Why The Major Cause Of Relationship Problems Is You

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Woman realizing she is to blame

Many people share with us that they seek the "cure" for their relationship woes. They’re looking for something they could do, change, fix, adjust, add, or remove that will take away their loneliness and bring love to their lives. This investigative thinking is part of the cure. Of course, the challenge is that none of this happens instantly.

What if there is one major cause of relationship problems, one issue that would change everything if you address it? The good news and the bad news is — there is!

The good news is that it makes understanding why you might be having problems in your relationship easier. The bad news is that resolving the issue takes a deep personal commitment to healing. Change takes time. So while we can tell you the biggest cause of relationship problems, fixing them is far less simple.

Why do I create problems in my relationship?

The most common reason people create problems in their relationships is self-abandonment. Self-abandonment is when we abandon our needs, values, commitments, and truth to serve some other need we mistakenly elevate in importance.

We can abandon ourselves in many areas: emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, relational, and organizational. One or more of these areas may be affecting your relationship.

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Types of Self-Abandonment in Relationships

1. Emotional Self-Abandonment

We abandon ourselves emotionally in four major ways:

  • Judging ourselves rather than accepting ourselves.
  • Ignoring our feelings by staying in our head rather than being present in our body, especially our painful feelings of loneliness, heartache, heartbreak, and grief.
  • Turning to various addictions to numb the anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, and anger we cause when we judge ourselves and ignore our feelings.
  • Making others responsible for our feelings.

Once we emotionally abandon ourselves and make others responsible for our feelings, we need to control them to get them to love us and make us feel worthy. Controlling another with anger, blame, criticism, compliance, or withdrawal creates many relationship problems.

2. Financial Self-Abandonment

When we refuse to care for ourselves financially and instead expect our partner to take financial responsibility for us, it creates problems.

This is not a problem if your partner agrees to take financial responsibility for you and you fully accept how he or she takes this responsibility. Still, if you choose to be financially irresponsible, much conflict can occur over your self-abandonment.

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3. Organizational Self-Abandonment

Suppose you refuse to take responsibility for your time and space. In that case, you create power struggles with your partner and feel victimized by your inability to create a sane personal environment and schedule.

This is especially true if your partner values an orderly home or being on time.

4. Physical Self-Abandonment

If you refuse to take care of yourself physically and instead eat badly and do not exercise and possibly causing yourself health problems, your partner may feel resentful at having to take care of you.

Your physical self-abandonment not only has negative consequences for you regarding your health and well-being, but it also has unwanted consequences for your partner, which can lead to conflict and power struggles.

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5. Relational Self-Abandonment

If you refuse to speak up for yourself in your relationship, and instead either give yourself up or resist, you are eroding the love in the relationship.

When you abandon yourself to another through compliance or resistance, you create a lack of trust, leading to conflict and resentment.

6. Spiritual Self-Abandonment

When you make your partner your dependable source of love rather than learning to turn to a spiritual source for your dependable source of love, you place a very unfair burden on your partner.

When your intent in the relationship is to get love rather than share love, you will pull on your partner for attention, approval, time, or sex.

When you do not take responsibility for learning how to connect with a spiritual source of sustenance, your neediness can create much conflict in the relationship.

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Dr. Margaret Paul is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, and educator.