When women suffer from low self esteem, it has a direct impact on their lives as well as romantic relationships. Having low self esteem makes women settle for the wrong and sometimes even harmful things in relationships.
Nothing interferes with the ability to have an authentic, reciprocal relationship like low self esteem. If you can’t believe you’re good enough, how can you believe a loving partner could choose you? Low self esteem can make you test or sabotage relationships that have potential, or settle for relationships in which you’re treated in a way that matches your beliefs about yourself.
That said, low self esteem doesn’t always look the same way in relationships. The following are 10 of the many ways that low self esteem can manifest in your romantic relationship.
(Note that adult manifestations of earlier emotional, physical, or sexual abuses are too complex to be characterized in this post. Trying to do so would not do service to people seeking help, so those pathways to low self esteem will be omitted from this article.)
10 Ways Low Self Esteem Affects Women In Relationships
1. Bring the Bling
You feel wretched and fantasize that a knight in shining armor will take you out of your circumstances and make everything better. This longing may have formed from falling in love with the fantasy of a father. Maybe yours was unavailable enough that you could idealize him without ever testing his fallibility.
You may think you know why your father never “saved” you: It was your fault, not his. Or maybe he did, over and over and your relationship has to make you feel just like that again. Therefore, you may feel compelled to hold tight to the fantasy of perfection as the bar you set for your romantic partners to live up to.
Of course, they can’t. Even if your partner turns out to be solid, consistent, and loving, you may disqualify the efforts, and find ways to sabotage the relationship.
How could he really love me? He doesn’t really love me, does he? Below the surface, these insecurities guide your emotions and actions. You can’t believe you could be truly loved and so you test your partner every chance you get so that he can demonstrate his value (which you don’t believe or trust anyway).
You may even sabotage the relationship because you know your partner will inevitably leave anyway. The end of every relationship allows you to say, “See, I told you so. I’m unlovable.” More often than not, there is intense regret in the aftermath when you lose a partner this way.
If your parents experienced a painful divorce or betrayed each other, you might feel unable to trust a partner now, whether you are conscious of your guardedness or not. You may be hesitant and afraid of allowing yourself to love so that you either abandon your partner before you can be abandoned or you won’t allow yourself to get fully into a relationship in the first place.
Without trusting that maybe you won’t be betrayed, you are deeply afraid of exposing yourself to the possibility of being hurt.
Despite circumstances that could contribute to low self esteem, some women are just built to be resilient. They’re born that way or work really hard to acquire the ability – despite negative experiences – to engage in a positive, substantive relationship as they mature.
Maybe there was a figure somewhere in her life that provided guidance and support and helped her to offset her low self esteem with resilience. Resilience enables women to be more measured in their approach to men, rather than being hysterical about it.