Understanding why men show insecurity in relationships is the biggest hurdle to overcoming it.
When you understand the psychology behind a behavior, it helps you to analyze yourself.
Armed with the knowledge of why you act in a certain way, you can then work to change the way you behave.
Often knowing the underlying reasons is enough to have that light bulb moment. You realize why you have been acting in a certain way all along and suddenly it all makes sense.
I have written about how to overcome insecurity in another post.
That one only briefly touches on why men have insecurity in relationships. Instead it focuses on the practical means to get over it.
This post goes into a lot more depth about the reasons why insecurity develops in the first place.
Why Are There So Many Insecure Men?
1. Living In Fear vs Living With Intent
In all things in the world and in life there is polarity.
Opposites. Dark and light, night and day, love and hate, yin and yang.
There are no absolutes and everything is a matter of degree.
One way of looking at life is to see yourself operating somewhere between the poles of fear and intent.
When you are guided by fear, you try to avoid the things or outcomes that you don't want. When you are guided by intent you move positively towards the things or outcomes you do want.
We all do a little bit of both but you will tend more often to one side than the other.
Successful, productive and happy people tend towards the pole of intent. They know what they want in life and they make it happen.
Other people float through life, rarely imposing themselves upon it with intent. They tend to just accept things as they come along and only hustle when it comes to avoiding the things they are afraid of. These people tend more towards the pole of fear.
This works if the hand you are dealt in life is pretty good. It will be miserable if the hand you are dealt in life is rotten. Either way, you will never quite maximize your happiness unless you are living with intent.
Insecurity in relationships comes when you are dominated by fear rather than intent. Instead of the positive decision to have a happy stable relationship you are seeking to avoid an outcome you do not like.
You fear that she is cheating, that she might leave you or that you are not good enough for her. You are worried by the possibility of negative outcomes and this dominates your thinking.
Happy successful relationships come about when people are operating with intent. They create the circumstances they want in life rather than avoiding those they do not like.
This is evident in more than just relationships. In fitness it is the difference between trying to avoid becoming fat versus the intent to become fit and strong. In your career it is avoiding a boring job versus chasing the job of your dreams. In your finances it is avoiding poverty versus working towards attaining wealth.
It is hard to let go of fear when you have nothing to replace it with. But positive intent is an excellent replacement. By adopting an intent based mindset you will automatically lose your fear.
2. Lack Of Self Confidence
The main fears that cause insecurity in relationships are that a woman will cheat on you, leave you or that you are not good enough for her. All these come from a lack of self confidence.
If you think a woman is not good enough for you then you have two options. You can wallow in despair and be miserable. Or you can tackle personal development and build up your self confidence. Insecurity in relationships can be overcome and is not something you are stuck with.
If she leaves you it is more likely to be because your fear based mindset will make you needy. You constant need for validation and reinforcement would drive her away. The fear would cause a self fulfilling prophecy and you would tell yourself, "I told you so." In fact if you weren't afraid of her leaving it probably wouldn't have happened.
Men like self confident women and women like self confident men. You do not need to do anything to become confident, you just need an attitude of confidence. Confidence and self esteem will banish the fear.
3. The Conflict Between Biological And Social Expectation
A culture where monogamy is the expectation is at odd with a man's desire to spread his seed in many women.
This biological desire for a man to impregnate many women exists because it increases the chances of the survival of his genetic line. If one woman fails to provide an heir then another will. It's simple diversification.
Yet since we are culturally conditioned into monogamy this creates a biological problem.
The problem is this. If a man cheats on a woman his genes are not at risk. The woman can still carry his baby if he impregnates someone else. In fact if a man was solely motivated by passing on his genes it would be in his interest to sleep with many women. He is diversifying his biological risk.
Yet if a woman cheats on a man then a man's genes are at risk. She may have another man's baby and not his own. Her uterus is no longer a vessel by which he may ensure the survival of his line.
In a monogamous culture, a cheating woman is a biological threat. If she strays then he has to go through the whole process of wooing a new mate and impregnating her. Or worse, he may end up raising another man's child.
The argument is that monogamy creates insecurity because men have to go all in with one woman. If men could diversify then insecurity would be less. It wouldn't matter if a woman left him because he would already have others on the go.
