12 Reasons You May Feel Embarrassed To Be In A Relationship [And How To Fix That]14 min read

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Growing up in a religious setting, I was exposed to a lot of ideas that were not particularly in line with science nor had any good justification. For instance, I was told God formed man using dust from the ground, sex before marriage is a sin, and not accepting Jesus meant you were going to burn in hell for eternity. Heck! I even preached to dozens (if not hundreds) of people about this. And, to a large extent, my identity got mixed with those ideas. Letting go was like committing suicide.

I no longer take any of such ideas seriously, however, they still subtly influence my life. One such influence is a pesky feeling of embarrassment whenever I am with a lady. It was recently I found out that a friend of mine who had a similar religious background also struggled with being with a romantic partner.

But, as I researched, I found that I and my friends were not alone. Many people also feel too embarrassed to have a relationship. And, their reasons vary as much as their backgrounds and experiences do. So, don’t feel like you’re alone in this struggle. 

In this piece, we are going to explore some reasons you find yourself asking, “Why am I embarrassed to be in a relationship?”; and also explore some helpful tips to proceed to get into a relationship despite the feeling.

Some Reasons You Might Feel Embarrassed To Be In A Relationship (With Examples):

Feeling embarrassment is just that; a feeling. And, like most other feelings, it has a trigger. And, to a large extent, getting triggered has more to do with the subject (you), than the object (external factor). Even though there are countless reasons you might be feeling embarrassed about being in a relationship, and even though those reasons may not be your fault or within your control, it all boils down to how you perceive things. Just like songs appeal differently to different people, different people experience embarrassment differently. What makes one person cringe might make the other proud.

Now, keep in mind that the feeling of embarrassment can be about how your partner sees you, how others see you, or how you see yourself. You might feel it before you even jump in, when you’re just getting settled, or after you’re already neck-deep. 

“When we understand people; when we understand situations; when we understand what matters; when we understand the why’s, the what’s and the how’s; when we understand the trigger of actions, we least inflict pain on ourselves and unto others.”

– Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

To help you figure out some reasons behind your feeling of embarrassment to be in a relationship, I’ve made a list of some popular reasons people feel that way; they include

Lack of confidence: 

Lacking confidence in your abilities, be it conversation skills, dancing, or even intimacy, can trigger feelings of embarrassment about entering or being in a relationship. It can make you feel awkward and uncomfortable whenever you’re with your partner or in situations that require those specific skills. This sense of inadequacy, even though it might not reflect reality, can create a barrier to enjoying intimacy and connection.

Lack of self-acceptance: 

Sometimes, struggling with self-acceptance, where you dislike certain aspects of yourself like appearance, background, or financial situation, can be a big problem. This lack of self-love can trigger feelings of embarrassment in various situations, whether you’re approaching someone, being approached, or simply spending time with your partner. This constant self-consciousness, even if based on personal perceptions rather than reality, can create a barrier to feeling comfortable and connected within the relationship.

Low self-esteem: 

Low self-esteem, or feeling generally bad about yourself can cause unnecessary feelings of embarrassment. You might constantly compare yourself to others or worry that you do not deserve the love your partner is showering on you even though all those are not true. For example, you may find yourself embarrassed when your partner tries to hold your hands or kiss you in public, or would hesitate to go out to events with them, and may also avoid meeting their family and friends for fear of being judged or laughed at.

High Self-Esteem:

Sometimes, when you’re excelling in your career, crushing personal goals, and generally winning at life, you might find yourself feeling a bit embarrassed about entering or being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t share the same level of ambition and drive, or who hasn’t achieved as much as you have, even though they’re kind and supportive. This sense of incongruence, where you question if your partner truly “matches” your accomplishments or aspirations, can lead to feelings of embarrassment, especially when you compare yourselves to other seemingly “perfect” couples.


Sometimes, feelings of embarrassment in a relationship can stem from projecting your own insecurities onto your partner. This might manifest in different ways, for example, feeling embarrassed about their job. This could be rooted in your own hidden anxieties about your career path or financial situation, leading you to project those insecurities onto your partner and their choices. It’s important to be mindful of your own self-doubt and address underlying anxieties to avoid creating unnecessary conflict or discomfort within the relationship.

Internalised Societal Expectations: 

Sometimes, societal expectations about relationships can create an invisible pressure to conform. Imagine wanting to proudly introduce your partner to friends and family, but feeling anxious because they don’t match a certain image – perhaps a specific career path, income level, or physical appearance. This might lead to a nagging sense of not “measuring up” and even embarrassment about your relationship.

