Do You Love Me? How to Stop Seeking Reassurance

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Do you love me? How much? More than anything? More than anyone? Will you never leave me? Promise? What if you change your mind?

At first glance, these questions might seem like the typical worries a young child might bring to their parents growing up. But, no these were questions I put to my husband Nathan at 26, 27, 28, and occasionally, at 29.

Finally, I can say that I no longer ask these questions. I no longer seek constant reassurance of his love for me. I no longer feel insecurity in relationships.

But why was I like this? Why did it take so long to get over? And for others who continually wonder how to feel secure in a relationship, what can you do to heal?

Why We Seek Reassurance

This is a very personal story to share on the vast, boundless Interwebs, but I think letting others hear how it was for me could help them. If you’ve ever struggled with overcoming insecurity in relationships, I hope this post can be a comfort and help to you.

I’m no psychologist, but I know I had no deficit of love growing up. My mom loved me tremendously, was very affectionate, and provided for my every need. I never felt that I wasn’t loved or cared for.

My father passed away when I was barely 3 years old. I have no real memory of him or of his death, and to be honest, I have never felt ‘actively’ sad about it. It’s like hearing about the passing of a distant relative you never met. And my mom was an amazing single parent, so I didn’t feel the lack of a second parent. But perhaps the idea of loss was integrated into my impressionable brain even from that point.

I was what you’d call a sensitive child. Although I was nearly always happy, it didn’t take much to upset me and I cried very easily. I had a lot of fears growing up and hated conflict.

Not much changed over the years. I still hate conflict, and will avoid it at all costs.

Romance and love concept. Silhouette of sensual couple dancing on pier with sunset above sea surface on background. Couple in love on romantic date in evening at dock, copy space.

Somewhere along the way, I grew to equate conflict with lack of love. I have no idea how this originated. If anything, maybe it was just my hypersensitivity that made me very much aware of people’s feelings and aware of the “what ifs” of life. Then, at 23, I had a painful, unexpected breakup with my boyfriend of 4 years.

I had discovered that someone could hide their true feelings from me and then suddenly be completely gone from my life. It’s highly likely this is when I went down the path of feeling insecure in a relationship, and when my reassurance seeking started.

Reassurance seeking is not only limited to relationships. People seek reassurance for a range of concerns and through a variety of mediums. Some people seek reassurance from friends or family about their personal concerns.

Others look for reassurance through nonstop Googling, whether it be for health worries or any other issue. We sometimes think if we just research long and hard enough, we will find our answer.

Or in my case, if I ask my partner just ONE more time if he really loves me, I will finally feel secure.

A Caveat

You might be thinking, well, maybe your partner actually didn’t love you and wasn’t showing it to you. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Even when I was at my most anxious, Nathan was always incredibly loving, generous, patient, kind, affectionate, and respectful. He never raised his voice in anger, never belittled me, never was cruel, and he never has been.

So even as I felt the anxiety of “does my partner love me”, I always knew it had no basis in truth. This was my own internal issue to deal with.

Sometimes, you can point to things that indicate a person may not love or respect you in the right way. If a partner is continually dishonest with you, belittles you in public or in private, acts controlling, is verbally abusive, or doesn’t respect you, such things are fairly obvious.

These are clear red flags and it is no surprise that you’d be unsure of your partner’s love. Of course, with the blinders of infatuation on, these negative things can go largely unnoticed.

A good tip is sometimes to ask your friends what they think. These people have your back and they will let you know if your partner isn’t treating you the way you deserve.

READ NEXT:  9 Signs You've Met the Right Person

This is absolutely not what was happening in my relationship with Nathan. In fact, aside from my sometimes constant need for reassurance, the relationship was wonderful. And he told me (and showed me) he loved me ALL THE TIME! Again, this is how I knew I had to turn inward to fix what was breaking down.

