9 warning signs your new relationship is based on physical attraction alone

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Ever found yourself in a new relationship that seems to be going oh-so-well, but you can’t help shake off that lil’ niggling feeling that something’s not quite right?

Well, you might just have landed yourself in a relationship that’s not quite a relationship, but rather a connection based on physical attraction.

Don’t get me wrong: physical attraction is an essential part of any romantic relationship. 

But when it becomes the sole foundation, things can get shaky. Especially if one person is after the whole monogamous, farmers-market-on-a-Sunday, let’s-buy-a-puppy together vibe.

And being attached to someone who only wants you for your body sucks.

So let’s uncover the 9 signs that indicate love isn’t quite as deep as you want it to be.

These signs might seem jarring at first, but trust me, it’s better to realize sooner rather than later.

1) Missing those deep conversations

Are all your chats on that light, flirty and surface-level? 

You don’t get further than discussing whether puppies or kittens are cuter, or how nicely salted your dinner is.

This is the first warning sign.

A relationship based solely on physical attraction often lacks depth in conversations. 

Sure, playful banter and casual chats are fun, but they don’t necessarily nourish a growing relationship.

In a well-rounded relationship where two people connect, you discuss a whole variety of topics – from your favorite movies to your deepest fears and biggest dreams. 

Through this, you learn about each other’s values, beliefs, and ambitions. You really dive deep into how the other person thinks and feels, and even a good old healthy debate is enjoyable.

But, if you find that your conversations are perpetually stuck at the “what’s your favorite color” stage before they start trying to drag you to the bedroom, it might be time to reassess.

Remember: a relationship is not just about physical attraction. It’s about emotional and intellectual compatibility too. 

And as sad as it is to admit, physical appearances fade so a connection based purely on appearance is a ticking time bomb.

2) Lack of shared interests

I’ll confess – I’ve been on both ends of this.

I started dating someone who I was incredibly attracted to physically. 

But as the weeks rolled by, I started noticing a peculiar pattern.

Literally all we had in common was that we liked vanilla lattes and cats.

Both great things. But not great enough to foster a lifetime of compatibility.

Sure, we had fun on dates and the (cough) physical intimacy was great.

But beyond that, our interests never met. He didn’t get my dry and sarcastic humor, and I never found his jokes particularly funny either.

I loved exercising; he loved clubbing. I loved reading, he liked gaming.

Two people can have different interests – this is more than encouraged in a relationship. 

You should always strive to maintain your individuality, but if you have nothing binding you beyond that physical attraction, it doesn’t bode well.

At first, I brushed it off, thinking that opposites attract and all was fine and dandy.

But over time, it became clear that without shared interests, we struggled to connect on a deeper level. 

We ran out of things to talk about and often sat in awkward silence. 

And yes, the physical attraction was still there, but it wasn’t enough to sustain the relationship.

So from my own experience, if you’re struggling to find common interests with your partner beyond physical attraction (even if they’re sexy as hell), it might be a warning sign that your relationship lacks depth.

3) Absence of emotional support

When we’re stressed and gloomy, or dealing with personal issues, we all need someone who provides comfort, understanding, and a shoulder to lean on.

But in a relationship based purely on physical attraction, this emotional support can often be lacking.

Sure, the shoulder looks great. But will it really sustain you in your time of need?

If you find your partner is not interested or seems uncomfortable when you express your feelings or open up about your problems, it’s a significant red flag.

A relationship is not merely about being physically present. And being hot.

It’s about being emotionally available for each other too.

If your partner is there for the fun times but disappears when things get real, it might indicate that your relationship is based more on physical attraction than genuine emotional connection – and that doesn’t indicate a lasting and healthy partnership.

4) All physical contact gets sexual

In a relationship, intimacy isn’t just about physical contact. 

It’s also about the little things; holding hands, cuddling on the couch, a shoulder squeeze.

It’s these small moments of closeness that build a strong emotional bond between partners.

And these moments need not always be sexual. 

If you find yourself trying to hug your partner for comfort and suddenly they’re trying it on, you’ll likely be a bit surprised. And put off.

The notion that all contact must immediately turn sexual is incredibly off putting.

It can make you feel shut off from the person and in a way, as if you’re being used.

So, if you don’t really incorporate any non-sexual intimacy, or any attempts to get cute and cuddly are taken as a sign to start stripping naked – bad sign.

5) Feeling incomplete

So ideally, relationships add to us. You should work on feeling complete by yourself.

