It's not an overstatement to say that most, if not all, people have insecurities. However, when those insecurities are so consuming, they can begin to affect those around you. Of course, these insecurities can be even worse when they're founded in prejudice or result in attempts to control those around you.
1. "He dumped me because he believed I had slept with two more people than him. I hadn't told him my real number in the first place — it’s no one else's business — but it was actually a lot higher than two. He stewed on it for three years before dumping me because he felt like less of a man. He's the man, so his number should have been higher. He asked me back out six months later because he had slept with three people, making his number 'higher' than mine and making me acceptable to date again. He failed to realize that I wasn't celibate for those six months."
"His additional three didn't even cover my original, true number — never mind cover the additional people I'd slept with during those six months. Idiot.
A man asking me that question now is a huge red flag, and I don't entertain men like that. I back out immediately." —u/SleepFlower80
2. "I had an ex who was pissed at me at a Bath & Body Works because I wanted to get a musky, cologne-scented candle. His stance was that it was basically cheating because it 'smelled like a man.'"
3. "I got married very young, and my mother died of cancer shortly before our one-year anniversary. I was 19 going on 20. My now ex-husband stated that I chose my mother over him since I spent so much time with her while she was dying."
"He also would get upset with me for grieving and crying in the year after she died." —u/hileo98
4. "When I was 20, I was dating a man for about four or five months. We were going out to a Halloween party with a bunch of his friends. He and I were roughly the same height. Not thinking about it, I wore heels. I met him at the party, and he told me I had to change my shoes. I didn't have other shoes with me, and I was an hour from home since this was on his college campus. He wouldn't talk to me the entire night. When we got back to his place, he screamed at me for an hour that I was an embarrassment — all because he was insecure about his height."
5. "I drew a picture of a flower on a bar napkin and gave it to my then-boyfriend. He glared at me and said, 'When you do stuff like this, it makes me feel so small.'"
6. "We worked in similar fields — I'm a paramedic, and he was a police officer — that's how we met. After a month together, we were set to go on a date, but I canceled due to a nasty migraine. My paramedic partner, a man, brought me medicine. As a long-time paramedic, he had a good idea of what would help. Shortly after he left, I got a text from the guy I was dating asking why another man had come to my apartment. Apparently, he'd been sitting outside my apartment all day to make sure I didn't go anywhere or see anyone else."
7. "I used to date a guy who would make fun of me for having rolls on my stomach (thanks). One to two years after we broke up, we spoke because he still owed me $2,000 and kept making excuses as to why he couldn't pay it. He then asked me what I do for a living, and when I told him that I'd gotten a job at a gaming company, he dropped, 'You were just hired because you are a woman.'"
"I kindly told him to fuck off and that, in the end, I was selected out of hundreds of people, and it had nothing to do with my gender. Jealous and insecure men always find a way to invalidate your success." —u/Empressoftheforsaken
8. "When I was a bartender, a forty-something-year-old gentleman and a lady had come in and sat at the bar. He ordered a gin martini and ordered for his companion as well. I made it and served it to him, but his face instantly dropped. He looked absolutely insulted. I confirmed that I got his order correct, and he assured me he ordered a martini. However, he was furious that I put it in a martini glass. I explained that it was a martini and the glass was literally designed for the drink he ordered, but he demanded to get a 'manly' glass."
9. "My ex claimed he was deeply traumatized when he learned that his previous partner had a couple of one-night stands before dating him. He said he could never trust her again after she 'confessed' to this."
"I don't know if it's just insecurity or sexism, but it's probably a mix of both." —u/lucid-delight
10. "He threw a tantrum when I started pondering going to grad school because he 'couldn't be with a woman with more education' than him. The amount of contempt I developed for him during that despicable display of insecurity cannot be described."
11. "My mom's ex-husband would get incredibly insecure about my deceased father. The fact that I had pictures of him up in my room would drive him crazy. He would often accuse her of 'not being over him' even though my father had been dead for nearly two decades. That then led to him being overly suspicious of her cheating. We eventually discovered that he had cameras in the house and that he had been secretly filming us. He didn't catch her doing anything (shocker), but he did manage to get some footage of me walking around my room naked."
