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Dating Someone with Low Self-Esteem: What It’s Like for Both of You

What is it like dating someone with low self-esteem? Finding the right person to commit to is hard, but some issues make things even more complicated.

dating someone with low self-esteem

Someone with low self-esteem can really drive a relationship to become unhealthy or dysfunctional. Of course, this is not on purpose, but dating someone with low self-esteem takes even more communication and honesty than most relationships.

We all deal with self-esteems issue now and again. We wonder if we are doing enough at work or in our relationships. We second guess everything from our outfit choices to life choices.

But, having occasional low self-esteem and someone struggling with chronic low self-esteem are very different. [Read: The rules you should be following to be a good partner]

Should you be dating someone with low self-esteem?

I don’t think anyone struggling with low self-esteem should be rejected for that. Not because it could make their self-esteem worse, but because they deserve love just as much as anyone else. It just takes more time and effort to convince them of that.

But, with that said, dating someone with low self-esteem is not for everyone. Not everyone can handle the extra effort and reassurance that is needed. It requires a lot of patience and understanding to commit to someone that is so down on themselves.

Not everyone is capable of such strength and understanding. It takes a very confident and understanding person to respect someone with low self-esteem enough to date them. [Read: 15 signs of low self esteem in a woman that can sabotage your life]

So, should you be dating someone with low self-esteem? As I said, it isn’t something everyone can handle. If you aren’t capable of the following things, dating someone with low self-esteem is probably not a good idea for you.

#1 You have low self-esteem. Two people with low self-esteem dating is a recipe for disaster. If you both struggle to believe in yourselves, then the relationship may easily become your measure of happiness. When struggling with low self-esteem, people tend to look outside themselves for reassurance and acceptance.

But, to find confidence, that has to come from within. A relationship where both people are depending on the other for their happiness and acceptance rather than themselves can lead to a lot of jealousy, dysfunction, and co-dependence.

In fact, if you struggle with self-esteem issues, dating someone with low self-esteem can actually make you question yourself even more so. [Read: The signs of low self esteem in a man that reveal his dark side]

#2 You don’t understand low self-esteem. As I mentioned earlier, we have all struggled with low self-esteem at some point in our lives. That means we all have at least a basic understanding of how it feels to doubt yourself. But, if you can’t put yourself in your partner’s shoes, it can be hard to live with.

Someone that is highly confident may not be able to understand why someone they view so highly doubts themselves so much. It is a lot like dating someone with anxiety when you’ve never felt it. You just want to tell someone to relax, but it is not that simple.

You may want to tell your partner how amazing they are and expect them to view themselves differently, but that isn’t how it works. And if you cannot understand that and the work it will take for them to gain confidence, this relationship is not a good idea. [Read: The signs of a healthy relationship you should always look for]

#3 You have little patience. Dating someone with low self-esteem requires an immense amount of patience. Not only do they need reassurance constantly, but they may need extra attention.

If you cannot put in the time and effort they need to feel safe in the relationship, it can become very difficult to maintain. Not only will they feel worse about themselves, but you may begin to feel highly frustrated with their needs which can lead to resentment. [Read: Healthy relationship expectations that define a good love life]

#4 You think they need your approval. Yes, dating someone with low self-esteem requires patience, respect, and understanding, but first and foremost, you have to know that your partner does not need your approval or acceptance. What they need is to work on accepting themselves.

Acceptance from you may seem nice and cheer them up on occasion but until they believe the compliments you give them, they will continue to struggle. If you wonder why your endless praise isn’t changing their view, that is why.

#5 You’re bad at open communication. You must be able to talk about the hard stuff and truly listen to your partner without judgment to successfully date someone with low self-esteem.

You have to let them explain all they can about where their issues come from and how you can best make them comfortable. And you also should be able to let them know your limits. You cannot put all the effort in to please them and make sure they’re okay. Relationships are give and take, and you have to be on the same page. [Read: 8 little habits that bring couples closer together]

What is it like dating someone with low self-esteem?

Dating someone with low self-esteem isn’t easy. Just like dating anyone else, it requires a lot of hard work. In the end, it is worth it when it is right.

When you’re dating someone with low self-esteem, it will not be what you expect. They may not crave your attention and become needy. Instead, they may act out and self-sabotage the relationship because they believe they don’t deserve it. [Read: Self respect and the way it affects every relationship in your life]

This could be in the form of heavy partying, flirting with others, and even cheating. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but the psychology behind low self-esteem is complicated.

If you truly want to date someone with low self-esteem, you may not only need a thick skin, but also the ability to accept their flaws and love them for it. You may need to forgive them for things you’d never thought you could before.

This can all make you second-guess yourself. Dating someone with low self-esteem can actually rub off on you. If your partner is struggling, they may seek attention outside of the relationship. A lot of people with low self-esteem crave attention from others in any form possible. [Read: 20 signs you’re a people pleaser who craves the attention of people]

This can make you feel like you are not enough for them. You may question if you’re doing enough to make them feel good and accepted. That is why it is so important for you to be confident in yourself and understand their issues.

A partner with low self-esteem will constantly wonder when you’ll leave them. They will think you are settling with them. This can manifest in intense jealousy, sneakiness, insecurities, anger, and even infidelity.

Instead of being the best they can be, someone with low self-esteem may think they can’t be better so they drive you away with bad behavior.

I know this is a lot. It may even sound scary, but dating someone with low self-esteem is not easy. It takes so much effort. It can make you exhausted. And it can lead you to your own struggles. [Read: How to date when you have low self esteem and find true happiness]

As much as this may be worth it, it isn’t always. Sometimes you need to respect yourself more than trying to please your partner. It may feel cruel to end things with someone struggling with low self-esteem. You may feel like you’ll make things worse for them.

But putting yourself and your mental and emotional well being first is vital. It is not your responsibility to make your partner feel fulfilled or confident. They need to feel that within themselves.

That is why if you are wanting to date someone with low self-esteem, make sure they are working on that apart from you, whether on their own or in therapy. If not, it may be time for you to move on and put yourself first.

[Read: The signs you need relationship help and where to find it]

Dating someone with low self-esteem requires someone with a lot of emotional strength and patience, but it isn’t for everyone and that is okay.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...