You feel dread instead of excitement when your text notification dings.
Or maybe you spent all day waiting to tell your partner about something you were excited about, but they started cutting you down as soon as you began to share.
Or, you’re sitting through your third consecutive weekend watching them play video games instead of doing something that you want to do.
“Relationships are pointless,” you think.
So, why are you bothering?
While you may be tempted to cultivate a stronger relationship with your cat and your Netflix account, on some level, you know there’s got to be something better out there.
The truth is, relationships are only pointless if you are pursuing the wrong ones.
Keep the following truths in mind before you settle for a relationship with someone who doesn’t wow you, or before you give up on dating altogether.
First we’ll cover why relationships are pointless when you’re with the wrong person. Then we’ll talk about why positive relationships are essential to live a truly fulfilling and happy life.
1. Being in a bad relationship is worse than being alone.
Lots of people stay in relationships that make them miserable just because they’d rather be with someone, anyone, than risk being alone.
But, if you are unhappy and lonely even though you’re with someone, what’s the point?
Instead of sticking with the safe bet, you’d be better off taking a chance on being alone.
Cultivating a taste for your own company can be very freeing.
You’ll learn things about yourself and become more creative and resilient.
When you don’t fear being alone, you will only settle for relationships that truly make you happy.
2. You’re not the right match for everyone.
If you are with someone who just doesn’t seem to be very excited about being with you — or, if you’re the one who isn’t excited about who you are with — there’s a good chance that this is just not the relationship for you.
In your dating life, you’ll meet people who tick all the boxes, but somehow just don’t excite you the way that they should.
Sometimes, it’ll be even more blatant than that, and you will have glaring incompatibilities.
It may seem shallow to want to break up with someone because you’re a late owl, and they like to go to bed early.
You may feel like it shouldn’t be a big deal that you and your partner don’t like the same foods. But, if those things are making you unhappy, this may not be the person for you.
3. A one-sided relationship is exhausting.
Are you always the one making plans, calling first or taking care of the laundry? Someone who puts no effort into the relationship is just there for what it can do for them. And that person is exhausting.
Think how much more time you’d have if you weren’t catering to someone who didn’t do the same for you. Think about how great it’d be to not have to put in all that extra, unrequited effort.
Think about how much more emotional energy you’d have if you were supported the same way that you support your partner.
Sometimes, when you are not getting enough out of relationships, those relationships become pointless. Better to be on your own.
4. You shouldn’t have to hide your true self.
Do you avoid babbling excitedly about subjects you love because they bore your partner? Do you never listen to your favorite music when they’re at your place? Being with someone shouldn’t mean cutting off important parts of yourself.
A relationship where you can’t enjoy the things that are important to you is not a healthy relationship.
You are better off single than abstaining from everything that makes you you.
5. You deserve to be happy.
Yes, you. Some people get an idea that an unsatisfying relationship is all they deserve. These people are working with faulty schemas.
Schemas are cognitive frameworks or concepts that shape the way we think about the world. Someone who has decided that they don’t deserve happiness is more likely to stay in a relationship that makes them miserable.
Understanding that this is a faulty belief is the first step toward getting the sort of healthy relationship you deserve.
6. Life is too short to settle for less than you’re worth.
The average life expectance in the U.S. is a short 78.54 years.
Given an average age of 16 for a first relationship, that is just 62 years available for dating or marriage.
It would be a tragedy if you wasted those on relationships that are not fulfilling.
7. Things don’t magically get better.
If it’s not good now, it’s not going to improve on its own.
If you are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t respect you or treat you well, they aren’t going to get better over time.
And, if your partner doesn’t see any problem with their behavior, they have no incentive to change it.
Don’t waste your time with a relationship that just doesn’t feel good. That sort of relationship is pointless.
8. You will get another chance at love.
The idea of being out there in the dating pool is intimidating. You may be dreading the prospect of matching on apps and going on what seems like an endless series of coffee dates.
But, you will never find a quality relationship if you don’t leave the bad one that you are in.
9. There is nothing wrong with wanting things for yourself.
Sometimes people stay in relationships because they feel bad about leaving their partner alone. This is flawed thinking.
Your partner deserves love and support, but you do, too. Staying in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy isn’t fair to either of you.
It is okay to want more out of your life than your current relationship is giving you. It is not selfish to want a partner who makes you happy.
10. There’s more to life than being in a relationship.
It’s not uncommon to feel like a failure if you have not been successful in relationships. Unfortunately, that’s a view that ignores all the other facets of a person’s life. What are your hobbies? How are things going in your career? What have you set out to learn this year?
