People always say it's better to be alone than with someone who's not right for you. But that doesn't mean it always feels like the truth. The feeling that not being alone is preferable can cause you to get stuck in a better-than-nothing relationship, where you are in the relationship for no reason other than to be in a relationship.
Here are 10 ways to help yourself recognize if you are stuck in one of these better-than-nothing relationships.
1. You have to remind yourself you're in a relationship
When you make plans with friends, do you have to remind yourself to invite your boyfriend? When you meet a cute girl, do you impulsively flirt before remembering you're in a committed relationship?
If you find yourself living your life and having to remind yourself to make your partner a part of it, chances are you're in a relationship just because you feel like it's a better alternative to being single.
2. You feel guilty
You shouldn't feel a pit in your stomach when you say I love you to your significant other. If you are feeling guilty about your relationship, chances are you are subconsciously aware that your boyfriend or girlfriend deserves someone who actually is invested in the relationship, and you're not that person. It's not fair to lead someone on in a relationship you know is based on convenience instead of affection. Being in a better-than-nothing relationship is selfish because you are preventing your partner from finding someone who truly cares about him or her.
3. You don't think the break up will be hard
The thought of telling your partner it's over doesn't sound like the worst thing. You're not even going to have to spend a single hour with Ben, Jerry or Nora Ephron. If you feel like not having that particular person in your life anymore won't be a challenge, you aren't in a relationship with that person because you really want to be with him or her.
4. You can't handle talks about the future
When he suggests you buy tickets to see your favorite band in the summer or she invites you to her mom's 50th birthday party in a couple of months, you feel hesitant about committing. This doesn't mean you're battling the fear of missing out on some other awesome thing that's happening that weekend, but it does mean you're battling FOMO on other relationships. When you're invested in the person you're dating, you are excited about the future with him or her. If you're wary about making plans, subconsciously you don't know if you can last in the relationship long enough to make it 'til the Twenty One Pilots tour.
You shouldn't find yourself in a fetal position listening to Sarah McLaughlin and channeling your inner Bella Swan when you're apart. But even though you should be able to be happy when you're apart from your partner, he should still cross your mind from time to time, and hopefully you think that whatever you're doing would be more fun if he were with you.
If you're dating him so that you have someone to call when you're lonely or to avoid going through a whole string of awful first dates again, you're in a better-than-nothing relationship. However, avoiding those things isn't worth avoiding finding a relationship that is better than everything.
7. You can't relate to people in awesome relationships
You're out with your girls and they brag about their boyfriends, but you really don't think the things your man does are quite as adorable. When you're out with your cousin and he talks about how easy it is to talk about things with his girlfriend, you don't feel the same way about your lady. If you don't feel like you can relate to people who are in thriving relationships, you are in a relationship because it's "better" than not being in a relationship.
8. You can't remember why you started dating
It's possible that the relationship began out of convenience or proximity. A relationship that is stronger than a better-than-nothing relationship begins consciously. That's the kind of relationship you should look for. If you don't know what you ever saw in this person, you probably shouldn't be dating him or her.
9. You could care less about getting physical
He reaches for your hand when you're out, and you take it because he's your boyfriend. She cuddles close when you're watching a movie, and you put your arm around her because she's your girlfriend. But you never initiate the affection because, frankly, you could care less. When you love someone, you should want to be physically close with that person.
10. You read this because you thought it might apply to you
If you're in a relationship just to be in a relationship, you probably already know it. But you are better than a better-than-nothing relationship. Don't waste your time because you have so much life to live. Single life can be better, and your future relationships will be better.