Here are a few common signs that he’s the problem and a few common signs that it’s you. Though it’s more likely that you’re both contributing to problems in your relationship, these reasons will help to narrow down who is behind the more serious problems.
Signs That He’s the Problem
1. He gaslights you.
Gaslighting is defined as “an elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation, usually practiced by a single deceiver, or ‘gaslighter,’ on a single victim over an extended period. Its effect is to gradually undermine the victim’s confidence in his own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from appearance, thereby rendering him pathologically dependent on the gaslighter in his thinking or feelings.”
If he’s gaslighting you, get out of the relationship as fast as possible. The goal of the gaslighter is to make you question how you perceive reality, and it’s very common among abusers. It’s important to know the warning signs of gaslighting to protect yourself. It’s also important to acknowledge that anyone can be a victim of gaslighting. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about and no reason to feel stupid (which is ironically a method used by gaslighters) if someone gaslights you. The fault is entirely on him, not you.
While this behavior can be taken to the extreme, gaslighting can come in more mundane but still damaging forms. You weren't happy with his behavior? You're too demanding. He failed to live up to an expectation you communicated? His other commitments are more important than you. When everything is your fault, it's likely none of it is.
2. He makes it seem like it’s your fault he doesn’t love you.
If he always puts the blame on you, especially for petty or trivial things, pack your bags because this guy is toxic AF! He’s not only childish, but this is super manipulative. Similar to gaslighting, he’s trying to make you think that there’s something wrong with you instead of him. This type of behavior comes from guys who are controlling and often abusive, so I’d run away at the first sign of this red flag.
He’s trying to make you think that there’s something wrong with you instead of him.
He isn't willing (or able) to be emotionally intimate with you, but instead of being honest, he blames you for not being "loveable" enough. What?! It's not your job to convince someone to love you, and your SO definitely should not be telling you're just not good enough to be with. Move on with your life to a guy who likes you just the way you are.
3. He’s inconsistent and doesn’t follow through on his word.
Sure, sometimes life gets in the way and he has to cancel plans, but it’s a huge red flag if he does this regularly. Trust is one of the most important things in a relationship, so it’s important that you trust him and know he’s a man of his word. You want someone you can rely on for better and for worse, so the last thing you want is a guy who’s unreliable or flakes out when things get difficult.
4. He has questionable friendships and relationships with other women.
Many of us have bad relationships in our past that we’d like to move on from, but it’s a major red flag if many of his exes have bad things to say about him. Sure, people can change, but this can also point to a pattern of abusive, toxic, or manipulative behavior.
It’s also important to look at his friends. Though we all have a few friends who are wild cards, it says a lot about a guy if the majority of his friends seem like bad influences. I’d also suggest talking to some of his close friends about what kind of guy he is. Nobody knows him better than they do, so what they say about him speaks volumes to his character.
Signs That You’re the Problem
1. You have the same problems in every relationship.
They say that the definition of insanity is making the same mistake over and over again and expecting a different result. If you keep having the same problems in every relationship, you’re either making a mistake or attracting guys who aren’t good for you. In this situation, it’s best to look inwards and figure out what’s causing you to make these decisions. Self-reflection is always good, and this will help you to improve both yourself and your future relationships.
Ask your friends what they see in the guys you date and keep an eye out for those red flags.
2. Your friends never like the guys you date.
Your friends often know you better than anyone else, so it’s a giant red flag when your friends don’t like a guy you’re dating. I know from personal experience that my girlfriends have their eyes wide open for red flags when I start talking to a new guy because we often don’t see red flags when we’re in the high of a new relationship. (Side note: introducing a potential boyfriend to your guy friend is also a good idea because they can spot BS from a guy from a mile away.) If you have this problem, ask your friends what they see in the guys you date and learn to keep an eye out for those red flags. Don’t forget to ask yourself why you’re attracted to guys like that.
3. You have unresolved childhood trauma.
Are you a fixer or do you keep attracting narcissists? You might have some unresolved childhood trauma.
One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself was going to therapy for my unresolved childhood trauma. It helped improve my relationships, mental health, and overall self-esteem. In therapy, I learned that I often attracted narcissistic guys because I dealt with a narcissistic family member as a child, and I didn’t realize how much this affected me until I entered my mid-twenties. My therapist helped me to identify narcissistic characteristics and which red flags to look out for, as well as help me to resolve my past trauma. I highly recommend therapy to everyone and anyone, but it’s a must if you have unresolved trauma.
Once you identify the problems in your relationship, it’s important to work on them together.
4. You blame everything on your partner and are unwilling to change.
I’m a firm believer that self-improvement and growth are lifelong processes. If you’re not constantly working on yourself, you’re not living life to the fullest. If you blame every problem in your relationship on him, you’re probably part of the problem (unless the problems are the ones listed above). It’s important to acknowledge that both of you could be contributing to the problems in your relationship, and you have to face this if you want to improve your relationship.
Once you identify who’s causing the majority of the problems in your relationship, it’s important to work on them together. If you see too many red flags, it’s probably best to end the relationship and look inward to find out what attracts you to that toxic trait.
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