7 signs you’re only in a relationship because you’re afraid of being single

In my world, the fear of being single has driven many to settle for less than they deserve.

It’s an all too common tale – individuals, terrified of the prospect of solitude, rush into relationships they perhaps wouldn’t have considered otherwise. The fear of being single is so pervasive, it’s almost as if it’s been hardwired into our psyche.

But there’s a flipside to this coin.

The fear of being alone can be a powerful motivator. It can push you into the arms of someone who might not be the best fit for you, simply because you’re desperate to avoid the stigma and loneliness associated with singledom.

Over time, I’ve come to recognize several signs that indicate when someone is in a relationship for the wrong reasons – specifically, because they’re afraid of being single.

These signs aren’t always easy to spot, especially when you’re the one in the relationship.

However, they’re critical to understanding whether your current relationship is healthy or simply a result of fear.

By the end of this article, I hope that you’ll not only be more aware of these signs but also feel empowered to make decisions about your relationships based on your own needs and wants, rather than out of fear.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not about whether you’re single or in a relationship – it’s about whether you’re happy.

1) You value the relationship over your own happiness

When considering your relationship, take a moment to reflect. Are you staying because it genuinely makes you happy, or because you fear the alternative?

It’s surprisingly common for individuals to get so caught up in the idea of being in a relationship that they sideline their own happiness. They compromise on their needs and desires, and put their partner’s wants above their own.

But here’s the thing – a relationship should never be at the expense of your joy or your personal growth.

If you find that your happiness takes a backseat more often than not, it might be time to reconsider.

This doesn’t necessarily mean ending the relationship, but rather addressing these issues with your partner. If things don’t change, however, it might be a sign that you’re staying in the relationship due to fear of being single, rather than because it’s genuinely fulfilling.

2) Other people’s relationships seem more attractive

At first glance, it might seem normal to occasionally admire other relationships. After all, who hasn’t looked at a seemingly perfect couple and wished for something similar?

However, if you find yourself consistently idealizing other people’s relationships, it could be indicative of a deeper issue.

Despite what social media might suggest, no relationship is perfect. Every couple has their own set of challenges and disagreements. But if you’re in a fulfilling relationship, you should be able to recognize this and not constantly compare your partnership to others.

So, why do you find yourself constantly envying other couples? Could it be because there are aspects of your own relationship that are unfulfilling? Or is it because you’re afraid that you won’t find something better if you were single?

The key here isn’t to strive for the “perfect” relationship as seen on Instagram or in movies. Instead, the goal should be to create a relationship that is perfect for you and your partner. And if you can’t do this, maybe it’s because you’re afraid of what being single means.

Ironically, by staying in a relationship because of fear, you could be stopping yourself from finding the kind of relationship that you truly desire and deserve.

3) You’re afraid of the unknown

This truth was a tough one for me to grasp.

Being scared of what lies ahead, especially when we can’t visualize it, is a common human trait. But when it comes to relationships, this fear can often trap us in situations that we’re better off leaving.

Let’s dissect this.

The thought of being single can be daunting, especially if you’ve been in a relationship for a long time. There’s comfort in the known, in the routine you’ve established with your partner, even if it’s not entirely satisfying. The unknown, on the other hand, is filled with questions and uncertainties.

But here’s what you must understand: Fear of the unknown should not be the glue that holds your relationship together.

If you’re staying in a relationship simply because you’re fearful of what being single entails—the loneliness, the dating scene, the potential judgement from others—then it’s worth asking yourself if you’re really content or just comfortable.

Remember, being single isn’t a predicament to be feared. It can be a time of growth, self-discovery and freedom. The key is to not let fear dictate your relationship status.

So, if fear is your primary reason for staying, it might be time to reassess. Your happiness should never be compromised due to fear of the unknown.

4) You’re more invested in the idea of a relationship than your actual relationship

sad relationship 7 signs you're only in a relationship because you're afraid of being single

This one might seem a little confusing at first, but bear with me.

Many people are in love with the idea of being in a relationship. The companionship, the shared experiences, the literal ‘plus one’ for every occasion. But sometimes, this idea becomes so glorified that it overshadows the actual relationship they’re in.

If you find yourself constantly daydreaming about what a relationship should be like instead of appreciating and working on the one you’re in, it’s a red flag. It means you’re more invested in the concept of a relationship than your actual partner.

