8 signs your relationship isn’t making you happy (but you’re afraid to be alone)

Unless you’ve been hurt beyond measure, wanting to die alone with 31 cats isn’t anyone’s dream. 

Most of us want to spend time with someone who makes us happy and adds meaning to our lives. 

Sometimes, this desire can run so deep that the thought of being single makes you anxious. 

When you reach this point, you might do anything you need to keep your relationship working. 

And while it’ll be possible to make everything seem okay, loneliness will creep in, and some subtle signs and behaviors will reveal your unhappiness. 

At first, you might not notice these, but when you pause and look back, you’ll realize that the warning lights have been flickering for a while. 

If you’re unhappy but too afraid to leave, one of the first signs will be that…

1) You have a gut feeling the relationship isn’t right for you, but you refuse to admit it. 

Have you ever had that gnawing feeling deep down in your gut that tells you something’s wrong for you? And then you keep brushing it off?

Like your intuition is trying to get your attention, but you shove it aside?

You know, sometimes we just ignore our instincts because we’re afraid of the truth. But that gut feeling, that little voice in the back of your mind, is more right than wrong. 

And it’s trying to protect you. 

When it doesn’t stop whispering that your relationship isn’t right for you, it’s time to listen and give it the consideration it deserves. 

Leaving now, even when you’re afraid, could save you from a life of misery and lots of hurt down the road. 

If you do choose to keep ignoring it, or you don’t know if you can trust it, there are other signs that’ll point to unhappiness. 

Besides that knot in your stomach, it might be that…

2) You don’t care how your partner is doing.

One big sign that something might be off in your relationship is when you’re not as invested in your partner’s well-being as you used to be. 

Love is selfless. And when you’re happy, you’d want your partner to be happy too. 

When unhappiness takes over, it’s normal to get a bit selfish. 

So, if you find yourself more wrapped up in what you’re getting from the relationship and how it’s meeting your needs instead of making an effort to give back and keep your partner happy too, it might be time to move on. 

3) You’re settling for less. 

Most of us wear rose-colored glasses when we first meet someone. We overlook character flaws, convince ourselves that we’ll change them eventually, and ultimately live in delusion. 

But as relationships progress, those glasses dim, and we start seeing our partners for who they truly are. 

At this point, you need to decide if you’re going to stay or go

Maybe you’re the adventurous type who loves spontaneity, but now your relationship settled into a routine, and everything’s predictable…

Or your partner might have given you a foot massage every week, but now months go by, and they only do it after you practically beg…

If you’re thinking, “Oh well, it’s no big deal. I’ll settle. I don’t want to ask for too much,” then you’re probably just afraid to be alone

A few years down the line, relationships are rarely exactly how they used to be at first, but if you’re compromising just to avoid fights or a breakup, you need to stop and think. 

4) You can’t envision a future with your partner in it.

Another clear sign that you’re unhappy in your relationship is when you’re trying to plan for something in the future, but your partner just isn’t in the picture. 

You might be dreaming of your career, a vacation, or somewhere you want to be in five or ten years and then realize that your partner doesn’t really fit into that vision

I’m not talking about the occasional daydreaming, okay?

This is more about the big stuff. 

Like when you’re thinking of buying a house or starting a family.

A happy relationship will make you feel excited about building a future together. 

If that feeling is missing, something’s wrong. 

Want to know what’s an even clearer sign? 

5) You fantasize about being in a happier relationship – with someone else. 

worrying signs youre giving more love than youre receiving in your relationship 8 signs your relationship isn't making you happy (but you're afraid to be alone)

I’ll be honest – it happens to the best of us. 

After years of being in a monogamous partnership, daydreaming about what a relationship with someone else would be like can be normal. 

But, this has to be fleeting. And if you feel a little guilty about it – even better!

If you start obsessing over it and find yourself ogling every new guy or girl who walks past, then it’s a major red flag. 

No matter how innocent these fantasies seem, if they become a regular thing, something’s going on. 

Again, it’s natural to wonder if there’s something bigger or someone better out there from time to time. 

But constantly thinking about what it would be like to be with someone more compatible – who could make you happier – is destructive to your current relationship. 

And it’s a huge sign that you’re not being fulfilled.

6) Your conversations aren’t open and honest anymore. 

You know how, at first, when you’re in love and can’t wait to spend time with someone, you babble about all your dreams, hopes, and plans? 

Or how you’d have real, deep, heart-to-heart talks?

Well, if that seems few and far between now, or if you simply avoid specific topics and hide your true feelings, you might be unhappier than you think

The thing is, when we open up, we do so, hoping the other person will share in our excitement for the future or provide a safe place despite our fears. 

But the moment we’re afraid to be alone – afraid of how someone would react – we shut down. 

Another reason for not sharing anything like you used to is not caring what your partner thinks. 

You might have turned to them for an opinion or ideas in the past. But now, their input matters less. 

When this sense of not caring creeps in, it might be time to pause and think about how happy you really are. 

7) You’re always sad, frustrated, or angry.

When you’re happy in your relationship, your mood will reflect this. 

I’m not saying that you’ll never be sad, have disagreements, or feel stuck. 

But you’ll walk around feeling cheerful and optimistic most of the time. 

You know, like when that cynical single friend at the office comes in with a smile, offering to make everyone coffee? You just know something is up – that something made them happy. 

If sadness, frustration, or anger keeps coming back, and you can’t shake these emotions off, it should be a wake-up call. 

Let me break it down:

  • You’re probably sad because you’re, well, not happy in your relationship. 
  • You might feel frustrated because your partner isn’t who you want them to be.
  • You could even feel angry at them about this. Or at yourself for not knowing how to move on and be alone or having the guts to do it. 

So, you end up stuck in a loop of negative feelings.

You’re probably also constantly irritated or feel resentful towards your partner. 

This emotional rollercoaster can take a toll on your mental health and could make…

8) You depend on your partner for emotional stability. 

When we feel lost and unstable or that the burden we carry is just too heavy, turning to someone else for support is expected. 

But when you become emotionally dependent – feeling like you’d be doomed without your partner – it’s not a good thing. 

This can lead to you relying on their presence to keep you feeling okay. 

It’s happened to me once. 

I dated an older guy when I was in High School. He told me he cheated, broke up, and planned a weekend away with his friends. 

He did the whole “let’s stay friends” thing, which I was so grateful for since I couldn’t deal with the hurt alone. 

I practically begged him to cancel his weekend and stay with me to help me get over him. 

Looking back – the stupidity! 

I thought I’d never get over what he told me unless he was there to comfort me and help me feel better. I relied on him for so long that even after he hurt me, he was the only fix I saw. 

When you become so reliant on your partner for emotional stability, you neglect to build a strong foundation within yourself. 

So you’ll stay, even when you’re miserable, simply because you don’t know how to cope on your own. 

Your fear of being alone, dealing with life alone, and spending time in your own company will be scary. 

But once you realize that being single is an opportunity for self-discovery, growth, and empowerment, you’ll see it as a status, not a stigma. 

Staying in an unhappy relationship will waste the best years of your life. 

Break free, learn how to be happy on your own, and grow into the best version of yourself for your future partner. 

Picture of Natasha Combrink

Natasha Combrink

Nats is a writer who loves creating content for purposeful brands. She enjoys spending time outdoors, crafting, and diving down rabbit holes. After rediscovering life, she wants to help others live to their full potential. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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