Are you unknowingly sabotaging your relationship? You might have certain recurring patterns of behavior that are preventing you from having happy, lasting relationships. Are you always dating the same kind of partner? Do they share certain traits, or treat you similarly? Do all your relationships end the same way?
Let’s look at 13 ways in which you might be sabotaging your relationship, and what you can do about it. Number two is quite scary because it is downright abusive.
Number 13. Attachment style.
Attachment style plays a big role in the way we approach relationships. The foundation of these styles lies in things that happened in our childhood, and how we see ourselves and others as a result of these events. Do you view yourself mostly in a positive or negative light? Do you think of other people as the kindest, agreeable, and friendly, or hostile and out to get you?
Researchers have found that most people have a secure attachment style, which means they are confident and positively inclined towards themselves and others. People who are anxious feel that they need a relationship, and that they cannot function properly on their own. They must have a partner, and therefore they might just settle for someone who isn’t a good match. If your style is avoidant, it means you’re self-reliant and independent, and you don’t think that you can rely on other people for anything. Ironically, avoidant and anxious partners often get together. And it’s not an easy match.
The anxious partner craves intimacy while the avoidant partner wants the exact opposite. It doesn’t mean that a relationship between these two could never work. If both partners are prepared to put in an effort to understand the needs of the other, they can be happy together. Which of these styles apply to you? Your attachment style might be the reason you are sabotaging your relationship.
Number 12. Ignoring negative emotions.
If you have doubts or uncertainties about your partner or your relationship but you decide to ignore these instead of dealing with them, that could be a sign of sabotage. Every relationship has its ups and downs. You might experience anger, frustration, or anxiety. In healthy relationships, partners can openly discuss issues like these when they surface. If you don’t want to talk to your partner about what is bothering you, ask yourself – why don’t I feel comfortable discussing this? Do I still want to be in this relationship? Do I want to fix the problems that we are facing? Or do I just want the relationship to burn?
Number 11. You have time for everything except your relationship.
Your job might take up a lot of your time and when you’re not working, you’ve got your friends, your hobbies, and your me-time. Your responsibilities just keep increasing, and you feel under pressure all the time. You feel that you can only fit so many things into your day. There’s time for everything except your relationship. If this is where you’re at, then your relationship isn’t really a priority. Relationships require time and energy, and if you feel that you simply don’t want to spend time with your partner or that keeping your relationship healthy isn’t that important to you, then you might be sabotaging your relationship.
Number 10. Holding grudges.
You and your partner had a disagreement. You’ve discussed it and seemed to come to an agreement. Your partner thought that everything was sorted, you had put it behind you and moved on. But six months later, you bring it up again in an argument. It was never truly resolved after all. This meant that you were carrying it with you all along, you never really let it go.
Number 9. Having unrealistic expectations.
The partners in a relationship are likely to have different expectations of each other. We’re all unique and want and need different things. But your partner will only know what you are expecting if you are clear and upfront about this. Are the two of you still having conversations about your expectations? Or do you feel your partner should just know what you’re expecting, without a discussion being necessary? This is like expecting your partner to be a mind reader. Which is not a good idea!
Number 8. Get paranoid about your partner.
If you are always looking for reasons to accuse your partner of infidelity, you might be sabotaging your relationship. This could even happen when there is no evidence that your partner is cheating. This might be the result of your own anxieties and fears that you are projecting onto your partner.
Always suspecting that your partner is seeing someone else and is secretly planning to leave you, will put pressure on the relationship. Ask yourself why you are scrutinizing every little thing your partner does. Why are you looking for reasons not to trust your partner?
Number 7. Focusing on imperfections.
Everybody makes mistakes. That’s just how humans are, nobody is perfect. But how do you respond to your partner’s mistakes? Are you focusing on every little imperfection? Have you stopped noticing the good in your partner, because you are only able to see their flaws? You may be driving a wedge between the two of you even if you are unaware of it.
Number 6. Letting go of physical intimacy.
A relationship is not static. Couples go through phases when it comes to physical intimacy. Daily life demands a lot. Having a job, being a parent, or simply having no energy left after taking care of all your obligations, can take its toll on the intimacy between you and your partner. But when one person completely gives up on the physical, that might be a sign of sabotage.
It can lead to immense frustration. There’s a difference between not having much time for intimacy and not wanting it at all. If it’s because of time, or an overloaded schedule, then you can always make a plan. But when you’ve lost interest in your partner physically, ask yourself why? Are you looking for a way out of the relationship?
Number 5. Using the silent treatment.
Communication is a crucial element in any relationship. It prevents misunderstandings and is essential in sorting out any issues that may come up. A total breakdown in communication is a red alert. When one of the partners stops speaking and stops telling the other person what is bothering them, that might show a lack of desire to sort things out.
Number 4. Engaging in unhealthy behavior.
If you stop taking care of yourself, that could be a sign of sabotage. This could take many different forms, like not caring about your appearance, bad eating habits, excessive smoking, or binge drinking. Think of the person you were when you entered into the relationship. Have you changed, and if so, why? Were the changes intentional? Do you think your partner still likes the person you’ve become?
Number 3. Blame.
If you constantly blame your partner for everything and never accept that sometimes, you might be to blame for whatever happened. In the long run, this will have an impact on your partner’s self-image. Ask yourself, why do I want to make my partner feel inadequate all the time?
Number 2. Gaslighting.
This is a form of manipulation that is abusive. The term gaslighting comes from an old theatre play and subsequent film. In this, the husband tries to make his wife believe that she is going insane. He leads her to believe she said or did certain things that she never actually did. The wife starts questioning herself and her sanity. She asks herself, why can’t I remember that I’d said this?
In a relationship, one way that it could play out would be like this: initially there is a lot of affection, as the gaslighter tries to gain their partner’s trust. But over time, the gaslighter starts planting seeds of self-doubt which might even lead to depression. The end result would be that the partner becomes dependent on the gaslighter, who is supposedly still in touch with reality. Eventually, the gaslighter takes complete control over their partner, making all the important decisions while the partner just follows their lead. For the victim in such an abusive relationship, everything becomes a complicated blend of what’s real and what isn’t. By being controlling, the gaslighter is sabotaging the relationship.
Number 1: Criticism.
You find yourself constantly criticizing your partner, and nothing they do can ever be good enough. Ask yourself why you’re so critical of your partner. Do they really make mistakes all the time, or is that all that you are focusing on, all that you are noticing? So what can you do? How do you stop sabotaging your relationship? Find out what both partners’ attachment styles are. If you know what the challenges of your attachment style are, you can work on it, either on your own or with the help of your partner or a professional. Be patient with yourself and with your partner, and be prepared to make an effort if you want the relationship to work.
Try to be honest with yourself about what is bothering you in your relationship and then be honest with your partner as well. The most important thing is to communicate. Try to talk to your partner about what you’re experiencing, what you’re feeling, and what you are concerned or worried about. Be open about your insecurities and anxieties.
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