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