10 signs you’re not in love, you just want to be in a relationship

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Ever found yourself wondering whether you’re truly in love or just wanting the comfort of a relationship?

It’s a question that’s more common than you might think. 

The difference between being in love and simply wanting to be in a relationship can be subtle, but it’s crucial to understand it for your own emotional well-being. 

Read on to discover the 10 signs that you might be more enamored with the idea of a relationship rather than being in love with the actual person you’re with.

1) You’re more focused on the idea than the person

You find yourself daydreaming often. We all do. Especially when we’re in a relationship.

But you’re not dreaming about those little quirks that make your partner unique; you’re thinking about the relationship milestones you want to hit. 

Maybe it’s posting that first picture together on social media. 

Or perhaps it’s meeting their family over the holidays. 

Not to mention, the idea of having a “plus one” for life’s events excites you more than getting to know the intricate details of who they are. 

Sure, it feels great to have a partner. 

But when the idea of a relationship overshadows the actual person you’re with, it might be a sign you’re not in love

2) You feel a sense of urgency

The clock’s ticking, right? 

Whether you’re feeling the pressure from social expectations or your own internal clock, you’re in a hurry to make it “official.”

Quick to define the relationship, you might even push for commitment before both parties are ready. 

But remember, a real connection takes time to build. 

Love is patient; it doesn’t rush because of age, loneliness, or social timelines. If you’re feeling a sense of urgency, take a step back. 

Ask yourself why you’re rushing. Is it because you’re truly in love, or do you just not want to be alone?

3) You’re unwilling to accept their flaws

In the honeymoon phase, everything seems perfect. 

But as time goes on, you start noticing their flaws. Instead of accepting them, you find yourself making mental notes of what they should change. 

“If only they were more ambitious,” you think. Or, “They’d be perfect if they were more outgoing.” 

But here’s the thing:

When you’re truly in love, you accept the whole package, quirks and all. 

And unconditional love doesn’t come with a list of conditions that have to be met. 

If you find that you’re eager to mold your partner into an ideal that suits you, rather than loving them for who they are, you might just be in love with the idea of a relationship, not the person.

4) You overlook red flags

Maybe your partner is always late, cancels plans at the last minute, or avoids important conversations. 

These red flags pop up, but you push them aside. 

You tell yourself it’s not a big deal, that every relationship has its challenges. 

While that’s true, continuously overlooking significant issues indicates that you may be more focused on maintaining the relationship status quo rather than addressing real concerns. 

Here’s the thing – love isn’t blind; it sees but accepts imperfections. 

However, ignoring red flags often means you’re setting aside your own needs and boundaries just for the sake of being in a relationship.

5) You’re always comparing your relationship to others

We’ve all been there. Even I find myself scrolling through social media, looking at pictures of seemingly perfect couples. 

Their smiles, their vacations, and even their “candid” moments look picture-perfect. 

Then, I look at my own relationship and start to question it. “Why don’t we look that happy?” “Should we be doing more romantic activities like them?” 

But when you’re in love, the only relationship you should be focusing on is your own. 

Constantly comparing your relationship to others’ highlights—because let’s be honest, social media is a highlights reel—indicates that you might be more concerned with how your relationship appears than how it actually feels. 

If you’re always comparing, it might be time to ask yourself whether you’re truly in love or just invested in the idea of a picture-perfect relationship.

6) You feel lonely when you’re alone

Being comfortable in your own company is crucial in any healthy relationship. 

Yet, if you find that loneliness creeps in the moment your partner is not around, it may indicate a deeper issue.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Are you using the relationship as a way to avoid feeling lonely?
  • Do you feel anxious or incomplete when you’re not with your partner?
  • Is your relationship filling a void rather than adding value to your already whole self?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, your desire for a relationship may be more about avoiding loneliness than true connection

If this is the case, it might be beneficial to explore these feelings further, perhaps even with a professional, to get to the root of your discomfort with being alone.

7) Your happiness is solely dependent on the relationship

“I feel so much happier when we’re together,” you think to yourself. 

And that’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but what happens when they’re not around? 

If you notice that your mood drastically changes based on the state of your relationship, that’s a red flag.

I’ve seen it often, people tying their emotional well-being solely to their relationship status. 

Here’s the brutal truth:

When you’re genuinely in love, your happiness shouldn’t hinge entirely on another person. 

Love should add to your life, not define it. 

If your emotional state is a roller coaster that’s only up when your relationship is going well, it’s worth asking yourself if you’re in love or just addicted to the highs of being in a relationship.

8) You’re more invested in future plans than present moments

It’s natural to fantasize about a future with someone you care about—planning holidays, imagining life milestones, or even daydreaming about growing old together. 

However, if you find that these future plans occupy more of your emotional bandwidth than the moments you’re actually living now, take it as a warning sign. 

You see, true love is about cherishing the present as much as, if not more than, you anticipate the future. 

Ask yourself:

“Why am I not taking comfort and joy in the present moment with my partner?”

“Am I able to?” 

If the answer is “no”, then it’s pretty telling that you’re more interested in the relationship than the person sitting next to you right now. 

9) You’re keeping backup options

When you’re truly in love, your partner is your priority, not just an option among many.

So if you find yourself holding onto old flings or constantly eyeing new potential partners, it’s a clear signal. 

Think of it this way: 

In a loving relationship, the thought of a “backup” shouldn’t even cross your mind. Your focus should be on nurturing the connection you have, not on keeping one foot out the door “just in case” things don’t work out.

Keeping backup options means you’re not fully invested in the relationship you’re in. Ask yourself: Are you in love, or are you just keeping your options open?

10) Emotional investment is lacking or one-sided

And finally, in a well-balanced relationship, emotional investment is a two-way street

You should both be interested in each other’s lives, not just in the joys but also in the struggles and the mundane.

So, if you find yourself emotionally detached, there might be something deeper at play. 

It could be a fear of vulnerability, or perhaps an underlying belief that your partner’s issues aren’t your concern.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you feel indifferent when your partner shares something significant with you?
  • Are you reluctant to confide in your partner, reserving your deeper thoughts and feelings for others?

Look, the bottom line is that emotional investment goes beyond just spending time together; it involves a willingness to emotionally connect and support each other. 

A lack of this kind of deep emotional interaction could signify that the relationship serves more as a placeholder in your life rather than a meaningful connection.

Final words

Being in a relationship can be fulfilling, but it’s essential to distinguish between loving the person you’re with and loving the idea of being in a relationship. If you recognize one or more of these signs in yourself, it may be time for some introspection.

Love should add value to your life, not just fill a void. So, make sure you’re in it for the right reasons.

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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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