When you’re seeing someone you really like, it’s natural to want them to know how much you care about them and love having them in your life. However, there comes a point when dating someone who needs constant reassurance becomes a serious problem. Here’s why this happens and what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.
What type of person needs regular reassurance?
- They have an anxious attachment style. Attachment styles relate to childhood experiences and our inherent nature which, combined, attribute to how we relate to the people we have relationships with throughout our lives. When someone has an anxious attachment style, they tend to have a fear of abandonment. They worry that the relationship is going to fall apart or that their partner will leave them. As a result, they may need regular reassurance.
- They’re insecure. When a person has low self-esteem or low self-worth, they’re more likely to worry that they’re not good enough for their partners. As a result, dating someone like this will likely require giving them constant reassurance that you still care about them, you’re happy with them, and that you like being in the relationship.
- They suffer with anxiety. Their anxiety may have nothing to do with the relationship in particular and more to do with a general feeling of dread. Anxiety can convince a person that everything is falling apart, from their job to their friendships and their romantic partnerships.
- They’ve had negative experiences in past relationships. Maybe they dated someone previously who claimed to be into them but cheated on them or dumped them without explanation. The scar that left on this person has made them fear that the same thing will happen again. By seeking constant reassurance, they’re looking to assuage that fear.
- They’re perfectionists. Sometimes, people just want confirmation that they’re doing everything right. They want to know they’re a good partner, that they’re lovable, and that they’re happy. Hearing this makes them feel confident that the relationship isn’t spiraling out of control.
- They have trust issues. When you’re dating someone, you should be able to trust what they say and that they’re feeling good about being with you. However, if someone has trust issues, they’re not able to do that. So, they seek regular confirmation that you mean what you say.
Is asking for constant reassurance bad in a relationship?
It’s not necessarily “bad” to ask for reassurance in a relationship, especially when it only happens occasionally. However, when it happens all the time and becomes excessive, it won’t be long before a relationship becomes strained. In fact, it could lead to a whole host of issues in your relationship. Someone who needs regular reassurance can end up overly relying on their partner for emotional validation, which isn’t fair (nor is it a good thing). It can also make the other partner feel like they’re being doubted or that they’re not trusted.
Dating someone who needs constant reassurance can also be very emotionally draining. The person providing the reassurance ends up feeling like they’re spending all of their time and energy on fulfilling the other partner’s needs while theirs are ignored and left behind. No one wants to feel neglected or taken for granted, so when this happens, it’s not long before the relationship goes south.
How to deal when you’re dating someone who needs constant reassurance
- Try to be patient. Some people may start out needing a lot of validation and encouragement in a relationship but will eventually settle down as you become more comfortable together. The more they get to know you, the more they’ll realize that they’re safe with you and can let down their guard. Try to be patient for a while and see if things go in this direction.
- Practice honest, straightforward communication. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed or frustrated with the other person’s neediness. While you should always be willing to offer positive reinforcement, if it becomes excessive, you have to talk about it. Tell them how their insecurity is making you feel and the toll it’s taking on the relationship. If they care about you and staying together, they’ll take steps to address it.
- Set boundaries. Being a generous and emotive partner is one thing, but there has to be a limit. It’s important that you establish clear boundaries with the person you’re dating. Make it clear that at some point, their issues are theirs to resolve, not for you to deal with.
- Avoid enabling their behavior. When you’re dating someone who needs constant reassurance, you may sometimes feel bad for them. You know it must be hard for them to doubt themselves so much, so you indulge them and make sure they’re okay. Sadly, this amounts to enabling them after a while. Stop!
- Encourage them to work on building self-esteem. Part of the reason they need so much positive feedback all the time is that they don’t value themself. If they did, they would realize they’re worthy, special, and loved. By encouraging them to boost their self-confidence, you can help them move past this toxic headspace. As a result, it’ll likely also help your relationship.
- Focus on building trust. Chances are, you’re already doing everything right in this regard. However, the more you trust each other, the less insecure they’ll feel (at least in theory). Work on building a strong foundation of trust and confidence in your relationship and you may see some positive changes.
- Suggest seeking professional help. At the end of the day, dating someone who needs constant reassurance is a them issue, not a you issue. Because of this, it’s down to them to do the work to address the root of the problem and find tools to change that behavior. If all else fails, suggest they talk to a therapist, who can help them work through it.
- Don’t take it personally. It’s not about you. It may feel like it is sometimes, but don’t let their issues make you doubt yourself. You are being a good partner.