Are you comfortable dating yourself? If you ask me this question a few years back, my answer would be, nope, nada and no in all possible other languages. One of my biggest mistakes I made was getting into a relationship when I should have taken the time to work on myself. Having a high self-esteem would have made things a lot less painful but everything in life is meant for us to learn, wouldn’t you agree?
Many people I know, including myself stop themselves from dating that man or woman because they have a preconceived notion of “I’m not good enough”, “he/she’s out of my league”, “look at who’s he/she hang out with” etcetera…
They say opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.
I wish this applies to relationships as I see enough broken heart people who settle with the wrong person because of what they believe they can offer.Your most important sale in life is to sell yourself to yourself. - Maxwell Maltz Click To Tweet
How Low Self-Esteem Affects Your Relationship
Believe it or not, every second relationship collapses due to a low self-esteem. The linkage between deprecating feelings and breakups is rarely obvious – unconfident people have a certain pattern of behavior that they’re not aware of, despite the fact that it affects both how they treat themselves and how they treat those around them.
Here’s how those patterns manifest themselves, and why they are detrimental for a genuine connection between two individuals.
Since people with a low sense of self-worth believe they are inadequate as partners, it’s only natural that their number one concern in a relationship is fear of rejection.
It is a covert, but overwhelming feeling revealed through extreme helpfulness and kindness toward others. By definition, unconfident individuals are anxious people pleasers.
This is what it means for your relationship: everything you do is aimed at your partner’s personal satisfaction. You put their needs in front of your own, thus erasing all limits and giving up control and initiative. Your decisions as a couple are mostly, if not exclusively, theirs, and you feel obliged to ask for permission to speak your mind or do as you will.
It’s not about letting the other person be the provider, not at all. It’s rather a dangerous relationship dynamic in which you allow the other person to completely consume your individuality.
Not only do you choose never to fly solo, but you’re also enabling your partner to make potentially bad choices in your name without having a say in it.
Neediness & Possessiveness
In order to build a healthy relationship (a union), you need two healthy individuals (sets). Otherwise, you’re risking to find yourself in a co-dependent affair. Or, worse, a relationship in which you’re emotionally reliant on your confident partner.
It’s what happens every time you feel the need to text them even though you know they are busy. It’s also when you believe you’re not getting enough of their attention. While some people with low self-esteem choose to fall back and retreat, others become needy, clingy and possessive.
And, it’s a truly terrible position to put yourself in. An awfully ironic one, even: what starts as a fear of rejection soon becomes rejection itself. Frustrated by your inability to hear their compliments, or your refusal to see yourself for the amazing person you are, your partner turns less interested with each day.
Turning the Other Cheek
So you’re afraid to be alone? Don’t know how to spend time by yourself? Or you want to feel needed/wanted, these characters are embedded in people with less than high self-esteem avoid conflict at every cost.
Having spent a good portion of my life doubting myself, I knew quite well that translated to me doubting my then boyfriend’s emotions as well. Consequently, the thought of them telling me exactly how they feel is simply unbearable.
So, I used to turn the other cheek, never voicing those insecurities that make my dependent and possessive in the first place. Either I insisted on my self-deprecating feelings and accuse my partner of not being understanding or loving enough or I retreated from the confrontation altogether.
The problem was – what I was really trying to avoid was confronting a problem I doubtlessly had. It was hard and humiliating, we can all relate, but the alternative is even worse. Disappointed in myself as I always was, I was starting to apologize to my partner even when I actually had no reason to.
When you enter a relationship with a crooked image of your self-worth, which I was very guilty of that. You’re exposing yourself to constant judgment and self-evaluation. Now, it may be that your partner actually criticizes you more than you deserve, but it may also be that you take their every word as condemnation, even when it’s not.
Now, it may be that your partner actually criticizes you more than you deserve, but it may also be that you take their every word as condemnation, even when it’s not.
Let’s take your appearance for instance. Kiddingly, your partner may tell you that you’ve turned a bit chubby, which triggers an entire whirlpool of insecurities. So, you’re starting to overthink how you actually look, stressing about what to wear, and worrying that they won’t accept you unless you’re anything but perfect.
So, you’re starting to overthink how you actually look, stressing about what to wear, and worrying that they won’t accept you unless you’re anything but perfect.
All unconfident people are over-thinkers. Whether you’re obsessing about your partner’s behavior or second-guessing yourself, there’s no doubt you are, too. What you may not notice is that overthinking makes your oversensitive: needlessly, you exaggerate the tiniest and most insignificant of problems.
In combination with low self-esteem, obsessive thinking isn’t just damaging to the relationship; more importantly, it is very harmful to how you experience yourself. Regardless of how you insecurities manifest themselves, they eventually lead to communication failure.
While communication is the very essence of partnership, anxiously unconfident people steer away from productive dialogue. On one side, there’s fear from calling things by their name, whereas on the other awaits the dread of disappointing the person you love.
It feels easier to let go and distance yourself, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it implies gradual, but unceasing emotional separation. Soon enough, you’ll start lying about your emotions and claiming you’re okay when you’re actually not. Most unconfident people are introverts too, and this is exactly why.
Why You Should Only Date if You Have High Self-esteem
Love yourself for if you don't, how can you expect anyone else to love you. Click To Tweet
However strong and mature it may seem, a relationship in which one of the partners struggles with their self-worth can end on a really bad note. Still, there’s something even more frightening: such relationship may never end at all, thus entrapping you in a prison of your own making.
