Healthy relationships take a lot of work, and often that can mean taking a good hard look at your own dating behaviours. There are many ways we can screw up our romantic relationships without even realising it - not that this is always our fault - including self-sabotaging. We have rubbish/no relationships education in this country, after all! As well as getting to know our attachment styles and love languages (which can really help us learn more about our relationship behaviour), it's also important to think about how we could be actively sabotaging our relationships.
Sex and relationships expert for ONE Condoms, and certified couples' counsellor Annabelle Knight explains this behaviour is really common, and many of us can be guilty of self-sabotaging our relationships without even realising it. Here's how to know if you're doing just that.
You avoid pain
This is when you allow yourself to get to a certain point in a relationship before pulling back. Maybe you’ve seen too many sad movies or really took to heart the saying ‘love hurts’... whatever the reason, avoiding pain is the outcome. This can manifest in a number of ways, from creating ‘bottom line’ issues out of nothing to convincing yourself that this person isn’t 'the one' (if you believe in that in the first place) so you should move on.
You live in a fantasy land
So many people manage to avoid falling for someone because they adhere to a strict code. This is a list of ‘must-haves,’ usually created in a much younger, more immature psychological state that leads that person to sabotage any and all future relationships - based on the skewed notion that the person they're with isn’t worthy of their affection. Fantasy land behaviour often occurs within the first six months of a relationship and offers a sense of control and power that might have to be relinquished if you allow yourself to be vulnerable with another person.
You listen to your inner critic
We all have one, you know that little voice that goes on at you, telling you to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Yup, that’s the one. Well it’s our inner critic that, more often than not, is responsible for self-sabotaging our relationships. Convincing ourselves that we’re 'not worthy' or that 'it’ll all end in tears anyway so what’s the point?' is the main reason a lot of relationships can fail. We don’t allow ourselves the chance at happiness because deep down we don’t feel we deserve it.
You can't back down
Some people would rather be right than be in a relationship. Most couples argue, it’s a healthy way to vent our issues and if done correctly (yes there is a right way to argue) can lead to a stronger, healthier partnership. However, its when we let ego get in the way that we self-sabotage. The need to be right, rather than to compromise is one of the biggest relationship killers and can occur during any stage in a relationship.
You care too much about what other people think
For some people, the opinions of others far outweigh that of their partners. This can be hugely damaging to a relationship. If you’ve ever ignored your partner to reply to a non-urgent text, cancelled plans with them for frivolous plans with friends or feel the need to tend to other people's needs rather than theirs on a regular basis, then you may be guilty of this.
You forget that you're not the same
Expecting your partner to think, feel and act in the same way as you do is another form of self-sabotage. Rigid thinking is an unhealthy way to live and can cause great stress and upset to your relationship. Accepting and appreciating that your partner’s experiences, understandings and ultimately the way in which they identify the world are different is the only way you can truly co-exist happily with one another.