11 Signs Of An Emotionally Safe and Secure Romantic Relationship

Emotionally safe and secure relationships are not just about romantic relationships. It’s essential to have safe and secure relationships with family, friends, coworkers, etc. 

However, in certain ways, this is not always in our control – especially in families. We don’t choose our family members, and they may not want the same things as you do. Or they may not be willing to risk doing the work to have a secure bond.

For an overview of the Relationship Checklist article as a whole, click here:

This article is about developing those relationships that are healthier for you, whether it’s romantic, family, friends, or coworkers. It involves those around you who demonstrate valuing you and the relationship.

 Romantic, friendships, and family relationships will also be addressed separately at times in this article.


Why Do We Feel Especially Vulnerable in Romantic Relationships?

I believe romantic relationships are one of the most emotionally vulnerable things we experience. The heart “wants what the heart wants.” Often we feel we are not in control of our hearts.  Not feeling in control of our feelings causes one to feel emotionally vulnerable. 

For example, you feel a strong attraction to someone who does not return the attention you give them. Or perhaps the person doesn’t follow through with what they say, which is about them not valuing you.  These actions absolutely would not make you feel safe or secure in the relationship.

Sometimes people feel very vulnerable in their relationship. Often this is due to them feeling they aren’t good enough for the mate, and they’ll lose them. To protect themselves, they may appear distant, or avoidant of any closeness. Regardless of their fears, it is unhealthy for them to treat you disrespectfully in any way. 

Feeling vulnerable in especially a romantic relationship, is normal. If your vulnerability seems to involve unhealthy behaviors in your mate, talk to them about you feel. If nothing changes, you may need to leave the relationship. 


What is Emotional Safety in a Romantic Relationship?

Emotionally safe and secure relationships involve mutual respect, dignity, and trust. This is in part what makes a relationship feel secure. Actually, there are particular personality traits that are seen in emotionally safe and secure relationships. Click here for more details on this concept.

These relationships involve guidelines or boundaries that both people commit to following. The boundaries for each person are consistently respected and demonstrated over time.


What Erodes a Safe and Secure Relationship?

Certain things should never be spoken or done in relationships.

  • Threats of leaving the relationship
  • Harsh words attacking the character of the other person
  • Lying, name-calling or profanity aimed at the other person
  • Betrayal/infidelity.

These negative actions break down the trust necessary to be fully open with each other. Without openness, intimacy can not develop.


Our Self-Esteem Affects Who We Choose as a Friend or Romantic Partner

We tend to attract the same degree of self-esteem in our friends, lovers, and acquaintances. The more you truly see your worth, the healthier your relationship choices become. 

Some of my articles explain this concept more fully. Here is one of them.


Signs of an Emotionally Safe and Secure Relationship

  1. Feeling emotionally safe and secure in your romantic relationship when you are together as well as being apart. It is about valuing the relationship even when the partner is not there. 
  2. Healthy romantic relationships actively “have each other’s back.” Each partner looks out and protects the well-being of the other person. For example, if someone is bad-mouthing your partner, you defend your mate. 
  3. Solid relationships demonstrate forgiveness of one another.
  4. There is no physical or verbal abuse of any kind. For example, discounting, devaluing what the other says, or trying to intimidate the other person, never works.
  5. If one partner feels hurt, the other apologizes immediately, even if they do not agree it was hurtful.
  6. In emotionally safe and secure relationships, people never intentionally hurt the other person.  
  7. Strong relationships involve both partners coming forward and talking things out.
  8. Secure relationships focus on resolving issues.
  9. Understanding the perspective of the other person is much more important than being “right.”
  10. These relationships value and demonstrate mutual respect for one another.
  11. Healthy relationships involve both partners valuing and initiating positive changes.


Signs of an Insecure Relationship:  Pitfalls to Avoid

  1. Insecure relationships occur when a person does not demonstrate they value the relationship.
  2. Unhealthy relationships don’t protect their mate from negative experiences. They don’t defend their partner.
  3. Insecure relationships involve a lack of forgiveness for their partner and sometimes ourselves.
  4. These relationships most often involve verbal and sometimes even physical abuse.
  5. Troubled relationships often do not include apologizing for one’s hurtful actions.
  6. Unhealthy relationships often involve intentionally hurting the partner, verbally, or physically.  This behavior won’t improve unless the person figures out why they are doing this and makes a change.
  7. Unhealthy relationships often involve both people waiting for the other person to apologize.
  8.  Insecure relationships care more about being “right” than resolving an issue.
  9. Weak relationships do not demonstrate mutual respect. They don’t try to understand the perspective of the other person and what is most important about that. 
  10. Troubled relationships focus on Right/Wrong, Better/Worse, In Control/Not In Control, and power. It’s about winning the argument, not resolving it.
  11. Each partner waits for the other person to change first.


Where to Go From Here

Relationships are never perfect. Remember, we learn how to navigate in relationships along the way in life. Relationships were modeled by what we saw our parents do, and their parents before them, and so on. 

The healthy actions develop safe and secure relationships we take each day. Are we kind to our mate or friend? Do our actions match our words? Do we follow through on our commitments? 

You have to be what you want in every kind of relationship, whether it is romantic, friendships, family, or work-related. If your relationships are unhealthy, then take a look at how you might be participating in this dynamic.

For more information on dating, relationships and self-esteem check related articles on my blog here. 


Final Thoughts

If you don’t like who you attract, then it is a good idea to see how you value yourself. Remember, our self-esteem comes from generations of family dynamics and life experiences along the way. 

Don’t be afraid to seek professional guidance to improve your self-esteem, and to attract healthier people to you.


About Susan Saint-Welch

Susan Saint-Welch LMFT has counseled couples and individuals for many years on issues such as dating, marriage, family drama, coping with difficult times, improving self-image and living the life you love. She provides psychotherapy for clients in California and Dating, Couples and Life Coaching for clients outside California through secure video conferencing. She has published numerous articles regarding these issues on her website, on YourTango.com and on MSN.com.

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