There’s an old saying in relationships: we have to love ourself first before we can love someone else. Having low self-esteem has the potential to cause friction among any couple. If someone has a low opinion of him or herself, it not only affects them, but it also affects the relationship. It can even go so far as to distort their view of the world. They may fail to see it in themselves and how it negatively impacts others. Most of the time, the last thing they want to do is turn others away. Having low self-worth may be the very thing that rubs others the wrong way.

Low self-esteem leads people to feel like they’re on rocky ground. They start to feel insecure and lack faith in their relationships. As a result of their insecurity, it starts to seep through and change their behavior. Although it may not always seem obvious at first, there are some clear signs to take note of. Once you know what to look for, it’s much easier to identify whether someone is insecure or not. Here are the signs a woman often shows whenever she’s worried or unsure about a relationship. Buckle up; some of these might hit home.

20-She Never Wants To Give You Up

Whenever insecurity plays a role in a relationship, people don’t act like themselves. To truly be oneself is to act without a filter. For example, if insecurity finds a place in her heart, a lot of emotional baggage just may bombard her.

According to the website Marriage, insecurity can make her afraid that the relationship isn’t going to last. She’ll think it’s the only good thing she has. Then, she’ll want to do everything in her power to keep you from leaving. She’ll think twice about how she acts around you out of fear that she’ll say or do the wrong thing.

19-She’s The Spy Who Loved You

Phones are like extensions of ourselves. They carry personal information, which means some things on it are for your eyes only. That makes your information precious to her. It lends direct insight into you and what you’ve been up to. If she makes efforts to look at your phone, it might be out of a need to affirm her low self-esteem.

In its simplest form, it can be as subtle as peeking over your shoulder to see who you’re texting. At its most extreme, it can be actually taking your phone when you’re unaware and scrolling through apps. As Bustle notes, looking at someone’s phone is an invasion of privacy. An ideal relationship doesn’t have secrets.

18-She’s Wants To Know Where You’ve Been At All Times

If you’ve been away from her, it’s normal for her to ask what you’ve been up to. But, if she starts out asking innocently and it soon turns into a full-on interrogation, however, then something is up.

If you’ve been loyal and trustworthy, she really has nothing to worry about. She doesn’t need to know all of the details of where you’ve been. Though as Bustlepoints out, not only is it an issue if she pleads to know the answers, but also if this happens a lot. Is she often interrogating you for information after time apart? If she’s asking questions like where you’ve been, whom you’ve been with or what you’ve been up to—then she may not trust you.

17-Her Dream Guy Must Be You

She spent some of her childhood dreaming up her ideal man in her head. Once she reached a certain age, she started to measure the men she dated up to this ideal. In some cases, however, she may have cooked up a standard in her head that’s impossible for any man to reach.

According to Psychology Today, she may have had a poor relationship with her father. Where her dad should have fulfilled a loving role growing up, instead there’s only a void. Left with an open space, she’s since filled it with a fantasy. She dreams that her knight in shining armor will rescue her one day. Not only will he make things perfect for her, but he’ll also be the perfect man. The problem with that is she’ll never find him.

16-You’re The Crutch To Her Anxiety

If she doesn’t have high self-esteem, she’s not going to have much confidence in her ability to interact with others. She might depend on you for social interactions, in that case. According to Bustle, she can even go so far as to avoid social gatherings unless you’re around. If you’re the one link between her and the social world, then she’ll depend on you for a basic necessity of what it means to be human. Sounds extreme, but that could be the case if she needs you to go with her to all of her family reunions and friends’ events. Like most symptoms that develop from having insecurity, she may be completely oblivious she’s doing this.

15-She’ll Look For Affirmation That You Love Her

When she starts to feel insecure about her relationship with you, it’ll start to eat away at her. Playing out behind the scenes, her emotions are going to affect her first internally. Soon, that insecurity that started so small is dictating her feelings and even her decision-making.

