13 signs you’re not in love, you’re just afraid of being alone

by Isabel Cabrera | April 12, 2024, 9:38 pm

We can sometimes get into or stay in relationships out of fear of being alone, rather than being in love with our partner. 

Why is that?

Well, because attachment and codependency can look a lot like love if we are not careful.

We can get into routines that feel comfortable to us, and make us feel less lonely, even though the relationship itself isn’t loving, helping us grow, or is keeping us stagnant.

So how can you tell if you’re genuinely in love or simply using the relationship as a safety net to avoid being alone? 

Here are 13 key signs to help you discern the difference:

1) You ignore red flags

A red flag is an early toxic relationship behavior your partner may display that sets off warning signals in your head. 

Red flags can often tell us about whether to keep pursuing a relationship with this person. 

Unfortunately, a lot of people ignore red flags and find themselves in unhealthy relationships with their partner or spouse. 

Because they’ve ignored, and basically accepted these red flags, they’ve signed on to deal with these questionable behaviors. 

When you’re in it just to avoid solitude, you’re more likely to overlook serious issues or accept behaviors that you wouldn’t tolerate if you felt more self-assured.

2) You see commitment as a thing you ‘should’ be doing

A lot of us are programmed to be married or settled down with kids by a certain age.

This is especially a common view of older generations, such as our parents, and can influence us to believe we “should” be in a committed relationship by now.

This can push you to settle for an exclusive relationship that doesn’t truly meet your needs or make you happy – indicating that you might just be afraid of being alone rather than in love.

3) You’re overlooking incompatibilities

When the fear of loneliness is your driving force, you might not prioritize compatibility, shared interests, and shared values. 

You’re more likely to settle for a relationship that offers company, even if doesn’t bring much excitement, stimulating conversation, or progressive communication. 

By overlooking incompatibilities, you could just be staying with your partner because you are afraid of being alone

4) You avoid self-reflection 

If you avoid reflecting on your personal issues, you could just be using a relationship to distract you from yourself.

Also, a healthy relationship created from mutual love encourages you to want to be a better person, and therefore self-reflect on your growth journey. 

Being truly in love makes you want to be a better person for your partner.

So if you find yourself avoiding self-reflection and depend on the validation of your partner to not need to work on yourself, it might be a sign that you’re afraid of facing who you are.

5) You have difficulty being alone

If you have difficulty being alone in general, you may have some reflection to do on why you’re with this person. 

Think about your previous relationships and whether you spent any time alone between them and this relationship. 

Do you notice if you jumped from one relationship to another pretty quickly?

If you feel the need to constantly be with someone, it indicates an emotional discomfort with yourself in some way. 

This is something worth exploring and can come from an abandonment or isolation wound. 

While being in love enriches your life, a healthy relationship shouldn’t mean you can’t imagine living without your partner. 

6) You rushed into the relationship

How fast did you make commitments like becoming official or moving in with your partner?

Did it feel like it happened naturally, or did it feel rushed?

People afraid of being alone often rush into relationships out of fear that they won’t find someone better, out of pressure to settle down, or other reasons that signify fear of being alone. 

7) You constantly need your partner’s validation

Needing or relying on your partner’s validation for your choices can stem from not wanting to be alone.

When you love someone, you can respect or value each other’s opinions while still having your own. Disagreement from time to time is natural in a partnership.

Whereas when you’re avoiding loneliness in a relationship, your self-worth can become tied to their opinions of you or your life.  

This dynamic is formed on dependency, rather than love – and it allows you to outsource responsibility for your own actions and thoughts. 

This often comes from a fear of standing in your own truth. 

8) You compromise your boundaries and values

Do you compromise your boundaries and values in your relationship?

Having shared values and respect for each other’s boundaries is integral to forming a healthy relationship based on love. 

Being in a relationship out of fear of loneliness can lead to compromises like tolerating disrespectful behavior or sacrificing your goals and dreams.

Rather than standing for what you believe in, you’d rather push your own needs aside just to keep the relationship. 

This usually comes from fear, not love!

9) You don’t feel emotionally connected

If you’re afraid of being alone, you may struggle with forming a genuine emotional connection with your partner. 

This could be for a number of reasons, including not having a natural emotional connection in the first place due to emotional incompatibilities, or simply not being in love with your partner. 

You might also keep your feelings at bay, not allowing yourself to become deeply involved because you fear the pain of separation.

10) You’re easily dissatisfied with your partner

Do you find yourself trying to ‘change’ your partner or transforming them into the person you’d like them to be?

If so, read this point carefully. 

Individuals who aren’t genuinely in love with someone will often think that if their partner “just fixed these things” about themselves, they could become the loveable partner they desire.

The problem is, this is highly unfair to yourself and your partner.

A genuine loving connection won’t cause you to try to change the other person. It encourages acceptance and being in support of their partner growing in the direction they want to.

So, if you’re always seeking more or better in the relationship and feel unfulfilled by who your partner is, this dissatisfaction could stem from the fact that you’re simply trying to fill an emotional void.

11) You feel like they love you more than you love them

Do you feel like equals in your partnership, or do you feel like you have them wrapped around your pinky?

Remember that a healthy relationship requires both parties feeling like equals in the dynamic.

If you feel that they have way more feelings for you than you do for them, you might just have “some” feelings for them or like the affection they give you – but not actually be in love with them.

This can be a sad realization to have for everyone involved in the relationship. 

However, it’s worthwhile to recognize this so that you can both address what is not working or allow each other the chance to find a relationship that offers mutual love and respect.

12) You compare your relationship

Another sign you’re not in love is if you find yourself comparing your relationship to others.

This can be hard to avoid sometimes, especially with social media showing us curated videos and reels of couples living picture-perfect lives who seem besotted with each other.  

But if you find yourself obsessively comparing your partner to friends’ or public standards and feeling like they don’t reach them, it might be a sign you’re not genuinely in love.

13) Ignoring your own needs

Do you ever ignore your own needs to meet your partner’s? 

Putting their needs above your own shouldn’t be necessary to keep a relationship going. Both partner’s needs need to be met for the relationship to thrive. 

This is a sign that your primary focus is keeping the person around no matter what, even if it means ignoring or damaging your own well-being.

Conclusion

In conclusion, being in a relationship out of fear of being alone indicates trying to fill an invisible sense of lack within oneself. If unchecked, a relationship built around this lack may encounter great problems down the line.

While attachment and codependency may mimic the feeling of love, it’s essential to differentiate between these unhealthy dynamics and genuine love based on mutual respect, shared values, and emotional connection.

If you’ve recognized any of the signs discussed in this article within your relationship, see it as an opportunity to understand that acknowledging these signs is the first step toward positive change.

Remember that genuine love allows for personal growth and self-discovery, both as individuals and as partners. 

It’s about nurturing a connection that encourages you to be the best version of yourself and to support your partner in their journey. 

Healthy love enriches your life, but it doesn’t require you to compromise your values, overlook incompatibilities, or ignore your own needs.

If you find yourself using a relationship as a safety net to avoid being alone, consider taking the time to explore your own fears and insecurities. 

It’s in embracing your own company and learning to love and respect yourself that you can eventually find a relationship grounded in true love and fulfillment.

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