Romantic relationships are fun, exciting, and fulfilling, especially when both partners are happy. However, they can also be challenging, and it can reach a point where the early experiences of intimacy drastically change or fade away. In a good number of cases, people sabotage their intimate relationships either consciously or subconsciously.
Actions that create problems in a person’s life and obstruct their goals or objectives are known as self-sabotaging behaviors. In relationships, self-sabotage occurs when a person tries to destroy or ruin their own relationship knowingly or unintentionally.
To some people, their behaviors are very deep-rooted such that they don’t even realize they are sabotaging relationships.
What Leads To Self Sabotaging Behaviors
In most cases, people self sabotage their relationships subconsciously, but there are known reasons for their behaviors. They include:
Low Self Esteem Or Self Worth
People with low self-esteem or self-worth have a constant fear that their partners may reject them, and to keep the “flame” of their intimate relationships “burning,” they subconsciously behave in a way that pushes away their lovers.
They also stir up dramas, positive or negative, when they feel they are not getting enough affection or attention.
Attachment style is the way we deal with relationships, and it stems from our childhood experiences, especially on the way we deal with our parents, guardians, or caregivers. People with anxious attachment styles fear rejection and yearn for intimacy mostly because they were either abandoned or did not get enough attention or care as they would have loved when they were children.
There are also those with avoidant attachment styles, which also stem from childhood experiences in which they were taught to be self-sufficient or reliant from an age. These individuals will avoid closeness or intimacy, which leads them to display dismissive behaviors towards their partners or shun commitment unknowingly.
Below are 10 Signs you might be sabotaging your relationship:
1. Criticism Towards Your Partner
Small constructive criticism is healthy in even some of the best relationships. However, constant criticism of your partner’s small behaviors or little actions is something else, and this amounts to a sign of self-sabotage.
Saying hurtful things towards your partner or critiquing everything they do, from the clothes they’re wearing to how or what they are cooking, could indicate to your partner that you’re impossible to please. Your partner can consider or decide to walk away because they will conclude that you are not interested in the relationship.
2. Avoiding To Address Negative Emotions
Failing to address negative emotions towards your partner or the relationship constitutes self-sabotaging behavior. Having feelings of frustrations, anxiety, doubt, or anger in healthy relationships is completely normal but failing to address them is a whole different thing which could mean you’re not interested in solving your partnership issues.
There are also situations where your partner brings up the topics to address your relationship issues, but you ignore or avoid talking despite numerous efforts. This could eventually make your partner leave.
3. Holding Grudges
Most people hold grudges on certain occasions, but if you constantly get infuriated by little things done by your partner, you are not willing to let your anger go away. Staying angry takes up a lot of energy, and sometimes it doesn’t matter what your partner does; you always seem to hold grudges because of past mistakes or other issues.
Holding grudges can lead to many things in a relationship, including delayed anger, which could hurt the partnership, lack of proper communication, hurting your partner’s feelings, and more.
4. Having Unrealistic Expectations
Expecting too much or unrealistic things from a relationship is another mistake most people tend to make, and it’s another way to self-sabotage your relationship. You need to have realistic expectations from a relationship from the moment you start dating and your partnership progress.
It is important to talk to your partner and agree on what to expect from both sides. When your expectations are unrealistic, they’re unlikely to be met, and the relationship might end.
5. Engaging In Unhealthy Behavior
This is one of the most common signs of self-sabotaging relationships. Actions such as excessive drinking or smoking, eating poorly, or not generally taking good care of oneself could signify self-sabotaging behavior. These deeds could be a sign of unhappy relationships used by a partner to escape or cope with the reality of their partnership.
Individuals tend to blame their relationships or partners while using these excessive negative behaviors as a scapegoat for real issues in their partnerships instead of focusing on solving their problems.
6. Putting Your Energy Or Other People And Things Ahead Of Your Relationship
Like all the other things, your relationship or partnership also needs constant nourishment or nurturing for it to thrive, but that does not mean you should allocate the largest chunk of your time each day.
However, suppose you’re completely ignoring your partner or relationship by focusing too much on other things in your life, such as other people, your job, hobbies, or activities. In that case, you could be the self-sabotaging relationship.
