Whether it’s because of jealousy, their own insecurity, or simply that lack of support, sometimes you can find yourself in a relationship where your partner is standing in the way of your goals. It’s not just something that leads to feelings of self-doubt and second-guessing your ambitions, but when your dreams aren’t given proper credit, it can feel like you're being kicked in the gut, too. It’s hard to recover from such a thing, especially when your partner is the one who’s doing the kicking. No one deserves such shoddy behavior from someone they love.
According to a 2013 University of Michigan study of 4,642 American adults between the ages of 25 and 75, people without supportive partners are more prone to depression than those who have partners who have their back. One of the most important parts about a partnership is supporting each other. Not just emotionally, mentally, and, when needed, physically, but in regards to each other’s goals, too. But, unfortunately, not all all partners are supportive, or at least not as supportive as they should in these areas, and it can be detrimental to one’s dreams, aspirations, and outlook on the future.
Is your partner standing in the way of your goals and dreams? Maybe. Here are seven signs that that’s exactly what they’re doing. But first, check out the latest episode of Bustle's Sex and Relationships podcast, I Want It That Way:
1. They Do What They Can To Distract You
I realize that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but reaching goals requires a ton of work. Even if your partner currently doesn’t have any long-term goals of their own, it doesn’t mean they get to distract you with whatever they want to do.
2. They’re Competitive With You
Although it’s important that we all have our own goals and dreams, a partner who’s competitive with their own goals and dreams is just standing in the way of yours. Partners are supposed to be supportive; not overly competitive. A little healthy competition is good to challenge each other, but that’s it.
3. They Seem To Think Their Goals Are More Important
Even if your ideal goal is be turned into a fairy princess and live in an ice castle on top of a mountain covered in effing marshmallow, that doesn’t mean their goals are ever more important than yours. Granted, yours might be a little trickier to pull off, but if you give it your all, you never know what will happen. And if you make it happen, please invite me over for tea.
4. They Manipulate You To Think Your Goals Are Silly
Manipulating a partner is one of cruelest things that anyone can do, but it still exists. And the problem with manipulation is that it’s hard to recognize until after the fact. If your partner is trying to convince you that your goals are silly, they’re definitely making themselves a huge roadblock in your progression to succeed.
5. They Make You Second-Guess Yourself
So you have this great plan for your future and it’s awesome. You know what you want and you’re headed in that direction. But then you have this voice, this little annoying voice, and that voice happens to be your partner asking, “Do you really want to do that?” At first, you say, “Yes! I do!” But eventually that little voice gets into your head and you start to think, “Well, maybe it’s a bad idea after all.” Not only do you second-guess yourself, but eventually, they win.
6. They Make It All About Them
Despite sometimes busting my ass 50 hours a week doing the one thing I really love, writing, a former partner of mine would complain. Why was I not paying more attention to him? When would I be done? It seemed to go completely over his head, or in one ear and out the other, that writing hadn’t just been my dream but it was an ongoing goal. I wanted to write for lots of publications, I wanted to cover lots of topics, and keep moving forward. But he couldn’t see that. My goals were somehow an inconvenience to him, so he'd try to make me feel guilty about it. (Never actually worked on me, but I give him a B for effort.)
7. They Just Come Out And Say It
I’m the first to admit that in certain relationships, I wanted to scoff at the goals of my partner. It’s sort of entertaining when your partner says he wants to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for “it doesn’t matter!” But, because I loved him, I supported that decision through and through, and never let him think I thought it was, well, interesting. However, despite that, I’ve had other partners who actually told me to my face that my goals were straight-up stupid.
While part of me is grateful for their honesty, there’s a bigger part of me that realizes now that I’m wiser (and slightly older), that you actually don’t tell someone their goals suck, no matter what you think. Whether it’s a partner or a friend, you support them. When you don’t, their goals shift and, not to be overly melodramatic, but dreams die. There are very few things sadder in life than a dream that’s been killed — especially by someone you love.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (7)