10 mistakes men with low self-esteem make in a relationship

Trying to date a man with low self-esteem will make you feel like a horse chasing a carrot dangling in front of you.

Do you know where you’re going?

Because if you don’t, you’ll just end up finding contentment in being someone’s mule. Mistaking the chase for love.

Here are 10 mistakes men with low self-esteem make in a relationship.

1) He plays mind games

Which is a nicer way of saying that he’s manipulative.

Most of the things on this list are examples of how men play mind games in order to stay in control. 

To win you over, instead of you allowing you to choose him authentically.

Because letting go of control would require them to believe that they are worthy of love based in trust and equality.

Healthy individuals are able to maintain a sense of control in their lives by taking charge of their emotions, thoughts, actions and goals.

So before we get into all the details, if a man seems to lack autonomy in his own life, that should tell you enough.

2) He is unpredictable

This is regarding his ability to stay strong in the face of life’s challenges, and in the relationship.

Sure, no one is perfect. 

In fact, men being told by society to not have any emotions is a huge factor in this.

But the opposite of emotional dysregulation isn’t numbness – we all have to find ways to express ourselves healthily regardless of gender.

Another way you can tell a man is unpredictable in your relationship is by assessing how you feel in it.

Does he keep you guessing his next move? The status of the relationship?

Does he fail to reassure you of his loyalty and reliability?

It might have been cute the first few dates the way he keeps you on your toes. 

But if you constantly feel like you’re giving him the benefit of the doubt, it means he lacks the self-awareness to keep himself accountable.

3) He avoids serious conversations

About commitment, for example!

Nothing wrong with 2 adults consenting to be in a casual relationship.

But that’s the point – consent means there’s a mutual understanding of what the relationship is.

It takes 2 to tango, so you should have the ability to have a conversation about the future of a relationship. 

But if his response doesn’t give you clarity, this is his way of keeping you in his life without giving you a real reason to stay in it.

A fear of commitment isn’t just about relationships either. It can be about his commitment to become a better person.

And this will rear its ugly head when you try to confront him about the way his immaturity negatively affects you.

4) He expects you to stay despite their flaws

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AKA, deflection.

When a man tries to swindle you into staying in a relationship and avoid accountability, he will make it seem like you’re asking for too much.

For example, he’ll bring up your past mistakes to insinuate that love is about accepting each other’s flaws.

It’s true that love involves sticking through thick and thin. But more than that, it’s about putting in effort to improve the way you love each other.

Ask yourself if you’re making excuses for mistakes you’d never make. Then ask yourself if your lack of self-belief is affecting your answer to that question.

Some men will take advantage of your compassion if you don’t keep it real with yourself about what you deserve.

They’d rather manipulate you into lowering your standards than risk himself being alone.

5) He can’t be alone

I’ll admit, it’s flattering when a man constantly wants your attention. 

But if he is getting in the way of your life, it’s a sign he relies on your validation to feel good enough. Because he can’t do it for himself. 

If you don’t have a strong sense of self, you will become his personal emotional processor.

And what happens when your independence and growth starts to threaten him? He will not think twice about seeking attention elsewhere.

By keeping secrets about who he is spending time with, or by trying to make you jealous so you feel pressured to give him attention.

The more you fall into these traps, the more you will feel guilty about pouring energy into yourself.

6) He gets overly jealous

Jealousy is a normal and human emotion. But like all emotions, it needs to be understood and processed.

Or else, it leads to controlling and abusive behaviours that keep the other person from processing their own emotions.

Especially in a society that is built on patriarchy, it is no surprise that men feel comfortable treating their partners like property.

But it’s 2023, no one with a healthy self-esteem wants to be treated like an object.

The relationship will inevitably end. How quickly it does depends on your self-awareness to realize that he only sees you as an extension of himself.

That he never saw you as a person, and that the relationship was based in superficial reasons.

7) He puts too much emphasis on the physical aspects of a relationship

Men who lead relationships with their lust will never feel satisfied.

Physical intimacy is an important aspect of a relationship, but ignoring other factors in compatibility is a sign he isn’t capable of making space for depth.

Which he probably feels insecure about deep down.

Beauty is also fleeting! And discarding someone when you no longer find them attractive can do a number on their self-esteem.

Not to mention if you’re seeking a real connection, you’ll be left feeling unfulfilled.

This upholds certain gender roles where a man must be physically satisfied to be “kept,” as well as keep the relationship from being defined by the people in it.

8) He cares way too much about what other people think

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Makes sense that an insecure person would outsource their validation.

A man with low self-esteem won’t maintain a healthy level of privacy in the relationship. 

He might tell people about the problems in the relationship, or talk about your guys’ sex life, or project unrealistic fantasies onto you.

Whatever it may be, he does these things because he gets more satisfaction from fitting certain ideals more than being with you.

It can also happen early on in the relationship where he might ask for too much advice on how to establish a relationship with you.

And because the people he talks to isn’t you, they will likely fill his mind with false narratives and opinions.

Making him believe that he has to win you over by being anyone but himself. 

9) He pretends to be someone he’s not

Quite straightforward – they’ll lie about who they are. 

Which is heartbreaking for someone who discovers these lies because you realize you were falling in love with someone that doesn’t exist.

He might act like you put certain expectations on him that caused him to create a false identity. But don’t be fooled.

A man who respects you will leave you alone if he believes you deserve better than what he can offer.

But a man who doesn’t respect himself won’t know what that means. 

What’s important is that you don’t blame yourself.

Instead, pay attention to who he surrounds himself with, how he treats people he’s not attracted to, and what he does in his spare time.

And how he acts when you reject him.

10) He doesn’t know how to be a friend

The mistakes of an insecure man aren’t exclusive to how he acts in romantic relationships.

No one owes you friendship, but I’m talking about men who decide to play the long game by being your friend first.

Creating the illusion that they want you in their life, without making their real intentions known. It’s another façade in an attempt to maintain control in the relationship.

It can happen even if they’re clear about their feelings for you.

If they don’t know how to maintain clear boundaries between a friend and a potential love interest, there will always be a barrier between you and his true self.

Noticing how much value in puts towards platonic relationships will speak on his character as well. 

Because that’s how he’ll treat you when the honeymoon phase is long gone. You’ll both be left to face your vulnerabilities.

And when your soul needs comforting beyond an ego boost.

An insecure man has never moved on in his life

Dating him will feel like you’re carrying the burdens of everyone that came before you. And it’s not your job to fix him.

It’s worth mentioning that not all men are insecure, nor is it impossible to find one without losing your sanity.

It’s a strength to be able to experience fulfillment from giving love and compassion to another. But you can strengthen that ability by believing you deserve the love you give.

Because to be truly emotionally intelligent, is to understand that reciprocation is a form of processing love that you’re given.

Loving is easy, go where you’re challenged. 

Go where you feel loved.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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