It’s human nature to have certain insecurities, whether we worry about our looks, our personality, our skills (or lack thereof) and what other people think of us. Hopefully, the people around us lift us up and make us feel better about ourselves, but that isn’t always the case. Self-esteem should come from within, but even those who are the most immune to the judgment of others may experience insecurity brought on by the words or actions of someone else at times. Some people will make a comment in passing and have no idea that it will affect you and how you feel about yourself for years to come. Our romantic partners usually try to make us feel good about ourselves – or at least they should – but sometimes they actually have the opposite effect. Some men say or do certain things to women that all women immediately know aren’t a good idea, but guys seem clueless about them and act surprised to hear their actions upset a woman. These actions and words can be a lot of different things, but there are certain common things men do in relationships that make women insecure. Here are 15 of them.

15Flirt Openly with Others

When you’re out with your boyfriend or husband, it’s nice to think he’s focused solely on you and wouldn’t even think of flirting with someone else when you’re right there. Some men (and women!) are naturally flirtatious, and their partners have grown to accept that and can see the difference in how they treat other women Vs. their partner. Some women are made to feel very insecure when they see their man flirting with other women right in front of them. After all, if that’s how they act when you’re around, what could they be doing when you’re not around? It may also make women fear their partner is seeking a new relationship or looking to replace them altogether. Seeing your partner flirt with someone else can cause insecurity for both men and women in relationships, so it’s a good idea to set boundaries and voice your concerns if you think your partner is acting inappropriately.

14Hiding Their Phone

A person who has nothing to hide, hides nothing. If your guy tries to keep whatever he’s doing on his phone hidden from your view, you’re naturally going to question what he’s doing and if he could be stepping outside of your relationship. Everyone is entitled to their privacy, so it’s not as if you should be able to see every single thing he does on his phone, but if a guy jerks his phone out of your site whenever you’re around, this could be a red flag. It’s no wonder this makes women insecure, and if your partner often does this, it’s time to talk to him about what’s going on. After all, it could be nothing, and you could be driving yourself crazy with curiosity, insecurity, anger for no reason! Something else to keep in mind: if you expect to be entitled to seeing whatever he does on his phone, he should get the same entitlement with your phone.

13Encourage Them To Work Out

Of course, we want the people we love to be healthy, and if we can find a way to gently encourage them to take up healthy habits, all the better! Sometimes the wrong people say the wrong thing to us about our bodies and working out, and it can be especially hurtful when this comes from a man you’re in a relationship with. Men who say things to their girlfriends or wives about working out and trying to get them to be more fit or active often end up hurting her feelings and making her feel insecure. When we hear our partner say things about wanting us to work out, whether they mean to or not, they often make us feel as though they are saying they disapprove of our bodies in some way. The comment may have been entirely innocent, or if they ask you to come to the gym with them, they could just be trying to spend more time with you, but this often backfires by making women feel insecure.

12Tell Them to Wear More Makeup

A lot of women feel as though they “have” to wear makeup, and when their partners encourage them to do so, this often adds to the pressure and insecurity that surround it. Makeup should be a fun, optional thing for both men and women to wear, and no one should be able to tell you that you need to wear more or less. When your boyfriend or husband makes a comment about your makeup, this is yet another comment that may be innocent but results in hurt feelings. It may make you feel as though your partner isn’t attracted to you in your most natural state, or was only ever attracted to you in the first place thanks to the makeup you were wearing. If these kinds of comments hurt your feelings or make you feel insecure, speak up and let him know, because he may truly have no idea what impact his words have on you.

11Question Their Outfit

We often see women lamenting over their husband or boyfriends’ clothing choices in movies and on television, saying things like, “Ugh, I wish he would throw that old football jersey out!” Most men seem to laugh these things off or just give in to what their partner wants them to wear. It can get a bit tricky when men comment on women’s outfits without being asked to do so. Women already are judged under a much different standard than men, and men commenting on their outfits is just another stark reminder of the double standards between men and women. Unless a man is expressly asked for his opinion on a woman’s outfit, he should keep his thoughts to himself and proceed with caution even when he is asked. If a woman always feels as though her man might be disapproving of whatever she is wearing or how she looks, it will lead to a lot of insecurity in the relationship.

10Criticize Their Eating Habits

Women are under constant pressure to look a certain way and being told what to eat by anyone, let alone the man we love, can be really hurtful and trigger a lot of damaging feelings. If a man comments on what you eat, you might take it as him implying he wants you to eat differently or eat less because it will make you thinner, and thus more attractive to him. Your food choices should be left up to you, and hopefully, your love respects that and keeps his mouth closed, so to speak, when it comes to what you eat. His comments might have no ill intention behind them, but could ultimately make you feel really insecure, and this can not only damage your self-esteem but have long-lasting adverse effects on your relationship as well. Let your man know how these comments make you feel and you might be surprised he has no idea they make you feel the way they do.

9Not Introducing Her to His Family

When you really like a guy and you’re close with your family, you probably want them to meet so you can show off your awesome new guy to your family who will be so happy to see you in love. You would think your guy would also want you to meet his family so he could show you off to them, and when this doesn’t happen, it can make you feel insecure. You might think he’s avoiding introducing you to his family because he’s ashamed of you or because he thinks it will be taking a step further in a relationship he isn’t really ready to commit to yet. This is hurtful when you feel so ready to take that step with someone, and you find out they don’t feel the same. Keep in mind; he may not be introducing you to his family because he doesn’t want to freak you out in case he thinks you aren’t as serious as he is, or perhaps he’s embarrassed of his family and thinks you’ll leave him once you meet them. You will never know until you ask him, but give him time to introduce you to his family and don’t rush into anything.