First I Had to Love Me

There’s a lot of stuff floating around these days about self-love. It can feel frou-frou. I’m not the type to stand in front of the mirror and hug myself and tell myself I’m beautiful and worthy. But I did have to take steps to learn to love and trust myself.  This is one of the most important steps to dealing with insecurity in marriage or a relationship. How did I do this?

  • Took time for me.

Self-care is really important. You have to focus on your total wellbeing. From eating better to enjoying simple pleasures like hot baths and good books, to making sure to move your body once in awhile. These are huge ways to combat anxiety. When your mind is clear, there’s less room for the scary thoughts to come swirling around.

  •  Turned inward.

You have to spend time on your own. Meditation is a great tool to use as it helps you stay grounded and allows you to examine what’s going on inside. I had to learn to take time to be quiet and centered. The distractions of everyday life definitely contribute to my anxiety when it flares up.

READ NEXT:  Separation Anxiety in Relationships: When Being Apart is Painful
  • Journaling

I love writing, and journaling about my fears and feelings was super helpful. This helped me dissect them (without asking for external reassurance) and allowed me to see the reality when I was stuck in my worries. It clearly demonstrated the facts and helped me see that I was feeling insecure in a relationship for no reason.

  • Inner Bonding

Part of my journaling was a practice called Inner Bonding. For me, this entailed identifying and connecting with a few different “parts” of myself, including my Inner Child, my Wounded Self, and my Loving Adult. My Loving Adult helped me navigate my fears and insecurities and silence my fear-based Wounded Self.

Essentially, this was a way for me to become my own comforter, reassurance-giver, and wise spirit. Interestingly, the Loving Adult was there within me all the time, but only with contemplative practice did she discover how to come out and let me trust her. This step was probably the single most important thing I did to heal from my reassurance seeking.

  • Learning to trust again

Ultimately, while this was about me and my own issues, I had to take a look at the way I approached my relationship. Nathan is the most trustworthy person I ever met. While I never had any basis for fear he would leave me or hurt me, I realized that I was so afraid of “what if’s” that I was failing to trust him fully.

Love is scary and it is always a risk, but you have to be all in. You have to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Eventually, my brain caught up with my heart and I started to just put my trust in him more and more.

  • Dealing with uncertainty

Uncertainty is one of those things your anxiety latches onto so easily. It’s not uncommon to have those “what if’s” leaving you with feelings of insecurity in a relationship.

What if you or your partner dies? What if one of you cheats? What if you want a divorce? The simple truth is you cannot live your life wondering about what may or may not happen. All you can do is your very best with the information you have at any given moment.

And if your partner has shown himself to be a reliable, trustworthy, and loving person in the past, then by all probability, that behavior will only continue!

Despite the inherent uncertainty of relationships, when you decide to commit to someone, you just have to commit to working hard, loving through action, and sticking with your relationship through all its trials and tribulations. We wouldn’t need to take vows if we knew everything was going to be smooth sailing, would we?

Insecurity and anxiety go hand in hand, but you sometimes have to just take the leap. (Check out this excellent book Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway).

  • Handling conflict

I found that one big contributor to my need for seeking reassurance was my fear of conflict. Ugh. My issue was that I viewed even minor tiffs as “conflict.” For some reason, I equated the idea that if Nathan got annoyed with me, he would leave me. It was totally illogical.

He was really instrumental in helping me with this, through his patience and his helpful way of reminding me even during arguments that his feelings hadn’t changed he still loved me. πŸ™‚ And I’ve since grown much more comfortable navigating any tense moments that arise. (Because they do. We’re human).

READ NEXT:  26 Common Relationship Myths You Need to Stop Believing Immediately
  • Helpful resources

There were also several books and resources which made a big difference during this journey. These are some of the best books on how to overcome insecurity in a relationship and can be good if you’re the one dealing with these fears or if you have an insecure partner.

How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving

Insecure in Love: How Anxious Attachment Can Make You Feel Jealous, Needy, and Worried and What You Can Do About It

The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Revised and Updated: Surviving Through and Recovering from the Five Stages That Accompany the Loss of Love

In addition to these books, I spent a lot of time journaling and writing gratitude lists that helped me tremendously. I’ve created one you can download + use!

