Is Your Partner Sabotaging Your Success?

One of the most vital pieces of the success puzzle is having a partner who supports your drive to be successful. Whether you're a 9-5er, a small business owner, or an entrepreneur, whether or not your partner supports you has a greater impact on your success than almost anything else.

Most guys think they can just tough it out, pushing aside the lack of support from their partner, and find a way to white-knuckle their way to success. And you can.. but only for a while. Eventually the consistent whittling away at your focus, your drive, your attention, will take its toll.

When you inevitably reach your breaking point, you're likely to throw up your hands and say 'fuck it'. When that happens, there's really only two choices:

  1. Resign yourself to living a life that's less than you know you're capable of, spending your years full of regret and resentment.
  2. Part ways with your unsupportive partner.

It's as simple and as complicated as that.

Sometimes You Gotta Eat Shit

Gary Vee often talks about 'eating shit' at the beginning in order to build something that's stable, solid, and long lasting. This is particularly true for you men who have decided to break out of the cubicle and design a career and a life centered around your passion. 

Starting a business is hard. It doesn't matter whether it's through an established franchise brand, a direct sales company, or if it's a business built around you. It's hard. Like climbing the Himalayas without a sherpa or cold weather gear hard. In the beginning, if you're making the transition from 9-5 to self-employed, the constraints on your time make it that much harder.

This is why it is vital your partner understand and support you.

Eric Worre talks about this in "Go Pro". One of the first things he talks about is how vital the first 90 days are for building momentum and how your partner needs to understand that in the beginning, they'll have to pick up some of the things that you normally do so that you can focus your time and attention on building momentum to get your business off the ground.

It has to be an 'all or nothing' thing in the beginning... half-assing it will only extend and exacerbate the stress, anger, and frustration that comes along with building a business.

In the beginning, you're going to have to 'eat shit' to get things up and running and if your partner that doesn't understand or support this at the very beginning, there's little to no chance they'll support you when you're successful.

Why And How Would They Sabotage Me?

Most partners and spouses say they support their significant other in their dreams and ambitions yet do things, consciously or subconsciously, to sabotage them at every turn.


The reasons your partner may sabotage you are as numerous as the stars in the sky. Each saboteur has their own reasons and justifications for doing what they do. Some of the most common are:

  1. Your spouse may feel threatened, jealous, or intimidated by such things as your accomplishments, ability, popularity, talent, and/or self-confidence.
  2. Even though your spouse may have initially agreed to take a backseat to your career or personal goals, a sense of resentment may have taken over.
  3. Your spouse's insecurity or lack of self-esteem could be the cause of the relationship sabotage.
  4. Your spouse wants to be the center of attention both at home and in your social circle.
  5. Your spouse is afraid of being left behind when you become successful.

These are just a small few, yet I would say that number 5 is one of the most common. Your partner may feel afraid that you won't need him/her anymore once you reach a certain level of success. So they do whatever they can to distract you from your mission to keep the focus on them.


"Sometimes what happens is what Heffernan calls "selective incompetence." The busier she is, the less he helps. The more she succeeds at work, the less capable he becomes at home. "It's a form of sulking," Heffernan says. "But if the woman tries to attack this, it's as if she has no sympathy." - Source: Emily Bazelon. "The Sabotaging Husband." Forbes Magazine. 9/29/08.

The Naked Truth: A Working Woman's Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters by Margaret Heffernan - h/t

When I read this, it blew me away. It works in both directions, as either spouse engages in 'selective incompetence' as a passive-aggressive way to sabotage the other. It's often camouflaged as a cry for attention, but it's really a subtle way to undermine you and your chances of success.

Other ways your partner can sabotage you are:

  1. Interrupt you with unimportant phone calls at work.
  2. Sabotage your goals by creating crises or manipulating issues that keep you from giving your goals the time and attention they need.
  3. Constantly comment about how much time you're investing in your business.
  4. Say they'll take on additional items on the to-do list and then constantly ask questions or ask for help until you take the item back and do it yourself.

The ways your partner can sabotage you go far beyond the obvious. It's the subtle sabotage that will eventually cause you to give up.

What Can You Do?

First, explain to them what you're doing, that it's going to take a majority of your time, energy, effort, and even finances. Make sure you are clear and that they are fully on board. Make sure they understand it's not a "30 days to a bazillion dollars" thing, that it may be a while before you see a return on your investment.

When you feel sabotaged, say so. Ask them to stop.

If you need their support, be specific when you ask. If they can't give you the support you need in the way you need it, they're not interested in you actually becoming successful.

If, in the end, your partner isn't on board with you or can't support you the way you need to be supported, then either seek counseling or part ways.

Living a life full of regret and resentment isn't healthy for you or your partner... and sometimes parting ways is the best option. Even when you've entered into the partnership united in a vision for the future, your paths may eventually diverge. It may be difficult and emotionally painful to part ways, but it's far less painful than living a life resenting the person you're going through life with. 

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