17+ Big Signs He’s Wracked With Insecurities (And What To Do About It)

Has your partner's neediness and jealousy made you question if he's truly secure within himself? 

While a touch of protectiveness shows he cares, taken too far, these traits betray deep-seated insecurities that could tank your relationship. 

Though we all have moments of self-doubt, some men can't seem to shake chronic low self-esteem. 

Their lack of confidence not only reveals emotional baggage and stunted personal growth but also drags down your shared happiness. 

Don't make excuses or coddle his fragility.

Face the issue compassionately but head-on, for both your sakes. 

You deserve a partner who can revel in your strengths and offer his own.

What Causes Men to Be Insecure in Relationships?

Insecurity stems from deep places we often can't see. 

But certain experiences and beliefs tend to feed male self-doubt:

  • Childhood emotional neglect. This type of abuse can warp self-image. If family members didn't nurture his gifts or appreciate his uniqueness, he might believe the lies that he's unworthy of love.
  • Past romantic failures. Events from the past, like infidelity or abandonment, can shatter trust. He may now cling to you as his sole source of self-worth.
  • Performance-based worth. He may link his value to professional success, income, status, or impressing you. Failure to “measure up” equates to failure as a human being.
  • Comparisons. He views himself as less than other men—less attractive, intelligent, and successful. Or he feels threatened by your autonomy and accomplishments. 
  • Rigid gender roles. He believes masculine strength means never showing emotion or admitting weakness, so vulnerability exposes his lack of “true manhood.”

The good news?

Self-awareness and your loving support can help him grow.

man sad with woman sitting behind him insecure man

But he must face the roots of inadequacy himself.

What Is an Emotionally Insecure Man?

An emotionally insecure man lacks inner stability and a grounded sense of self, leading to paranoid fears of failure or abandonment. 

His extreme sensitivity leaves him feeling frequently threatened or under attack, unable to healthily manage difficult feelings. 

He may mask deep-rooted anxiety beneath a tough façade. But his volatility reveals he’s controlled by emotions rather than logically working through them. 

Because he hasn’t done the hard work to understand his inner landscape, he depends on external validation to stabilize his perpetually wavering confidence.

17 Red Flag Signs of an Insecure Man

While we all have moments of self-doubt, chronic insecurity in men can strain even the strongest relationship. 

Here are 17 telling signs your partner lacks self-assurance so you can assess the health of your bond.

Though difficult, this increased awareness presents an opportunity for growth, both as individuals and as a couple.

1. He's overly jealous and possessive. 

Does he bombard you with frequent calls or texts when you're apart, interrogate you about your activities and interactions, or forbid you from going out without him? While it's natural to feel a little jealousy occasionally, his extreme possessiveness and accusations of cheating likely stem from deep-seated fears that you'll leave him the second someone “better” comes along.

2. He seeks constant validation.

Compliments don't just make his day – they make his entire sense of self-worth. He fishes endlessly for praise about his appearance, talents, financial success, and accomplishments. While it's good to enjoy appreciation, his desperate need for reassurance implies he doesn't truly believe in his own strengths.

3. He puts you on a pedestal. 

In his eyes, you can do no wrong. He worships the ground you walk on and showers you with adulation but shies away from or rejects compliments directed at him. This over-idealization compensates for his own feelings of inadequacy. Sadly, when you fail to live up to his impossibly high expectations, resentment can build.

4. He's critical of himself.

His self-directed jokes go beyond humility into the realm of deep self-criticism. He focuses on perceived mistakes and shortcomings, tearing himself down for not being more attractive, successful, or accomplished. Harsh self-talk reveals the oppressive inner voice that fuels his self-doubt.

5. He seeks your constant reassurance.

He frequently fishes for validation about the strength of your feelings for him, his place in your heart, and your ongoing attraction to him. While we all need some reassurance in relationships at times, his constant neediness and doubts reflect deeply rooted relationship anxiety and suggest he lacks self-confidence. 

man and woman sitting on sofa  insecure man

6. He reacts strongly to perceived slights. 

Even minor criticism or small mistakes on your part elicit intense hurt feelings, bitterness, resentment, or explosions of anger. His over-the-top sensitivity and outsized reactions to perceived failures reveal his extreme hypersensitivity regarding his own perceived inadequacies or shortcomings.

7. He compares himself to other men.

He regularly comments on how much more attractive, intelligent, successful, masculine, socially easeful, or accomplished other men seem compared to him. The habit of measuring himself against others betrays his profoundly shaky sense of self-worth and feelings of coming up short.

8. He feels threatened by your independence. 

He harbors jealousy or resentment about your career ambitions, close friendships, hobbies that don't involve him, intelligence, or anything that displays self-sufficiency. Your self-sufficiency challenges his belief that you somehow “need” him and fans the flames of his deep abandonment fears.

9. He has troubled personal relationships.

In addition to anxiety within romantic bonds, he may have difficulty developing close friendships, a fraught relationship with family members, or problems sustaining healthy connections in general. His broader challenges with intimacy likely both stem from and exacerbate his emotional insecurity.

10. He latches onto you for self-esteem. 

Rather than cultivating belief in his own self-worth, he seeks out his sole sense of value and validation through your approval and the relationship. You become responsible for bolstering his entire ego, which places an unfair emotional burden upon you.

11. He needs to be the center of your attention. 

He requires you to lavish him with constant attention, validation, and affection. He grows resentful or sulky if anything—your job, hobbies, friends—takes your focus away from him for too long. His extreme need to be the focal point at all times suggests he seeks to compensate for internal emotional voids through external validation-seeking rather than doing the work to address his discomfort with himself.

