People who lack self-love struggle to do these 7 things in a relationship

Relationships can be tricky, right?

But did you know that one of the biggest hurdles to a happy and healthy partnership might be closer than you think?

It’s called self-love, and without it, building strong connections with others can be a serious challenge. People who struggle with self-love often run into similar issues in their relationships.

In this article, we’ll dive into seven things that people lacking self-love may find challenging when it comes to matters of the heart.

From communication and intimacy to trust and independence, we’ll explore how self-love can truly make a difference.

1) They have a hard time expressing their needs

You see, when you don’t feel worthy, your needs might seem…unimportant.

You might think, “Who am I to ask for that? They’ll think I’m too needy, a bother.”

So, you tend to play small, keep your wishes to yourself, and hope someone magically gets what’s on your mind. (Spoiler alert: they don’t!)

Mind-reading isn’t exactly an everyday power, you know? People would rather hear what you want than be left wondering why you’re pushing them away.

The truth is, everyone has needs, and pretending they don’t won’t make them vanish. It just builds a wall between you and the people who care.

So, how do you tear down those walls? Simple. Just say, “Hey, can you help with this?” or “Feeling a bit down, wanna watch a movie?”

It’s okay if your voice shakes—that’s just your fear throwing a fit. But with each “I need,” the fear gets smaller, and your voice gets stronger.

Besides, expressing your needs isn’t selfish; it’s self-respect.

And the people who genuinely care will get that. They’ll see you as someone who trusts them enough to be real. And that honesty?

That’s the solid ground for any genuine, healthy relationship.

2) They struggle to move on from toxic relationship

When you lack self-love, a toxic partner can feel like a storm cloud hanging over you.

They rain down negativity, chipping away at your confidence until you’re shattered, lost, and convinced you deserve nothing better.

So, even though your ex was bad for you, they became this worn-out sweater you keep wearing.

You know it’s not good, but it’s familiar; it’s what you know. Stepping away means facing the big unknown, the vast emptiness that asks, “Are you sure you can handle this alone?”

And then there’s the scary thought of starting over, finding someone new, and building a whole new life without the safety net of that familiar, even if toxic, relationship.

Add to that the constant nagging questions: “What if I’m the broken one? What if I was the reason the relationship failed? What if I wasn’t good enough?”

It can feel like you’re destined to be alone forever, stuck in this never-ending cycle of hurt.

But here’s the truth: You’re not alone. Millions of us have been there, and millions more will.

You’re strong enough to break free, though it takes work—forgiving yourself, figuring out who you are again, and letting go of the sadness.

Eventually, you’ll realize that grief is a natural process that allows you to heal and move forward.

It’s a powerful emotion reminding you that it was real; you’ve loved, but through it all, you should never ever settle for anything less.

3) They have difficulty being vulnerable

Hiding her true feeling People who lack self-love struggle to do these 7 things in a relationship

Imagine opening your heart and letting someone see its soft, tender parts. Scary, right? Especially when you think those parts are messy, maybe even shameful.

You see, when you struggle with self-love, you always have that mean inner voice saying, “Don’t let them see the real you! They’ll laugh, judge you, and run for the hills.”

It insists that your fears, your weird laugh, your goofy dreams are all reasons to run.

So, what do you do? You build giant walls around your heart.

You wear a smile like a mask, hiding the storm raging inside. You laugh at their jokes, even when they sting, and nod along, even when your gut screams, “No!”

You become a people-pleaser, blending in, disappearing, never letting anyone see the real you. Yet under the mask, you still wonder, “How do I actually love myself more?”

Well, that’s a whole other conversation, but here’s a secret: It starts with being kind to yourself and letting go of all those mistakes you replay in your head.

After all, vulnerability isn’t about baring your soul to everyone.

It’s about choosing who deserves to see your tender parts and allowing yourself to be seen, heard, and loved for who you truly are.

4) They find it hard to trust others

Think of building your dream house on sandcastles. Looks great, right?

But one good wave, and boom, everything caves in.

That’s kind of how trust feels when you don’t love yourself. You build these wobbly relationships on shaky foundations, hoping for the best but always expecting the worst.

I mean, when you spend all day telling yourself you’re not good enough, how can you believe someone else would see you differently?

You might not even realize it, but you have this voice whispering, “You’re a total disaster, and everyone can tell.”

