Insecure Men: How a Fragile Ego Can Ruin Romance

Dating 101
10 May 2023
9 min read
An Insecure Man and the Mind Games He Plays

An insecure man can make dating a nightmare. His overwhelming obsession and need for validation can be absolutely exhausting. Worse, women are conditioned to believe they have some duty to fix the insecure men. It’s as if she is obligated to be the one woman who drags him beyond his insecurities and all of the destructive behaviors that go along with that. But are you sure you want to live in such abusive relationships?

Unfortunately, there’s rarely a happy ending to that story. A rare girl is able to repair his wounds and fight his concerns. More frequently, she becomes that ex girlfriend he describes in his stories of those who wronged him. Even worse, he may keep anger and blame her for his mistakes in the next bad relationship. And so, all the effort of nurturing him out of his insecurities never pays off. Such relationships are quickly abrupt as he moves on to something or someone that catches his attention.

The ugly truth for you girls is that insecure men are behind nearly every toxic relationship. But it takes two to tango, so let’s not shift responsibilities completely. After all, it is the women who provide constant validation for maladaptive behaviors and men who eventually make them feel guilty. So, let’s unpack the mind games of an insecure man and show how his insecurity issues and low self esteem affect the relationship.

What Makes a Man Insecure?

There’s no single way in which am insecure man is created. Some have suffered from childhood trauma or haven’t recovered from an unhealthy relationship. Others feel inferior because they don’t believe they live up to some ideal of what men should be.

There’s also a very thin, very fuzzy line between insecure men and entitled men. What does this mean? An insecure man may not feel as if he has gotten what he deserves out of his dating relationships, or life in general. This leads to a toxic combination of entitlement along with angry resentment that he hasn’t received the kind of attention he believes he deserves.

There is hope for insecure men. First, let’s be clear that not every insecure man is an entitled jerk. Many deserve the same empathy for their traumas as anybody else. They can also benefit from a supportive romantic partner as they work through each insecurity they have.

Can You Fix an Insecure Man?

Please, women, don’t do that. Don’t try to change your partner or convince someone to change. Each person must take ownership of their mental health and work through their issues. Guys are not projects for women to repair.

“Dating an insecure man can take up a lot of emotional energy. You may find yourself constantly reassuring him that he is good enough to be with you or that he deserves the good things that come to him in life.”

Kat Van Kirk, PhD, a licensed sex, marriage, and family therapist

When you deal with an insecure man, here’s what you can do:

  • Don’t blame but be relentlessly honest about what you feel
  • Encourage them to contact a therapist when you see
  • Hold them accountable for playing mind games and manipulating
  • Live your own life and save your energy for yourself
  • Offer constructive criticism not nagging

Let them take the lead in their own growth. Whether they are recovering from a past relationship or learning to accept accountability for their own lives, you aren’t helping them by coddling their feelings. Most men will grow and gain confidence through achievement, and the best thing you can do is watch the signs, determine what you feel, deal with the truth, and be the caring woman for yourself.

An insecure man will blame for everything, even your gender roles

6 Warning Signs of Insecurity in a Partner: Track These Mind Games

When you date insecure men, they can already become quite toxic and problematic. If you notice any of these warning sings, it’s time to ask right questions and act on the unfortunate reality timely before things go any further.

1. He Is Unable to Be Accountable for His Past

He is always innocent or a hurt victim when he talks about his previous romances, job failures, or family problems. Somehow, absolutely nothing in his bad relationships is his fault. He can’t acknowledge his mistakes and shows no signs of taking personal responsibility.

At first, you may feel empathy with him. He paints a picture of being mistreated by people he should have been able to trust. But if you’re thinking of having something long term with him, try to view his words with a bit of objectivity and hear the true meaning behind them.

Yes, we’ve all been in relationships where we were truly mistreated. But, it’s pretty unlikely that a string of bad relationships has nothing to do with his behavior.

2. He Falls Apart When He Is Critiqued Even Slightly

You come to dread having any conversation that isn’t entirely positive. Thanks to his fragile feelings, he falls apart over any negative feedback. It’s exhausting. You find yourself walking on eggshells because your boyfriend is so emotionally fragile. This creates a cycle where he gets to be blissfully unaware of the impacts of his behavior and you carry the emotional weight of the relationship.

In the meantime, he doesn’t mind to assault your physical attractiveness, comment on your age, appearance and personality, and compare you to other girls. He’s too talented to be touched and criticized; but you can live in a constant fear of losing his love.