I believe there is no one right way to live. There's no right or wrong with polyamorous or monogamous, there is only personal choice.
But in a society where monogamy is expected it creates a conflict. When a man is faithful to one women she becomes the only one who can carry his genes to the next generation. So he invests his emotions heavily in her. If she cheats or decides to leave then she will not continue his line.
Putting all your eggs in one biological basket is not good betting. But since that is what most men do it contributes to creating the fear based mindset. 1
4. It Is Easier For A Women To Get Sex
It is easier for a woman to go out and get laid than it is for a man.
A man has to have game. And while it's not always quite so simple, generally a good looking woman just needs to say, "Let's have sex" and her hit rate will be pretty good.
Compare this video...
To this one...
A woman has more options. So when a man with limited game lands a woman he wants to hold on tight and never let go because he worries he won't find another girl. This creates the fear and neediness.
While it's true that for most women it's easier to get a lay, this shouldn't cause a problem if you are confident in yourself and your masculinity.
As a man who is in a relationship you aren't looking for another girl, but it's nice to know you have options if you wanted them.
It is all in the attitude. If you perceive yourself as never having a shot with anyone else it makes you more needy.
If you are confident in your ability to find another girl, should you have to, then it removes this fear and insecurity.
5. Sexual Insecurity: Fear Of Not Being Good Enough
Men can have some major sexual insecurities about not being good enough in bed. This contributes to their overall insecurity about the relationship.
Read any magazine, whether for men or women, and they will make you think that all women are great in bed by default. They will also make you think that all men are average in the sack and need a lot of help.
Check out this Cosmo article for a classic example.
This propaganda makes men assume that they are not good enough because supposedly all men are not good enough. And supposedly all women are great.
Granted this comes from the fact that it is easier for men to orgasm that women. But it is not true that all women are great in bed. Some women have low skill levels and are very clumsy.
Also women who do not masturbate are harder to bring to orgasm. Some women are so sexually repressed in their minds that they cannot orgasm, no matter how good you are. They need to be able to let it happen and if they do not it is not a failing on your part.
Yet men have been conditioned to believe that sex is a test of their skill in pleasing a woman but not of a woman's skill in pleasing a man.
Sex is not a test at all, it is a shared experience to be enjoyed by both parties. Pleasing your partner is important but it shouldn't be an assessment or a test. We are all human and we all have different experience levels. We will all learn and with open communication we will all get better.
Uncertainty in the bedroom is a big factor in causing insecure men. But try to accept your sexual experience for what it is and do not be fearful.
6. Repressed Sexuality
In the modern day men are taught to repress their sexuality. Men are taught that being too open about your sexual desires is crude, unwanted by women and will get you into trouble.
A man who is overtly sexual is seen as a creep and women are taught to reject overly sexual men lest they be labeled a slut.
So men go into their shells and shy away from their sexuality. They take the safe option of bottling their sexual desires and not expressing them. They hold their inner masculine nature back and try and be sensitive because their fear a woman's judgment. They focus on being a "nice guy."
Yet most women would actually prefer their man to be a man. 2 They wonder where all the real men have gone.
It is the shutting down of manliness that turns women off and this in turn causes a man to be fearful and be insecure. Unleashing the manliness will keep a woman interested and will eliminate much of the need for insecurity.
This problem of male insecurity in relationships is mainly caused by the conflict between biology and society.
We still have to live in this modern world regardless of what we think of it so we must find a balance.
But key to finding that balance is understand what social constructs cause us to behave in certain ways and adopt certain mindsets.
Once you understand that you can then consciously avoid them if you choose.
Insecurity in relationships can be avoided by turning your attention towards it and understanding it.
If you are ready to banish insecurity for good (female readers too) then have a look at this self hypnosis program "10 Steps To Overcome Insecurity In Relationships."
- This entire argument comes from Shark at the now defunct blog Solve My Girl Problems, so unfortunately I can't provide a link to it. I'm a big believer in the influence of primal urges and I find Shark's argument compelling.
- Wood, W., Kressel, L., Joshi, P. and Louie, B. (2014). Meta-Analysis of Menstrual Cycle Effects on Women's Mate Preferences. Emotion Review, 6(3), pp.229-249.
Image credit: Felix Montino