For some reason, no matter how much we may want to be happy, so many of us have self-sabotaging instincts. We see something that's going well and just, sort of, light it on fire. Or is that just me? I don't think it's just me. An incredibly common way of doing this is driving your partner away. Sometimes it's on purpose, sometimes we don't even realize that we're doing it, but either way, our behavior pushes our partners further and further away. It keeps us from getting too close to someone and getting hurt and let's you control the relationship, but more often than not, we end up regretting it.
But like I said, it's not always conscious decision. We can recognize what we've done in retrospect, but we can't always see what we're doing to drive our partners away. And our relationships suffer — or completely break down — because of it.
Here are seven ways you could be driving your partner away, because anger and passive aggression never solved a damn thing. But first, check out the latest episode of our Sex and Relationships podcast, I Want It That Way:
1. A Lack Of Trust
Whether it comes from not enough communication, lying, or just shady behavior, a lack of trust is a total relationship killer. If your partner can't trust you then they're never going to feel relaxed around you and that distance can get bigger and bigger. Make sure to be open and make them feel comfortable.
2. Too Much Neediness
It's exhausting feeling like you constantly have to reassure your partner. According to Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne "People who are anxiously attached become so clingy and dependent that they can drive their partners away through their excessive need for affection and reassurance." Especially if your partner is already giving you loads of attention and you act like it's not enough, it's going to drive them away.
3. Too Much Distance
That being said, there needs to be some connection there. It's important to leave some level independence intact in a relationship, but if you're completely detached it can be really difficult for your partner. If you're never letting them know what you're doing, how you're feeling, or you are just always impossible to get a hold of, your partner is gong to feel insecure and it can easily drive them away.
4. Resorting To Anger
I'm not just talking about violent anger — although that's obviously not acceptable— I'm talking about defaulting to anger instead of other emotions. Some people only express themselves through anger and it's exhausting. It also makes them impossible to reason with. Your partner will emotionally switch off to that before too long.
5. Passive Agression
As Dr. John Gottman, relationship and marriage expert, has found— contempt is the kiss of death for relationships and marriages. Passive aggression is one of the most obvious manifestations of this. It makes your partner feel isolated and belittled, all while you're seeming impossible to reason with in a mature way. Try to actually talk it out, rather than saying "I'm fine" and being passive aggressive the whole night.
I'm an anxious person. I know a lot of anxious people. It's not your fault that you're anxious, but it can take a toll on your relationship. If you're constantly second-guessing every compliment your partner gives you, accusing them of not actually loving you, and overreacting and overthinking every little thing, it can be a lot for your partner to handle. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that it's just anxiety going to town in your brain, and approach the situation rationally.
7. Taking Your Partner For Granted
Bottom line: relationships are meant to be supportive, loving, and reciprocal. But if you've been together a while, you can start to take your partner for granted. If you stop saying thank you, stop being affectionate, and don't make an effort to make them feel loved, it'll drive them away. Stay in the moment.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (7)