6 Signs You're A Relationship Self-Sabotager
There's a guy I know who's the walking definition of intimacy issues. It's not just my personal opinion either. He knows it and readily admits it. No matter how many good women he meets or even dates, he seems to find some sort of way to ruin the dynamic, whether it's platonic or romantic.
If I were to put on my relationship coach hat, I'd say that his past childhood abuse (including sexual abuse) has a lot to do with it. Plus, I think a lot of us, as women, tend to underestimate what a man's first heartbreak is really like for them. Unlike many of us who are resilient when it comes to finding love after loss, many men may experience a first love and a spouse with maybe someone in between. This means three love relationships tops. So, if they don't properly heal from their break-up(s), that too can keep them at bay when it comes to…trying again. Ultimately, they are so scared of being hurt and/or fully trusting someone and/or giving their all that they would rather sabotage—meaning, deliberately destroy—the good that's happening than take a chance that it could all work out for their good.
The good thing about the man I'm referring to is at least he knows he's got an issue. If you're not sure—or you know someone who fits the bill but seems to be in complete and total denial about it—here are some pretty telling signs that "he" is not alone in the relationship sabotaging department. That you—or that someone you know—is right there along with him.
1.You Make Mountains Out of Molehills
Don't sweat the small stuff. It's a simple sentence that is packed full of wisdom. Unfortunately, relationship sabotagers always seem to miss the memo, though. Basically, unless their significant other is perfect—and that's according to the oftentimes totally unrealistic expectations they've set for them—a sabotager is going to constantly critique and nitpick until they pick their relationship totally apart.
To them, they're simply not settling for less but what's really going on is they aren't happy. As a result, they expect others to fill that void. When they are disappointed, they make small things big issues. Plus, since relationship sabotagers suck at forgiveness, it's like watching a few snowballs eventually turn into an avalanche. Or a molehill turn into a mountain.
2.You Look for Problems That Aren’t There
Typically, people who create problems where there really aren't any have some deep-rooted trust issues. It could stem from their childhood (check out "Why You Should Be Unapologetic About Setting Boundaries with Toxic Family Members") or a previous relationship that went badly. As a result, whether the sabotager realizes it or not, they are borderline paranoid. Basically, they look for signs that their current partner isn't who they say that they are or that the relationship isn't on the up and up.
They decide someone has betrayed them when there are no receipts; not a single one. There is no such thing as human mistakes; everything is a huge character flaw. If their partner is late, they're hiding something. If they hang up the phone when they walk in the room, they're sneaking around.
For a relationship sabotager, they don't know how to relax. They seemingly aren't "happy" unless they are manufacturing some sort of problem—or bracing themselves for one.
3.You Are All Problems and No Solutions
If there's one thing that irks me about social media (and trust me, there's plenty), it's that there's a lot of time devoted to complaining about stuff but not nearly as much energy devoted to coming up with solutions for the complaints. Instead of (more) people taking advantage of the enormous think tanks that are at their disposal, they'd rather bitch and moan. Problems? Oh, they've got time for those. Solutions? Now it's "crickets" in the atmosphere.
The same thing applies to relationship sabotagers. They'll tell their significant other something like, "I just don't feel appreciated in this relationship" or "Something feels 'off' between us" but when their partner asks them to expound or provide suggestions or recommendations to make things better, all the sabotager offers is a Kanye shrug or a blank stare.
People who are all problems and no solutions start off being draining and end up becoming toxic. Healthy individuals want nothing to do with toxic people. Period.
4.You’re a Walking Pressure Cooker
There's someone I used to be fairly close to that I had to end things with. As funny and bright as they were, they were also pop-offs—the kind of pop-offs where you never really knew when their storms were coming. Anything from a phone call to a tweet to something they heard at work could take them from 1-1,000 in under 30 seconds and, unless you were on their side, you ended up catching the heat too.
You know what another term for pop-off is? Emotionally unstable creatures. Although having a pretty bad temper is one sign of being emotionally unstable, so are moody individuals, folks who refuse to admit when they are wrong, people who have a sense of entitlement, commitment-phobes, folks who expect you to read their minds and meet their needs no matter how unrealistic they are and also individuals who refuse to look at things from other perspectives and points of view.
If you are this kind of person, just ask anyone who is close to you and they will tell you that dealing with you is a lot like being in the presence of a pressure cooker. No one wants to feel pressured all of the time. It's just one more way to completely sabotage your relationship.
