When I'm happily swimming along through life, I hardly notice that I'm single. I can go weeks or months by totally myself and be completely fine. It's when I'm lonely, however, that I start noticing that I'm by myself, and it's usually then that I reactivate my Tinder account again and start swiping. Relationships built on loneliness never last long, though, and if you relate to one of these signs you're lonely, it's probably best if you start reevaluating your reasons for seeing the person you are seeing.
Nobody wants to be just a time-filler in someone else's life. When you're dating because you're lonely, you're more likely to consistently go missing in action from the relationship itself. This person isn't a priority to you, and you'll probably eventually feel guilty and dismissive of the relationship altogether. It's human to be lonely, and it's human to be flawed, but you do need to be accountable for the ways you treat people you are in an intimate relationships with.
If any of these four signs sound like you, it is probably time for you to figure out how you can be alone, without being lonely:
1. You Never Want To Sleep Alone
When you're seeing someone to fill up the void of your loneliness, your primary reason for spending the night at their place is so that you don't have to sleep alone. Cuddling up next to someone is definitely one of the biggest perks of a relationship, but it's definitely not fair to use someone for that level of intimacy. Consider adopting a cat or getting one of those body pillows to make your nighttime slumber more secure.
If you're sleeping with someone in order to avoid sleeping alone, it also means that you're probably not really into the sex you're having with them. It might be fine, but it probably doesn't have the level of emotional intimacy that you want. You don't have to have a genuine connection with someone when you're seeing them just to save yourself from loneliness.
Honestly, seeing someone you aren't really into takes up a lot of time — time that you could be using to figure out the source of your loneliness. It's probably better to end the relationship as soon as you can, so you can spend those valuable resources figuring out yourself.
2. You Aren't Interested In Their Work
When you are seeing someone because you are lonely, you might not actually be interested in what they have to talk about. Sure, you probably listen politely and nod and ask the right questions, but do you actually think about the conversation you had with them when you are alone? Or are you going through the motions so you have company?
It's totally OK to be lonely and to seek out friendships, but be sure that what you are seeking is an actual friendship. Relying on someone you are seeing to play the role of a friend is way too much to ask of them and maybe even a little bit deceptive. Figure out whether there are any groups or activities that you can join that pertain to your interests. You might even find someone you actually want to be with while you are there.
3. You Invite Them Over When You Are Bored
Is the person you are seeing the person whom you invite over when you want someone to watch Netflix with? Or do you also make time for them when you have other stuff going on? When you are seeing someone because you are lonely, you are usually only seeing someone when it is convenient for you. You might find yourself texting them when the feelings of loneliness or emptiness come up.
If you feel you are frequently bored, that might be an emotion that is covering up something more serious that's going on in your life. Is your boredom actually dissatisfaction with your work life or your home? Don't hide in a relationship when you might have some issues to unpack and healing to do. If you don't do that work now, it'll come back to bite you later.
4. You Think “This Is Fine For Now”
When you don't actually like the person you are seeing, you know it, even if only on a subconscious level. You convince yourself that the arrangement is temporary and that you will stop seeing them as soon as someone else comes along. You also probably know that you would be fine if you stopped sleeping together or if you just became friends. You don't think that this relationship is where you are going to end up. It's fine if a relationship is just OK for now, but be sure the other person understands the situation, too.
A relationship is not like subletting a room. You're spending time with someone, and even if you're not getting attached, they probably are. You have to think about the effect you are having on the other person involved in the relationship. You might not actually like them, but they definitely have feelings, too.
Don't sell yourself short and stop yourself from finding a relationship that would work for you. Don't do that to the person you are seeing out of boredom either. Sometimes, you have to be alone for long periods of time to work out your issues, and that's totally fine. The sooner you start doing that work, the sooner you'll be ready to find the person you actually want to be with.
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