If you have any experience in relationships, you’ve had to contend with attempts by others to sabotage them, even if you were happy. It’s a sad fact of human relationships that outside meddling can take its toll on an otherwise stable, joyful partnership.
Most people only think of extreme examples of outside sabotage, like Romeo and Juliet. However, it’s not just feuding families that can get in the way of your happy, loving relationship. In fact, at least with feuding families, the hatred is obvious.
Sadly, most efforts to sabotage relationships are more subtle. That’s why it’s important to be on the lookout for those who would try to destroy your relationship and fend off their efforts.
Here are three types of outsiders who will try to sabotage your relationship:
Controlling Family Members
I have a friend who is very close to his mom. She has always attempted to dictate the terms of his relationships, sometimes overtly, but other times more subtly. He’s never really had a successful long term relationship. His friends see what he can’t see: his mother does this because she doesn’t want to be replaced by another woman.
The ties of family are very strong and the approval (or disapproval) of moms, dads, grandparents and other relatives means a lot, even if you don’t consciously recognize it. However, your family members aren’t always looking out for your best interests. And, their family status and your love for them are powerful tools to try to control you.
I’ve seen countless cases of family members, especially mothers, sabotage relationships for selfish reasons. Usually, it’s out of jealousy and the desire to control. Think of all the people who are miserable in their own relationships, and they want the relationships of others to fail. Misery loves company. Or, like with my friend, they fear losing their child to another person.
While some family members will openly disapprove, the efforts to sabotage your relationship are usually more subtle. This is when they sow doubts in your head, put down your partner, or try to keep you from spending time with the person you love. Also, as family, they can pull the “I’m only looking out for you” card.
While you should definitely take into account the opinions of family, they shouldn’t overly influence your relationship decisions either. Only you know the absolute truth about the happiness of your relationship, not your mom, dad, grandma, or third cousin twice removed.
Almost every guy has had the experience of meeting a woman while out and having a good conversation. Then, one of her friends, usually the most unpleasant looking one, comes over, tells her it’s time to go, and pulls her away from the conversation.
Sadly, so-called friends are some of the biggest relationships saboteurs of all time. And, like with family, they will often use their status as trusted friends to convince you that their motives are pure and they only want the best for you.
However, friends don’t always have pure intentions. In fact, if you get into a relationship, it might have a huge impact on your friendship, especially in terms of closeness with your friend and time (not) spent with him or her.
Not only would you being in a relationship impact your time with you friend, but, if your friend is perpetually single, jealousy plays into it as well. Some friends are selfless. But, many are not. They can’t get over their own feelings of jealousy and pettiness to let you be happy when they can’t land a man or woman to save their lives.
So, if your friend is constantly bad mouthing your relationship or telling you that your partner is “bad for you,” take it with a grain of salt. They could be right. But, they also might just be jealous. This is especially true if your friend is single and you are now spending less time with him or her. Just remember, not all friends are selfless and want the best for you.
Society At Large
We are constantly bombarded with messages and opinions. They come from all sides, whether it’s from advertisers, politicians, religious leaders, bosses, and popular culture like movies, music, and social media. These messages form our opinions of ourselves and what relationships “should” look like.
There are a few problems with being told how a relationship should look. First, relationships aren’t a one size fits all. What’s right for some won’t be right for everyone. Second, it can lead to a “grass is greener” type thinking where we think another scenario is better just because others tell us it’s what we “should” be doing.
One classic example is social media. I have a Facebook friend who posted about her great relationship with her boyfriend every day. She’d share cute pictures and tell stories of how great he was and all the little romantic things he did.
Her female friends commented how lucky she was and how they wished their boyfriends would be more like hers. However, a month later, this woman and her boyfriend had separated. It was all fake and just an effort to try to convince the world (and herself) her relationship wasn’t doomed. For those looking at her from the outside, the grass wasn’t greener, even if it appeared that way.
The key factor for a good relationship is ultimately that both partners are happy. Even if it doesn’t fit conventional norms, if you’re happy, then go with it. Society might say your partner should be older, younger, fatter, thinner, taller, shorter, richer, or anything else. Or it might say your relationship needs to be more of this or less of that. But, none of that matters if you’re truly happy and in love.
So, tune out the noise of family, friends, and popular culture. Just because others act a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to. The key to a good relationship is happiness, love, and passion. If you have all that with another person, consider yourself fortunate, even if you’re controlling mom, jealous friend, and the Disney corporation don’t fully approve.
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