Both parties in a budding relationship can sabotage it without knowing it. Whether it’s myriad small things or one deal breaker, these acts can make the other disengage and we may not even know what happened.
A pal shared an example of how a woman with whom he was beginning to have a relationship sabotaged his connection to her.
Seven years ago, I became friends with a woman at work who told me of her failed marriage. She’d followed a man overseas, then after he went on a 3-month assignment abroad without her, said he wanted a divorce.
Returning to the states, she soon hooked up with a guy, followed him to another state, and gave up her dreams for him. She stayed in this emotionally abuse relationship for 5 years with man with a mental disorder and drug problem.
Throughout this we emailed sporadically. After the dysfunctional relationship ended, I told her I’d been attracted to her for a while. She said she could fall for me — I was everything she wanted. It scared her.
She sabotaged the budding potentially great relationship at least five times:
- After canceling twice, she made a plan to came to my state to see me. She cancelled again. Flakiness — strike one.
- She told me, “You probably think I’m a bad person and a bad friend for cancelling.” Strike 2: Too self-deprecating showing low self-esteem and projecting what she thinks I think.
- She visited the next month saying she would stay with relatives. She ends up spending the night with me but we don’t have sex. Upon returning home, she texts and calls saying “I miss you so much.” We have a discussion which turns into a disagreement. She later says it was her fault for projecting her anxieties on me. Strike 3: A bit too psychoanalyzing.
- Before departing for a vacation, she said she wanted to see me so books the departure and return from my airport. She’ll see me on the way out and on the way back. Three days before her departure we have another discussion about the future. She says her life is too busy and concludes we are not compatible. She decides it’s better she not see me before and after her trip. She decided to come to see me for a few hours before her flight. I took her to the airport. When she returned, I picked her up and she spent the night with me. Strike 4: She can’t decide what she wants and waffles.
- After returning home, she said she was too busy to see me for the next month. She thinks we should take it more slowly but she doesn’t think it’s possible for me to do so. Strike 5: She’s projecting something without checking it out with me, as that was not how I felt.
There were other ways she sabotaged the relationship before it got very far. I quickly saw that she had too many issues that negated my attraction to her, so I stopped contacting her.
We could argue that some of what he counted as sabotage wouldn’t be for us. But the point is they appeared that way to him. We could be amazed he hung in as long as he did, but I’ve put up with more than five acts that sabotaged a relationship and still kept seeing the guy. The important point is that we can be doing things that are sabotaging our own relationships and have no idea we’re doing it. So we can’t stop it in future relationships.
Since it is unlikely a man will articulate our acts that undermine the relationship, we can only learn what our man considers relationship spoilers. So ask the man you’re dating what past women have done that turned him off. Then see if you do any of those are behaviors.
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