinds of ways, and sometimes (unfortunately) that can end up being damaging to you.
So keep an eye out for these signs of an insecure man in love, and do what you need to to stay healthy.
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