Do I Love My Relationship Or Am I Comfortable? An Expert Explains How To Tell
There's no doubt that being in a solid, comfortable relationship can feel really good. Even if you've had doubts about staying with your partner for the long haul, the stability that comes with being loved and supported can feel too good to let go of. But if you've ever asked yourself "Do I love my relationship, or am I comfortable?" it may be worth analyzing your current partnership.
Sometimes, dealing with life's ups and downs without support can be really difficult. According to licensed clinical psychotherapist, relationship expert, and author of Training Your Love Intuition, Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, the fear of being alone is what makes many people stay in relationships that are comfortable, but not all that exciting. "Being alone and lonely in the world is not only an uncomfortable feeling, but it can also be a scary feeling," Dr. Wish tells Elite Daily. "It's not surprising that we tend to choose someone who's 'comfortable enough'."
Now, that's not to say that everyone needs a partner to help them go through rough patches. People are absolutely capable of handling situations on their own. But there's no denying that having a support system helps, and if you've had that support for a long time and you're hesitant to let it go, even if you don't totally feel excited about the relationship anymore, doubts are understandable.
If you're trying to figure out whether you're fully satisfied with your current relationship, or if you're just afraid of the discomfort that might come with being on your own, it can be helpful to consider what else is going on in your life. Dr. Wish emphasizes that coping with a traumatic event like an assault, illness, or the death of a loved one may make staying in a comfortable relationship that much more tempting. "There are other age-related issues that might prompt you to choose an 'okay enough' person," explains Dr. Wish. "Many cultures have embedded values and views on turning certain ages. For example, turning 25 or 30 might stir up feelings in you that you'd 'better get going with your life.'"
The main thing that separates a deeply satisfying relationship from one that's just comfortable is whether or not you still want to be with that person when you're at your best, says Dr. Wish. If not, then you're probably going to start feeling restless and doubtful at the thought of staying with your current partner. Ultimately, this could evolve into a wandering eye. "You might start 'looking around' for a new person in your mind," explains Dr. Wish. "For example, you might be out with your friends or other couples and think to yourself: 'I wish my partner was like theirs.'"
Even though it's normal for things to become a little less exciting and a little more baseline when you've been together for a while, if you're losing interest in your SO as a person, then this is also a red flag. "You might also feel like your feelings are cooling," warns Dr. Wish. For instance, you might not feel as sexually attracted to your partner, or you might take on more assignments at work or spend more time alone with your family and friends." Although it can be tempting to try to ignore these feelings of doubt, if you're in the wrong relationship, your feelings will become harder and harder to repress. "Soon you'll look at your partner and get the troublesome feelings that you don't need or even respect them as you once did," says Dr. Wish.
If any of this rings true for you, then you might be in a relationship that doesn't have what it takes to keep you satisfied long-term. Even though the thought of leaving the comfort and stability of what you know can be terrifying, staying in an unhappy relationship just makes getting out that much harder.
Since leaving isn't an easy decision, Dr. Wish recommends giving yourself enough time to asses your feelings. However, she advises against burdening your partner with these fears. Instead, she suggests speaking with a therapist about your concerns and coming up with a strategy to either work through them, or ending the relationship. Just remember to always trust your gut. If you're comfortable and satisfied, then you're probably on the right track. But, if you have a lingering feeling that there's something else out there for you, it may be worth examining these feelings a bit more closely.