  • Discovering our “love languages”

I learned that I contributed to my own anxiety through my expectations. I am an extremely verbal person. I love being told sweet things, I adore written cards and letters, and a well-placed compliment never goes unappreciated!

But while my love language is words, that isn’t Nathan’s. And here I was waiting for him to pour out his adoration almost nonstop (very unrealistic).

Together, we’ve worked to discover one another’s and to learn how to give love in the way the other person most needs and desires it.

By the same token, I’ve learned how to see love in the other languages, to notice that it’s always all around me, even when not spoken (although Nathan tells me he loves me many times every day).

The The 5 Love Languages is a great book and can be quite beneficial to any couple. Once we understood one another better, it was easier to give and receive love in many different ways.

If you are finding yourself held back by a need for constant reassurance in relationships, I hope this post can show you that you are far from alone. This is a common issue among both men and women, but with patience, inner love, and self-discovery, it’s possible to heal from this anxiety and move forward. Perhaps it’s time you finally accept the beautiful love right in front of you.

Amy (2)

Read here about:

How to deal with relationship anxiety

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31 thoughts on “Do You Love Me? How to Stop Seeking Reassurance”

  1. Thank you for this article! You have such great insight into the importance of loving yourself first. Everything else starts from there. Also, great resources. This is something I’m really focusing on this year. <3

    • I know this is written awhile ago but basically my husband was going through a rough patch after joining the military and he had a two week online relationship with this girl where they role played and he never saw her picture or what not but they sexted each other long paragraphs and he called her baby and told her he loved her. He stopped of his own accord knowing it was wrong so I decided to give him another chance. He has now been better than he has ever been these past 2 months but It is always at the back of my mind. How do I trust him again? I feel pretty sure that he wont do that again but I still hurt when i think about it. He keels saying i made one mistake in 6 years so you should just trust me, but i just cant.

      • Hi there. I’m sorry this happened in your relationship—that’s definitely tough. πŸ™ Trust is a difficult thing to regain, but the fact that he stopped contacting her on his own is a positive thing, I think. Also, people can get caught up in the online world in a different way. I do think there’s a difference between role-playing and messaging and in person cheating. You may want to have some serious discussions about boundaries, together, and expectations for online activity. Be patient with each other going forward. You might consider counseling, too, whether together or just on your own. That can be tremendously helpful in situations like this.

  2. Hello! I don’t often leave comments online, but I just had to tell you that I loved this post! The advice, as well as the writing, is fabulous and clean. I’ll be trying it out and just wanted to say thanks for sharing the wisdom of love!

  3. Wow I really appreciate this article. As a person who has always been anxious in relationships, I found that I am only more so after my divorce. This helps me to feel at peace a little and understand some of my behaviors and thought processes. I am trying to slowly build a strong relationship with a good man but my anxiety has been getting the best of me.

    • I’m really glad it has helped Kate. Anxiety just plain sucks, in every single way. But you definitely can move through it when it comes to the reassurance seeking. I definitely recommend the Inner Bonding I mentioned in this article. Getting in touch with your inner Loving Adult is so helpful to realizing you’re enough. Sending love xo

  4. Like the genuine tone and straightforwardness of this article.

    The 5 love languages are a staple too!

    I do have a question…

    Im a loving and affectionate person. Something I take pride in. But my spouse isn’t. Amazing in lots of ways. Affectionate towards kids and friends. Just not me that much.

    So.. in a sense, I get the feeling like I don’t please them (which does hurt sometimes) and also that Im not truly loved and wanted.

    I would like to believe that I feel good about myself, and … I’m not the type to need my ego stroked, but I must admit it is hard not to take personal sometimes.

    Ive read that you shouldn’t ‘seek validation’ in your relationship, and I’m not sure if that’s what I’m doing… or if that’s just a normal feeling anyone would have? Sometimes I wonder if something may be wrong with me for wanting that validation of sorts? Is that normal?