5.You’re Constantly Wanting Him to “Prove” His Love
Speaking of pressure. Ugh. I'll personally raise my hand in this class and say that when you get to a point in your personal growth and development where you love yourself, you're not spending a lot of time conjuring up ways for someone else to "prove" their love to you. In the beginning of a relationship, you look for signs that someone's character is on the up and up but still, they don't have to really prove anything; they're either a good person or…they're not.
To me, the more productive approach is giving someone the space and time to express their love instead. In order for a man to do that, first you have to be lovable (some women make it hard to be loved because of all of the other stuff that we just discussed) and second, you have to allow things to evolve into love.
This brings me back full circle into why someone having to prove their love is a form of relationship sabotage. People need to prove themselves in order to establish the genuineness and validity of something. If the guy you are seeing knows that's what you are constantly looking for, not only does that basically mean that you don't trust him very much, but it also tends to feel like everything is a test. No one wants to be tested all of the time.
Be careful. If tests are what you're all about, you could be the one who ends up failing—miserably so—in the relationship department.
6.You Think All Men Are the Same
I believe that it's a man by the name of Larry Dixon who once said, "If two people were exactly alike, one of them would be unnecessary." Agreed. And since all of us are unique with our own individual purposes to fulfill in this life, no two men are just the same.
Unfortunately, I hear more than a handful or two of women who speak to the contrary of this. One guy dogged them out and so their resolve is that all men will. One guy broke their heart, so they keep a wall up because they think that's every man's mission.
If you're the kind of person who goes into relationships with the mindset that every person is just alike, therefore, you're gonna treat them that way…not only are you being extremely unfair but you're setting your relationship up to fail no matter how awesome he is. How? Because you're probably gonna treat each guy like they're the same and, not only is that putting too much pressure on them, but, if they have a good sense of self, it will become offensive as well. Who wants to be in a relationship with an offender—of any sort?!
A wise man once said that if there's one thing all of your exes have in common, it's you. If you notice any of these patterns in your relationship, while it might be hard to accept, there's a huge chance that things keep not working out, not because of "them" but because you have a real knack for sabotaging things.
Which is it, sis?
Featured image by Getty Images
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Unapologetically, Chlöe: The R&B Star On Finding Love, Self-Acceptance & Boldly Using Her Voice
On set inside of a mid-city Los Angeles studio, it’s all eyes on Chlöe. She slightly shifts her body against a dark backdrop amidst camera clicks and whirs, giving a seductive pout here, and piercing eye contact there. Her chocolate locs are adorned with a few jewels that she requested to spice up the look, and on her shoulders rests a jeweled piece that she asked to be turned around to better showcase her neck (“I feel a bit old,” she said of the original direction). Her shapely figure is tucked into a strapless bodysuit with a deep v-neck that complements her décolletage.
Though subtle, her quiet wardrobe directives give the air of a woman who’s been here before, and certainly knows what she’s doing. At 24 years young, she’s a “Bossy” chick in training— one who’s politely unapologetic and learning the power of her own voice.
“I'm hesitant sometimes to truly speak my mind and speak up for myself and what I believe,” she later confessed to me a couple of weeks after the photoshoot. “It's always scary for me, but now I'm realizing that I have to, in order to gain respect as a Black woman— a young Black woman— who's still navigating who she is. And you know, I'm realizing that closed mouths don't get fed. And if I keep my mouth shut just because I'm afraid of what people's opinions of me will be or turn into, then that's not any way to live.”
For Chlöe, the journey into womanhood is about embracing who she is, without succumbing to the perceptions of what others think of her. From the waist up she’s everything you’d imagine. A gorgeous goddess with the kind of sex appeal that some work hard to embrace but fail to exude. But unbeknownst to anyone not on set, her bottom half is covered by a white robe, surprising coming from the girl who boasts “'Cause my booty so big, Lord, have mercy” on her first hit single “Have Mercy.”
But that’s the beauty of Chlöe. There’s more to her than meets the eye. More than what a few sensual photos sprinkled throughout an Instagram feed could ever tell you. Just like the photo-framing illusion of her portrayed from the waist up, what we know about the songstress is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more beneath the surface.
Some hours later Chlöe leans back in a high chair as her locs are transformed from a formal updo to a seemingly Basquiat-inspired one. It’s pure art, and at her request, no wigs are a part of the day’s ensemble. She’s fully embracing her natural hair, a decision that wasn’t always a socially accepted one.
