The #1 sign you may have it is if you wonder why your partner even likes you.
When I first started dating my now husband, I struggled with believing he absolutely shouldn't be with me at all. He's a stellar guy. There aren’t any good qualities he doesn’t have. He’s worldly, well-educated, intelligent, attentive, successful, dedicated, ambitious, supportive, present, positive…the list goes on.
Oh, and he resembles Clark Kent, aka Superman. The muscles, the pecs. When he takes off his shirt, angels should sing.
I obviously must be an amazing woman to attract such a man, yet I felt like an imposter in my own relationship.
Imposter syndrome is more often ascribed to professional contexts when people feel like an imposter for getting something they’ve actually earned. They don’t feel they deserve their jobs, no matter how educated and experienced they are, or they may receive a reward for excellence in their field and think, “Oh gosh, how’d I get this?” when they’d been busting their butt for years.
I’ve experienced this professionally myself. Just see this delightful pie chart I made:
Yup. That’s right. 60% of the good things that happen to me I irrationally believe are because something way bad is about to happen.
Why celebrate that promotion when you’re probably going to be FIRED NEXT WEEK, I might think.
It’s insane, yes.
Sadly, too, imposter syndrome affected my current romantic relationship.
Relationship Imposter Syndrome can express itself with people believing they’re less attractive, less successful, or even less moral than partners they’re actually perfect for.
I often looked at other women and thought they’d be a better fit for my partner than me.
I once picked out a woman that goes to our gym, a trim blonde who always shows up in make-up and Lululemon athletic gear, and said to him as we were leaving, “That is the kind of woman I think you should be with.”
“Her?” he asked.
“Yeah. She’s gorgeous.”
I had no idea how absolutely disrespectful this was too. Assuming I knew who should be with my partner more than himself.
Feeling like an impostor in your own relationship is crazy-making.
Sometimes when I got extra insecure, I'd get quiet. My partner would start being quiet himself because he didn’t understand why my normally bubbly self was now catatonic. His head started to go off and make things up. We both became short with one another until it escalated into a little tiff.
All because I was so mired in my own fear of being found out for the fraud I thought I was.
Other times, our relationship just felt too…good.
What did I think about this very good thing in my life? THAT IT WAS A SET-UP FOR SOMETHING TERRIBLE (see pie chart above).
When I felt like our relationship was just too darn good, I then thought it was going to end. He’d discover some mundane terrible thing about me, like I fart in my sleep or sometimes I get obsessively anxious (all things he already knew), but Geez Louise, if he really knew then, I think, I’d be out on the curb like tomorrow’s garbage.
I have actually broken up with my partner twice because I was trying to end things before he did.
Feeling like an impostor in your own relationship isn’t a way to live. It's certainly not a way to live if you want to be happy.
My insecurity, my feelings that I was not the best fit for the person I was with, meant that I was pushing him away.
The #1 sign you have relationship imposter syndrome is if you wonder why your partner even likes you.
If you identify with what I’ve written above, here are ways you can counter the insanity:
Don’t end your relationship just because you’re worried they’ll end it first.
Recognize your own irrational thinking and counter it with positive affirmations.
Work on other ways to build up your self-esteem: hang out with people who support you, make small goals and achieve them, etc.
Talk to your partner. They may think you are out of their league!
There’s hope you can stop living with this since I learned to and advise my clients how to. Like anything, it’ll take work, and, honestly, anything is better than making my Clark Kent feel like he’s wrong about me being his Lois Lane.
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