If I had to name a song that centered on the need for reassurance in romantic relationships, I would have to go with Ariana Grande’s “Be Alright,” inspired by Bob Marley and his reggae band, The Wailers:
When finding love is a battle
But daylight is so close
So don’t you worry ‘bout a thing
We’re gonna be alright (hey)
We’re gonna be alright (Oh yeah, Oh yeah)
We’re gonna be alright
Baby don’t you know?
All of them tears gon come and go
Baby, you just gotta make up your mind
That every little thing is gonna be alright (Ooh yeah)
All of them tears gon’ come and go
Baby, you just gotta make up your mind
We decide it…
The lyrics truly encapsulate how important reassurance can be to reaffirm the health and stability of a relationship.
Needing reassurance once in a while isn’t a bad thing—and it doesn’t mean that a person is being clingy (unless of course, they seek reassurance all the time).
It’s human to need reassurance.
But why is reassurance so important—necessary even—when you’re in love?
Here are five things to know about the role reassurance plays in relationships.
1) Reassurance can remove doubts and fears
Even the most secure of people can have doubts and fears in their romantic relationships that need to be assuaged once in a while.
Did I say something to upset her? Is he giving me the silent treatment on purpose or is he just not in the mood to talk today?
The list of doubts and fears can be endless because your mind will keep generating thoughts and concerns for you to be worried about, says psychotherapist Jim Lucas.
“When these thoughts show up, the urge to seek reassurance can follow,” Lucas says. “The mind attempts to fix or push away the unpleasantness of these imagined scenarios. When reassurance is given, it has the effect of neutralizing anxieties. It shields you.”
Although the need for constant reassurance points to clinginess and a lack of healthy self esteem, sometimes vulnerable moments in our lives can compel us to seek reassurance.
This could be a period when you’re going through a lot of health issues and you feel like a shadow of yourself.
Or perhaps you lost something or someone important to you such as a business or an elderly parent. Being able to turn to a partner for reassurance can be the balm we fervently need in those periods.
2) Reassurance has a way of resolving conflicts and keeping you connected
Conflicts come up in relationships all the time—especially romantic ones.
Reassurance during such times can serve as a reminder that even though the two of you may be at odds with one another, the love is still there, and that you’re both just expressing your needs and perhaps a desire for something to be improved.
“Providing reassurance during disagreements can reduce tension and help de-escalate the situation,” says the team at Veretis—a consulting company comprised of a team of psychologists.
“It creates space for understanding and compromise, and encourages both partners to work through any challenges together.”
Not only can reassurance help to calm a doubt and allay a worry, but it can also guide a decision, or solidify a plan of action, say clinical psychologists Sally Winston and Martin Seif.
Reassurance can come in the form of checking in with one another.
3) Reassurance—especially during times of crisis—can reaffirm the pillars of a relationship: love and trust
Validating our partner’s feelings demonstrates care, understanding, and commitment to ease any anxieties or insecurities, says Zoë O’Connor from Paired Magazine.
“While reassurance is important during times of crisis, it shouldn’t have to be actively sought after in a healthy relationship,” she says. “By naturally reassuring your partner, you help create an environment where your partner feels valued, understood, and emotionally safe.”
Expressing your intentions and feelings openly and honestly to your partner is important, says marriage and family therapist Moraya Seeger DeGeare.
“This can be done regularly and without any resentment or hesitation when your partner asks.”
If your partner is seeking constant reassurance, that’s probably a red flag. You’ll have to figure out with them what is really going on and why you feel insecure about the relationship. Are they not reliable? Do you not trust them deep down?
If you feel your need for reassurance stems from your own lack of self-esteem, then it may be best to get to the root of the issue under the guidance of a therapist.
4) Reassurance can reaffirm that you both have each other’s back
Reassurance in a relationship can help to strengthen communication between the two of you.
It shows that you are ready to listen, understand, and provide support, says the staff at Veretis. “It encourages openness and honesty within the relationship.”
Seeger DeGeare says that verbal reassurances can include offering encouragement, compliments, or affirmations to help boost your partner’s self-esteem. “For example, simply saying ‘I love you,’ or ‘I’m here for you,’ can mean a lot to your partner.”
While the points in this article will give you guidance about how to handle the need for reassurance in a relationship from time to time, it can also be helpful to speak to a relationship coach about your situation—especially if you or your partner seem to need constant validation.
A relationship coach can give very in-depth, specific, and practical advice about addressing the problems in your relationship. This can include real solutions to improving many things that you and your partner may have been struggling with for years.
Relationship Hero is a platform that can help turn things around. It’s a hugely popular relationship coaching site because they provide solutions, not just talk.
The coaches are perfectly placed to help you with your need for reassurance and validation in a relationship. In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice specific to your situation.
5) Reassurance has the power to keep you committed
Without reassurance in a relationship, it can be very difficult to know where you stand with your partner, says Seeger DeGeare.
“Even in secure relationships, relationship anxiety is entirely normal, and asking for reassurance from your loved one isn’t something to be frowned upon.”
It’s vital to remember that choosing to be in a relationship takes a lot of courage, as there is always a chance that it may not work out, she says.
“Relationships require a certain level of vulnerability and this level of trust demands additional support from your partner,” Seeger DeGeare emphasizes.
“Communicating and clarifying your feelings about each other can be scary, but in the long run it helps to build a more secure attachment.”
One reason someone might require reassurance could have something to do with negative past experiences. If they were betrayed or rejected, for example, they may have a fear of failure.
“Offering reassurance to your partner is just about telling them that you want to be with them, but also about being open and vulnerable enough to share your fears,” says Seeger DeGeare.
Reassurance isn’t just about words—it’s also actionable
Reassurance isn’t all verbal. It is arguably best demonstrated as love in action.
“The simple act of giving your partner a hug, for example, can work wonders in alleviating fears and doubts. Partners who feel reassured by their everyday interactions with one another tend to be happier, more fulfilled, and more likely to experience a long-lasting relationship.”
Remember: You can also reassure yourself…
Even the most secure of us can have times of doubt and insecurity about ourselves in our relationships, says Alan Tsang from Sage Therapy Chicago.
No one should feel ashamed for asking for that little piece of validation and reassurance now and again.
“Reassurance can go a long way in helping us feel more secure and heard when we most need it,” says Tsang.
At the same time we don’t have to solely rely on our partner to make us feel better when we’re feeling vulnerable.
Tsang recommends some actionable strategies that we can do for ourselves.
- Research shows that mindful breathing can reduce stress and emotional reactivity that sometimes leads to an anxious need for reassurance. Mindful breathing can calm the “what ifs” about your relationship.
- Self-soothing can help calm us down when we’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Experts recommend concentrating on our five senses to bring us back to the present moment.
- Self-care is vital for our emotional well being. This can mean taking regular time for yourself to just be. This could be taking a walk, painting, gardening, or doing something else that actively engages. Many people find adult coloring books to be very therapeutic.
- Reassure yourself. Sure there may be reassurances you seek from your partner but ask yourself what kinds of reassurances you want to give yourself, says Tsang. “There may be words that you are looking for from others that you can try giving yourself.” These could be “We are good,” or “Things are okay.” As necessary it feels for your partner to give you reassurance about your relationship, remember that you are also a part of that relationship yourself. “So it can stand to reason that you can also provide that reassurance for yourself as well.”