I Have Relationship Imposter Syndrome & It’s Ruining Things With My Amazing Boyfriend

If you think imposter syndrome is something that only happens in the workplace, I’m here to correct you. In fact, I think I’m experiencing it in my current relationship and I’m not really sure what to do about it.

  1. Sometimes I feel like our relationship is too good to be true. I’m in a really healthy relationship with a guy who treats me well. He’s respectful, reliable, supportive of my career ambitions, super loving and receptive when I bring up something that bothers me. Isn’t that what every woman wants in a relationship? When I realize I’ve found it, sometimes I can’t believe that it’s true. Then I start doubting our relationship because for some reason I’ve been conditioned to believe that when things go well for me, it’s all a mirage or an illusion. It’s a terrible cycle but one I can’t seem to get out of.
  2. I compare myself to his super hot ex-girlfriendsEarly on in our relationship, I made the huge mistake of doing some light research on his exes. I found their social media pages and was devastated to discover that they’re some of the most physically attractive human beings I’ve ever seen. Plus, they each had super curated social media pages that made them seem like really fun people that I’d totally be friends with. Since I found them, I feel like I’ve been more insecure in our relationship. I constantly worry that I’m not pretty or cool enough for him based on his dating history. The lesson here? Don’t stalk the exes!
  3. I wonder if he’s going to realize I’m not the person he thinks I am. I consider myself a relatively confident woman in most areas of my life… except for my relationship. Although many of the qualities that he sees in me are ones I also see in myself, I’m afraid that I’m not living up to his ideal of me, and that’s intimidating. Deep down, I just don’t want to disappoint him. In fact, one of my biggest fears is that he’s going to wake up one day discover that I’m not the person he thought I was and break up with me. Feeling like a fraud in your relationship sucks!
  4. I second guess his compliments. My boyfriend gives me super sweet compliments, and on days when I’m feeling less than my best, he still sees the good in me. Even though his compliments make me feel good and loved, I can’t help but feel a pang of skepticism. In previous relationships, I didn’t always feel loved or appreciated and I didn’t have someone who still saw my beauty on days when my hair and skin were out of whack. Because of that, I struggle to bury my self-doubt even with such a great guy.
  5. If there’s no conflict, I start looking for one. Have you ever found yourself looking for problems because you’re so used to having them in relationships so you kind of feel lost without them? It’s totally crazy, I know. My boyfriend and I went months without so much as a disagreement, but we eventually ended our streak by bickering over something silly. I can’t help but think that maybe I started the argument because I wanted to test the overly calm waters a little bit. What’s wrong with me that I expect trials and tribulations to be a regular occurrence in my relationship when I know that healthy relationships don’t operate that way? Sometimes I have to remind myself that love doesn’t have to hurt and everything doesn’t have to be a struggle.
  6. I internalize the negative stories too often. I feel like every other day there’s some revelation that such and such celebrity has cheated on their partner or an otherwise happy couple has decided to split up. On top of that, many of my friends are in some pretty unhealthy relationships and they tend to share their woes with me on a regular basis. Being inundated with negative relationship experiences around the clock kind of takes its toll sometimes, and it makes me feel that my healthy relationship is the abnormal thing.
  7. My self-doubt rubs off on him. Sometimes when I’m feeling extra insecure in our relationship, I become super anxious and that anxiety rubs off on my boyfriend. I usually get super quiet and go into my head around him as I try to work through the self-doubt. He seldom communicates his frustrations about it to me, but I can see it in his face and in his body language that it might make him feel disconnected from me. I feel bad that I have this effect on him because he’s a super sweet guy.
  8. I know I need to get over it. I have a great guy and I feel lucky to be in a super healthy relationship. But the truth is that the imposter syndrome and all of its related symptoms can be really debilitating at times. It aggravates my diagnosed anxiety disorder and casts a dim light on my otherwise positive relationship. Recently I’ve relied on meditation and journaling to help me keep the self-doubt and insecurities at bay, but it’s still a major challenge for me.
Marie is an ambitious millennial woman, leading a corporate life by day and doing her best to live, laugh and love.