Instead of wasting your time on a relationship that isn’t working for you, what if you put those hours into learning how to play the guitar?
Instead of spending money on dates that don’t excite either of you, put it in a travel fund and go explore the places you’ve always wanted to see.
Being in a relationship is not the point of living. Living is. Instead of being afraid of being single, embrace the opportunities that freedom provides.
All of that said, relationships do have value. It’s just a matter of being in the right one. When you are in the wrong relationship, it adds nothing to your life.
But, when you find the right one, it can enrich your life in a million different ways.
Here are 10 reasons why relationships aren’t pointless when you’re with the right person
1. The right relationship can make you a better person.
When we’re with someone who shares our values, it’s easier to live by them.
Whether you want to improve yourself by exercising more, giving up meat, committing to your spirituality or giving back to your community, having someone support your actions improves your follow-through.
Think of it as a version of the buddy system.
Having someone else with you makes you more accountable. It also makes it easier to do things that you would find harder on your own.
2. A good relationship makes you feel valued.
When you spend time with someone who values you, it will naturally help you feel better about yourself, too.
3. Good relationships reduce stress.
According to couple’s therapist Sally R. Connolly, a good relationship is one of the best supports to help you beat stress.
A relationship provides stress relief by allowing you to share burdens with someone else. You have someone who can help you talk through problems.
You have someone you can be with to enjoy relaxing activities.
Your partner should be someone you could confide in and someone who can give you advice when you aren’t sure what to do.
By having that person available to you, you have an easier time of things that you would on your own.
4. Relationships keep you healthier.
Multiple studies have confirmed that people in happy marriages live longer and experience fewer health problems.
In one study, researchers found a link between an individual’s health and their partner’s satisfaction.
People who were with someone who was happy to be in the relationship were happier themselves. They had greater life satisfaction and were likely to live longer.
So, think of being happy in a relationship as not just something that’s good for you, but good for the person you are with, too. Your happiness each benefits the other.
5. You’ll be better off financially.
No one should enter or stay in a relationship because of money. But, it’s unavoidable that a stable marriage is correlated with greater wealth over time.
In one study, researchers found that people who get married and stay married have four times the wealth, on average, as their single or divorced peers.
There are a lot of reasons for this. First of all, it’s much easier to economize when you are shopping for two instead of one.
An apartment for two of you doesn’t need to cost more than one you live in by yourself.
Buying food and cooking for two is cheaper, too. Plus, you have the benefit of two salaries in most households.
6. You have someone to do things with.
No one should be afraid to go out and enjoy activities alone.
That said, it’s easier for most people to get up the nerve to try out a new restaurant when they have someone to go with them.
When you are in a happy and healthy relationship, you are more likely to get out and do new things together.
This sort of novelty is good for your mental and emotional health. Having more chances to explore new things can help make your life richer and more enjoyable.
7. Loneliness is bad for your health.
A 2019 study found that loneliness is as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Humans are social creatures who need meaningful relationships to thrive.
When we are isolated, we have higher stress levels, as well as higher risks of serious physical problems like heart disease or strokes.
Romantic relationships are not the only important kind of relationship. But, being in a healthy romantic relationship means you are less likely to feel lonely.
You’re also more likely to stay social and do things with other couples, increasing your number of meaningful relationships in another way.
8. Caring for other people is good for you.
In a warm romantic relationship, you are invested in the well-being of the person who you are with. This opens up all sorts of opportunities to be caring and nurturing.
From buying little gifts to taking care of chores that your partner dreads doing, these opportunities to take care of one another are good for your health and well-being.
Caring for others reduces your stress and makes you feel better about your life.
9. A relationship exposes you to new things.
A curious and active partner is a boon to anyone. They give you a chance to find out about things that you might never have discovered yourself.
Often, we find new hobbies and interests through the people around us.
Having someone with you who shares some of your tastes can mean more chances to explore and embrace new things.
This can range from new cuisines to a new TV show to a brand new hobby that you might not otherwise have even known about.
10. Being in a happy relationship is fun.
Being with someone who you enjoy can transform even the most banal and boring activities into something fun.
Joking with each other while you are doing laundry or running errands makes the time go by. A long drive becomes an exploration and adventure when you are with the person who you love most.
When you are in a relationship that isn’t working, it can be hard to see just how satisfying life can be when you find one that really fits.
Finding the right person and having a good relationship can show you that relationships aren’t pointless after all.
Instead, they are something that can make every other part of your life a little bit richer and a lot more satisfying.
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