This could lead to dissatisfaction, unmet expectations, and constant disappointment. All because your partner isn’t living up to an idealized version of a relationship you’ve formed in your mind.

It’s important to understand that every relationship is unique and comes with its own set of challenges and joys. No “perfect” relationship exists except the one that’s perfect for you.

And if you’re constantly chasing an ideal rather than investing time and energy into your actual relationship, it might be that you’re afraid of being single rather than truly wanting to be with your partner.

Remember, it’s not about just being in a relationship. It’s about being in it with the right person, for the right reasons.

5) You feel relieved when your partner is away

There was a time in my life when I found myself looking forward to those moments when my partner was out of town or unavailable. I relished the solitude, the freedom to do things at my own pace, and the quiet that came with being alone.

At first, I brushed it off as me simply being independent and enjoying my own company. But as time went on, I realized that this feeling of relief was a sign that something was amiss.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love my partner or enjoy spending time with them, but rather that our relationship had become more of an obligation than a source of joy and companionship. The relief I felt when they were away was actually a longing for the freedom and independence I had when I was single.

This realization was difficult to accept but important. It made me question whether I was truly happy in the relationship or if I was just afraid of being single.

If you can relate to this feeling of relief when your partner is away, it might be time to reassess your relationship. Like me, you might find that it’s not the relationship that’s fulfilling you but the fear of being alone that’s keeping you in it.

6) You often find yourself making excuses for your relationship

Psychologists have long studied the concept of cognitive dissonance, where individuals experience discomfort when their actions and beliefs don’t align. To resolve this, people often change their beliefs or perceptions to justify their actions.

In the context of relationships, cognitive dissonance can manifest itself in different ways. One such way is when you find yourself constantly making excuses for your relationship or your partner’s behavior.

Consider this: you’re in a relationship that doesn’t entirely fulfill you, but instead of acknowledging this, you convince yourself that things aren’t that bad. You make excuses for your dissatisfaction, telling yourself that no relationship is perfect, or that things will get better with time.

This sort of mental gymnastics is a clear sign that you’re not in the relationship because it’s what you genuinely want, but rather because you fear being single. You’re trying to convince yourself to stay in a situation that isn’t truly fulfilling.

Remember, it’s natural to have ups and downs in a relationship, but if you consistently find yourself needing to justify why you’re with your partner or why you’re unhappy, it might be time to confront your fear of being single.

Being honest with yourself could be the first step towards finding a relationship that truly makes you happy.

7) You’re happy, but not fulfilled

relationship with emotional manipulator 1 7 signs you're only in a relationship because you're afraid of being single

Here’s a puzzling thought. Can you be happy in a relationship, yet still feel unfulfilled? The answer is yes.

Happiness and fulfillment, while interconnected, aren’t interchangeable. You can enjoy spending time with your partner, share laughs and good times, and still feel a void somewhere deep within.

Fulfillment goes beyond temporary happiness. It’s about feeling content and satisfied, not just in the moment, but in a profound, long-lasting way. It’s about growing together, supporting each other’s dreams, and creating a deep bond that goes beyond surface-level happiness.

So, if you find yourself feeling happy in your relationship but still yearning for something more meaningful, it might be a sign that you’re clinging to the relationship out of fear of being single.

It’s crucial to understand that it’s okay to want more from your relationship. It’s okay to crave a profound connection that brings both happiness and fulfillment. And if your current relationship isn’t providing this, it might be time to reassess not just the relationship but also your fear of being single.

Ultimately, it’s about choosing fulfillment over fear and embracing the potential that comes with it – the potential for a relationship that truly satisfies you or the potential for growth and self-discovery in being single.

In conclusion: It’s all about self-awareness

The complexities of our relationships and our attitudes towards singledom often stem from our own perceptions and insecurities.

One such perception is the societal stigma associated with being single. Despite the progressive strides we’ve made in many areas, there remains a lingering notion that being single equates to being incomplete or unfulfilled.

But here’s what you need to remember: Your relationship status does not define you.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, the key to contentment lies in self-awareness and self-love. Recognizing your worth, understanding what you truly want from a relationship, and refusing to settle for less is pivotal.

As the renowned psychologist Carl Rogers said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

So, if you find yourself relating to these signs, it might be time for some introspection. Are you in your current relationship because it truly makes you happy, or are you just afraid of being alone?

At the end of the day, it’s about choosing what’s best for you, irrespective of societal pressures or fears. After all, the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one with yourself.




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Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibly.

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