Leadership

3 ways your significant other may be holding you back from success

From the television series "Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce." Pictured: James Lesure as Coach Mike.
From the television series "Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce." Pictured: James Lesure as Coach Mike.

It's important to have a partner who supports you in all of your endeavors. In fact, a recent study by Carnegie Mellon University shows that people with supportive spouses are more likely to strive for success.

Unfortunately, your significant other may not be rooting for you to accomplish your goals, says bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Winter.

So how can one tell if their partner is hindering their success? Winter provides three key warning signs that you must look out for:

1. Your partner makes you doubt your abilities

Winter tells CNBC Make It that this phase starts with you excitedly discussing your dreams and goals with your partner. Somewhere along the way, he or she begins to share persuasive arguments to make you doubt your abilities.

She calls this "psychological sabotage" and says it manifests itself in a number of ways. For example, your partner may say:

"It's a great idea, but don't get upset if it doesn't work out."

"That kind of position is hard to get, but at least you're trying."

"I think you have to be more realistic. You can't do that."

"Somehow, after speaking to your mate, you feel less inspired and more tentative about your career advancement," says Winter. "They dampen your dreams and shatter it."

After hearing these negative thoughts enough times, says Winter, it can begin to erode your self-confidence and goal-setting.

2. Your partner complains about your work getting in the way

Winter says that a loved one may show signs of hindering your success if they constantly complain about your work. They grumble that your work, career or ambition is getting in the way of the relationship. She calls this emotional sabotage.

"You begin to feel guilty and conflicted," says Winter. "They're jealous of the time and energy you spend on your career and compete for your emotional attention in trying to be the sole focus of your life."

On some level, she says, they fear how your success would "change the composition of power in the relationship."

3. Your partner displays passive-aggressive behavior

In this situation, Winter says your significant other may harbor feelings of resentment and emotional punishment, following any success or accomplishments you achieve.

"You begin to notice a connection between doing well in your career and your mate picking a fight with you, criticizing you or punishing you by pulling away," she says.

They may give you the silent treatment or moodily sulk when you're in their presence. This leads to you feeling guilty for pursuing your goals, she says, and "weakens your resolve."

"Who we choose as a partner is so important as to how we feel about our goals," says Winter. "To have a partner in your corner is essential for you to do well and keep aiming higher."

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See also:

Why the secret to your success is who you marry

A man who's interviewed Bill Gates and Richard Branson says you need this skill to be successful

How to handle annoying co-workers without losing your cool