Stop Self Doubt from Ruining a Relationship

You often worry whether you are good enough or interesting enough for your partner. If this sounds like you, you may be troubled by self-doubt.The negative cycle created by self-doubt can cause you to think poorly of yourself and others. Eventually, it can negatively affect your relationship. You may prevent this from happening by understanding what the self-doubt does, stopping it, and getting support and treatment.


Reframing Your Outlook

  1. Turn the negative into positive. Negative thoughts are often a contributor to self-doubt. They can change how you perceive yourself and cause you to misjudge those around you. The next time this happens, change the negative into positive.
    • For example, if you think, “I’m terrible at cooking dinner. My partner is going to hate it,” change it to, “I’m an excellent cook. My partner is going to love this.” Altering your thinking to this could take a lot of work. However, eventually it will become easier and will hopefully replace your negative thoughts entirely.[1]
  2. Practice gratitude. Write down something positive about yourself daily. Start your day by noting something you love about yourself in a journal. Then refer back to it throughout the day to remind yourself of what you like.
    • Write down what you are grateful about at the end of the day. Here you’ll want to focus on what you have and what you have accomplished, rather than what you want and past failures. Read this every night and you may find that you have a more positive image of yourself and have feelings of gratitude.[2]
  3. Talk to your partner about what you need. Anxiety and self-doubt can cause you to behave selfishly. You often focus on your needs instead of partner’s, which can cause problems in the relationship. Instead, talk to them about your feelings of self-doubt and let them know what you need from them to help them subside.
    • For instance, say, “I’m feeling really insecure about our relationship right now and it’s because of my self-doubt. Please reassure me that we are good.” Then tell them what kind of reassurance you need. Doing so may help them understand what they need to do to make you happy. Knowing your insecurities may prevent them from leaving the relationship.[3]

Getting Support and Treatment

  1. Ask your doctor if you have ROCD. Relationship obsessive compulsive disorder (ROCD) is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. It causes you to have irrational fears and thoughts about your relationship. Those who experience self-doubt may also have this disorder.
    • Treatment for ROCD can include taking small steps that help you learn to trust your partner. For instance, not checking in on them as much and allowing them to do things by themselves without worrying.[4]
  2. Go to therapy. Talking to a therapist with your significant other may help your relationship. Your partner can discuss what they experience from you and their problems with your coupledom. The therapist may then suggest ways they can cope and help you overcome your insecurities.
    • Ask your significant other if they are willing to go see a therapist with you. For example, try saying, “I really want our relationship to work but I fear my self-doubt is harming things. Would you want to go to couples therapy with me so we can figure out how to make it work, together?”[5]
  3. Work with a therapist individually. You may also use therapy to determine why you are so insecure. Perhaps you were cheated on in a previous relationship. Maybe you heard that you were a failure growing up. Figuring out why you feel this way can help you to stop being so critical on yourself.
    • A therapist can help you to determine what caused these feelings of self-doubt. You may also discover why by speaking with someone you love and trust.[6]
  4. Find a support group for people with insecurities. Engaging with other people who share your struggles may help you stop. They may also give you encouragement on what to do to make the self-doubt and sabotage end.
    • Ask your therapist or doctor for support groups in your area. Consider attending a virtual support group if you would prefer to become involved in one from the comforts of your home.[4]

Investigating Self-Doubt in Your Relationship

  1. Critique your inner voice. The voice in your head that doubts you and makes you feel bad about yourself can also change your idea of reality. Hearing those bad thoughts enough can prevent you from having the confidence you deserve to have a good relationship.
    • Pay more attention to your inner voice. Determine if it causes you to judge and hate yourself, as this can also make you think false things about others. It could make you believe that you shouldn’t trust your significant other or create doubt in your mind about their loyalty. Allowing this to happen could sabotage what you have.[7]
  2. Notice how self-doubt affects your happiness. Doubting yourself and your partner stops you from fully enjoying your relationship. It may cause you and your significant other to not experience all the happiness you could. The relationship could end as a result.
    • Self-doubt may not only cause your partner to break up with you, but it may cause you to end the relationship, instead. You may believe that your partner doesn’t enjoy you as much as they do, or you may not think they make you happy. Your self-doubt could ultimately be the cause.[3]
  3. Look for repetitive "bad" relationships. You can find yourself in an abusive relationship when you start to believe the critical voices in your head. These thoughts can hold you back from getting what you want and deserve.
    • For instance, if you believe that you are worthless, you may find someone who believes and tells you that, too. You may seek someone who reinforces what you believe, which can make your insecurity even worse.[8]

Sources and Citations