But a partner can help you to feel seen, heard, and understood. They can help show you that you’re valued for who you are; not just for your physical attributes.

But in a relationship that’s based on physical attraction alone, it’s easy to feel incomplete. 

It often worsens this feeling of being lost and deficient, if anything.

You might feel like a great piece of arm candy – admired for your outer appearance, but disregarded for all that extra goodness that lies within. 

You kindness. 

Your compassion. 

Your wit.

This can leave you with a lingering sense of loneliness, even when you’re physically with your partner. 

And again, you start to feel used for your body yet as if your personality is just not good enough. 

If you’re experiencing this feeling of being wanted for your body but not your mind, chances are this might not be the right person for you. 

Someone out there will cherish both your mind and body – trust me.

6) Lack of future planning

Those dreamy discussions about future plans, the house you’ll live in, the names you’ll give your llamas, your future car…these are signs that both of you see a potential for a long-lasting relationship.

However, in a relationship based on physical attraction alone, these discussions rarely occur.

Hence why if your partner avoids all talk about the future, makes vague promises, or evades the topic – it’s a clear red flag.

A healthy relationship is not just about living in the moment; it’s also about planning and building a future together. 

So, if you’re not discussing or planning your future together, it could be another sign that your relationship is based primarily on physical attraction and your partner doesn’t see it lasting all too long.

7) More frustration than fulfillment

Relationships, even the best ones, can be challenging. 

But in a healthy relationship, the fulfillment far outweighs the frustration.

However, in a relationship based solely on that physical attraction, you may find yourself feeling more frustrated than fulfilled.

In short, there are more bad times than good times (even if the sex is good.)

You might feel misunderstood, unheard, or unappreciated. 

You might also find that your needs and expectations are not being met in the slightest.

This constant state of frustration can be incredibly draining and can often lead to outward stress and exhaustion, which really takes a toll on a person. 

If this sounds similar to your relationship, try communicating it to your partner – but do keep a realistic view as to whether they might well just be seeking a connection based on physical appearance and little else.

8) Skipping the friendship stage

Ideally, your partner should be your best friend. Or one of them.

You share a deep bond that transcends physical attraction (even if you both still fancy the pants off one another), and is also built on mutual respect, understanding, and shared experiences.

However, in relationships based solely on physical attraction, partners often skip this vital friendship stage. 

They dive headfirst into romance without building a solid foundation of friendship at any point.

Think about your partner now: would you consider them a pal? Or just more in the late night hookup/FWB category?

If you’re having a hard time deciding, check out Rudá Iandé’s Love and Intimacy Masterclass.

His modern shaman practices have helped thousands better understand the complexities of love and lust, and the practical exercises in the class will likely help you gain a clearer picture of what you want, and what’s currently lacking in your arrangement.

We often need outside perspectives to gain clarity on situations such as these, where our heads get clouded by the dreamy, fairytale love we chase after (which definitely isn’t present if your relationship is purely physical).

And Rudá’s class is the perfect resource for sitting down and being honest with how you’re feeling and what you actually want from a partner. Who knows what you’ll uncover – maybe that this is the person for you, maybe that it is time to move on.

Click here to try out the free class and see for yourself.

If it’s the latter, I’m afraid to say this doesn’t seem like a viable long term relationship (if that’s what you’re after!)

9) Trusting your instincts

Finally, the most important sign to look out for is your own intuition. 

Our instincts often know what’s best for us, even when our hearts are blinded by physical attraction.

If something feels off, it probably is (unless you have anxiety, at which point absolutely everything feels off.)

Now, you might not be able to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong, but that constant nagging feeling about something being wrong shouldn’t be ignored.

Trust yourself. I know it’s difficult, but you and your body know what is best for you.

Listen to your gut. 

If it’s telling you that your relationship is likely based on physical attraction alone, it’s worth taking a step back and reassessing. Probably even taking a bow and making an exit.

It might hurt to let go of this person, especially if you’ve developed feelings, but there’s nothing more heartbreaking than unrequited love. 

Or feeling used for your body.

Remember: a strong relationship involves more than just physical chemistry. 

It requires mutual respect, shared interests, emotional support and a deep connection. 

Don’t settle for anything less nor let anyone take advantage of you if you’re not on the same page.

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

I know this from personal experience…

A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

Take the free quiz here to be matched with the perfect coach for you.

Click the above link to get $50 off your first session – an exclusive offer for Hack Spirit readers.

6 phrases to make someone instantly feel better about themselves

11 surprising things that probably make you an introvert