9 signs someone is only in a relationship because they’re lonely

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There’s a clear distinction between being in a relationship due to genuine love and simply because you’re afraid of being alone.

Understanding this difference is crucial. Being in a relationship out of loneliness means that you’re primarily focused on filling a void, rather than genuinely connecting with your partner.

Recognizing this pattern isn’t always easy, however, there are certain signs that can indicate that someone is in a relationship just because they’re lonely.

In this article, we’ll uncover nine such signs. By the end of it, you’ll be able to understand if you or someone close to you is dating out of loneliness or love.

Let’s dive right in.

1) They seek constant reassurance

It’s a common human trait to seek validation and reassurance in our relationships. It boosts our confidence and makes us feel valued.

But when someone is in a relationship purely because they’re lonely, their need for reassurance may become excessive.

They might constantly seek affirmation of their partner’s feelings, needing to be told again and again that they’re loved. Their sense of self-worth often becomes tied exclusively to the relationship, making them highly dependent on their partner for emotional support.

This dependence isn’t healthy, and it’s a clear sign that they’re dating out of fear of loneliness rather than genuine love.

Understanding this behavior can help you identify if it’s loneliness driving the relationship. Just remember, everyone needs reassurance sometimes, but when it becomes a constant need, it might be worth considering why.

2) They jump from relationship to relationship

I’ve seen this pattern quite often. A friend of mine, let’s call her Sarah, never seemed to be single for more than a few weeks at a time. She would bounce from one relationship to another, without taking the time to heal and understand her feelings from the previous breakup.

Sarah was always in a relationship, but she never seemed truly happy. It was more like she was terrified of being alone, so she clung to whoever came along next.

Looking back, it was clear that Sarah was using these relationships as a way to avoid facing her loneliness. It wasn’t about the person she was with; it was about having someone there, anyone, so she didn’t have to be alone.

This behavior is a common sign that someone is in a relationship not because they’re truly invested in their partner, but because they’re lonely and afraid of being on their own.

3) They’re more interested in the idea of a relationship than in their partner

In the honeymoon phase of a relationship, it’s normal to feel infatuated and focus on the positives. As time goes by, though, this should transition into a deeper understanding and appreciation of your partner’s individual qualities.

However, when someone is in a relationship out of loneliness, they might be more enamored with the idea of being in a relationship than with their actual partner. The relationship status becomes an asset, a shield against loneliness, rather than a meaningful connection with another person.

Did you know that studies have found that people who are afraid of being single are more likely to settle for less in their relationships? They might overlook glaring incompatibilities or red flags because they’re more focused on not being alone than on finding a compatible partner.

This is another sign to look out for if you suspect someone is in a relationship purely out of fear of loneliness.

4) They feel insecure when their partner isn’t around

We all enjoy the company of our romantic partners, but it’s also healthy to have time apart. It allows us to maintain our individuality and personal growth.

However, someone in a relationship because they’re lonely might struggle with this concept. They may feel anxious or insecure when their partner isn’t around. This insecurity often stems from the fear of being alone, rather than a fear of losing the partner themselves.

This excessive attachment can put a strain on the relationship, causing it to revolve around one person’s need for constant companionship and reassurance. Recognizing this sign can help identify if loneliness, rather than love, is at the heart of the relationship.

5) They don’t have a strong social circle outside the relationship

Having a strong social network outside of a romantic relationship is crucial for mental health and well-being. Friends provide emotional support, shared experiences, and a sense of belonging.

However, someone who is in a relationship out of loneliness may not have a strong social circle outside of their partner. They might isolate themselves or rely exclusively on their partner for social interaction.

This heavy dependence on one person for all social needs can indicate that the person is using the relationship as a barrier against loneliness. It’s another sign to watch out for when trying to understand the dynamics of a relationship.

6) They feel unfulfilled even when they’re with their partner

Being in a loving relationship should bring joy, fulfillment, and a sense of companionship. You should feel happier and more complete when you’re with your partner.

However, if someone is in a relationship simply because they’re lonely, they may still feel unfulfilled even when they’re with their partner. This is because their loneliness is more about their relationship with themselves than it is about the absence of others.

They might be in a room full of people, even sitting next to their partner, and still feel profoundly alone. This can be heart-wrenching to witness, as no amount of external companionship can fill the void of internal loneliness.

Understanding this nuance can help in identifying if someone is in a relationship out of loneliness rather than genuine affection.

7) They fear the end of the relationship more than they value its existence

A few years back, I was in a relationship that, in hindsight, wasn’t right for me. I wasn’t happy, and yet, the thought of ending it was terrifying. I was more afraid of being alone than I was unhappy in the relationship.

When someone is in a relationship because they’re lonely, they might fear its end more than they appreciate its existence. The dread of going back to being single can overshadow the reality that the relationship isn’t satisfying or healthy.

This disproportionate fear of being single can be a strong indicator that someone is in a relationship primarily to evade loneliness.

8) They’re always seeking new relationships

Someone who is in a relationship because they’re lonely might always be on the lookout for new relationships, even when they’re already in one. This is not necessarily about infidelity or lack of commitment, but more about their fear of being alone.

They might constantly build connections with potential partners, keeping their options open in case their current relationship ends. This ‘backup plan’ provides them with the security of knowing they won’t be alone, even if their current relationship doesn’t work out.

This constant pursuit of new relationships, even when in one, can suggest that loneliness, not love, is the driving force behind their dating behavior.

9) They’re unhappy but can’t pinpoint why

If someone is in a relationship out of loneliness, they may often feel unhappy without understanding why. They have a partner, so they shouldn’t feel alone, right? But it’s not that simple.

Loneliness doesn’t always stem from being alone. Often, it’s the result of not feeling understood or connected on a deeper level. If someone is in a relationship for the wrong reasons, they might feel this kind of emotional loneliness, even when they’re with their partner.

This unexplained unhappiness can be a significant sign that someone is in a relationship mainly because they’re lonely. It’s crucial to recognize this and address the underlying issues, rather than jumping into another relationship to mask the loneliness.

Final thoughts: It’s about self-discovery

Being in a relationship should be about companionship, love, and growth. When these elements are overshadowed by the fear of loneliness, it might be time to step back and self-reflect.

The renowned Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung once said, “Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.”

If someone is in a relationship just because they’re lonely, they might be missing out on this vital communication and connection. They could be with someone all the time and still feel alone because their true feelings and desires aren’t being acknowledged or understood.

It’s important to remember that being alone doesn’t have to equate to loneliness. It can be a time for self-discovery, understanding one’s own needs, and learning to enjoy one’s own company.

Recognizing these signs in oneself or others can be a crucial step in addressing the root cause of the loneliness and cultivating healthier relationships moving forward.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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