How To Build Confidence In The Man You Love When He Has Low Self-Esteem

Let him know you support him — but need his help along the way.

How To Build Confidence In The Man You Love When He Has Low Self-Esteem getty

Every woman goes through a phase where they love the tortured artist type. You know the one: the guy with the long hair, who cries easily and writes dark poetry about how much he hates himself. Thankfully, this is usually a phase.

It doesn't take long for women to learn that insecure men who rely on women to build up their confidence are not men who are capable of having a healthy romantic relationship or an equal adult partnership.


Don't get me wrong, I would never write off a man with low self-esteem. Humans don't always love themselves easily. But I do think that men who are of the belief that a woman's role is to give them a sense of self, need to be disillusioned of that idea.

RELATED: 10 Scientific Ways To Massively Boost Your Confidence


If you love a man like this, here's how to build confidence in a man with low self-esteem without losing yourself in the process:

1. Don't try to 'complete' him.

Sure, it sounds really romantic when Jerry Maguire said "you complete me," but that was just a movie. This is real life. It's taken me a long time to learn that it's not my job to "fix" another human being that I'm in a relationship with.

You're a whole, unique, complex person, and so is he — that's why you're together! If he feels empty or incomplete, you're not the answer. You're not with him to "fix" him, you're here to be the cherry on the sundae of all the hard work he's already doing on his self-esteem.

2. Remind him that it's an equal partnership.

Imagine if every time you decided to enter a romantic relationship exclusively, your partner handed you a giant rock. "Here," they'd say. "If you want to be with me, I'm going to need you to carry this rock for me."


In a relationship, you split the balance of the weight that you carry. Let him know that you love and support him, and will be there to build him up from time to time when he's down.

But he needs to do the work on himself by himself. You can be his cheerleader, but he can't expect you to be the one building the foundation of his sense of self.

RELATED: 5 Empowering Phrases To Build Confidence When You're Feeling Down On Yourself

3. Ask him not to talk down on himself.

When he tears himself down, it feels like he's questioning your taste.

Every time his low self-esteem gets the better of him, it feels like he's telling you to leave him. He may not see it that way, but let him know that when he says "I'm ugly" or "I'm so dumb" or "I don't know why you're with me," he's saying "you can do better."


That's hurtful. It's mean. It's not his place. Let him know that he might be suffering, but you've decided to be with him for reasons all your own, reasons that have nothing to do with his low self-esteem.

4. Let him know you're not trying to fix him.

Somewhere along the line, insecure men with low self-esteem learned that women love a fixer-upper project. That might be true when it comes to re-purposing an old chest we buy at a flea market, but it shouldn't apply to the men we love.

He should know that he ;can be a complete and happy individual, and you can still love him. In fact, you'd prefer it that way. Being a happy human is a journey and a process, but you don't need to be miserable to be worthy of love.

5. Know the roles you play for each other.

We don't all love ourselves all the time. I have days where I am my own worst enemy. But I have a healthy relationship with myself, and I think that proves that I know how relationships work. If you can't master a relationship with yourself, how can you master interacting with another person?


Coming into a relationship with a realistic understanding of what your roles are for each other will make you both happier in the long run.

RELATED: 5 Simple Steps For Building Self-Confidence

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.