This is why you should never rush into a relationship until most of your frustrations are resolved. Trust me, give some time to build yourself up because the right person is waiting for you when you’re ready.
Not Showing Your True Self
More often than not, people with low self-esteem compensate for what they believe is their personal inadequacy with false pretense.
Perhaps you’re guilty of this too: since you’re deeply dissatisfied with yourself, you become used to pretending you’re somebody you’re not and you’ll do everything to please others and hoping they will like you enough to be your friends.
In both everyday life and relationship, you stop showing your true self. We may call it dishonesty, but what it essentially is a lie. It’s probably undeliberately, even unconscious, but it is a lie all the same. Be as it may, acquiring a whole other identity means the person you’re intimate with doesn’t know you at all.
Mistaking Unhealthy Needs for Emotions
Also, it may mean your relationship isn’t based on true emotions. This is actually where you need to be very honest with yourself – once you start self-reflecting, you might find that your affection isn’t a genuine love, but an unhealthy need for someone’s reassurance and flattery.
Committing yourself to another person may give you a false sense of self-worth in the beginning, but that won’t last for long. Sooner than you’d expect, the image of a better you will end up broken into pieces.
It’s because high self-esteem is intrinsic, and because nothing, not even your partner’s appreciation, can improve your self-esteem if you don’t do it yourself.
Settling for Less
Being the two cornerstones of this perturbing psychological image, fear and anxiety have a tremendous effect on how we choose our social surroundings. In simple terms, low self-esteem makes us lower our standards, at times so drastically that we settle for people who are as unworthy as we think we are.
That’s what we call settling for less. Though nobody deserves it, such relationships are particularly destructive for unconfident people. Instead of support and personal fulfillment, they bring judgment and discord. Settling for less means playing safe and preserving the status quo, whereas you need to grow from your fears and anxieties into a whole, self-sufficient person.
Breaking the Other Person
As a behavioral pattern, settling for less goes hand in hand with unhealthy idealization. While romance is the very essence of lifelong partnerships, romanticizing is something entirely different. It makes you develop emotions for somebody who doesn’t exist and glorify an undeserving person, thus building a fictional relationship from the very start.
In yet another scenario, your low self-esteem can idealize a person who’s already perfect enough. If your date is kind, sweet, and worthy of your time, but you choose to see them for somebody even better, they’ll probably fall into pieces trying to live up to your expectations. Sooner rather than later, your inner critique will wear them down too.
From Victim Mentality to an Actual Victim
And, the emotional breakdown is still not the worse that can happen. When one partner has a high self-esteem but the other lack confidence altogether, the dynamic can become truly destructive for both. It’s a soil from which victim mentality grows quickly and a trip that often ends in emotional, verbal and physical abuse.
Why You Need a Healthy Level of Self-Esteem Before Entering into a Relationship?
I have been asked this question so many time and my answer is because that’s the only way of making it work.
Relationships are hard even for mentally strong people! Since sharing yourself with another person requires a certain amount of control that only confidence can give you, having anything but high self-esteem makes the entire experience involved, unnerving, and hurtful.
A relationship between two confident people knows no jealousy. It has no trust issues, just as well as the partners have no need to compete for control or to control one another. Coupling of two people with high self-esteem is a state of equal earnings, contributions, and rights, the one in which boundaries are clearly defined.
Having no insecurities means never being afraid of making yourself vulnerable to the other person. Both the ability to show your emotions and the strength to admit your wrongs depend on how high your self-esteem is and both are pillars upon which a fulfilling relationship stands. And, that’s exactly what a unity of equals mean.
Why You Should Always Avoid Dating at Your Level of Self-Esteem
Learn to value yourself, which means; fight for your happiness. - Ayn Rand Click To Tweet
Like I always say to my friends, do not rush into a relationship, invest time for your personal space to reconcile and reconnect with who you truly are.
Self-growth will help you reach mindfulness and self-sufficiency, but it requires plenty of introspection: you need to spend some quality time with yourself, enough to start appreciating, respecting, and loving every last bit of your flaws.
In order to be an equal partner in the state of love and trust, you have to let go of your insecurities, stop doubting other people’s emotions, and – most importantly – develop your own identity. It is what makes you who you are, and what will make somebody fall crazy in love with you.
Instead of running from your personal frustrations straight into the next relationship, gather courage and face them one-on-one. Commit to your insecurities, embrace your limitations, and accept your failures. It’s only after you’ve made peace with your demons that you can make peace with another person’s too.
Are You Comfortable Dating Yourself?
So, would I date myself? Hell yes! And I hope you can join me and say, “Yes, I will date myself!”.
We don’t have a math metaphor for love, but we know how relationships work. It’s two equals that make a whole, so don’t rush into anything until you’ve made yourself complete.
Did you know that you are an amazing individual not despite your flaws, but exactly because of them? Well, the sooner you accept that the sooner you’ll be able to find the happiness that you so stubbornly think you don’t deserve.
Besides, people with high self-esteem have way more fun. Along with all the respect, devotion and trust, relationships need passion and spontaneity in order to stay healthy and strong, and you can’t be either until you start loving your freckles and blemishes. So, stop overthinking it – you’re pretty spectacular just the way you are.