Is He a Bad Guy or Just Bad at Relationships?

Three ways to gauge if your partner is bad at relationships.

Posted Sep 09, 2018

Men are often unfairly stereotyped as being terrible at relationships, which is somewhat harmful to both men and women. It not only devalues men but also somewhat excuses them from being accountable in interpersonal relationships. Also, it subtly encourages heterosexual women to settle for an unsatisfying relationship because this may be as good as it gets. More importantly, women can be equally as terrible at relationships. It is not a gender issue.

Before elaborating, it is important to note that a person does not intentionally get involved with a mean person. People are tricky. A person may be kind and conscientious to people whom they are not close to, but lack consideration and empathy for the people they are supposed to love. This is a big problem. 

Here are three surefire ways to gauge if your partner is bad at relationships. 

1. An inability to understand your perspective if it differs from his or hers.

If your partner cannot understand your perspective when it differs from his or hers, the conflict will rarely be resolved productively. This is apparent when they continually repeat their own perspective and refuse to try and understand yours. If you spend an inordinate amount of time explaining and re-explaining your perspective and your partner just never gets it, there is little chance you will feel good about the relationship. When conflict is not resolved positively, resentment, bitterness, and distance creep into the relationship. Trust is also compromised.  

2. When confronted, does your partner make excuses, play the victim, and inflict guilt, so you end up rescinding your original complaint? 

The inability to be accountable in a relationship is a red flag. An individual may be accountable outside of the relationship, but not within the relationship. Often, this is because the real world has serious and concrete consequences. Someone who believes they can manipulate their partner is not concerned with consequences within their relationship. 

Moreover, anyone can give lip service to being sorry, but someone who is capable of true remorse rarely commits the same offense twice. So, if you are having the same fight over and over again, it is a sign that your partners may be unable to take sincere responsibility for herself or himself.  

3. Is it always back to them?

When you talk to your partner, do they relate everything back to themselves in a way that takes the focus off of what you were talking about? Do they frequently tell stories about their glory days? When a person is egocentric, their partner often ends up feeling lonely because there is not enough room in the relationship for two. 

If your partner routinely engages in these habits, it may be necessary to re-evaluate the relationship. Assessing your partner's motivation for change is essential. Finding an experienced couple’s counselor and supporting your partner in gaining insight into these patterns is important.