Many of us get into relationships and try to love other people before we fully love and accept ourselves. This means we feel unworthy, our heads and hearts are a mess, and we’re not able to see or know what we truly want.
This sounds dramatic but it doesn’t have to be. Many people don’t love everything about themselves and we don’t have to be perfect people with the best self-esteem in order to give and find love.
However, when you’re not in a good place, you’re more likely to make mistakes in your relationships. And this can often leads to self-sabotaging behavior where you find a way to screw things up, even when they’re perfect.
This might begin in small ways, like canceling plans, not answering texts, or avoiding intimacy; but eventually these little things will add up and you’ll find yourself pushing your partner away.
If you think you may be headed down the slippery slop, here are some things to look out for:
You avoid pain.
Maybe you’ve been hurt in the past, or you don’t truly believe that real love exists. These beliefs can lead you to hold back from a relationship in various ways. For example, pulling away when things start to get serious, or avoiding saying, “I love you.” This is because there’s a part of you that believes getting too close will result in you being hurt, so you make sure you’re never in that situation.
You make excuses not to have sex.
Sometimes you might be too tired, but the physical and intimate part of a relationship is equally important as all the other parts. If you find yourself giving your partner excuses and never want to have sex, it might be because you’re trying to put some distance between the two of you.
You’re living in the past.
If you find that you can’t forgive your partner for certain things he or she has done in the past, or let go of what happened and move on—it’s a sign that you’re not ready for the future. If you’re not engaged in the present moment, and are stuck with what came before, it will be hard to move forward.
You focus on the negative instead of the positive.
Does your mind focus on all the bad things that happened in your relationship, or all the annoying habits and quirks that your partner has? If you find that you’re drawn to the bad times instead of the good, it’s probably because you can’t fully appreciate what you have, so you’re stuck focusing on what you don’t have.
You listen to your inner critic.
Is there a voice in your head telling you that you don’t deserve this person, or that they’ll probably leave you for someone better? That’s your inner critic (or ego) showing up—the part of you that’s rooted in fear and insecurity. We all have this voice, but if you’re allowing yours to run the show by believing it, then you’re probably sabotaging your relationship.
You can’t stop comparing.
Do you find yourself thinking about all the ways your current partner is different from your ex partner? And do you ever voice these thoughts to your current partner? This is a common sign of sabotage.
Listen up—your current partner is not your ex, and never will be. You have made a choice to be in a relationship with them, so you have to either commit to that, or let it go. Comparing the two will only hurt your current partner, and make them jealous or frustrated or feel inadequate.
You don’t ever back down.
Some people value being right more than they value their relationship—does that sound like you? Do you have to win an argument? Do things have to be done your way, or no way at all?
Arguments can be healthy, but if it’s about winning or gaining some kind of power over your partner, then it’s going to end up killing your relationship.
You care too much about what other people think.
Are you always listening to the advice and opinions of your friends and family, and putting more value on those, instead of your partner’s opinion? Do you find yourself swayed easily by other voices, and led astray, because you have a deep desire to please everyone?
This is a big relationship killer, and could also be a sign that you’re sabotaging things—if you regularly allow other people to influence your relationship.
You put everything else ahead of your relationship.
We all have other things going on in our lives outside of our relationships, and that’s healthy. But if you prioritize everything—your friends, family, job, and other commitments—ahead of your partner, they will get the message that they’re not important to you, and they’ll end up walking away. It’s important to put your partner first sometimes—but finding a balance is key.
Are any of these signs of sabotage showing up in your relationship today? It may be time to rethink how you approach your relationship or why you feel the need to.