Is It You? 7 Behaviors That Push People Away


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We all want articles that tell us what we’re doing right, but sometimes we NEED one that tells us what we’re doing wrong.

There’s someone I often talk to at the gym. He talks to me about his run-ins at bars, his financial challenges (no judgment here), how his friends still get into fights, and spats he has with his neighbors.

He’s 48 years old.

He seems like a nice enough guy, but it’s obvious there are some patterns that likely make his life harder than it needs to be.

He recently found out I coach people on confidence and dating challenges.

“Dude, why can’t I meet a nice woman?!” he says.

*Insert raised eyebrow emoji here*

The point is: Sometimes it’s you.

Sometimes it’s been me.

Sometimes it’s been all of us.

This isn’t a jab nor is it a “you should feel badly about yourself” article. We’ve all been “at fault” at times whether we like to admit it or not.

This is a “hey, maybe it’d be helpful to turn inward and find areas of improvement” article.

Here are 7 negative behaviors that just might have pushed some partners away in the past (and may in the future if they’re not remedied).

1: You’re not projecting what you want to attract.

How does our friend mentioned above find himself a mature, well-adjusted, similarly aged woman who wants to settle down with him?

First, a massive lifestyle revamp is in order.

He has no problem meeting people, he’s a good looking guy who’s in good shape — but the question becomes what kind of people is he looking to meet, and is he presenting himself in a way that will attract them?

This goes for anyone who’s actively dating either “in person” or online, consider for a moment how you’re projecting yourself.

Is the lifestyle you’re showing in alignment with what you’re looking for in a partner? Or, are you trying to put forth an image based on what you think other people want, but isn’t REALLY a reflection of you?

If you’re presenting yourself in a way that’s misaligned with who you actually are, you’ll attract people who are interested in a version of you that doesn’t actually exist.

As time goes on, they’ll learn your true personality and that it may not be compatible with theirs.

Not better, not worse, just incompatible. This is why being 100% authentic from the beginning is always the best bet.

2: You push for too much too soon.

Meeting people is difficult, there’s no doubt about that.

So, sometimes, when we do meet someone we’re interested in, it’s easy to get overly excited like we’ve just gotten a brand new toy for a present.

And when we get a new toy, we want to play with it ALL. THE. TIME.

But a toy doesn’t have its own individual life, hobbies, and friends to contend with.

A toy can’t feel smothered.

A human can. And, if they begin to feel uncomfortable with the quickness at which things are moving, they’ll begin pulling away from you, maybe even without an explanation.

Ironically, this is why the easiest way to lose someone is actually to want them too much.

Also, it sends the message that they’re quickly becoming the most important thing in your life.

“But, shouldn’t my relationship be a priority?”

Yes — it should be a big part of your life — but not your entire life. Especially right in the beginning.

It’s important for both partners in a relationship to live their own individual fulfilling lives, and if someone feels as though your entire sense of worth or happiness is dependent on their presence in your life, it puts massive pressure on them and makes them wonder why you don’t have other things going on besides dating them.

Leave space for your hearts to breathe. Too much closeness can risk suffocation.

3: Doth protest too much.

In other words, you’re a chronic complainer.

Don’t get me wrong — your partner should always be there to listen when you need to vent, and provide advice when you ask them for it. But, nobody enjoys being around someone who is always negative or always complaining.

Do you have anyone in your life who seems to complain all the time?

How often do you call them?

How often do you invite them out?

Odds are you pulled back a bit when you realized that the only thing you associate this person with is complaints about work, or friends, or other areas of life.

Now, imagine trying to build a fresh, exciting, sexy, intimate relationship with a person who you can only associate with draining conversations about how the world is falling apart around them…

Not exactly a tantalizing thought, eh?

Building a relationship is an exciting process and allows you both to explore each other’s wants, needs, desires, interests, goals, adventures…there are plenty of positive and uplifting things to talk about.

As your relationship gets serious, of course you’re going to face life challenges. Of course you need to be able to lean on this person. Of course they should always be there to support you.

