People who settle down in a relationship because they feel pressured to do so usually display these behaviors

It’s a tough situation, one of the most complex ones you can find yourself in:

You’re in a relationship, perhaps one that others might even envy, but deep down you know something isn’t quite right.

You’re going through the motions, checking off the boxes of what a ‘successful’ relationship should look like, but you can’t shake off the feeling that it’s not what you truly desire.

Often, it’s not even a big blowout or a major disagreement that brings this realization.

It’s just this nagging thought at the back of your mind that you’re in this relationship more due to societal pressure or fear of being alone than genuine love and compatibility.

Here’s how to identify if you or someone else is settling in a relationship because they feel pressured to do so.

1) Decisions seem more obligatory than spontaneous

In the realm of relationships, there’s a certain thrill that comes with spontaneity. With unexpected moments of love, impromptu trips, or even just an unplanned date night at home.

But when you’re in a relationship because of pressure, that spontaneity often takes a backseat to obligation.

The decisions made aren’t driven by the desire to make your partner happy or because you want to do them, but because it’s what’s expected from you.

You find yourself making choices not based on your feelings but on societal norms or fear of disappointing others.

If you notice that decisions within your relationship feel more like fulfilling a duty than an expression of love, it might be an indication that the relationship is more about pressure than genuine connection.

2) Silence feels uncomfortable

I’ve always believed that one of the hallmarks of a strong relationship is the ability to enjoy silence together. To sit in the same room, not saying anything, but still feeling connected.

But when I found myself in a relationship because of pressure, I noticed that silence became something I dreaded.

Silence no longer meant comfortable companionship; it turned into a stark reminder of the lack of emotional depth and connection we had.

I was constantly trying to fill the silence with small talk, or distractions, anything to avoid the discomfort.

And that’s when I realized: if you can’t be comfortable in silence with your partner, it might be a sign that the relationship is not based on mutual understanding and love, but on external pressures.

3) I started avoiding deep conversations

There was this one time, I remember clearly, when my partner asked about my dreams, my ambitions, and my vision for the future.

Usually, I’m the kind of person who loves deep conversations. But in that moment, I found myself deflecting, steering the conversation towards lighter, less intimate topics.

Looking back, it wasn’t because I didn’t have dreams or ambitions. It was because I was afraid. Afraid that my vision for the future didn’t include this relationship that I felt pressured to be in.

I started avoiding deep conversations because they brought into focus the stark reality that I was settling for a relationship that wasn’t right for me.

If you find yourself doing the same, it might be a sign that you’re settling in your relationship due to pressure rather than love.

4) The fear of loneliness becomes a driving factor

This might be hard to believe but research has shown that people often stay in unhappy relationships due to the fear of being alone.

In my own experience, I found this to be absolutely true. I felt a growing dread of being alone, and this overshadowed the dissatisfaction I felt within the relationship.

The idea of being single was more daunting than being in a relationship that was just okay, not spectacular.

The fear of loneliness had become a significant driving factor in my decisions around the relationship.

When fear, rather than love or happiness, becomes your motivation to stay, it’s a strong indicator that you’re settling because of pressure.

5) You start justifying your unhappiness

I’ve noticed something interesting about how the human mind works. When we’re in situations that aren’t ideal but aren’t willing to change, we start justifying our circumstances.

In my case, I found myself frequently defending my relationship and explaining away the dissatisfaction I felt. Phrases like “No relationship is perfect” or “We’re just going through a rough patch” became a constant echo in my mind.

But deep down, I knew these were just excuses. I was trying to convince myself that the unhappiness I was experiencing within the relationship was normal.

If you catch yourself regularly justifying your unhappiness or making excuses for why you’re in a less than satisfying relationship, it’s a crucial sign that you might be settling due to pressure.

6) Your gut keeps whispering that something’s off

You know that little voice at the back of your mind? The one that often knows what’s best for you, even before you do?

Well, during my journey, I noticed that voice was constantly whispering, nudging me to take a closer look at my relationship.

There were no glaring red flags, no obvious reasons to break up, but my intuition was persistently telling me something was off.

I started to realize that when you’re in a relationship for the right reasons, your gut feeling is usually one of peace and contentment, not constant discomfort and uncertainty.

If you’re constantly feeling like something isn’t quite right, trust your gut. It might be telling you that you’re settling because of pressure rather than passion.

7) You feel relief when your partner isn’t around

This was a difficult realization for me. I noticed that whenever my partner was away or busy, I felt a sense of relief rather than longing.

Instead of missing them, I was enjoying the freedom, the peace and the solitude. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about them, but their absence seemed to lift a weight off my shoulders.

I was using these moments of solitude to escape from the pressure and dissatisfaction of our relationship. This wasn’t about needing personal space or time for myself, it was about relief from a relationship that felt more like an obligation than a choice.

If you find yourself feeling relieved when your partner isn’t around, it could be a sign that you are settling in your relationship due to pressure.

8) Your happiness becomes secondary

Here’s the thing I learned the hard way: When you’re in a relationship due to pressure, your happiness often takes a backseat.

Instead of prioritizing what made me happy, I found myself prioritizing the needs of the relationship. The focus was more on maintaining the status quo, avoiding conflicts, adhering to societal expectations, and less on my personal fulfillment.

The fact that I wasn’t truly happy, that I was compromising on my dreams and desires, became secondary to preserving the relationship.

If you notice that your own happiness has become less important and you’re constantly sacrificing your needs for the sake of the relationship, it’s a powerful sign that you’re settling in your relationship due to pressure.

The final reflection

Identifying with these signs can be a harsh realization, but it’s an important first step towards change.

Recognize that this pressure to settle in a relationship isn’t a life sentence. With conscious effort and self-awareness, you can navigate your way out of it.

Start by acknowledging these behaviors in your relationship. Notice when you’re prioritizing the relationship over your own happiness, or when you’re justifying your unhappiness. Pay attention to the relief you feel when your partner isn’t around.

Once you become aware of these patterns, it gets easier to pause and ask yourself some vital questions – Is this what I genuinely want? Does this align with my dreams and aspirations? Does my gut say this is right for me?

Changing old habits takes time, but remember that every little step of prioritizing your needs or expressing your true feelings brings you closer to authentic self-love and respect.

An excellent resource to begin this journey is the love and intimacy masterclass on The Vessel. It offers a framework to reframe the relationship you have with yourself and helps identify pressures so you can stand up to them.

Click here to try it out. 

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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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