In the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, (Mableton, to be exact) Chlöe began to explore the foundation of her self-image. At an early age she and her younger sister, Halle, demonstrated a vocal prowess and knack for being in front of the camera that caught their parents’ attention. Soon after, they were sent on a parade of local talent shows and auditions, and eventually broke into the digital space with song covers on YouTube.
It was during these early years that Chlöe first learned that the entertainment industry could be unforgiving to those who didn’t fit a particular beauty standard. Despite the then three-year-old snagging a role as the younger version of Beyoncé’s character, Lilly, in Fighting Temptations, casting agents requested that her natural locs be exchanged for more Eurocentric tresses. Ironic, considering that growing up Chlöe saw her hair as no different than that of her peers. “I remember specifically in pre-K we had to do self-portraits and I drew myself with a regular straight ponytail, like how I would put my locs in a ponytail,” she says. “I just never saw myself any different.”
Chlöe would also learn the true meaning of a phrase that would later become an affirmation posted on her bedroom mirror: “Don’t Let the World Dim Your Light.” After attempting to wear wigs to fit in, the Bailey sisters instead chose to rock their locs with pride, which undoubtedly cost them casting roles. Yet they would have the last laugh when making headlines as the “Teen Dreadlocked Duo” who landed a million-dollar contract with Parkwood Entertainment, and the coveted opportunity to be groomed under the tutelage of a world-renowned superstar.
Credit: Derek Blanks
While that could be the end of a beautiful fairytale of self-empowerment, the reality is that it’s just the beginning of the story of her evolution. For most girls, the transition into womanhood takes place in the comfort of their own worlds, often limited to the number of people they allow to have access to them. But for Chlöe, it’s happening in front of millions of critiquing eyes just waiting for an opportunity to either uplift or dissect her through unwarranted commentary.
Many in her position wouldn’t be able to take that kind of pressure. But Chlöe is handling it with grace. “I feel like all of us as humans, we have the right to interpret things how we want,” she says. “I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
Chlöe isn’t the first artist to receive criticism for her carnal content, and she certainly won’t be the last. In 2010, Ciara writhed and rode her way to banishment on BET when the then 24-year-old released her video for “Ride.” In 2006, 25-year-old Beyoncé received backlash for “Déjà Vu."
"I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
So much so that over 5,000 fans signed an online petition demanding that her label re-shoot the video because it was “too sexual.” Even 27-year-old Janet didn’t escape critical headlines when she shed her image of innocence for a more risqué appearance with the 1993 release of janet.
It’s almost as if public reproach is a rite of passage for young Black women R&B singers on the road to stardom. Good girls seemingly “go bad” whenever they embrace the depths of their femininity, and fans only like you on top figuratively. But Chlöe has learned not to bow down to other people’s opinions, but to boss up and control the narrative. As the saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history. If sex appeal is her weapon, she wields it well.
On set, Chlöe exudes the energy of Aphrodite in an apple red, off-shoulder dress with a sexy high split. In between shots, she mouths the lyrics to Yebba’s “Boomerang” as it echoes throughout the space in steady repetition at my recommendation. The hour grows late, yet Chlöe is heating things up as eyes stare in deep mesmerization of the girl on fire.
Credit: Derek Blanks
Through music, she explores the depths of her being, a journey that seems to be, at its foundation, rooted in self-discovery. Whereas their debut album The Kids Are Alright (2018) boasts a young Chloe x Halle empowering their generation to embrace who they are while finding their place in the world, their second album Ungodly Hour (2020) shows the Bailey sisters shedding the veil of innocence for a more unapologetic bravado.
What fans looked forward to seeing is who Chlöe shows herself to be on her debut solo album In Pieces. In an interview with PEOPLE, she confesses that releasing her first project without her sister was “scary.” "It was a moment of self-doubt where I was like, 'Can I do this without my sister?’”
Chlöe has never been shy about sharing her insecurities or her vulnerabilities, all of which are laced throughout the 14-track album. “I want people to have fun when they listen to it and to just realize that they're not alone and it's okay to be vulnerable and raw and open because none of us are perfect; we're all far from it. And I think it's healing when we all admit to that instead of putting up a facade.”
The gift of time has given the self-professed “big lover girl” more encounters with romance and heartbreak. Love songs once sung for their beautiful riffs and melodies become more than just abstract lyrics and are replaced by real-life experiences, which she tells me is definitely in the music.