As Psychology Today points out, one of these questions more than likely is, “Does he love me?” It doesn’t matter how much you show it to her; it won’t seem like enough. As long as you affirm your love for her, she should be confident in the relationship you both have. When insecurity takes hold, those intentional efforts to show her your love will come up short.

14-Her Jealousy Will Be Taken Up A Notch

Does she want the best for you? Do you want the best for her? Two people need to support each other if they want to make a relationship last. If one side isn’t the biggest champion for the other, there’s potential for things to fall apart.

As Bustle points out—when insecurity dominates her life—she’ll start to view things differently. Suddenly, all she wants is you for herself. As a result, she’ll start weighing all of the consequences of your actions. She’ll examine whether the outcome benefits her in the end. As odd as it sounds, she may not want the best for you if it means she gets the bad end of a deal.

13-She Needs You To Say You Love Her Constantly

Sometimes, women get the insecurity bug. As a result, how they act doesn’t line up consistently with the emotions raging inside them. For example, she might worry about how she comes across and feel hyperaware of everything she does. At the same time, she may ask you constantly if you love her.

According to Bustle, it’s much harder for her to find this security within herself alone. That’s what leads her to go outside of herself and find it in you. The outlet goes on to say that she may not even look for your affirmation through words alone. Even your actions and expressions can instill or break her confidence.

12-…Or She Tells You She Loves You Every Second

On the flip side, she might be the one professing her love to you every waking minute. That could either be really sweet or really annoying, depending on how you feel.

For example, when someone opens a present, they’re expected to have a reaction about it on the spot. Whatever the case may be, the gift-giver is waiting to see the other’s response. In some cases, it may not be a gift the receiver is very fond of. They may say, “I really love it.” In truth though, they’re just being nice. The more they say it, the more disingenuous it comes across.

It’s the same thing when she repeats “I love you” over and over. Plus—according to Bustle—she could just be doing it to make you say it back.

11-Her Emotions Are Reserved

Many argue that trust in a relationship is even more important than attraction. Although attraction brings two people together, trust is what keeps a couple afloat. If she doesn’t have trust in you and where you’re both going, it can show in the way she acts.

She may take a more guarded approach when it comes to social interactions. According to Psychology Today, one area she could get her lack of trust from is if she comes from a broken home. If her parents couldn’t trust each other, she’ll only have that model to follow. In turn, it’ll affect her own relationships.

10-She Lets You Know When You Haven’t Been In Contact

These days, it’s hard to find excuses for not being in touch with someone. With phones, it’s never been easier to call, text or even connect via social media. This can present all kinds of challenges in a relationship if she’s plagued with insecurity. According to Bustle, she might want you to communicate with her all the time if she’s got low self-esteem. By talking to her and showing an interest in her all the time, she won’t think about how bad she feels.

The outlet goes on to note that she might need to be in contact with you to keep tabs on you. You don’t owe her all of that information. A healthy relationship requires both sides agreeing to maintain independence while together.

9-Self-Affirmation Is A Foreign Concept To Her

When a girl has a low opinion of herself, she’s going to do something to turn that around. It may not even be a conscious effort she’s aware of, but she’ll naturally look somewhere else outside of herself for affirmation. There are plenty of dudes out there who will give a girl the kind of attention she’s looking for. As a result, a guy will tell her anything if it means getting what he wants.

According to Psychology Today, if she’s insecure and in a relationship, she’s liable to get antsy if things don’t move fast enough. She’s anxious for the relationship to reach the next step that she feels she’s ready for. You may not be ready for that step yet. Thus, insecurity might get the best of her, making her think she’s not good enough for you.

8-The Topic Of Exes Just Keeps Comes Up

When two people start to date, they’re also bringing their past history with them. It’s part of what’s shaped someone into who they are today. It’s something you can’t change or erase. If she’s insecure about what you both have, then the exes may be a matter she latches onto.

As Bustle points out, insecurity causes uncertainty. When she’s got low self-esteem, she’s going to compare herself to others. She wants to know how she compared to past girls you’ve dated. Or—taking it another route—she could even bring up her own exes to make herself feel better. As a general rule of thumb, most of the time talking about exes on either side is bad news.