    In my eyes I feel like there is few things more important than “feeling like” you have an effect on your partner.

    • Hey Al,

      Somehow I missed this comment, so sorry for the very late reply!

      I think that there’s a difference between excessive reassurance seeking and a normal human need for validation and affection. Are you still experiencing this problem with your partner? I’d definitely sit down and have a talk with them about it. Physical affection does not come naturally to some people. But if it’s the way you best experience love, a good partner will endeavour to give you what you need, even if it’s challenging for them. I highly suggest to read The 5 Love Languages together. It addresses this very well. πŸ™‚

  5. I found this post so touching, so relevant to me, and so helpful. Thank you for being so open about your own relationship and journey of self discovery.

  6. Thank you so much for this vulnerable post! Your words here resonate with me so much, and I am grateful for your guidance in providing resources to facilitate healing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  7. Thank you for this – especially the part about loving and accepting yourself – that’s part of the whole package. I’m in a situation where my spouse cheated on me a few years ago, and in the last year or so I’ve gotten similar “vibes” from a couple of different male acquaintances she works or has worked with. It’s more about the guys being into her (I think) but the push/pull of trust and reassurance can be so difficult when it feels like there’s a “predator” lurking nearby. I think your advice of not worrying about what may happen is vital, and so important. Of course this can be the most difficult part for me. I have to accept that I can only look at my spouses actions and hear her words, and if she strays again I will ultimately find out and deal with it then, and not before. Fretting about the future will drive you crazy.

    • Hi AF. That sounds like a difficult situation for sure. I think that infidelity and the fear of it are a scary thing, but as you mentioned, you have to place trust in your partner. It’s def a major challenge if you have had a breach of trust before. But embracing uncertainty and taking your partner at their word is vital. I hope you two are doing very well!

  8. Great read!

    I discovered the 5 love languages about a year or so ago when my partner and I were going through a bit of a rough patch. I’m very much a verbal person so words of affirmation really mean a lot to me. Whereas my partner appreciates physical contact much more. Just learning how we are both different in our love languages made us realise we don’t need to keep seeking reassurance as we just speak a different “language” to one another. We now try to make sure each of us receive the type of attention we need in the relationship.

    Rio | http://www.OppositeTourists.com

  9. Hi Amy,
    thank you for this article.
    I felt as if every word was directly for me. I’ve been battling insecurity and low self-esteem for many years now but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I was “diagnosed” with it. My constant seek for reassurance and my severe overthinking habit destroyed my inner peace and deprived me of staying grounded and proud of who I am when it comes down to dating and starting a new relationship. I have faith. I have faith I will be able to love unconditionally and trust the person I’m meant to be with above all my fears and insecurities.

    Once again, thank you!

    • Felipe, I love that you have faith in your ability to love unconditionally and trust your partner! That’s amazing. I really hope you continue to find peace in this journey. It definitely is a journey, but I promise it gets better!

  10. Wow wow wow. This was completely spot on. I read so much and was like omg this is me! This really helped me open my eyes. I learned a lot about myself. Thank you thank you!!