In her single “Pray It Away,” for example, she contemplates going to God for healing instead of going at her ex-lover for revenge for his infidelities. “With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable,” she says. “I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
Has Chlöe been in love? That still remains to be said. Of course, she’s been linked to a few potential baes, but dating in the digital age isn’t as easy as a double tap or drop of a heart-eyes emoji. It requires a level of trust and vulnerability that’s hard to earn, and easy to mishandle. To let her guard down means to potentially set herself up for disappointment. “It’s difficult dating right now, honestly, because you really have to kind of keep your guard up and pay attention to who's really there for you. And you know, I'm such an affectionate person and I love hard.
"So when I meet the one person that I really, really am into, it's hard for me to see any others and I get attached pretty easily. And you know, I don't know, it's…it's a scary thing.”
Credit: Derek Blanks
“With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable. I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
While broken hearts yield good music (queue Adele), what’s in Chlöe’s prayer is the desire to be happy. What does that look like? Well, she’s still figuring that out herself. “Honestly, I'm the type of person who I don't truly learn unless I experience it. So it's like I can view and watch my parents and watch the loving relationships that I see in my life and be like, ‘Oh, I want that. I would love to have that.’ But then I also have to experience [love] on my own and see what my flaws or my faults might be or see what my good things about myself are. I feel like it's really all about self-reflection. And even though our base is our family and that's our foundation, we are still our own individuals and we have to find out specifically the things about ourselves that may be different from what we saw from our parents when we were growing up.”
Her ideal beau, she tells me, is someone she can feel safe to be her fun, goofy self with, but who also gives her the space to be the boss chick chasing her dreams. A man who understands that just because the world compliments her doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear those words from his lips or feel it in his touch. A bonus if he shows up on set after a long hard day of work with vegan cinnamon rolls. You know, the basic necessities. “I like whoever I'm with to constantly tell me they love me and that I look beautiful because I do the same. I am a very mushy person, and if I see something or you look good, I will never shy away from saying it out loud. And I want whoever I'm with to do the same, be very vocal. Tell me that you love me. Tell me what you love about me because I'm doing the same for you because that's just the person I am.”
Until she meets her match she’s married to the game, and for now, that seems to be perfect matrimony.
Credit: Derek Blanks
On stage at the 2021 American Music Awards, Chlöe solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with. It was a full-circle moment. In 2012, bright-eyed and baby-faced Chloe and Halle would walk onto the set of The Ellen Degeneres Show and blow the audience away as they bellowed out their future mentor’s song. Ellen would present the sisters with tickets to attend the AMAs, assuring them that they would be back and had a promising future. Nine years later, Chlöe descends from the sky cloaked in a snow-white cape and matching midriff-baring bodysuit for her debut performance. It’s the first time she’s graced the stage of the very award show that she was once an audience member of.
As she shakes and shimmies and boom kack kacks out her eight counts, it’s clear that she’s in her element. Just like her VMA performance a couple of months prior, and the many more stages she’ll continue to grace, she brings an energy that has earned her comparisons to the beloved Queen Bey herself. An honorable statement, considering few R&B songstresses are getting accolades for their entertainment capabilities. It’s on these very stages, in front of hundreds of astonished eyes and millions more glued to their televisions at home, that she tells me she feels most sexy. Powerful, even.
But off stage, it’s a different story.
It’s more than just the commentary about her image and media-flamed rumors that get to her. Mentally, she’s in competition with herself. The desire to be the best burns at the back of her mind with every performance, every production, and every time she steps into the booth. Before, she could share the weight of this burden with her sister. Being a part of a duo meant she could turn to Halle for quiet confirmation and encouragement without a word being exchanged. But lately stepping on the stage means stepping out on her own. And despite being a breathtaking, five-time Grammy-nominated star, Chlöe doesn’t escape the reality that sometimes we can be our own worst critics.
Over the last year, she’s been coming to terms with who she is on her own while overcoming the fear of failing to become who she’s destined to be. While the world waits to see how Chlöe wins, the real triumph is in every day that she chooses herself and continues to walk in her purpose. “I don't really have anything all figured out, honestly. But what I try to do, a lot of prayer. I talk to God more and I just try to do things that calm my mind down and just breathe.”
To whom much is given, much will be required. She’s been chosen to walk this path for a reason. Once she fully embraces that everything she’s meant to be is already inside of her, she’ll be an unstoppable force. “My grandma, Elizabeth, she just passed away and my middle name is her [first] name. So I feel like I truly have a responsibility to live up to her legacy that she's left on this earth. I hope I can do that.”