No wonder trusting others feels scary—it’s like opening your heart to someone who might just walk away laughing.

But the truth is, hiding away doesn’t make you invincible; it makes you lonely. True connection, the kind that nourishes your soul, requires trust.

It’s the base upon which everything else is built. Without it, the entire structure comes crashing down. And when you don’t love yourself, it’s hard to trust others.

That’s why loving yourself and trusting others go hand in hand.

When you start seeing yourself as someone who deserves good people around you, it’s easier to believe others can love you too.

5) They are reluctant to apologize

Hard to say sorry People who lack self-love struggle to do these 7 things in a relationship

You know that sinking feeling in your gut when you mess up? It’s like a cold, heavy stone just sitting there, reminding you of your mistake.

For me, that feeling used to be a monster. It wasn’t just the wrong words or the action; it felt like proof that I was, as I secretly believed, fundamentally flawed.

But it’s not just about the fear of looking bad. It’s about the fear of feeling bad.

Apologizing means owning up to the hurt I caused and facing the possibility that saying sorry wouldn’t fix things but might make them worse.

Digging deep, I realized refusing to apologize wasn’t just passive; it was an active choice to push people away and isolate myself more.

It reinforced the beliefs I held about myself—that I was unworthy of love, forgiveness, and anything good.

But then something changed.

Through my own spiritual awakening journey, I learned that apologies aren’t a sign of weakness. They’re a way to take care of myself, heal old wounds, and release burdens I’ve carried for too long.

As I lighten my load, I find my spirit lifting, drawing in real connections instead of dreading rejection, and building bridges instead of walls.

6) They find it tough to maintain healthy relationships

Have you ever tried selling something you’re not too sure about? Like that dusty old lamp in the attic, maybe.

You stumble through the sales pitch, highlighting the “charmingly faded paint” and “unique historical value,” but deep down, you know it’s just a lamp.

Similarly, when you don’t love yourself, you might be able to convince others to love you, but ultimately, you won’t feel worthy of their love.

You see yourself as scuffed and chipped, so you expect others to see the same. You’re terrified of being abandoned and of confirming your deepest, darkest fears about yourself.

So you cling too tight, smother people with your neediness, and end up pushing them away.

You become a walking contradiction—wanting love but scared of getting it; craving closeness but building walls.

Then one day, you’ll realize that the reason you struggled with low self-esteem and clung to relationships was because you were trying to fill a void within yourself.

You were looking for love and approval from others because you didn’t feel whole by yourself.

But the truth is, no one else can complete us.

We’re already complete and perfect, just as we are. The love and acceptance we’re searching for? It’s already inside us, just waiting to be uncovered.

7) They have trouble feeling content in the relationship

When you lack self-love, it’s hard to believe you deserve happiness, especially in a relationship.

You pick apart the good moments, searching for hidden meanings, expecting the apple to suddenly turn rotten in your hand.

Your mind would often whisper, “They’ll get tired of me soon” or “They don’t really love everything about me.”

Then there’s the fear. Fear of losing them, of being too needy, of being seen as a burden.

Without you realizing it, you become a chameleon, morphing into what you think they want, suppressing your needs and desires, afraid that your true self will be the reason they leave.

But here’s the truth: contentment in a relationship isn’t about finding the perfect partner; it’s about cultivating the perfect perspective.

It’s about learning to see the magic within the person you’re with, not just the flaws your insecurities highlight.

Most importantly, it’s about recognizing that love isn’t about finding someone to complete you, but about finding someone who celebrates the beautiful mess you already are.

Final thoughts

Perhaps the most important lesson is this: love is a mirror. What we struggle to give to ourselves, we often struggle to receive from others.

So, let this be a gentle nudge to go inward, take care of yourself, and discover the deep well of love that has always been inside you.

Once you do, you’ll realize that there’s absolutely nothing hard about loving you.

Picture of Julienne Merza

Julienne Merza

Hey, I'm Julienne - a freelance writer with a passion for all things spiritual, wellness, and personal growth. I practice slow living in the countryside, where I have constant access to trees, wildflowers, and bodies of water. I love romanticizing the mundane and finding magic in life's simple moments. Through my work, I aspire to share my stories of healing and overcoming. If you feel aligned with my energy, please say hi to me on Instagram: @irishjulienne

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