Impostor Syndrome in Relationships: How Insecurities can Threaten a Relationship

By Jenna Chiavelli

Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome is characterized by the tendency to doubt one’s self and feel like a fraud. Impostor Syndrome stems from a fear of inadequacy which can influence any sphere of our lives; work, education, and even relationships. In a relationship, Impostor Syndrome can generate constant concern that you are not worthy of your partner’s love. Because of this looming insecurity and worry, those with Impostor Syndrome expect their significant others to break up with them. This lack of self-confidence not only harms the individual but can harm the relationship as well.

How Impostor Syndrome Impacts Relationships

Those who experience Impostor Syndrome in relationships typically engage in self-sabotaging behaviors. Self-sabotage is defined as a pattern of behaviors that you consciously or subconsciously engage in that prevent you from achieving a goal. Self-sabotage is often used as a defense mechanism to protect our egos. Therefore, it is common for those experiencing Impostor Syndrome to end the relationship themselves before their partner has the chance to do it first. Making this decision on their own terms, takes away some of the pain that would arise if their partner had been the one to end the relationship.

Impostor Syndrome can also prevent individuals from acting genuinely in front of their partners, as they fear their true self is not worthy of their partners’ love. Another consequence of Impostor Syndrome assumes your partner has ill intentions resulting in a lack of trust. Impostor Syndrome can also cause individuals to ignore significant problems in the relationship, as they are scared to speak up for fear of causing an argument. These defensive behaviors create distance between the partners and can ultimately lead to the termination of the relationship.

Advice for Impostor Syndrome

  1. Build self-compassion by being kind to yourself and recognizing your worth.
  2. Pay attention to your thoughts. If you recognize “impostor” thinking try to redirect your course of thinking to something more positive.
  3. Confide in your partner about your insecurities, so you can tackle your problems as a team.
  4. Seek individual therapy to work on building your confidence and coping-skills or even couples therapy to help improve communication within your relationship.

We all have insecurities; however, we mustn’t allow our insecurities to interfere with our happiness and our relationships. Remind yourself every day that you are enough – even on your lowest days.

If you or someone you know needs support with their relationships, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit


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