Your Subconscious May Be Sabotaging Your Relationships (Here’s How to Stop It)

Scared couple working their way through a maze

You’ve been in a relationship for a few months, and you can see it’s not working out.

The person you’re with is nice enough, but they don’t share your interests. There’s very little you two have in common, except for the fact that you both tend to complain about each other. It’s just like your last relationship was, and the one before that.

Or maybe you gravitate more towards people who are distant, or painfully shy, to avoid growing too close and dealing with the “inevitable” failure of the relationship. Regardless, you aren’t happy—or as happy as you could be—in your relationships: yet you keep going back to the same type of person over and over.

You’ve tried to do better. You really thought this last guy or girl was the one. But after the initial excitement wore off, you started to see the same patterns.

You don’t know where you’re going wrong.

The thing is, your relationship difficulties may not entirely be your fault—in many cases, subconscious doubts, fears and behavior may be sabotaging your relationships.

Let’s consider how the subconscious mind works, how that may be affecting your relationships, and what you can do to make a meaningful, lasting change.

The Subconscious and Relationships

The brain is split into two parts. The first is the conscious mind. This is the part of the brain you use to make decisions and think about things in the present.

The second is the subconscious. It regulates automatic behaviors, such as breathing. It’s also where internalized emotions, desires and memories that you might prefer to forget about are stored. It’s the subconscious part of our brain that can sometimes cause our relationship loops. And because you aren’t consciously aware of them, they can be hard to identify and address.

Young schoolgirl in tears getting mocked by her classmatesMost subconscious beliefs are formed in childhood, and originate from the people around you. Your brain is the most malleable when you’re young. While you continue to learn new behaviors throughout your life, most are founded between birth and age seven.

The emotions, beliefs and expectations imprinted during this time are important. You might want to seek out something new, but you’ve formed deep-seated beliefs that lead you to subconsciously look for partners that validate those beliefs—even when you know they aren’t in your best interest.

Woman looking longingly at her dateChoosing the “right” partner isn’t as easy as making a different choice. We tend to look for what’s familiar, not just what we think we want.

Essentially, your subconscious tends to choose people who exhibit some of the traits that led to you being hurt in the past. And while this is often done in an attempt to heal, it can have the opposite effect.

While this might work in theory—you might eventually learn how to deal with certain issues or work through problems if you’re exposed to the same people enough—but it leaves a lot to be desired, and it may take more time and effort than you or your partner are willing to invest.

When they aren’t understood, subconscious beliefs can very easily become harmful. They can convince you that you aren’t good enough or don’t deserve to be in a better relationship. They can keep you committed to an abusive spouse and leave you continually unsatisfied with your love life.

So what can you do to escape the cycle of subconscious thoughts that are keeping you stuck in unhealthy or unhappy relationships?

How to Stop Subconscious Behaviors

First, you need to really understand your subconscious and why you gravitate toward certain things, people or relationships. There are several options available:

Female patient speaking with a therapist

Go to therapy

A good therapist can help you figure out where you learned subconscious behaviors and help you work through them in a healthy way.


There are a lot of articles and books that explore the subconscious mind and how it affects the individual. The more you read and research, the more knowledgeable you can be about the subject, and the more aware you’ll be when you’re sinking into subconscious patterns of behavior.

Guided meditation

Meditation helps you gain awareness and increase focus, which can help you get more in touch with your subconscious.


Hypnosis offers a direct line of communication with the subconscious mind. It makes you more susceptible to suggestion, making it an effective method for recognizing and altering unwanted subconscious beliefs.

Once you’ve got an idea of where your subconscious beliefs and habits come from, it’s easier to start working through them.

Say, for example, you were bullied as a child. Perhaps you were overweight or always wore hand-me-downs, and other kids would make fun of you for it. This could lead to a lack of self-worth as an adult, which could easily play into relationships. You might self-sabotage your romantic endeavors, or you might feel like you don’t deserve someone better.

It’s important to work through old wounds if you want to be in the healthy, loving relationship you’ve always dreamed of.

While the actual method of healing will be different for everyone, positive self-talk is a helpful first step.

Fearless young woman standing in front of muscle drawingRemind yourself that you’re worthy of a good relationship, and reaffirm that belief over and over again. With time, you can eventually alter subconscious thoughts. You can go from believing you’re worthless or broken to believing you are deserving of love.

An additional tip would be not to compromise when looking for a partner. Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t meet the standards you want in a romantic companion, and don’t justify harmful behavior that leaves you feeling hurt or opens old wounds.

And don’t expect changes to happen overnight. Changing subconscious thoughts and patterns is a time consuming process. Remember not to beat yourself up if it takes longer than planned.

The Perfect Relationship Starts With Knowing Yourself

Taking the time to understand and change subconscious beliefs can help you find the partner you’ve always wanted. You can break free from the cycle of toxic relationships once and for all.