Much of the gender literature tells us that that men and women are different. Therefore it “makes sense” to also think that men and women harm their relationships in different ways. Women, we might have been grown up to believe, are more submissive than men, let themselves become a victim within a relationship, subordinate to their partners (and eventually get angry and frustrated about their partner). They tend to be too dependent on their partners or “love too much” to the point of suffocating their partners and distancing them. Books, films and other media might have shown women to be more jealous then men, often stirring anger, arguments, and “jealous scenes”.
Men, on the other hand, some claim, are too domineering to the point of harming the relationship by driving their partners to feel controlled and abused. Also, men often have fear of commitment to the point of running away from each and every relationship. They also lack listening skills and empathy, quickly jump to offer solutions to problems rather than “being there” for their partners, thus driving their partners to feel they are not being listened to, but rather are being put down and even ridiculed.
It is often “safer” and “easier” to emphasize differences rather than similarities; it is comfortable for men to feel they are “just like all other men” and for women to feel they are “just like all other women”, behaving according to “what is been expected of them”; according to “the way they have been brought up” in society; according to “innate differences between the sexes”.
Such thinking enables men and women alike to place the blame for the failed relationships on their partners rather than take responsibility.
But is this really the case? Are there indeed such obvious differences between men and women? Is it really so that women and men therefore harm their relationships in different ways?
Both men and women are controlled by similar factors which drive them to sabotage their relationships
A careful look shows us that both men and women might be too jealous to the point of ruining the relationship; both might be too controlling; too egocentric; too submissive or too aggressive, and so on.
More and more we can see that “characteristics” or behaviors which were originally attributed to men are now exhibited by women (such as control, aggressiveness, independence), and “characteristics” or behaviors which were originally contributed to women are now exhibited by men (such as jealousy, fear of abandonment, possessiveness).
Both men and women are driven by fears, be it fear of commitment (which drives them to run away from each relationship), fear of being alone (which causes them to jump with whomever shows interest in them), and other fears. Both men and women are driven by needs (to be loved and appreciated, which might push them to be too suffocating and “attention grabbers” and drive them to jealous scenes); by unrealistic expectations and fantasies regarding partners and relationships (which drive them to be disappointed time and again or place too many demands on their partners); by emotional and behavioural patterns which repeat themselves throughout all their interactions (such as avoidance, escape, clinging, bossiness, a sense of guilt, an inflated ego, the need for attention and the like).
All these drive men and women alike to harm their relationships time and again.
Both men and women are not aware of the ways in which they sabotage their relationships
Whether men and women use similar or different ways which sabotage their relationships is therefore not the issue. The real issue is that both men and women sabotage their relationships – in whichever ways they do – due to one singular fact: they lack self-awareness: they don’t see and understand how they shoot themselves in the foot. They are ignorant of whichever fears, needs, unrealistic expectations or fantasies exert power over them and drive them to sabotage their relationships.
And as long as they are unaware, they will continue sabotaging their relationships. A single person on the dating scene, for example, might not succeed in developing a relationship; an individual who has a partner might not know how to develop a satisfying bond, and those trying one relationship after another might not succeed in developing and maintaining a satisfying, long-term intimacy.