Why Is Healthy Self-Esteem So Vital In Dating And Relationships?

Families and schools most always don’t teach how to have healthy self-esteem. So how are you to know how to have a healthy view of yourself? Why is this so important in dating and choosing a mate one day? Can your self-esteem improve when you’re already in a permanent relationship? And is healthy self-esteem necessary to have a good romantic relationship and marriage?

Let’s take a look at these questions and more.


What Does Healthy Self-Esteem Look Like?

First, let’s start with some examples of how our self-esteem can be healthy or unhealthy.

Here are some of the qualities you would see in someone who has healthy self-esteem: They…..

  • are self-confident, not “cocky.”
  • speak up when they feel uncomfortable about something.
  • ask for what they need or want
  • can deal with sudden changes because they believe in themselves
  • are often willing to try something new
  • are able and willing to apologize when wrong
  • are willing to change plans if need be because they trust they’ll figure it out
  • don’t worry about having to “look good” for others to feel good about themselves
  • recognize that no one is perfect and can forgive mistakes in themselves and others

Be reassured that these examples don’t mean that people with healthy self-esteem never make mistakes. We all do at times. That’s the humanness in us. What’s different with healthy self-esteem is that it allows you and your view of others to be imperfect.


What Does Unhealthy Self-Esteem Look Like?

Here are some examples of what it’s like to live with unhealthy self-esteem:

  • More easily blame others, even if they know they’re wrong
  • Difficulty in admitting and/or apologizing when they are wrong.
  • Don’t allow themselves to make mistakes, or when they do, they are highly critical of themselves
  • Being very critical of others
  • Often have a smaller comfort zone around dealing with changes
  • Can be easily embarrassed or sensitive about being teased
  • It can be easier for them to make fun of others rather than to look at themselves
  • It may be easier for them to misunderstand others if they feel they will look bad
  • Have difficulty in trying new things for fear of failing and looking bad


Some Consequences of Unhealthy Self-Esteem in Dating and Marriage

  • Dating someone because you think they will make you look better than you believe you are (This doesn’t work, by the way, because you will end up resenting them for you believing they’re better than you.)
  • Being with someone you believe to be “beneath” you, so you feel more powerful and secure, rather than someone you may truly desire
  • Feeling more in control of the other person, so you are less likely to feel inadequate next to them.
  • Giving away yourself in the relationship by never speaking up when something doesn’t feel good to you
  • Feeling trapped in the relationship yet fearful to leave
  • Fear of being alone, so many of your choices come out of this fear
  • Often, if not always, trying to please your mate so you feel safe and they won’t leave you
  • Feeling controlled by your mate and feeling stuck in the relationship
  • Believing if you show weakness (that we all sometimes have) that you will be taken advantage of by your mate or family members

Improving Your Healthy Self-Esteem – The “How-To”

Here are some examples:

  • Seeking professional guidance from a psychotherapist can be helpful.
  • Make a list of all of your positive qualities.
  • Ask those friends you believe really value you and what qualities they recognize in you that they really appreciate.
  • Recognize those “imperfect” habits or qualities you have. Remember, no one is perfect!
    Without judging yourself for being imperfect, as we all are, see if you can find ways to improve on those things you don’t think are healthy habits or beliefs.
  • Really let those positive qualities sink inside you and accept them!
  • Keeping a journal of your experiences along this path and how you feel during this time.
  • Look for positive changes along the way to healthy self-esteem.
  • When I get mad at myself at the moment….I apologize to myself. Remember, no one is perfect!
  • Be kind to yourself.


To Be Continued …

  • How do you know how to create a healthy view of yourself?
  • Can your self-esteem improve when you’re already in a permanent relationship?
  • And is healthy self-esteem necessary to have a good romantic relationship and marriage?
  • What happens in your relationship if your self-esteem improves, but his/her’s doesn’t?


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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