8Not Wanting to Be Intimate

Women in the media are often portrayed as being the ones who say they “have a headache” and don’t want to be intimate with their man, while men are depicted as always being ready to go at any time with anyone. In real life, men really do have times when they’re just not in the mood. Granted, this may not be often, but there are certain conditions and situations that make a man less likely to want to be intimate with their partner. Even though there are often good physiological explanations for this, it can make a woman feel very insecure when her partner doesn’t want to be intimate with her. Women may take this as a sign that he isn’t attracted to her or is getting intimate attention from someone else. Of course, there is always a chance this is true, but there’s often an entirely different explanation so before you let this derail your relationship, discuss the issue with your partner.

7Disappearing for Days at a Time

We all know when we really like someone, we would never purposely go days at a time without talking to them unless there is some extenuating circumstance that prevents you from getting in touch. That’s why it’s so hurtful when someone else does it to us with no explanation. Clearly, if a guy can disappear for days at a time without speaking to you, he doesn’t care enough about your feelings to spare you the hurt that causes or he doesn’t like you enough to need to talk to you or see you regularly. Some guys will do this and then come crawling back, begging for forgiveness, and a lot of times, it works because we want to believe the best about somebody. However, once someone has done this once, it will always be in the back of our minds and we will be wondering when the next time our boyfriend is going to disappear on us. NOT COOL, guys. Not cool.

6Being Flaky With Plans

When you’re dying to spend time with your partner, you only hope they feel the same way and can’t wait to see you as well. When guys are flaky with committing to plans and don’t like to nail down specific dates and times for doing things together, it is bound to make women feel insecure. Some people are flaky in all of their relationships, friendships or otherwise, but when it is always happening in a romantic relationship it causes a lot of problems. If someone doesn’t nail down specific plans with you, you could be left wondering if it’s because they’re waiting to make plans with someone else or they aren’t that excited to spend time with you. If someone is resisting making plans with you, it could be a sign they really are not that into you, and naturally, that makes us feel insecure.

5Playing Hot and Cold

Ladies: Is there ANYTHING more confusing and frustrating in a relationship than a guy who plays hot and cold with you? Some days he can’t get enough of you and wants to talk to you and be with you 24/7, only for the next day to roll around and he acts like he could care less about you or ever even seeing you again. For some, one episode of this is enough for a woman to call things off with someone, but that isn’t the case for everyone. Some of us get drawn back in the next time he starts to play “hot” again, because we have high hopes for what the relationship could be, and we remember how good it feels when he is all in. Knowing a man could go back to playing cold at any time is bound to make you feel insecure in your relationship, and it’s a lot easier on both parties to just be open and honest with how you’re feeling and why you are acting the way you are.

4Resisting Commitment

Things like “I don’t want to put labels on this,” or “Let’s just take things slowly and see where it goes” can be huge red flags for women in relationships when the hear this from the guy they’re dating. When you’re ready to dive in head first to a relationship and put the “official couple” label on it, it’s incredibly disappointing and can make you feel like he doesn’t like you as much as he likes him. Take his actions into account with his words, because if he is showing you how much he cares about you with his actions but his words don’t match up, it may actually be from insecurity on his side as he doesn’t want to lose you or admit how much he cares about you. But if he tells you he doesn’t want to commit to you, and his actions prove it, take that as a sign it’s time to move and find someone who is man enough to commit to you.

3Their Social Media Activity

You might be transported right back to high school feelings when you log onto Facebook and see your boyfriend has just become friends with a beautiful stranger. Feelings of insecurity might come up immediately, and your mind goes to the worst case scenario and you start to think he’s cheating on you, or he at least wants to. We all like to think we’re mature and secure enough to not let something like this phase us, but we all fall victim to these feelings sometimes. Constantly seeing your boyfriend befriending women on Facebook or following and liking random girls’ pictures on Instagram can be hard on you as it may make you feel insecure about his intentions with other people. Social media is such a big part of so many people’s lives, and these actions could be completely innocent. Focus on your relationship with your partner instead of what he does on social media, unless you believe what he’s doing is disrespectful.

2Taking Hours to Respond

We all have busy days when we can’t pay constant attention to our phone, but most of the time we’ll let the people we love know that ahead of time, so they’re not worried about where we are. In relationships, when one partner suddenly disappears and takes hours to respond to a text or phone call, the other partner is left wondering what that person is up to. There are plenty of innocent explanations for someone not texting back for hours, but when it’s out of character for someone, this can be really concerning. At first, you might just think they’re busy, or their phone died, but when enough time goes by you may start to wonder if they’re okay, if they’re ignoring you, or if they even might be with someone else. Not hearing back from your husband or boyfriend makes a lot of women feel insecure in relationships, and the same thing goes for women not getting back to their partners.

1Make Fun of Their Kitchen Skills

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and a lot of women take that very seriously and put a lot of effort into making meals for their partners that they’ll enjoy. There is so much more to cooking than just making food, and many would argue it’s an act of love. If you spend hours making a meal for your man as a treat for him and he has the audacity to critique whatever you made, that’s going to hurt! It’s one thing for a man to let you know he is allergic to something you made or has an aversion to something (no matter who makes it), but comments about your actual skills can make you feel really insecure and a lot less likely to do something nice for him the next time. A smart man will thank you for what you’ve done and find something positive about what you made no matter how he really feels about it.

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