Leadership

How your significant other may be unintentionally sabotaging your career

It's fairly easy to spot the warning signs of a partner who is intentionally hindering your career success. They usually act insecure, competitive or envious.

But your significant other could also be unintentionally sabotaging your career without you knowing it, says bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Winter.

Winter says that unintentional sabotage can be "very conflicting and confusing." On one hand, you know your partner loves and supports you, but their actions show otherwise.

Unintentional sabotage, Winter says, is often performed by partners who have a mentality where "good is good enough."

"They don't take risks and are happy with smaller personal goals…[they] clash with people who are risk-takers," Winter tells CNBC Make It. She says this is both mental and emotional sabotage. "Because they are less ambitious they weaken your resolve, which can begin to erode your goal-setting."

However, she notes, they are not purposely setting out to hinder your success.

A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University, found that partners who exhibit certain traits are more likely to hinder their partner reaching for more challenging opportunities, such as striving to get a promotion, auditioning for a key role, or running for public office.

Brooke Feeney, lead author of the study and professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon, tells CNBC Make It, that unsupportive spouses do the following: They hinder their spouse by avoiding discussing the opportunity at hand. They make fun of the opportunity or put it off in some way. They discourage their spouse by saying the opportunity isn't valid. They control their partner's decision. And they downplay the opportunity and point out the obstacles.

But the opposite also holds true, says Feeney. In fact, the study found that partners who doubted themselves were more willing to embrace challenges if their significant other pointed out the benefits and supported them.

"It's very important that your spouse sees you as capable," says Feeney.

Winter agrees that it's essential to have a partner in your corner who will push for you to do well and aim higher.

"Who we choose as a partner is so important as to how we feel about our goals. Your partner can make or break you," says Winter. "You want a partner that will allow you to grow and become the best version of yourself in all areas."

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See also:

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

The top 3 money mistakes you should avoid when buying your first home

Why the secret to your success is who you marry