Don’t Rely on Relationships to Boost Your Self-Esteem

July 3, 2019 Sam Woolfe

You might think relationships and self-esteem improve one another, and sometimes they do. But it's dangerous to rely on a relationship to boost your self-esteem. Here's why.

If you are single and struggling with low self-esteem, know that this is quite a common experience. For many of us, we view being single in a negative light, believing that it must mean there is something wrong with us, something that makes us unattractive or poor relationship material. If this applies to you, then you might think that sex, dating, and relationships are the answer. Being intimate with someone else may offer you a sense of validation, security, and confidence. But in reality, it’s quite risky to rely on relationships to boost your self-esteem.

The Danger of Using Relationships to Boost Your Self-Esteem

If you’re single and you have this nagging feeling that you’re not good enough, then you might believe that relationships will fill the void, that a relationship will fix your self-esteem. And when you finally do enter a relationship, it can feel as if you’ve found the key to happiness. All of a sudden, you have someone who is physically attracted to you, who wants to be intimate with you, who sings your praise, who compliments you, and who comforts you when you’re feeling down or insecure.

However, in this context, it will be difficult to maintain self-esteem when you’re not with your partner or if the relationship comes to an end. Your sense of self-worth will be unstable, fluctuating depending on whether you have a romantic partner around to validate you. This can lead to unhealthy sorts of relationships, where you act needy, dependent, insecure, jealous, paranoid, and desperate. This can seriously impact your relationship or even cause it to end. Also, if the relationship does come to an end, then the blow to your self-esteem could be severe. Without a strong sense of self-worth to keep you anchored during the difficult period of a breakup, you may struggle to cope.

Boost Your Self-Esteem Without Relying on a Relationship

Now, it would be unrealistic and demoralizing to say that you should only be in a relationship when you have a healthy level of self-esteem. There is no one with perfect self-esteem. We are all works in progress. Our self-esteem can always be improved upon. You can, of course, be in a healthy relationship while still struggling with self-esteem issues. What matters is that you are actively trying to build self-esteem by using your own resources, rather than relying on the approval of your partner.

Moreover, if you’re single, suffering from low self-esteem, and thinking all the time about how badly you want to be in a relationship, it’s worth analyzing your reasons for desiring a romantic partner. Be honest with yourself. Figure out whether now is really the ideal time for a relationship. If you think that sexual intimacy or a romantic relationship is the only way you will start to feel good about yourself, then you may be approaching a new relationship with an unhealthy attitude. Sometimes, it’s worth having time to work on yourself, even when you feel pressure to date because everyone else seems to be in a happy relationship.

By building self-esteem when single and learning to value yourself without validation from others, you will be able to form a relationship that will enhance your life, instead of relying on the relationship for self-esteem and happiness.

APA Reference
Woolfe, S. (2019, July 3). Don’t Rely on Relationships to Boost Your Self-Esteem, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Sam Woolfe

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