"They ended up divorcing shortly after." —u/friendly_ficus
12. "I was in the process of divorcing my husband, and he happened to be in the room when I got a phone call for a job offer. I told him the salary which wasn't glamorous but a good $12K–$17K more than he'd ever made and included plus Cadillac benefits — none of his jobs had ever carried benefits. He should have said, 'Congratulations!' But he actually said, 'Well, I'm gonna be making twice that much.' His shitty, commission-only job with no benefits was definitely not about to start paying double. However, he came to divorce court bragging that he made twice my salary, so the judge set his child support payments really high based on his fictitious, self-proclaimed earnings."
13. "My ex-boyfriend would refuse to take care of his own child when I was around because 'that's women's work' — especially if any of his buddies were around. He'd also treat me like a maid when his friends were around."
14. "My ex and I met at a summer job. He was in a transitional phase because he was leaving a college he couldn't afford. I never shamed him for dropping out — I was actually kind of jealous because I had a horrible time in college. However, he didn't get a job after. Instead, he sat around gaming and eating all day. Needless to say, he gained weight. He always blamed his weight and unemployment on his environment and lack of family support to go places, so I moved him to be with me. Rather than get a job and get active, he proceeded to break me down over several years — pushing me to eat more and dress in oversized clothes that hid my figure. I couldn't acknowledge that I made all the money, or it was a fight. I'd transfer what little money was left after bills to a joint account so he could swipe his own debit card when we went out."
15. "When I broke up with my ex, he spent months trying to get me back — letters, flowers, a proposal, reaching out to my friends and family, to name just a few of his tactics. He was abusive and manipulative, so it took me just as long to put my foot down and tell him to fuck off for good. When it was finally clear that I wasn't going to come back to him, he flipped from 'I love you,' 'You're perfect,' and 'I would do anything for you' to 'I never loved you' in a heartbeat. It was the first time he ever was told 'no' and didn’t get his way, so he was wildly insecure and tried to control the situation."
16. "I met a guy at work who asked me out, and I suggested we go play pool. He asked me if I was any good, and I said I had good and bad days. He responded, 'Well if you beat me, we'll have to play something else so I can beat you.' I should have ended all communication at that point, but I did not. We met at a bar with pool tables. He scratched twice during the first two games and announced, 'Since you didn't technically beat me, I'm not losing.' Then, he looked at me and asked, 'Are you taller than me?' I said we looked like we were the same height, but that wasn't good enough so he asked a waitress."
17. "I got yelled at because my friends and I used 'big words' (not English) at a party. He was drunk and worked himself into a rage fit over weird shit, and this was what surfaced. His lower level of education was never a problem for me, and I didn't know it was for him until then."
"So bizzare." —u/Allegutennamenweg
18. "I was at an arts and crafts show, and I wanted a giant, decorative plank with Indiana Jones on it from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I thought it would look great in our playroom. My husband at the time immediately shut me down. He kept trying to point me toward other ones instead, with different nostalgic characters or scenes depicted on them. I calmly explained that I didn't actually need one, but I liked that one specifically because the Indiana Jones trilogy had always been one of my favorites, and my children liked it, too. After I walked around the fair for a couple of hours, I decided to buy it. He insisted on going to get it for me since it was heavy, so I handed him the forty bucks, and he came back with a plank depicting The Goonies. When I got upset and tried to exchange it, he berated me about having 'a picture of another fucking man on the wall of the kids' room!'"
19. "I was dating a very nice boy who seemed not to have an opinion on anything. When I tried talking to him about it and how I didn't even feel like I knew him after a month of dating, he told me, 'Tell me what you want, and that's what I'll be.' I hope he's gotten therapy since then, truly."
20. "I temporarily lived with some friends while I was at uni, and two guys lived there. We all got on very well and became fast friends. One night, while one of them was telling an emotional story from his childhood, I reached over and held his hand. I didn't know the other guy had a crush on me. In the middle of the night, when I woke up to get some water, he cornered me in the kitchen — red in the face and trembling with rage — and questioned me about my nonexistent 'feelings' toward the other housemate. He then asked me 'to think about what [I'd] done.'"
21. "I dated a guy for six years who was insecure about his package. He constantly accused me of cheating and said I was too loose, which meant I was cheating. He would stop mid-sex and ask me if he was enough or tell me that he didn't feel like he was enough. He also always accused me of not being honest about how many men I slept with before him. He even asked me to compare his size with my ex. It was a toxic mess. I couldn't even go to the grocery store without being accused of cheating."
