Even the most seemingly confident men have their insecurities—and that’s totally normal. For instance, maybe your boyfriend is struggling with a recent weight gain or feeling unworthy of a job promotion.
That said, there’s a big difference between a guy who experiences a few insecurities here and there and one who is completely consumed by them. A man plagued by male insecurity may be difficult to date and even self-sabotage his relationship.
So, how do you tell if a guy is insecure? We’ve listed 12 signs of an insecure man to help you identify possible characteristics of insecurity in your own boyfriend or any guy you date down the road.
12 Signs of Insecure Men & How to Handle Them
While male insecurity can present itself differently from one guy to the next, the following are some common signs of it. And if any of these look familiar, check out our advice on handling it and deciding whether it’s worth staying in the relationship.
- He Doesn’t Trust You
An insecure boyfriend is often suspicious of your actions and intentions, even when you’ve done nothing to deserve it. Are you really just going out for drinks with your cousin? Who else will be there? And what about that coworker you eat lunch with every day? Is he really just a coworker? If your boyfriend is always questioning you, checking in on you, and expecting the worst of you, these are all signs of male insecurity.
- He’s Obsessed with Your Ex
You might not be obsessed with your ex, but your boyfriend sure is—sound familiar? Insecure men often latch on to the idea of their partners’ exes, finding the need to compare themselves or prove their superiority. If your boyfriend is constantly bringing up your ex, whether he’s belittling him or accusing you of still having feelings for him, these are definitely red flags of an insecure man.
- He’s Jealous
Jealousy and male insecurity go hand in hand. Sure, your boyfriend might be envious of your ex or best guy friend, but often, the jealousy goes further than that. Maybe your boyfriend throws a fit when you spend time with your sister or gets bitter when you plan a trip with your girlfriends. His jealousy could extend to every situation where you’re not focusing your time, attention, and energy on him. And if he’s not careful, this could lead to controlling and possessive behavior.
- He Looks at Your Cell Phone Behind Your Back
Looking through your cell phone without your permission is another red flag of an insecure man, demonstrating his lack of trust in you. Maybe he leans over your shoulder when you’re writing a text message, or worse, opens your phone while you’re asleep or in the other room. If he’s snooping through your texts, looking at your emails, or checking your social media accounts, his insecurities are definitely flaring up. Even if you have nothing to hide, this is a blatant disregard for your privacy.
- He Smothers You with Attention
If you have an insecure boyfriend, his fear of losing you may result from his insecurities. To keep you close and all to himself, he may go out of his way to spoil you and shower you with presents and attention. While it might seem sweet at first, it can quickly become oppressive and overbearing if you’re not careful.
- He Craves Validation
Insecure men love compliments; in fact, they need them. If your partner is always fishing for compliments, searching for flattery, and needing reassurance, his insecurities may be at play. While everyone enjoys a compliment here and there, an insecure boyfriend will need constant validation to the point at which it becomes exhausting.
- He Over Compensates
If your boyfriend has an inferiority complex, he may overcompensate to seem superior to others. This constant overcompensation is directly connected to his insecurities and can present itself in many ways. For instance, he might behave aggressively or act hostile to exert his masculinity or inflate himself to feed his ego and get the attention he desperately craves.
- He Doesn’t Have a Social Life Outside of You
It’s important your partner makes time for you, but if he’s ditched his social life and made you the center of his world, this could be a sign of insecurity. Without friends or family to distract him, an insecure boyfriend may become completely consumed by you in an unhealthy way. Guys who are insecure can easily become obsessed with their relationships, leading to controlling, toxic behavior.
- He Stretches the Truth
With male insecurity often comes a need to exaggerate the truth. Maybe your boyfriend says he makes more money than he does or lifts more weights than he can. Or perhaps you hear him inflating his accomplishments and embellishing his talents. Because he’s constantly comparing himself to others, he may be more inclined to fib about his success.
- He is Easily Offended
Insecure men are often quick to start an argument. Sometimes they’ll make a big fuss out of nothing, or worse, roll up their sleeves and throw the first punch. If your partner easily takes offense or gets defensive at the drop of a hat, you might have an insecure boyfriend on your hands.
- He Criticizes You
If your boyfriend is dealing with a fragile ego and a poor self-image, he may resort to tearing you down to make himself feel better. When he’s struggling with his own insecurities, it may be difficult for him to see you leading a happy life, feeling self-confident, receiving positive attention, or accomplishing your goals. In turn, he may downplay your achievements or even criticize your appearance. And while he’s openly critical of you, he’s likely unable to accept any criticism of himself.
- He’s Possessive
There’s a fine line between deep affection and possessiveness, and your boyfriend’s insecurities could be the tipping point. If he is obsessed with who you’re hanging out with, how you wear your hair, where you’re spending your free time, and what you’re doing on social media, these are signs of toxic possessiveness, spurred by male insecurity and masked by love.
Dealing with Male Insecurities
If these characteristics sound familiar and you suspect you’re dating someone with insecurities, the good news is not all hope is lost.
So, how do you deal with an insecure man? In some cases, it just may be a matter of you boosting his confidence and reminding him why you love him in the first place.
For instance, you can try:
- Complimenting him
- Reassuring him
- Reaffirming your love for him
- Listening to and understanding his concerns
- Supporting him
- Encouraging him to explore and address his emotional honesty
- Arranging time for him to spend with his friends and family
- Creating healthy boundaries and planning alone time spent apart
However, there are some red fags of insecure men that could compromise your relationship. Some examples include:
- He destroys your self-confidence
- He isolates you from your friends and family
- He is overly possessive of you
- He acts aggressive, violent, or controlling
- He makes you feel unsafe
So, is insecurity a reg flag? It can be. If your boyfriend’s lack of confidence, jealous tendencies, or trust issues are negatively impacting you, then yes, it is a red flag, and it’s time to consider whether it’s healthy for you to remain in the relationship.