When you get into a relationship with someone, you usually expect it to enhance your life, whether it be more emotional support or a partner to do fun activities with. However, in some cases, dating someone can actually hinder you, so it's important to watch out for the signs that your relationship is holding you back in life. It can be hard to separate your feelings for the person and how they're affecting your life, but there are times when no matter how much you like someone, you're better off living on your own.
"Some people when they enter a relationship focus all their energy and time on that one person," says Melissa Divaris Thompson, LMFT over email. "They pull back from their friends and don't make plans constantly because they want to keep it open for their new love interest. Some people also start dropping activities or pursuits just to spend time with their new flame. This is problematic because it will lead to a feeling of resentment down the line. You must make time and energy for yourself in relationships."
If you've been feeling like your life isn't the way you want it to be, consider these 11 signs that your relationship is holding you back.
You Never See Your Friends
"We all know people who 'disappear' socially when they get into relationships and rarely see their friends until they are single again," says relationship expert David Bennett over email. "They almost always regret abandoning their friend group and social activities. If you're giving up your social circle, your relationship may be holding you back."
Your Health Suffers
Some people enter relationships only to find that their health habits change, and they in turn suffer. "If you are someone that looks after your health whilst your partner wants to eat bad food and drink a lot, then you need to find a way not to let this hold back your healthy attitudes and behaviors," says Goldstein.
You Don't Feel Passionate About Anything
"You lose your zest and passion for life," says relationship expert Audrey Hope over email. "You just don’t care anymore about your dream, your career and your life plans. This happens because you are tricked and you gave all your power away into the relationship."
You Have No Plans For The Future
You don't necessarily need to know how many kids you're going to have or what house you're going to live in, but it's good to have some sense of a future with the person you're dating. "If having some sort of plan is important and you feel the relationship is in a good enough stable place to have some plans, your partner may be holding you back if they don't plan for anything," says Thompson. "Planning for your future is important, and seeing the long term visions and goals is vital."
Your Partner Doesn't Support Your Interests
You're being held back if your partner doesn’t support your dreams or your interests. "They may have seemed supportive in the beginning, but now they seem to want to sabotage what makes you joyful," says couple's therapist Evie Shafner, LMFT over email. "They may be jealous or threatened. They ask you to give up the things that make you happy."
Your Relationship Drains You Financially
If your relationship or partner are causing you to spend more money than you have, it's doing you more harm than good. "If you have to slave away at two draining jobs to pay for dinner out five times a week or tickets to every summer concert, you're ultimately sacrificing time to spend pursuing your passions and dreams," says Bennett.
Ask yourself if you are over-accommodating. For example, you easily give up what you want to make someone else happy and don't have clear enough boundaries. "Often when people operate this way, the only thing they can think of is to leave, which equates to making a huge boundary, instead of the necessary smaller ones all along the way," says Shafner.
You Feel Judged
It's never a good sign if you constantly feel judged or criticized by your partner. "Home base is where we are supposed to get mirrored back to us how amazing we are, so if we are constantly getting the opposite, it is very hard to function, to pursue our dreams, and to feel good inside," says Shafner.
You Can't Solve Your Problems
"You and your partner have disagreements and struggles you can’t resolve yourselves or by talking to friends and family," says psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, PhD over email. "When you can’t solve problems together, they become like dead weight in your life, holding you down and dragging your spirits down. They drain your energy and stop you from moving ahead in all areas of your life."
You Feel Generally Unhappy
"If you feel unhappy and dissatisfied a lot of the time, that’s a problem," says Tessina. "Respect your feelings, and look for what is wrong and correct it. Your life and relationship won’t be successful until you do, especially if your unhappiness comes from within."