Glutton For Punishment? 14 Ways You’re Self-Sabotaging Your Relationship

April 23, 2013  |  
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Relationships don’t always fall apart in large, obvious moments. You can sometimes be chipping away at feelings of love, stability, friendship and intimacy very slowly, without even knowing it. Until one day you realize you just don’t feel the connection you once did. So how do you stop this from happening? Quit these self-sabotaging behaviors.

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Criticizing

Does your partner have quirks, flaws and annoying tendencies? Of course he does. We all do. But resist the urge to pick at these when you’re angry. Your relationship should be a place where your partner always feels safe showing his weak sides and if you take a jab at them enough, he’ll stop being himself around you.

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Trying to get a clone

It’s okay to have different interests, passions and even opinions. In a sense, being 100% compatible isn’t really compatibility at all and can lead to boredom fast. Don’t try to transform your partner into a clone of yourself.

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Being Fearful of making yourself vulnerable

You know you love your partner and enjoy being both physically and emotionally close, but if you shy away any time your partner makes directly intimate comments or tries to be affectionate because you’re afraid of getting too attached to that sense of intimacy and perhaps getting hurt, you’ll create a divide that’s hard to come back from. You have to risk getting hurt if you have any chance of real intimacy.

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Blaming

Think about this: if you actually believed your partner set out to intentionally hurt you, you wouldn’t be with that person! And yet we often speak to our partners as if they did things meaning to hurt us by blaming and saying “You do x, y and z” instead of saying, “I feel a certain way, when you do x, y or z.” If you want to solve a problem, approach it as such. Don’t jump into accusations.

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Giving conditionally

If you fall into the mindset of asking yourself, right before you’re going to do something generous for your partner, “But does he deserve this? Would he do the same for me? Has he done the same for me?” you poison the wonderful dynamic of unconditional love that should exist in a relationship. Your partner should feel that you feel he deserves the world, and visa versa.

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Failing to realize romance has to be worked at

You can’t feel overwhelmingly giddy around one another forever, without even trying. It’s just not realistic. But you can create that feeling. Many couples fall apart when they have the unrealistic idea that romance should just be there. But if they’d just put in the work to create romantic situations, they’d have the chance to experience a more complex love.

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Forgetting to actively appreciate

You know you appreciate every cute thing your partner does, and all of his wonderful qualities, but does he know that? He’s not in your head! Appreciation is not a passive act. People need to know that their partner recognizes what’s great about them in order to feel satisfied. So tell your guy when he’s being wonderful.

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Not giving him a chance to fix things

Here’s a common scenario: Woman says, “I wish you’d do more of X.” Man does more of X. Woman says, “You’re only doing that because I told you to.” But so what if it’s not something he is naturally inclined to do? He is clearly inclined to do something if you let him know you need it, and that’s all that matters.

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Fixating on what you’re missing

The grass is not always greener on the other side. Don’t get caught up in thinking about what other women receive from their partner. You could become obsessed with the fact that your guy doesn’t clean the dishes, but overlook the fact that he washes your car for you every weekend, takes an interest in your career, and hangs out with your family.

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Refusing to listen

Nobody likes to be lectured. If you’re going to tell your partner something that is bothering you, he needs to feel he is allowed to tell his side of the story. If he doesn’t feel he’ll get a chance to explain himself, he’ll stop trying to communicate all together.

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Keeping your needs a secret

Making your partner play the guessing game about your needs is a surefire way to end a relationship. Your feelings of dissatisfaction mount until one day you explode, often taking your partner by complete surprise, and overwhelming him with a long list of things he needs to do for you, which would have been much more manageable if shared over time.

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Being shaken by real life

Your partner will not always be able to put his best foot forward. He’ll have days when he is depressed, or angry, or self-deprecating, or broke, or overweight, or aloof. Normal life messes with our moods. You need to be able to still see why you find your partner attractive, even when life gets unattractive.

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Fixating on bedroom issues

If your partner has a bad batch of weeks during which he’s completely exhausted every night, just wait it out. Sometimes that’s all it is: one bad batch. But making him feel guilty about it could turn this into a life-long problem.

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Criticizing his friends

Even if your comments are mild and infrequent, an uncomfortable feeling will add up for your partner if he believes his girlfriend judges his friends, or doesn’t enjoy being around them. And if he can’t be happy with all of you in the same room, he may choose to only keep the friends. Unless it’s a friend who comes around all the time and/or is very offensive, let it be. He has his friends; you have yours.

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