12. He's defensive or guarded.

He shies away from sharing deeper fears, doubts, dreams, and desires and keeps discussions surface-level. He masks vulnerability behind a thick protective emotional wall. His avoidance of sincere heartfelt intimacy likely stems from the fear of judgment, criticism, ridicule, or rejection that would come from exposing the full depths of his weaknesses to you.

13. He struggles to make decisions.

He anxiously seeks your input, validation, and approval over choices large and small. Being unable or unwilling to confidently make decisions and move forward without endless reassurance implies he doesn't trust his own judgment. This indecisiveness stems from a deep fear of failure or disapproval if he makes the “wrong” choice.  

14. He shuts down or withdraws. 

When faced with relationship conflicts or difficult conversations, he immediately shuts down or retreats inward rather than engaging in mature, open communication. Avoidant stonewalling to evade uncomfortable issues reflects emotional immaturity rooted in insecurity. If he cannot healthily discuss problems, he will never address the core lack of self-confidence fueling this withdrawal.

15. He struggles to accept feedback. 

Even well-intentioned, constructive criticism makes him irrationally upset and defensive. He instantly perceives any critique as a personal attack rather than helpful advice to improve himself. His intense resistance to grow from external feedback exposes hypersensitivity rooted in an unstable sense of self that crumbles in the face of judgment.

16. He feels controlled by his emotions. 

Difficult feelings like anger, hurt, sadness, or fear overpower his logical reasoning. He lacks healthy coping strategies and quickly becomes reactionary or volatile when emotionally overwhelmed. Being ruled by such mercurial, unstable emotions suggests he doesn't have a grounded sense of self or a firm grasp of his own inner landscape.  

man sitting with fists clinched together insecure man

17. He seeks excessive reassurance about his masculinity.

He constantly second-guesses or questions his own strength, power, virility, capabilities, or authority in comparison to other men. Needing continual validation of his manhood implies he has boxed himself into a very narrow definition of masculinity that he feels pressured to continually prove and perform.

What Are the Signs a Man Is Sexually Insecure?

Sexuality exists on a spectrum, and it's natural to feel some vulnerability in sharing physical intimacy. But chronic sexual lack of confidence can strain a relationship. Signs your partner lacks confidence between the sheets include:

  • Criticizing his self-perceived sexual “flaws” like size, stamina, or technique. Harsh self-judgment reveals he feels inadequate.
  • Apologizing excessively if he finishes early or can’t perform. Though disappointment is understandable, repetitively begging for forgiveness implies fear of failure. 
  • Obsessively needing validation that he satisfies you sexually. Needing continual reassurance suggests he doesn't trust your words.
  • Performing rather than connecting. He focuses on impressing you with positions, tools, or stamina instead of mutual pleasure.
  • Avoiding sexual encounters or touch due to body shame, fear of vulnerability, or performance anxiety. 
  • Compulsively comparing himself to your past partners or sexual history to feed his insecurity. 
  • Feeling emasculated if you take the lead, discuss alternatives, or introduce toys. He interprets your empowerment as somehow diminishing his manhood.

With compassion and encouragement, he can move past these roadblocks and rediscover intimacy

But his willingness to confront his sexual hang-ups is key.

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How to Deal with An Insecure Man in a Relationship

When you're dating someone with deep self-doubt, it impacts you both. While supporting him, don't enable his toxicity or lose yourself. With care, patience, and boundaries, you can nurture the relationship to a healthier place.

Set Firm, Loving Limits

Don’t tolerate controlling behaviors, excessive jealousy, unfair criticism of you, or emotional withdrawal when he feels intimidated. All of these are fueled by his low self-esteem. Kindly but unapologetically confront these behaviors and explain why you won't accept them anymore. Offer your support if he seeks counseling for his issues but be ready to disengage if he refuses to get constructive help.

Stop Validating His Irrational Fears 

If his anxiety manifests as accusations of cheating or wanting to isolate you from platonic male friends, don’t reassure him, cut ties or give in to these controlling demands. Doing so only validates his irrational paranoia. Stand firm in asserting your right to independence and trust. Reassure him of your love but don’t enable his toxicity. 

Boost His Confidence with Sincerity

Offer sincere compliments about his efforts, growth, and achievements, but avoid empty flattery, which he can sense. He needs to internalize genuine self-belief, not have his ego artificially inflated. Praise actual positive qualities and actions to nurture confidence organically. Apply this not just romantically but in all contexts – professionally, socially, etc.

Gently Encourage Emotional Vulnerability

In small doses, gently push him to open up about his deepest self-doubt, its origins, and its painful impact. Hold space for authentic sharing without judgment or criticism. Let him know you see his intimate struggles yet value him as a flawed human partner anyway. Don’t force but keep the door open to vulnerability.

Consider Professional Counseling

A skilled therapist can help uncover dysfunctional patterns, thoughtfully challenge limiting beliefs, and teach techniques to healthily manage his fear triggers that you simply can't provide alone. Present counseling as an opportunity to gain additional tools to finally achieve inner peace. Offer to participate as well to show it’s about growth. 

Nurture Interdependence, Not Codependence

While being each other's emotional rock, take care to avoid unhealthy codependency. Ensure you both maintain your own independent interests and friend groups outside the relationship. Preserving your own identity creates needed breathing room. Schedule regular social outings apart to reinforce you’re still individuals.

Final Thoughts

Though insecurity can strain a relationship, with compassion and boundaries, you can support your partner through growth. But truly overcoming his demons requires courage and willingness from within. If he avoids self-work, your sacrifices may nurture his toxicity rather than healing. Remember, you deserve fulfillment too.