Related reading: Dealing With Double Standards in Relationships

3. He Always Assumes The Worst of You

In a relationship with such partner, you’re bound to be constantly thinking what’s wrong. You’re supposed to be accountable of everything bad in the world: you don’t spend enough quality time with him; don’t praise him enough so he’s upset; aren’t affectionate in the way he wants; don’t own enough money. He may play different mind games every day, but that’s always you to be blame in your relationship.

Worse, he gives you no grace over any of it. You aren’t allowed to be human or fallible in any way. Such partner interprets any real or imagined misstep of yours as being entirely malicious and at times, doesn’t let you talk your mind and make him realize he’s wrong. You just have to deal with him the way he is and care about him when he’s annoyed.

Related reading: 21 Things Your Partner Should Never Say to You (and Vice Versa)

4. He Lies About His Cheating Behavior

While you’re constantly upset, he’s not to blame no matter what. He may be occasionally flirting and giving compliments to other girls, and spend lots of time with people of the opposite sex. He may even cheated on you. But if you try to manage these problems, he’ll avoid the conversation at any cost. He’ll say she’s just a friend.

Remember: appearance is so important to people like these. They want the world to see them attractive and successful. So, they lie about their accomplishments, status, money and social success to influence those views. Behind those signs, there may be someone who lies and puts in maximum effort to make you believe that any problems are your fault. Don’t be convinced that all you!

Related reading:
Is Sexting Cheating? It’s Complicated
Need to Catch a Cheater? Here Are the Ways to Do It!
Gaslighting Phrases Everyone Should Know About
Coloring the Grey Zone – Is Flirting Cheating?

5. He Needlessly Demonstrates His Idea of Masculinity

Does he become aggressive and confrontational with other men for no reason? Is he into sports obsessively? Does he care about his physical attractiveness too much? Is he weirdly worried that he might be seen as effeminate or gay?

There’s a connection between all of these things. He lacks confidence over his masculinity, and he needs to constantly make himself and others aware of how manly he really is. Those are the mind games inexperienced women usually associate with attractiveness. But in reality, such person lives in constantly worry they will not be appreciated and are not good enough for love.

Insecure men are extremely needy in relationships

6. He Always Needs You

This is where insecurity becomes obsessiveness. He can’t stand to have his partner away from him. He cannot get you out of his head. But that’s not love but a need of control and a constant source of reassurance.

If he wants his friends to know he decided you are his girlfriend as fast as possible, that can sound promising. But unfortunately, it can be just another way of playing mind games. He just wants control over you and his needs go beyond the rest of us.

Related reading: Future Faking – A Lousy Dating Strategy

When you resist, he’ll become angry or the saddest man in the world and accuse you of being unsupportive. When that doesn’t work, he will butter you up by telling you that you are just such a stabilising influence on him. He want all your time to be spent with him. And if you aren’t aware that you deserve other relationships, you won’t even think you should break free.

When to Break Things Off With Your Insecure Boyfriend

So, when should you decide it’s time to stop trying and end things with him? Start by leaning on your friends for some good advice. They may sense things you don’t. Also, decide what you’re willing to live with rather than focusing on what can be changed.

Sure, if he is capable of making changes, that’s great. But, it’s almost always smarter to assume that people simple are who they are.

If he’s a great guy otherwise, and his lack of confidence just crops up on occasion, maybe you can live with that. But if it makes every interaction with him stressful, why are you still around? Probably, it’s time to go from your insecure man once and forever, without that ongoing saga of breakup drama.

You can find a confident guy. Just don’t look for the polar opposite of your last man, as you can end up in a relationship that’s just as bad, only for different reasons. Seek out for genuine self-assurance and don’t confuse overconfidence or a big ego for that. Look for a date who can have fun without worrying about what people will think if he doesn’t win, doesn’t become needlessly angry or jealous, and lets you be yourself. Just feel, and not play.

Why don't you break the walls of insecurities and find free love?

Don’t You Deserve to Experience True Love?

Your romantic life should be free of overbearing possessiveness, mind games, and the need to play along with another person’s issues. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the issues that can be caused by a man who is not confident, and when his problems are so severe that it’s impossible to have a healthy relationship with him. It’s certainly not easy listening to advice to end things with a lover, but ultimately it’s often the only way.

Relationships Author
Geoffrey Williams
After taking a required Intro to Psychology course as an undergrad, I have never looked back. Since my doctoral program, I have specialized in adult relationship therapy. Through my studies and clinicals, I wrote several articles for professional journals and currently in the midst of writing a book.
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