The 7 Ways Men Sabotage Their Relationships
(And How to Avoid Them)
1. Not Telling the Truth about Your Anger or Discontent.
A lot of times men feel that it is better to tell ‘little’ white lies’ to their Significant Other. Little white lies are often justified as a way to keep the peace—of telling people what they want to hear.
But for men, little white lies can also be a way not to face their own feelings of anger or discontent. The lies are a way to hide their anger which they hope will just go away with time.
The brutal truth is that anger never goes away with time; it just expands and ultimately has the explosive value of a powder keg. If you don’t address your anger, you are essentially hanging on to it. If you examine those feelings and dig a bit deeper, you may learn something about yourself as well as your Significant Other.
The solution? Address—don’t hide—from your feelings of anger or discontent. Learn how to communicate these difficult issues to your partner in a diplomatic way. Don’t assume your anger will go away. (It won’t!) Deal with your anger or dissatisfaction before it explodes and you reach the point of no return.
2. Committing to Someone Too Quickly.
Keep Your Options Open – until you are ready to commit.
Not many people will tell you to do this…
The truth is we’re no longer in high school. It is totally okay to date several people as you are looking for the right person. Give yourself the gift of time before you decide to be exclusive.
Dating is all about getting to know all different types of people. The benefit is that when you do settle down, you will be much more confident about your choice. If you choose too quickly, you may very well always ‘wonder’ if you made the right decision.
Treat dating as an exploratory journey—not a predetermined destination. Keep your eyes and heart open to the unexpected options for love that might cross your path.
P.S. Make sure that you tell the girls you are dating that you are not yet interested in jumping into a long-term serious relationship and that you are dating more than one person.
3. Failure to Face Unpleasant Situations.
Many men don’t like to face unpleasant situations. They are afraid of their own feelings. They are even more afraid of the unpredictable reactions of their Significant Other.
One easy (and very common) way of dealing with those tensions is by simply leaving. Sometimes a man will leave temporarily (play a round of golf, hang out with friends). Sometimes however he will leave the relationship permanently.
This is called ‘relief by retreat’. The problem is that this tactic rarely solves the underlying problem. A much better and healthier way is to face the unpleasant situation head-on through a candid conversation. Contrary to common belief, talking through issues is a way to better (not worse) intimacy in a relationship.
4. Inability to Commit.
In Number 2, we talked about the importance of not committing too quickly. But once you have decided to be exclusive, that commitment must be respected.
You shouldn’t be contacting or going out with exes. You should also avoid going out frequently on your own. Both are destructive to a relationship.
One of the biggest enemies to commitment is the instant gratification mindset—the popular belief that you deserve to have exactly what you want, precisely when you want it. This means that your primary motivation is to be happy and you have a very low tolerance for anything that stands in the way of immediate happiness.
No relationship can be 100% happy, 100% of the time. Commitment is the glue that holds relationships together when they are temporarily less than perfect.
5. Assumption you know what your partner thinks.
One of the biggest dangers in a relationship is assuming you ‘know’ what is going on in the other person’s mind.
The reality is you never really know what she is going to say. You aren’t telepathic—you can’t possibly know all her reactions or emotions in advance.
So instead of ending the conversation before it starts, just start it without expectations or interpretations. Be open to what she says. Ask lots of questions.
6. Being Too Nice.
A lot of men feel they are helping their partner by ignoring their bad behavior or giving them ‘another chance’. The reality is that giving someone a second chance never works.
For example, if someone has broken the law, it means they inherently do not respect authority; they probably have huge empathy problems and certainly suffer from a lack of impulse control. Giving them a second chance will solve none of that.
People can evolve but they very rarely change their core. One of the biggest mistakes any of us can make is to sacrifice our happiness for the hope that ‘one day things will be better’.
7. Downplaying relationship issues.
Many men like to downplay or minimize what their partner is telling them. They will say things like, “It’s just that time of the month” or “she really doesn’t mean it” or “She’ll get over it”.
They are minimizing the problem. Minimization is a kind of self-deception—a way of denying a situation or the significance of an event or emotion. It is a common reaction when dealing with stress or guilt. Simply put, downplaying issues is a fancy way of not facing reality.
Brushing off important issues as ‘the time of the month’ will not make that issue go away—it is just postponing the inevitable. In the end, the unattended issue will come just back later—but with a vengeance.