Feeling trapped? 9 signs you’re in a relationship for reasons of convenience

We all know that love isn’t about convenience.

We’ve all seen the movies that show us what true love really is (and what it isn’t).

But in reality, love is hard. It’s even harder to know when it’s disappeared!

Staying with someone because it’s easy isn’t the same as staying with someone because you feel deeply, madly, truly in love with them.

Which is, sadly, something I know about all too well.

I just wish I’d realized it sooner so I could find true happiness in life (and love), rather than settling for what was comfortable for way too long!

Are you feeling trapped in your relationship? Here are 9 signs you’re staying for reasons of convenience, rather than because you’re still in love.

1) Your reasons to stay aren’t about them

When I was debating ending things with my long-term ex, I made a list of reasons to stay and reasons to leave.

I’m guessing you’ve done this, too, if you’re feeling trapped and unsure.

It was harrowing to see that everything on my pros list wasn’t about the person. They were more about the “things” we had together. Like the house and the dog.

If you haven’t done a “reasons to stay” and “reasons to leave” list, try making one now. Take a close look at what’s under the reasons to stay.

Is it how amazing they are, how lovely they treat you, and how happy they make you feel to be alive?

Or is it more “materialistic”? Like that you have a nice home together, you own a joint pet, you live in a nice area, and you get on alright?

Because these things aren’t really about love. Sadly, they’re about convenience…

2) You have “too many” ties to sever

With my ex, I owned a house, a cat, and a ton of possessions. Things weren’t right for a while. But for some reason, leaving just felt like a lot of effort.

We had so many ties together and ending things wouldn’t be as easy as having a quick chat or phone call about it.

I can definitely tell you that going ahead with it and selling the house was the best decision we both ever made!

But at the time, it felt like a lot of work. And I think we both stayed a lot longer than we should have because of how much work ending things would create…

Sadly, this doesn’t mean you’re still in love. It means you’re staying because it’s the easy option, rather than the right option.

3) You’re afraid of life without them

Another sign you’re staying together for convenience, rather than love, is if you feel scared about what life looks like without them.

I don’t mean afraid in the way you feel when you love someone and hate the idea of anything bad happening to them.

I mean you feel afraid of being single. Of living alone. And of the unknown that comes with breaking up.

You know you don’t love them anymore, but at least you know what to expect from this person and what kind of a future you’ll have.

If you end things, you have no idea what’s in the stars for you. Which can feel like a good reason to stay. But we both know it isn’t a good one.

And it’s a sign the relationship is convenient, rather than loving.

4) You don’t want to “start over”

“Starting over” sounds like the most awful thing in the world once you’ve been in a relationship for a long time.

Especially if you own a house like I did. Or are engaged like my friend was.

Because we both knew that starting again would mean losing a home and the dream of getting married soon. And we wouldn’t be able to get those things back for a long, long time.

But you and I both know that isn’t a reason to stick around.

Besides, once you’re through the initial part, your world opens up, rather than shuts down. And the idea of starting again sounds exciting, rather than a thing to avoid!

5) You don’t make an effort for them

signs youre not in love youre just afraid of being single Feeling trapped? 9 signs you’re in a relationship for reasons of convenience

When you’re truly in love, there’s nothing you want to do more than make this person happy. You still look after yourself and have boundaries, of course.

But there are a lot of things you want to do for their sake as well as yours.

You want to make an effort when you go out on dates. You want to make them feel good. You want to surprise them with little gifts. You want them to know how loved they are.

But when the love is gone, you don’t do these things.

When you’re staying together because it’s convenient, every day is all about doing what’s easiest, not what makes them feel the most special.

Ultimately, you get through the days, rather than work hard (in a good way) each day to make each other smile.

6) You feel comfortable, rather than happy

Feeling comfortable and feeling happy are two very different feelings.

I felt comfortable with my ex. We had a nice home together, a good routine, healthy social lives, and got on OK.

But were we happy? Definitely not.

It felt like we were going through the motions of everyday life, rather than truly living each day as it came.

With my boyfriend now, life is a dream. Every day is a new experience. We deeply enjoy each other’s company and always feel in love.

We aren’t just together because we’re comfortable and have been together for a long time. And I think you know the difference, too, deep down.  

7) You prefer to ask anyone but them for advice

When you’re in love with someone, talking to them should be one of the best feelings in the world.

They are your go-to for life advice. Your confidant for all your problems. The person who knows all your secrets and never judges you.

But when you’re staying together for convenience, this isn’t how you’ll feel. In fact, you’d rather talk to anyone except them for advice.

You’d even rather keep it all to yourself than have to discuss something big, philosophical, or deep-meaning with them.

It’s not because they’re bad at advice. It’s because you don’t have that kind of connection with them anymore.

You feel like they don’t understand and trying to explain feels more like you’re justifying your thoughts, rather than getting them off your chest.

Which is an all-around bad sign…

8) You don’t see a real future together

I distinctively remember thinking to myself in my last long-term relationship:

“Is this it? Is this how things are going to be for us forever?”

I could see a future together. But it wasn’t a “real” one.

It was a future based on the person he used to be. A future based on the dream of who he could be one day, rather than who he really was.

And because of that, we hardly ever talked about the future. I hardly ever thought about it, too.

Because when I did, I knew things weren’t right between us. And if this is something you do, too, it might not be a good sign…

9) You know you’re not in love anymore

Finally, the most obvious sign you’re staying for convenience is if you know you’re not in love anymore.

This is a hard pill to swallow. But love truly is blind. It’s blind when you’re in love and it’s blind when you’re falling out of it.

Truly ask yourself whether you still love this person. Whether the thought of them makes your heart swell with pride, joy, and (most importantly) love.

Or whether the love you had exists for the person they used to be. Or worse, the idea of who they could be.

As many people in long-term relationships know, love changes over the years. It won’t always be exciting or make you feel like you could burst!

But it’ll always be there. You’ll always love them. And if the moments you feel in love are few and far between, I think you already know this isn’t right.

Final thoughts

Love isn’t like the movies. Sometimes, relationships have to end.

Not everyone can stay together through everything in life. And sometimes, things don’t get better with time.

When you’re not in love anymore, it’s kind of hard to fall back into it again.  

Sitting around and waiting for that to happen can only cause more pain for you and the person you’re with.

Not to mention how it can lead you both to waste more months (or even years) of your life in an unhappy relationship – when you could find true happiness elsewhere.

If you’re not truly in love anymore and you’re staying out of convenience, you’ll probably recognize these signs.

And trust me, it really is better to call it quits sooner rather than later – as hard as it is – for your own good and theirs!

Picture of Amy Reed

Amy Reed

Amy Reed is a content writer from London working with international brands. As an empath, she loves sharing her life insights to help others. When she’s not writing, she enjoys a simple life of reading, gardening, and making a fuss over her two cats.

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