Conflicting Religious and Socio-cultural Norms: 

Love can blossom in unexpected places, but societal norms can sometimes make some places uncomfortable. For example, you might come from a place with strict dating norms or expectations about age differences, social class, or sexuality. You might feel judged, guilty, and embarrassed if your relationship doesn’t align with these norms. Perhaps you are in a same-sex relationship in a place (like Nigeria) where it is frowned upon, or you are dating someone far older/younger than yourself. While the love may be true and strong, the feeling of embarrassment can be overwhelming.

Disapproval from Loved Ones: 

The joy of a fulfilling relationship can sometimes be overshadowed by external disapproval.  Imagine finding someone truly special, only to face disapproval or negativity from close family or friends. The pressure to conform to their expectations, or the fear of their judgment, might lead you to feel embarrassed about your choice, even if you’re deeply happy and fulfilled in the relationship. This fear of judgment can lead to a sense of embarrassment and even secrecy, despite the genuine happiness you share with your partner.

Partners’ Behaviour and Problems

Entering or being in a relationship with someone who exhibits concerning behaviour like criminal activity, harmful character flaws, or abusive tendencies can understandably trigger feelings of embarrassment and discomfort. This differs from situations involving unrealistic expectations, societal pressures, or perfectionism. Here, the source of embarrassment stems from genuine concerns about the partner’s actions and their potential impact on your safety and well-being. It’s crucial to address these concerns directly and seek support if necessary to ensure your safety and emotional well-being.

Problematic Attachment Styles: 

The desire for connection and security can sometimes manifest in ways that create unintended consequences. For example, you might find yourself in a loving relationship, yet feeling a constant need for reassurance and validation from your partner. This, perhaps stemming from an anxious attachment style, might lead to feelings of embarrassment if your partner doesn’t readily fulfil those needs. The fear of rejection or abandonment can trigger a cycle of seeking validation, which, if not reciprocated in the desired way, can feel like a personal failure (hence embarrassing).

Mismatched Love Languages:

Misunderstanding your partner’s way of expressing love can lead to feeling unappreciated or embarrassed. This can happen if their expressions of affection, whether through closeness, gestures, or Public Displays of Affection (PDA), don’t align with your expectations of how love should be shown. Feeling confused or embarrassed by their actions can create distance and frustration in the relationship.

Early Stage Awkwardness:: 

New relationships often involve navigating initial awkwardness and figuring things out, which can lead to temporary feelings of embarrassment. This is particularly common in the early stages of dating, where public displays of affection (PDA) or intimacy might feel uncomfortable due to a lack of established comfort level with each other. These feelings are usually temporary and fade as the relationship progresses and comfort builds

Of course, these are not all the reasons one might feel embarrassed about being in a relationship.

Identifying the root cause of your embarrassment may not be easy, and it can stem from multiple reasons. 

Nevertheless, below is a guide to overcoming that feeling of embarrassment.

How To Stop Being Embarrassed To Be In A Relationship:

Leonard Cohen once said, “It is easy to display a wound, the proud scars of combat. It is hard to show a pimple,”, and I agree with him. I think it highlights a societal truth that is easy to miss. Though he doesn’t explicitly mention embarrassment, the parallel is striking.

The “physical scars” of humanity, such as our tendency to be greedy, history of wars, and destruction of the natural environment, are often glossed over or even celebrated. Yet, the “pimples” of our minor flaws, like social awkwardness, physical imperfections, or quirky habits, are hidden in shame. This, of course, is absurd and unnecessary.

Just like overcoming teenage acne requires self-acceptance and realizing everyone has pimples at some point, overcoming embarrassment to be in a relationship demands embracing vulnerability. We simply are not perfect, and should not demand the perfection of others. Plus, we must understand that the few who judge hold little weight compared to the genuine connections built through authenticity.

If you’re struggling with feeling embarrassed to be in a relationship, here are some steps you can take to overcome or manage this feeling:

Practice Self-awareness and Self-reflection

Overcoming your relationship-related embarrassment requires getting to the root of the matter, and you do that by practising self-awareness and reflection. 

Pay attention to what triggers it: is it how you see yourself, your partner’s behaviour, or others’ perceptions? 

Analyze your self-talk and question if these feelings are based on reality or fueled by fear. 

Pause and reflect on specific moments you felt embarrassed.

What was the trigger? Was it the PDA, your looks, or something else? 

Is it looming, underlying fears (rejection, judgment, etc.), or expectations that influence your present feelings?

You can write down these thoughts and go over everything to gain clarity about your internal world.

Challenge Negative Beliefs:

Your beliefs about your relationship might not always be your own. Societal expectations, past experiences, and even your inner critic/ego can shape your perception. 