There’s no doubt that she will. With a role in The Fighting Temptations at three years old, a million-dollar record deal, a main role on five seasons of Grown-ish, five Grammy nominations, a number one solo record in Urban and Rhythmic Radio, a debut solo album, and starring roles in recently released movies Praise Thisand Swarm (just to name a few), Chlöe’s certainly already made her mark, and she’s just getting started.
Photographer & Creative Director: Derek Blanks
Executive Producer: Necole Kane
Co-Executive Producer: EJ Jamele
Producer: Erica Turnbull
Digitech: Chris Keller
DP: Alex Nikishin
Gaffer: Simeon Mihaylov
Photo Assistant: Chris Paschal
2nd Photo Assistant: Tyler Umprey
Features Editor: Kiah McBride
Special Projects: Tyeal Howell
Hair: Malcolm Marquez
Makeup: Yolonda Frederick
Fashion Styling: Ashley Sean Thomas
For More: Cover Story: Issa Rae Comes Full Circle
The Best Foundations For Oily Skin
Oily skin girls, stand up! Let’s be real, you don’t want to be talking to a friend or colleague and notice they're distracted by the shine from your face looking like your makeup is dripping off. Or you decide to skip foundation altogether because you’re frustrated with not finding foundations that work well with your oily skin.
As an oily-skin girl myself, I’ve tested so many foundations on the market, so you don’t have to! Before we get into the foundations themselves, let’s talk a little about oily skin and some good practices. Having oily skin can be challenging, as it tends to produce excess sebum, which can lead to shine, enlarged pores, and acne breakouts. However, with the right foundation and makeup application techniques, you can achieve a flawless and long-lasting look.
How to Apply Foundation on Oily Skin: Good Practices
Start with a Clean Canvas: Properly cleanse your skin before applying makeup. This will create a clean canvas for your foundation to adhere to and help prevent clogged pores.
Set with Powder: After applying your foundation, set it with a light dusting of translucent powder. This will help absorb excess oil and keep your foundation in place for longer.
Remove Makeup Thoroughly: At the end of the day, make sure to remove your makeup thoroughly using a gentle cleanser or makeup remover formulated for oily skin. This will help prevent clogged pores and breakouts.
Practice Good Skincare: Consistent skincare routine is crucial for managing oily skin. Use oil-free and non-comedogenic skincare products, including cleansers, toners, and moisturizers, that are specifically formulated for oily skin to help regulate oil production and keep your skin balanced.
AND DRINK YOUR WATER!
5 Starter Foundations For Oily Skin
Jumping into my five top recommended foundations for oily skin. Between having oily skin myself and working on clients with oily skin, here’s what I’ve seen to work from the ones I’ve tried.
Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Matte Foundation
This foundation has a natural matte finish which is perfect for oily skin. I love it because it’s lightweight and not cakey. This is my current favorite that I’ve been wearing faithfully for EVERY occasion. From an everyday makeup look to a night out on the town.
Soft Matte Complete Foundation
I recently used this foundation on a bride, and the application plus the finish eliminated the stress of being oily and having to touch up throughout the day! Imagine dancing the night away and realizing your foundation didn’t move. Since foundation is the base of a makeup look - it is crucial you’re using a good one.
Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
The name says it all! This soft matte long-wear foundation saves the girlies. I mean, who doesn’t love everything Fenty Beauty anyway? The key to this foundation is making sure you grab the right shade and that it matches your undertone.
ColorStay™ Longwear Makeup For Combination/Oily Skin
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly foundation option, then this is your match! From the application to the amount that comes in the bottle, you can’t go wrong. One thing I love about this line is that it calls out if the product is for "combination/oily skin" or "normal/dry skin." When shopping for this foundation, grabbing a shade from the “combination/oily” skin selection is the direction you want to go.
Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation
Lastly, MAC has been around for a long time, and there are people who stick with MAC once they’ve found something that works. This was the same for me! When I first started building my makeup kit, I ran straight to purchase this foundation. Not only did I work at a MAC store for some time and learned about this foundation, but other artists raved about it as well. They have a large range of shades to choose from, and having a foundation with SPF is a plus! The finish is like satin and perfect for us oily skin girlies!
I could go on and on. The trend with all of these foundations is that they have a matte finish and are typically lightweight. The key is to avoid heavy or creamy foundations, as they can make your skin look greasy. Ultimately, everyone's skin is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the perfect foundation and makeup routine for your oily skin, but these foundation options are a great place to start. Don't be afraid to experiment with different products and techniques to find what works best for you!
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Feature image by svdtikd/ Getty Images