10 signs that you’re only somebody’s fallback option in a relationship

Everyone deserves to feel cherished, respected, and valued in a relationship. Yet, sometimes, we find ourselves questioning our partner’s sincerity and their commitment to us.

Have you ever looked at your relationship and wondered if you’re truly a priority or just a convenient backup when nothing better is around?

It’s never an easy realization, but sometimes, we may be living in the shadow of someone else’s indecisiveness. Knowing if you’re someone’s fallback option can be tricky to discern, but it’s crucial to understand where you stand in order to maintain your self-worth.

After analyzing my own past relationships and those of my friends, I’ve compiled a list of 10 signs that could help you decipher the underlying dynamics of your partnership. If these signs ring true, it might be time to reassess your position and confront some uncomfortable truths.

1) Feeling like a last-minute option

One of the most telling signs that you’re just a fallback option is when you start to feel like a last-minute choice. You might notice that your partner often makes plans without considering you, or only includes you when their other plans fall through.

This lack of priority can feel hurtful and disheartening, leaving you questioning your worth in the relationship. It’s important to remember that relationships should be about mutual respect and consideration. If you’re constantly feeling sidelined, it may be time to have an open and honest conversation about your concerns.

2) They’re emotionally unavailable

Another sign that you might be serving as a fallback option is if your partner seems emotionally distant or unavailable. They might be hesitant to share their feelings with you, or may even avoid deep, meaningful conversations altogether.

Being with someone who is emotionally unavailable can lead to feelings of isolation and neglect in a relationship. It’s crucial to have a partner who is willing to open up and connect on an emotional level. If your significant other is consistently guarded or withdrawn, it could indicate that they’re not fully invested in the relationship.

3) Inconsistent communication

Perhaps one of the most frustrating signs is when your partner’s communication is inconsistent. This was something I experienced personally in a past relationship. There were times when we would talk every day, exchanging texts and calls frequently. Then suddenly, without any rhyme or reason, the communication would drop to a bare minimum.

I would find myself waiting for replies that came late or sometimes not at all. It was as if I was only attended to when convenient, rather than being an integral part of my partner’s life. This inconsistency not only left me confused but also made me question my importance in the relationship. If you find yourself in a similar situation, it might be an indication that you’re only a fallback option for your partner.

4) Infrequent or non-existent future plans

When you’re in a committed relationship, planning for the future together is a natural progression. Discussing upcoming vacations, family events, or simply planning a date night next month shows that both parties are invested in the relationship.

In fact, studies have shown that couples who plan their future together are more likely to experience satisfaction and stay together. It’s a sign of commitment and assurance that both individuals see each other in their lives long-term.

However, if your partner avoids making future plans or frequently cancels plans last minute, it might suggest that they see you as more of a fallback option rather than an integral part of their future.

5) Minimal effort in the relationship

There was this one relationship I was in where I felt like I was the only one making an effort. I was the one initiating conversations, planning dates, and generally putting energy into keeping the relationship alive. My partner, on the other hand, seemed to be just going with the flow.

It felt as if they were comfortable with me doing all the work while they sat back and reaped the benefits. This lack of effort on their part made me feel undervalued and unappreciated. If you’re experiencing something similar, it could be a sign that you’re being treated as a fallback option. It’s important to remember that a healthy relationship requires equal effort from both individuals involved.

6) Their actions don’t match their words

pic1799 10 signs that you're only somebody's fallback option in a relationship

A clear discrepancy between what your partner says and what they actually do can be a red flag that you’re just a fallback option. They might make grand promises about spending more time together or being more attentive, only for you to find that their actions don’t align with these verbal assurances.

This pattern of empty promises can leave you feeling unimportant and overlooked. At the end of the day, actions often speak louder than words.  

“If your partner’s mixed signals reveal chronic behavior patterns, you may decide they aren’t a fit for you,” said psychologist Karin Anderson Abrell. “Or, you may decide to communicate your concerns and request more reliable, less erratic interactions. How your partner responds to this request will provide you with valuable information regarding how you two navigate conflict.”

7) You feel like a secret

In any healthy relationship, both individuals should feel proud and happy to share their partnership with others. If your partner seems hesitant to introduce you to their friends or family, it could be a sign that they’re not fully committed to the relationship.

Think about it: why would someone who’s supposed to spend the rest of their life with you shy away from being seen with you? If he says he’s “soft launching” the relationship, when will he transition into the “hard launch”?

Being someone’s secret can be an immensely undervaluing experience.

It might indicate that they’re keeping their options open, potentially using you as a fallback. Everyone deserves to be with someone who isn’t afraid to shout their love from the rooftops.

8) They keep you on the periphery of their life

If you feel like your partner is keeping you at arm’s length from the core aspects of their life, it may be because you’re just a fallback option for them. They might avoid introducing you to their close circle or exclude you from significant events in their life.

Being kept on the periphery can lead to feelings of isolation and exclusion. In a healthy relationship, your significant other should want to include you in all aspects of their life.

9) Their ex is still in the picture

While it’s normal for some people to maintain friendly relations with their exes, it becomes problematic if your partner seems too attached or reliant on them. This could mean that they’re not fully over their past relationship and may be using you as a safety net.

It’s important to maintain open communication and express your concerns if you feel uncomfortable. If they’re unwilling or unable to set boundaries with their ex, it might suggest that they’re not completely committed to your relationship.

10) They’re hot and cold

A final sign that you might be a fallback option is if your partner exhibits hot and cold behavior. One minute they’re showering you with attention and the next, they’re distant and unresponsive.

This rollercoaster of emotions can leave you feeling confused and insecure. Consistency is key in any relationship, and if that’s lacking, it’s possible that you’re just an option to them when it suits their needs.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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