But unconditional support after you’ve built a strong bond with someone is different than seeking unconditional support before or during the process.

4: You take away their independence.

Maybe not even intentionally…but, as mentioned above, it’s important that there is space to breathe in your relationship.

When I was young and insecure, it made me nervous to think of a girlfriend going out to spend time with friends without me.

What if she meets someone else? What if someone says something bad about me and she loses interest? What if she NEVER COMES BACK?

Ah, the thoughts of insecurity and lack of experience.

That’s part of the point, though. SECURE love allows for freedom. SECURE partners trust each other. They do not try to restrain or contain each other.

I’m not saying you should be running off to crazy raves every night and leaving your partner behind, of course.

But, balance here is key. Not just in the beginning, but over the long term in a relationship.

Share in some hobbies together, cultivate some of your own. Spend time with all of your friends sometimes, and just yours other times.

Your relationship might be “we,” but it’s still made up of two “me”s.

5: Not showing enough gratitude.

“Geeze, James…too much of that, not enough of this, what gives?”

Neutral ground isn’t enough to make a relationship thrive. In other words, simply not complaining doesn’t constitute positive reinforcement.

Gratitude, appreciation, affection, LOVE, are all things that we need to feel from our partner regularly.

And, sometimes, if someone is very good to you consistently yet they don’t feel appreciated, they can very quickly feel taken for granted and begin pulling away from you.

The remedy to this is simple: Say thank you.

Do small things that he/she appreciates in return to show your gratitude (NOT a tit-for-tat transaction, but reciprocation is key).

Make dinner for them, or clean up after they do it for you. Wear that shirt they like for date night. Do something out of the ordinary to show that you value their efforts.

A little bit goes a long way — and that little bit will ensure that the “long way” is towards you rather than away from you.

6: Invalidating or criticizing their life decisions.

Listen, you’re two different people with different upbringings, so it’s natural that you’re not going to agree on everything.

You’ve likely taken different paths and made different decisions to get to a magical conjunction that brought you both together. It doesn’t mean that either path has been better or worse, but criticizing your partner’s choices in life can make them feel invalidated or unworthy.

Picking apart small things that aren’t dealbreakers in the relationship only serves to increase insecurity, and heighten someone’s defense mechanisms. If the two of you are simply too far apart in your life vision to make it work, the simple solution is to pursue another partner who is better suited for your journey.

7: Letting sexual intimacy fade.


Sexual intimacy in a relationship isn’t just about the physical pleasure, it’s the source of intimate bonding and chemical releases in the brain that bring you both together.

It’s a way to build trust together, to communicate more deeply, to express your most closely held desires to someone you value, trust, and love.

It’s a dance between two people that symbolizes a pledge to be seen by the other fully, both physically and emotionally.

If the intimacy begins to fade and becomes less important to one partner, or both, the other can easily feel unattractive, unwanted, and unsure about the future of the relationship.

Life can get very busy. Work, kids, commitments — it’s not always easy to “make time,” but we must.

Some couples even report scheduling sex into their week as being a HUGE help. This might sound strange, but at the end of the day it ensures that both of your needs will be met and releases pressure from days where one of you may not feel up for it.

Regardless of how or when you make it work, it’s an integral part to maintaining and ensuring a long-lasting emotional connection, as well as physical.

Every now and then reflecting on our own actions is important when it comes to honestly understanding our past and future relationships.

After all — it’s not just about finding the right person. It’s also about being the right person.

James Michael Sama is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and personal development coach.

Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on building limitless confidence and healthier relationships, James has accumulated over 38 million visitors to his website and a collective social media following of over 400,000.

James speaks at live events and in the media across the U.S. and has become a go-to expert with outlets such as CNN, Bravo, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, CNBC, The Boston Globe, CBS, and more.James Michael Sama

International speaker, writer, & adviser helping you build happier relationships. Seen: CNN, CNBC, NY Post, CBS, more. 38 million+ views.

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