It could not take long before the other person realizes you’re ignoring or sidelining them, which could break or destroy your partnership even further. Focusing on other things to neglect your relationship might make you believe that your partner will understand that you don’t have time. Still, they know exactly what you’re doing and can decide to end your relationship.
7. Using The “Silent Treatment”
This is the act of refusing to talk to your partner either to teach them a lesson or out of anger, and it could be a sign of self-sabotage. Lack of communication or keeping silent can be very toxic or harmful to your relationship, and it can never be a working alternative to talking or solving issues.
When you’re silent or there are no communications in your relationship, you are destroying your partnership. Talking will help you understand why your partner did what made you angry, and you will have a better chance of improving your relationship.
8. Failing To Keep Small Promises
Your romantic partner will be very keen on all the promises you make and will keep records in their mind if you fail to honor them no matter how small they are or look. If you are used to constantly breaking small promises such as dinner dates, occasional eat-outs, or the agreed time to return home, you’re self-sabotaging your affair or relationship.
Failing to keep even small promises creates a wedge between you and your partner, which might cause resentment. It could also indicate to your partner that you don’t care or love them, as you claim in your words or during your conversations.
9. You Have To Be Right All The Time
Each partner has to compromise for lovers or couples to have fulfilling relationships. You need to agree when making decisions together and make the other person understand or appreciate that their input is important.
If you have to be right all the time, you could be self-sabotaging your partnership. The act of always wanting to be the only one making decisions or having the right solutions will hurt your relationship.
Every time you have to be the one with the right answers or solutions, your partner feels worthless, and they might eventually walk away because of constantly thinking they’re wrong all the time.
10. Avoiding Or Giving Up On Sex
It is common for couples to take breaks from sexual relationships but usually after understanding each other or even talking about the subject. However, if you avoid sexual intimacy for no reason or without agreeing, you are self-sabotaging your relationship.
Sex is an important issue that holds romantic relationships together, and avoiding or giving up on it without agreeing with your partner could harm your partnership. Talking about your sex life with your partner can be difficult, but you need to go ahead with this discussion to understand or improve the situation.
Lack of sex can lead to resentment, frustration, or even break relationships.
How To Stop Self Sabotage On Your Healthy Relationship
1. Make Time For A Honest Relationship
If you’re having doubts or issues in your relationship, the best thing to do is to make time and talk about them with your partner. You should both be open about your relationship’s direction and the next best action to take.
Sometimes, taking a break might be the best thing to do if you think it can help salvage your relationship, or the two of you have some learning or growing up to do to make your partnership better.
2. Understand Both Partner’s Attachment styles
If you are in a committed relationship, taking a short time to understand attachment styles as a couple will help you know each other and take care of your needs well. When partners understand each other’s attachment styles, they will avoid self-sabotaging relationships or know why their partners are reacting or behaving in a certain way.
You will also understand why your partner is feeling insecure and work towards making them comfortable with your actions or behaviors.
3. Seek Counseling
If you feel you cannot resolve your issues with your partner, Counseling is a great option that has worked for many people. Counseling sessions are a non-judgmental, empathetic, and supportive environment where couples can speak out about the issues affecting their relationships and get professional help.
You can also choose to attend individual therapy if you think you are the one having the problem or agree with your partner first to try it to help resolve your personal issues.
4. Be Patient
Recognizing unhealthy behavior is important, and the next best step is to resolve your relationship problems. It is important to be patient as you make your relationship better by trying some of the above solutions. Life can be difficult, especially when we rush things; patience will help a lot in the process and even help fix your issues better.
Why Choose Our Marriage And Couples Therapy
Jan Rakoff, LCSW, is a licensed therapist providing marriage and couples therapy services in San Diego. I have over three decades of experience in this profession, and I have also been married for more than four decades. I have helped many couples or partners resolve their issues or reach amicable solutions to their partnerships.
If you want to have a long-lasting and good relationship, I can help you with that as well as guide you and your partner on the best ways that will enable you to avoid self-sabotaging your partnership or relationship.
Contact us today and let me help you get the best out of your relationship and your loving partner.