7-She’s Fine With Settling

No guy wants to be the runner-up in anything, but it doesn’t just happen in sports. It can also happen in relationships. Women can be very practical—sometimes to a fault. Even if they don’t really like a guy, they may decide to date him at the end of the day. If he’s going to prevent her from a lot of other heartaches she might experience if she really put herself out there, then it’s worth the trade-off. She’d rather accept the security of a mediocre relationship than she would gamble on a guy that would satisfy her.

Even if you show an interest in her—as Psychology Today notes—she won’t be pleased if she’s not really into you.

6-She’s Sorry All The Time

When she starts to feel insecure about your relationship, she’ll make changes in an attempt to improve things. Ironically, it ends up having the opposite effect. By letting insecurity take over, she actually does more harm to the relationship.

With a heightened awareness of things, she might feel the need to be more cautious around you. If she makes a mistake—even something that doesn’t warrant an apology—she might say sorry anyway. According to Bustle, little things she forgets or doesn’t do may not bother you in the least. From her perspective and because she’s worried about the relationship, she’ll find the need to apologize. After all, the last thing she wants to do is make you upset.

5-Connecting On A Deeper Level Is Unheard Of

Many times, a girl’s upbringing can define her relationships for the rest of her life. Once those experiences shape her behavior, it’s often hard to reverse the effects. Psychology Today explores whether closeness was properly modeled for her when she grew up. If not, she may not know how to practice it as an adult. A relationship needs closeness in order to grow. Otherwise, the connection may feel stale and forced. It can even result in a relationship that goes through all of the routines but isn’t backed up with emotional investment. Closeness serves a lot of roles in a relationship and is necessary for a couple to grow over the course of their time together.

4-She’s Prone To Public Displays Of …Deflection?

Insecurity is enough to make anyone antagonistic. Couple it with a relationship and all of the emotions tied to it, and you have yourself a different case altogether. Conflict is always just around the corner when insecurity factors into the equation.

That doesn’t just mean conflict is more likely to happen between you two. As Bustle points out, the conflict may even occur between her and others close to you. Out of insecurity, she might develop a desire to protect you from others. You’re the one she cares about the most, after all. Now imagine she’s afraid of losing what she loves the most. That could become a precarious dynamic.

3-There’s No Room For Honesty

There are times in a relationship where you’ve got to be honest with your person. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but it’s necessary for the long-term. If she doesn’t leave room for criticism of any kind, then the insecurity bug has taken hold of her. According to Bustle—when she’s insecure, she’ll find it hard to receive any constructive criticism. It largely has to do with the fact that she’s in a vulnerable state. Since she feels that hearing any kind of criticism will harm her, she opts to avoid it altogether. She’s taking the form of a turtle who’s hiding in its shell.

2-Social Media Stalking Is Her Hobby

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with her bringing attention to your social media feed, it matters how she does it. Is she simply making a comment and veering on the positive side? Or is she bringing it up with questions and accusations? One can usually tell what her tone is on the surface, but not always her motivations.

According to the website Marriage—if she checks your social media, it’s probably a substitute for looking at your phone. She probably wants access to your device in an ideal world but is settling for second best. Since you pretty much do everything on social media, that’s just the next best place to go. Although it’s out of love for you that she’s doing it, it’s still not the best place to go for affirmation.

1-She’s Always Worried You’re Measuring Her Up

She may be the most beautiful in the world to you, but there are other women you can’t help noticing, as well. That doesn’t mean you act on anything, nor do you show any interest. According to Wall Street Insanity, she may accuse you of checking out every woman you notice. When in fact, you could just be talking to someone who happens to be attractive—but it’s for a reason. If she’s insecure about where you’re both at, she might read into these associations more than she should. Unfortunately, it may always be necessary to affirm her in this area. It can be a sensitive issue whenever other women factor into the relationship.

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