  11. Your blog post is very helpful and inspiring. I’ve been with my boyfriend for about a year and a half. About six months in, I found things that hurt deeply, to the point of betrayal. Almost a year later, things are still very hard. My insecurities and anxieties practically take over sometimes, and it created a vicious cycle even though I’ve been working through some things at a snail’s pace. I still get hit with “What if he’s hiding ______”. He regrets telling me about things he did in past relationships, I think. Even though in this past year, I have seen nothing besides fib responses to keep the peace from him after my overreactions to a couple of things, but it is so hard to shut that what-if voice down. Especially when he tells me to go find someone else, or that I’d be happier with someone else, that we don’t really have anything in common anyway, and it just makes me feel even more insecure. He says that he can’t say when he needs to or wants to, which is confusing considering the hurtful, nonconstructive things he has said in some arguments. I know my boyfriend is a good man. But I struggle in the thought pattern of, I thought I was being a good girlfriend in the beginning, what did I do to deserve those betrayals? I know people make mistakes. But in his other relationships, he only strayed or things went downhill after he had been treated badly. I struggle so hard, and fail repeatedly, against seeking reassurance to every worry and fear. For instance, he made a verbal advance to a woman while he was married to go for a motorcycle ride just to see if she’d say yes, but he says now that verbal advances are crossing a line.. I’m ashamed of it, but we have gotten into it over what he did – to his exwife. But in the recent talk we had, in which was actually a good conversation and I felt better that he wouldn’t tolerate a woman coming on to him, he said that a verbal advance is wrong. This morning, I was still hit with the desire to ask about the previously mentioned situation; did he not consider verbal advances wrong back then; does he realize that was a verbal advance; I’m honestly not even sure how I would word it, but I know from the familiar feeling that I want reassurance that he realizes it was wrong to make sure that it won’t happen to me. Its probably, easily, the first time, or almost, that I’ve resisted, usually resistance and just trying to let some fears go is a time-ticking, losing battle.. When he first told me about it, we got into it,because I wanted to make sure he knew I wouldn’t tolerate that to the point I’d said “act single, and you’ll be single” so much that he continued to expect it for months after I hadn’t said it. The fact that, in a more direct way, we’ve already had a round in regards to it, seems to help resist the urges, at least this time (versus “..but just to make absolutely sure..”). I’ve wondered if writing a blog would help me, but I worry about how he would feel about our problems being aired (let alone like this..) even though it would be anonymous. But I am so glad I came across this post, because, while your boyfriend didn’t do anything that broke your trust, it still rings true after forgiveness has happened.. but I think maybe my forgiveness isn’t quite as complete as it should. I know I don’t really even trust my own judgement. I’m starting to wonder if I didn’t develop some kind of OCD from fears/doubts on top of the pre-existing fears and lowesteem issues that I was struggling with by the end of my divorce. But your post helps alot with the fears and a game-plan of trying to make things better. Recognizing unhealthy patterns are the first steps, right? Thank you again for this blog post. I’m going to try keeping a journal,I think. Thank you again

    • Hi there, I’m glad the article helped you. I definitely think keeping a journal could be instrumental to feeling greater peace and security. <3 Definitely check out some of the resources I linked to, they could be very helpful.

  12. This article has changed my life. Your words sounded like they came from my brain. My need for constant reassurance due to being cheated on by my first love has ruined all my relationships since then. Recently I have been practicing some self love, but there are strong moments where I question those who try to love me and I question myself. It has got to the point where I don’t want to ever pursue a potential relationship because I know how annoying I’m going to be and how much anxiety it’s going to bring. This article has really helped me and I feel comfort in knowing that you have been in my exact shoes and have moved passed it.

    • Hi Olivia,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment!! I saw it but had forgotten to respond. I love hearing from people who have experienced/are experiencing something similar. I know how it can be the worst feeling and it always ends up feeling like a vicious cycle. But absolutely you can get through this. It’s like night and day for me now. Did you get a chance to download the worksheet for self-soothing? Stuff like that really helped me. Wishing you all the best!

  13. Hi Amy, is there any way of getting in contact with you. I absolutely love this article, just had a few questions.

    Thank you!

  14. Hey Amy,

    It’s crazy how much your article resonated with me; this is EXACTLY how I’ve been feeling. Need constant reassurance, hate any form of conflict. I had a wonderful upbringing so I have no idea where it stems from. I don’t know if you can relate to this but for me a lot of times the anxiety kicks in from any kind of change; like if he reduces the number of texts he sends me in a day then he must be talking to someone else, right? It’s ridiculous, I even know it’s ridiculous but I don’t know how to get rid of it. Knowing that I’m not alone in this helped me feel a lot better, so thank you so much for that!

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