Are you good at being single? Some people love the freedom and autonomy that comes from being on your own, but others find it really difficult not to have the built-in support of being in a couple. I don't think there's anything wrong with being someone who prefers to be in a relationship, but it's something different when you can't handle being on your own. Being in a relationship is great, but you should be enough for you. Feeling sufficient, satisfied, and happy on your own should be the starting point for any relationship. It has to be, to keep you from compromising in a relationship or stagnating personally.
But it can be hard to hold yourself accountable, especially if you feel loved-up and excited in every relationship. That excitement blurs your vision and it becomes difficult to see patterns in your own behavior. So sometimes we have to take a step back and look at how we're feeling on our own, as single people, and if we're seeking out relationships for the right reasons.
Here are seven signs that your the type of person who has to be in a relationship, and why that needs to change, because being able to be single is better for you and your significant other:
1. You Fall In Love With Everyone
I've got a friend who leaves every first date thinking she's met her soulmate. Every. Single. Time. Every one is perfect, every single one is special. But the thing is, if you feel that way about everyone then it is, by definition, not special. Maybe you just like the idea of being in love, or being with someone, but that heady feeling can keep you from seeing some major incompatibilities.
As Jeannie Assismos of eHarmony points out, "not everyone who feels like your soulmate is right for you". If you're comfortable in yourself and comfortable in being single, you'll be able to see the difference.
2. You Haven't Worked On You
If you've been through a rough patch in your life, or just have been feeling down, a relationship can be a quick fix. But that's what it is— a bandaid, you feel good and smily and excited for a while but you don't actually face or process any of the underlying problems. If you're someone who can't be single then you're constantly jumping from relationship to relationship and you never work on your own issues. That's why Dr. Kelly Campbell's number one piece of relationship advice is "work on yourself first". It's the only way to make sure you're in a happy, healthy relationship rather than just coupled up for the sake of being coupled.
As Psychology Today notes "authentic self-esteem is not dependent upon others or things external to us" and this is something we all need to feel successful and secure. But a lot of people link feelings of self worth to being in a relationship. This is an incredibly insecure and dangerous place to be in because the normal ups and downs of a relationship will throw your self-esteem into a whirlwind. Relationship-dependent self esteem has also been linked to alcoholism, so it's definitely worth looking out for.
4. You Stay In Bad Relationships
I am always baffled by the idea that people would rather be in a bad relationship than be single, but it happens. A lot. Like, a lot. It's one thing to be sad because you're not over your ex and you miss that specific person, but if you have a problem being alone... well, you've got a problem. It makes you more likely to latch on to the next person you meet, rather than the right person.
5. You Put Up With Way Too Much Bullsh*t
If you can't be single and you jump into relationships, chances are you're going to stay in them, no matter how shitty they are. Are you always being taken advantage of? Or does your relationship always feel like an uphill battle? Obviously ups and downs are normal, but if it just feels too hard, it probably is. If you don't need to in a relationship, it'll save you from being in some crappy ones.
6. Your Hobbies Are Constantly Changing
One major drawback of forcing yourself into relationships that don't quite work is that you often have to change yourself to do it. Sharing hobbies can be an amazing part of dating, as Psychology Today says "like definitely attracts like when it comes to personal interests and hobbies. Spending time together is important, as you’ll see below, but it’s how you spend your time that influences your relationship satisfaction even more". And if you enjoy the same things, that's great! But if you're forcing yourself into their hobbies in an attempt to bond or impress, it's just going to end up resenting them or losing your sense of self.
7. You're A Straight Up Love-Addict
Apparently it's a thing. It's more intense than a serial monogamist or your friend that never seems to be single, some say there are actual love addicts who have the same changes in brain chemistry and withdrawal symptoms of other addictions. We know that love and sex can release chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin which make us feel amazing and relaxed and happy, so it makes sense some people could get hooked on this. According to the National Health Services website it is different than sex addiction for some it can take over their life and "affect them financially, professionally, physically and socially". And obviously, lead to some difficult relationships.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.