22. "I once had incredible pain in my right lung and went to the ER. I had to be hospitalized for a few days while they ran tests to sort out what was going on. My ex stayed with me the whole time and, to his credit, even slept on the chair in my room. He didn't leave my side. I appreciated it until he started going nuts from stress and sleep deprivation. He'd cuddle me in my hospital bed, but the nurses would routinely kick him out of the bed to take my blood or check my vitals at all odd hours. After a few days of this madness, I was assigned to a young doctor about our age. He came in to take some mucous samples and talk to me about what tests they were running. After he left, my ex was really jealous and said that the doctor wanted to fuck me. Apparently, by discussing my symptoms with a man holding a cup of my literal snot, I was flirting."
23. "'But if you keep your last name, my friends will think I'm whipped,' he whined, very masculinely."
24. "Reader's Digest had these monthly quizzes called, 'It Pays To Increase Your Word Power.' The quiz included twenty words with three or four multiple-choice options. I got one more word correct than my ex-fiance one month, and two more correct than him on another month. Both times, he berated me for beating him and gave these really dumb excuses for why I'd gotten a better score. One time, he refused to speak to me for the rest of the night. When I found myself deliberately getting one or two words wrong in order to preserve his fragile ego, I realized that wasn't healthy for either of us."
25. "My ex used to constantly complain that I'd only work jobs where I made more money than him. Apparently, it was emasculating to him because he was supposed to be the 'provider.' However, he didn't want to work any jobs that paid decently because they were 'boring' and not what he wanted to do. He tried several times to get me to quit my job — which I love and make good money at — and was super pissed when I got a pay raise to $19 per hour with a 30% commission."
"He was also really mean to me about the fact that I had had hookups, one-night stands, and had been in poly relationships prior to getting together with him. He shamed me relentlessly about it and would make comments like, 'Oh, I forgot, sex and relationships don't mean that much to you.'" —u/cherrytrashpanda
26. "My ex — when I was a freshman in college — got mad at me at a barbecue. He looked very angry the whole time I was talking to people. I was later informed that I was too friendly and grinning in men's faces. He was literally screaming at me in the car, and he almost wrecked it. I was the host, by the way."
27. "He spent the night with someone else, then blamed it on me not being there at that moment. If I was there in person, he supposedly wouldn't have done anything. When he broke up with me, I began dating someone else. He then said I cheated because we were not broken up — just on a 'break' and that meant we were still together. For months after that, he harassed me daily because we worked together. I moved to get away from him. Years later, I saw him at a store. He started chasing me, so I ran."
"He now works with my mom. She seems to not remember him, and he claims he doesn't know me when she showed him a picture of me. Good times." —u/272027
28. "I use men's cologne instead of perfume. I buy Paco Rabanne Phantom mainly because it comes in a robot-shaped bottle which was the main reason, and Chanel Bleu because it smells really good. I had a guy come over, and when he saw the cologne, he freaked out, telling me that I was cheating on him. I leave my cologne and perfume bottles out on a shelf, so my friends have given me some empty bottles that they're done with just for looks. I explained to him that I use them on myself or just like the bottles and that he'd actually complimented me on the Phantom cologne before. His response? 'That's so fucked up, you're trying to turn men gay.'"
29. "My ex idealized his mother and would constantly compare me to her. He was deeply insecure because my life didn't revolve exclusively around him as his mom's had revolved around being a wife and stay-at-home mom. The comparisons turned into arguments that I was 'ruining' the relationship because I was in school, working, and had friends and hobbies."
30. "When I was in uni, I was dating this guy who'd already graduated and gotten a job. He broke up with me, and one reason that he gave me was that it made him feel bad when we'd both work from home — I'd be studying, and he'd be working — I'd get much more done than he did."
31. "My friend had posted a picture of me on her social media, and this was my fault because 'I did not tell her to remove it,' which meant that I 'clearly want attention from other guys.' I am not the jealous type, but he was. In an attempt to make me jealous, he'd flirt with other girls and even had another girl post him on her social media as her #mancrush to get a reaction from me. He also had his best friend text me to see if I was 'loyal' and criticized my (actually really modest) clothes because they 'show off my body.' He also used the line, 'Only you can help me change my insecurities,' one too many times."
"When we discussed marriage and future plans, he said that he didn't see why I should go out with friends alone when married and that I shouldn't work because other guys might come at me. He said that maybe I could work at an office where I'd be secluded and not really have to interact with anyone.
When I wanted to break up, he told me, 'If you break up with me, I'm going to become a terrible person.' He did, and, needless to say, he was toxic as fuck." —u/whateveritsmexx