Take a step back and question the origin of your thoughts. Are they influenced by unrealistic standards imposed by society and media, or perhaps fueled by negative experiences in past relationships? Is it your ego? It may even be a combination of different factors.

Nevertheless, instead of passively accepting self-criticism or going with the feeling, actively reframe those thoughts into empowering affirmations and transmute the feelings into positivity. Replace “I’m not good enough” with “I deserve love and respect in a relationship.” 

Challenge the voice of doubt with the truth: you are worthy and deserve of a happy and fulfilling connection.

Communicate Openly with Your Partner:

Communication is key to navigating relationship-related embarrassment. Share your feelings openly and honestly with your partner, without judgment or blame. You could say, “Sweetheart, I feel embarrassed dancing in public”, “I do not know how to cook”, or “I feel awkward meeting your family now because of X reason.”.

Explain what things, situations or behaviours trigger your embarrassment and actively listen to their perspective

This open communication fosters understanding and allows you to work together towards solutions. 

Focus on Building Confidence:

Remember, everyone experiences insecurities and occasional embarrassment. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge these feelings without judgment. 

Practice self-acceptance and treat yourself with the same kindness you would offer a loved one or a kid who is afraid of the dark. Just as you won’t lock them in the dark and expect the fear to vanish, you should not throw yourself into a situation that will mortify you. Rather, take things slow.

Invest in activities that boost your confidence and make you feel good about yourself. Pursue hobbies, develop new skills, or wear clothes that make you feel confident.  

Positive affirmations and listening to others sharing their vulnerability (perhaps in books, music, or podcasts) can help you see that we are all flawed, and have our challenges; which will in turn help you develop greater empathy and compassion for yourself. .

Address the Root Cause

Sometimes you need to take proactive measures to exorcise the feeling of embarrassment. 

  • Identify and address any external pressures contributing to your embarrassment. Are there societal expectations causing undue stress? Can you limit exposure to negative influences or judgmental individuals? Taking control of your environment can significantly reduce external triggers.
  • If internal factors such as self-esteem issues or past experiences are fueling the feeling, consider developing healthy coping mechanisms – such as mindfulness, meditation, and positive affirmation – to overcome them. 
  • And if specific behaviours within the relationship trigger your embarrassment, then talk to your partner openly and honestly about what makes you uncomfortable. Work together to find solutions and create a relationship dynamic that fosters safety, comfort, mutual respect, understanding, and joy.

Consider Seeking Professional Support

While navigating relationship-related embarrassment is possible on your own, seeking professional help can offer invaluable guidance and support. A therapist or counsellor can provide a safe and confidential space to explore the underlying causes of your emotions, develop coping mechanisms, and build healthy communication skills. They can also help you:

  • Identify the root cause of your embarrassment 
  • Unearth and challenge negative or limiting beliefs
  • Develop healthy communication skills
  • Address underlying issues

Remember, seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness; it is a proactive step towards building healthier relationships and improving your overall well-being. Many therapists specialize in relationship issues and can offer tailored guidance to address your specific concerns.

And, finally…

Give it Time

Overcoming relationship-related embarrassment takes time. It requires patience – a willingness to allow yourself to grow. 

Be kind to yourself throughout this process. Allow yourself to experience your emotions without judgment. Celebrate small victories and acknowledge your progress, no matter how gradual. 

Focus on the present moment, learn from past experiences, and trust that with time and dedication, things will improve.

Just like a flower needs time to blossom, so too does your confidence and comfort within your relationship. Embrace the journey, nurture your self-worth, and trust that with patience, you can cultivate a fulfilling and fulfilling connection.

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Conclusion: You Feel Embarrassed Because You Care

Embarrassment isn’t inherently bad. It can act as a flashing indicator prompting you to course-correct. It’s a sign you’re not a detached observer, but someone who cares about social interactions and their impact.

However, ensure these feelings are grounded in reality, not self-inflicted anxieties. Embrace self-compassion as you navigate adjustments. And for situations beyond your control, acceptance is key.

Remember, everyone experiences embarrassment. Don’t let it define you.

Embarrassment, when understood correctly, can be a tool for growth and self-awareness, leading to more fulfilling relationships and a stronger sense of self.


Did you enjoy this content or have some questions? Please let us know in the comments section.

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Dick David is a freelance SEO content writer and editor with over 7 years of experience in content writing, digital marketing, and sales. He is the founder of Pawns Digital Agency. Throughout his career, he has authored over 4 books, published hundreds of SEO articles attracting thousands of monthly visitors, ghostwritten numerous works, and edited hundreds of content pieces across various industries. Currently, he works with Robert Taylor Media and has also worked with Tobi Digitals and Branditechture Design Agency, among others.

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