Are You Placing Too Much Importance On Dating?

Whether it's the holidays and the barrage of family questions, fretting about the New Year's Eve kiss, Valentine's Day on the horizon, this time of year makes people very aware of their relationship status. It can make you catastrophize being single and become obsessed with why you aren't in a relationship.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be in a relationship. And it may even be really, really high on your priorities list. There's nothing wrong with that either. A lot of people really value being in a relationship. But like anything, it's about balance, and while prioritizing a relationship is totally cool, you can put too much importance on it. It can lead you to spending way too much time and energy focusing on your relationship status and, often, being unhappy about being single. Which there's no reason to be, because there are so many awesome benefits of being single. Seriously, it can be the best. So if you want to be in a relationship, that's fine, but just don't lose sight of what's great now because you're obsessing over something else.

Here are five signs you're placing too much importance on being in a relationship, because your relationship status shouldn't define you or your happiness:

1. You'd Rather Be In A Bad Relationship Than Be Alone

So many of us stay in bad relationships. Too many of us. Whether it's because you hate conflict, because you don't think you deserve better, or you fear being alone — pretty much everyone has done this at one point or another. But being in a relationship should be something that brings good into your life. All relationships are difficult at some point, but generally they should be a source of joy. If you're in a bad or so-so relationship just to avoid being alone, you may be putting too much emphasis on being with someone. You'll be much better off, and happier, on your own than in a toxic relationship.

2. Dating Has Consumed Your Time And Energy

Like I said, it's totally cool to have priorities. And I know people who go on a few dates every week, looking for someone to have a relationship with. But if it starts to stress you out and feels like a chore, or is making you feel bad about yourself, you may be going overkill. It should be fun and, even if you do it a lot, it shouldn't take up every second. Take a step back and think about what you want rather than just dating for dating's sake.

3. You're Bitter About Your Friends' Relationships, Rather Than Happy For Them

If you get to the point where you resent other happy couples rather than celebrating your best friend's success, your view of dating may be a little warped. Don't feel bad— jealousy is such, such a hard emotion to control. And we've all been there. But if you feel like you have a very negative attitude toward love and romance, it may be time to take a breath and realize you've let an obsession with dating cloud your judgement. It happens. That feeling of self-pity and wallowing? Literally everyone has done it. But it's no good for you. Just give yourself a minute to clear your head.

4. You're Letting Other Areas Slack

Whether it's in the early stages of a relationship or the first few dates with someone, you shouldn't let everything in your life else drop. If you put your crushes or potential significant others in front of your friends, family, career, hobbies— whatever it is that's always been important to you— you're going to regret it in the long run. Of course, invest the time and energy, but remember your other priorities as well.

5. You're Convinced It's The One Thing Keeping You From Being Happy

Bottom line: one life change won't make you happy. It sucks, but it's true. And we've all done it, we've all thought that everything will be fine once we get a new job/finish school/move/meet someone. You put all of your focus on one thing and then when your life isn't suddenly, magically perfect, you're surprised and, ultimately, disappointed.

Yes, all of these things may make your life better — and a relationship certainly should make you happy — but you're responsible for your own happiness, and it's never as simple as a quick-fix. Is it a reason to stop looking? Absolutely not. If a relationship is important to you, you should definitely go for it. But remember that nothing is a magic solution, and the best time to get in a relationship is when you're already happy yourself. Cheesy, but true.

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