How Can I Tell if My Boyfriend is Insecure or Secure About Our Relationship?

BY: - 30 Jan '18 | Single

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I have been dating this guy for a few years now and I am wondering if he is right for me. I want to be in a committed relationship and eventually get married one day. We have fun together and like to do a lot of the same things, but he never gives me credit for what I bring to the relationship. He comes across as being confident, but his behavior at times appears to be a little insecure.

He likes to play things safe and does not like to appear as if he is afraid of commitment. He tells me that he wants to be in a serious relationship, but I am not sure because he always has excuses for taking the big leap. How Can I Tell if My Boyfriend is Insecure or Secure About Our Relationship?


Single and Secure Female

Ask Dr. Buckingham

Dear Single and Secure Female,

Identifying secure and insecure men can be challenging for a large percentage of women, but it is fairly easy to identify secure and insecure men. One effective way to find out if a man is insecure is to pay attention to how emotionally aroused he becomes when he speaks about commitment and relationships. If a man speaks about commitment and relationships with excitement, openness, optimism, and eagerness, he is probably secure about being in a relationship. However, if a man speaks about commitment and relationships with boredom, caution, pessimism, and apathy, he is probably insecure.

In my work as a psychotherapist, I have found that security and insecurity are often associated with the level of pain or risk that a man has experienced or anticipates that he will experience in a relationship. All men should be cautious when making a serious decision such as marriage. However, insecure men often demonstrate more doubt, uncertainty, and fear. Generally speaking, their fear is more often than not linked to previous pain. You should be cautious because men who appear to be very confident and secure can be masking insecurity and fear.

Normally, insecure men see obstacles and risk in relationships. In comparison, secure men see growth opportunities and safety in relationships. Secure men can be and are often frightened just like insecure men when it comes to marriage. However, they cope with their doubt and anxiety by looking for solutions to overcome them. Secure men believe that they can solve problems that cause or contribute to painful experiences. Also, secure men see failure as a stepping block to greatness. Failure is perceived as an acquired knowledge that will help them succeed in the future.

In comparison, insecure men may cope with doubt or fear by focusing on reasons to avoid potentially painful or risky situations.

As you can see, I define secure and insecurity based on a man’s outlook, willingness and desire to cope with things or situations that create doubt, fear, and anxiety for him. Marriage brings about a lot of unknowns so you want to make sure that you are connecting with a man who is confident and secure enough to work with you in finding solutions. Experiencing doubt and anxiety is normal, but too much of it can cause or contribute to relationship dysfunction.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions, and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 216 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at


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Should You Swipe Left or Swipe Right? Getting Clear on Your Deal Breakers

BY: - 5 Feb '18 | Relationships

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If you’re using dating apps to meet with eligible singles, you’ve probably lived these scenarios.

Does this sound familiar? Swipe right if…

He looks good on paper but he’s not mentally stimulating in real life. FRUSTRATING!

Swipe left. Swipe right.

He was a great conversationalist on the phone but didn’t make you laugh when you went out to dinner on your first date. IRRITATING!

Swipe left. Swipe left. Swipe left.

Oh, this guy looks great! But then you notice it says he has kids, he’s divorced and he has a bachelor’s degree and you have a JD. DISAPPOINTING!

Can you relate?

I know it’s frustrating when the men you want don’t show up in your dating app and this keeps happening. I can tell you how to solve this problem–if you’re open and ready to turn things around in your favor – forever.

I have a unique perspective, not just as someone who has met & married my husband in 11 months, but also as a professionally trained matchmaker and dating coach who has helped smart, successful sistas get married, end up in long-term relationships, and have an active dating life after not being on a real date in years.

In other words, I’ve seen what happens when you get clear on what should and shouldn’t be a deal breaker in dating.So let’s clarify:  What counts as a deal breaker? 

My rule of thumb is this: If it can be changed (and it’s not something that brings you harm like these 7 things), then it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. You might move it from your “must have” list to your preferences, and be willing to compromise so that you can at least get to a first date before you decide the man isn’t interesting to you. 

Let’s have a quick coaching session. Are these common deal breakers on your list?

  1. He must be 6 feet or taller
  2. No bad breath
  3. Has an advanced college degree
  4. Works out 6 days per week
  5. Is Vegan
  6. Goes to Bible study regularly
  7. Makes me laugh
  8. Is ambitious & wants to build an empire
  9. Credit score over 750
  10. No kids, never married, my age

At first glance, this list of must-haves and deal breakers seems perfectly fine. That is until you remember the man who is educated…isn’t always exciting.

The man who is exciting…isn’t always financially stable.

The man who is stable…isn’t always consistent.

The man who is consistent…isn’t always intellectually stimulating.

The man who is intellectually your equal…isn’t always a 10 on the physically attractive scale.

And on it goes.

The fact is, you’ll always be able to find a quality a man doesn’t have, so relying on a list, or an image in your head of how your dream man should look and make you feel, could cause you to lose out on potentially great partners.

There are already a lot of things out of your control in dating and relationships. Timing–when you’ll meet, how long you’ll date, when you’ll get married – is something you can’t just make happen. So saying NO all the time because the person who asked you out doesn’t look exactly like the person you’re used to dating, is literally slamming the door to LOVE. You end up spending all your time searching for a fantasy you’ve created in your head, while avoiding the actions that will actually help you meet a person who actually exists and wants to date you. 

Ask yourself this: How has dating your type worked out for you in the past? Has it resulted in healthy, lasting relationships where you feel cherished, loved, and safe? If it hasn’t, I invite you to be open to dating different types of men so you can have new experiences. To do that, you actually have to go out on a date.

5 Day Communication Challenge – Are You In?

I know it’s not easy being a smart woman who has standards, and when you look out into the dating pool, many of the men just don’t measure up to your expectations.  I just don’t want you to be picky because you’re more flaw-focused than you are strengths-focused.

As April Beyer says, “a woman who is ready [for love] is selective. A woman who is not is picky.”

I want you to be a selective woman. That means your energy is open, welcoming, accepting and confident. You’re willing to compromise on the things that don’t really matter to the success of a relationship like a man’s height and, as a result, you have lots of options in your dating pool. Then you can turn men down when they ask you out based on whether they share your values instead of whether or not they wore the right shoes to the date.

BMWK, how will you revise your deal breaker list? What are you willing to compromise on? 

About the author

Aesha Adams Roberts wrote 178 articles on this blog.

Dr. Aesha is a matchmaker, dating coach, speaker and author of the book, Can I Help A Sister Out: How To Meet & Marry The Man of Your Dreams. After years of making painful dating mistakes, she met & married her husband in 11 short months and has made it her mission to help women and men find and keep the love of their lives.


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