Stop Being So “Confident” And Your Wife May Be Way More Into You

Confidence is a good thing — until it's not.

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A lot of advice to men by men online advises them to act more confident to regain their wife’s respect and attraction. I certainly believe that confidence is attractive when coupled with love and a deep desire to be a good partner and parent.

However, when a man who is innately insecure (e.g., preoccupied with attachment) tries to act confident, he often swings right through the sweet spot and emerges as arrogant and self-involved. How and why does this happen, and why does it often make things much worse? 


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When a man has deep-seated low self-esteem, he often becomes overly invested in what his wife thinks of him, and engages in a lot of reassurance-seeking behaviors that come off as boundary-crossing and uncomfortable.

Here are some examples:

  • A man becomes obsessed with the “count” of how many times he and his wife have sex in a week (despite that they are having sex regularly and/or she is going through some stuff like the recent birth of a child)
  • A man literally follows his wife around the house or constantly asks what she’s doing on her phone
  • A man reads relationship books and blogs incessantly and keeps asking his wife to engage with them (e.g., asks this multiple times a week)
  • A man becomes obsessed with the idea that his wife is cheating despite zero evidence

In these cases, a man likely had a difficult childhood where he did not feel secure in his parent’s love and attention, so he feels a deep black hole of need inside himself that threatens to overtake him when his wife’s attention is not fully on him. This preoccupied attachment style can push women away, because they feel smothered and stressed, like the gender inverse of this.


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When men like this decide to embark on self-improvement programs (OR go to therapists that agree with them that “their wife is the problem”— beware of this!), often these focus on relatively superficial changes like going to the gym a lot or talking in a more “assertive” way (that often comes off as arrogant). An example is that a man might learn to say things like:

  • “I’m going out tonight with my friends” (instead of “Hey are you okay watching the kids tonight while I go to the game with my friends?”)
  • “I’ll be training for a race in April so I’ll need to go on my long runs every weekend” (instead of “I’m sorry — I know the long runs will cut into family time — how can we work around that?”)
  • “We need to have more sex” (vs actually trying to get her in the mood)

Some women may be reading this and thinking their husbands always talked like these examples; it wasn’t after any self-help transformation.  

But no matter if it was a change or the original, women do not like arrogant, self-involved declarations within a partnership, and these types of declarations never make women feel that the man is confident and attractive, because being selfish is not appealing to either gender.


When a man who is still very insecure at his core, because he has not resolved his childhood issues, tries to act confident, he often misses the mark in this way, and his wife becomes even less attracted to him.

Basically, he has turned himself from a preoccupied attachment to an avoidant attachment, and neither one is very appealing. So how can a man avoid this and hit the balance of securely attached?

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Empathy is key, as usual. When a man is acting either overly clingy or overly self-involved, he is missing the essential ingredient of empathy with his wife’s perspective.


In the clingy case, he is not putting himself in the position of what his wife feels like to be under constant surveillance, and in the selfish case, he is not thinking about what she would feel like to not even be considered in his decision-making.

Neither one makes her feel loved, and in fact, when the man is coming off as selfish and putting his wants above everything else, she often finds him a lot less attractive.

This is why so many men start working out and instead of their wives finding them more attractive, their sex life erodes even further, and then they land in my office for couples counseling. When pursued in an insecure, self-obsessed way, working out makes people seem more self-absorbed, not less. 

On a macro level, it is not the man’s fault that he is coming off as unempathetic, as it is very hard to empathize with others if you did not receive enough empathy as a child.


That is why it can be so transformational for a man to start therapy and focus on his family-of-origin issues, working to bolster his self-worth and understand why he is so insecure. This work can allow him to grow deeply self-aware and self-confident, which leads to being more empathic and interdependent the more secure he grows.

If this post spoke to you, share it with your partner and use it to start a conversation.

It is not your husband’s fault if he is an anxious or avoidant type; this is rooted in his earliest life experiences. However, everyone can and should work on themselves in order to be the best person and partner (and parent) they can be.


Therefore, if your wife sends you this post, try to be non-defensive about it and curious about how she thinks it relates.

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Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.