When Showing Off Your Partner Goes From Cute To Self-Absorbed

The beginning of a new relationship is an exciting time. In fact, it can feel downright intoxicating thanks to the surge of dopamine that floods your brain when you're around your new beau (via CNN). It's natural to want to show off your new partner to friends, family, and social media followers every chance you get. You might even feel the urge to buy them new clothes, shoes, or jewelry that complements your style for coordinated selfies or in-person appearances at social events.

While there's not necessarily anything wrong with enjoying showing off your new partner, it can turn into a bit of a slippery slope. As the relationship deepens and develops over time, your focus should naturally shift to who your partner is on the inside and what they bring to the partnership as an individual. If this shift doesn't take place, it's time to check yourself and consider the possibility that you're engaging in self-absorbed behavior.

Get real about your motivations

Starting to notice some eye-rolls when you show off your partner yet again to your friends, associates, or family members? If so, it's time to assess your actions and the intent behind them. Ask yourself why you feel compelled to put your partner on display. What do you gain from showing them off? If your reasons are anything other than a genuine sense of pride in your beau's accomplishments, your behavior may be self-serving.

Often, people are drawn to partners who may have the answers they seek or compensate for their own insecurities. For example, if you struggle with insecurities about your physical appearance, you might seek out a conventionally attractive partner. If you feel unworthy due to limited professional success, you may be drawn to partners who are attractive or wealthy to compensate with social approval. This was the case for journalist Meehika Barua, who shared in a personal essay published by Insider that showing off her attractive partners directly correlated with her dissatisfaction with her life. "Now that I have filled up my life with hobbies, fulfilling work, and amazing female friendships, I barely feel the need to post any guy I'm dating on my social media to seek approval," she wrote. Showing off your partner's traits may boost your ego, but it's important to consider the potential cost to your partner.

Take corrective action

If you focus solely on your partner's appearance or other superficial characteristics, you're sending the message that their inherent worth as a human being doesn't matter to you. If this is the case, it may be time to reconsider the relationship rather than continuing to treat your partner like a mere trophy. If you truly care about your partner's well-being and innate qualities, you need to change your behavior. PsychCentral recommends examining your childhood memories for the source of your need for external validation. Were you supported and emotionally validated by your caretakers? If not, you may have formed a habit of seeking that validation through social approval.

Once you've processed your thoughts and emotions, take the initiative to discuss the issue with your partner. Own up to your actions and share your realizations about the possible motivations behind your behavior. Then, follow through on your words with actions. Prioritize spending private time with your partner by planning date nights at home or visiting public venues with the understanding that you will not be sharing photos on social media. You may discover that your soulmate was right under your nose the whole time, but you were too busy showing them off to notice.