Ever heard the phrase “You can’t be happy with someone else, until you’re happy with yourself?” Yeah yeah we used to say but now it might pay to give it some proper thought. A new study has backed up this theory stating that people are more likely to stay in unhappy relationships if they have low self-esteem.
Looking at how confidence affects the way we approach our romantic lives, the study showed that those people with low self-esteem fear rejection and are afraid of being hurt.
“There is a perception that people with low self-esteem tend to be more negative and complain a lot more,” says Megan McCarthy the study’s author at Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo, Canada. “While that may be the case in some social situations, our study suggests that in romantic relationships, the partner with low self-esteem resists addressing problems.”
The research is significant in helping to understand how communication can improve romance and relationships and shows that if one person is not open and honest about how they feel, it is not necessarily a sign that they are losing interest. This disengagement could also show that they are afraid of being hurt or feel insecure in themselves.
The study specifically looked at romances where one partner suffers from self-doubt. “We’ve found that people with a more negative self-concept often have doubts and anxieties about the extent to which other people care about them,” McCarthy says. “This can drive low self-esteem people toward defensive, self-protective behaviour, such as avoiding confrontation.”
They therefore keep quiet because they think they can’t voice their fears in case their partner rejects them, leading to great overall dissatisfaction in the relationship.
“We may think that staying quiet, in a ‘forgive and forget’ kind of way, is constructive, and certainly it can be when we feel minor annoyances,” she explains. “But when we have a serious issue in a relationship, failing to address those issues directly can actually be destructive.”
We think this makes perfect sense. Dating can be tough at the best of times but if you are suffering from self-esteem issues it can feel even harder, so if you often feel down about yourself, it is time to take action. There are things you can do to help boost your confidence like exercising regularly, re-acquainting yourself with old friends, writing a journal and treating yourself well with enough sleep and a healthy diet.
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