7 Subtle Signs You Don't Love Your Partner, Just the Idea of Them

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It's no shocker that finding love can be tricky, especially nowadays. And although there are plenty of perks to living in today's digital age, there are also some serious drawbacks to consider, too — especially when it comes to how technology affects our love lives.

Pressure from social media, friends, and family can sometimes cause us to undervalue our worth and make us feel that we have to settle or just "find someone already" — and it can also make us idealize someone. Dating apps have also added to this, too. We learn to judge someone based off of their pictures, not their personality, quirks, or other features you can only observe by meeting face-to-face. One right swipe and weeks later, you find yourself lusting over your new partner. However, before settling into your new relationship, it's important to make sure you're getting into the relationship for the right reasons.

"More often than not, we are in love with the idea of someone rather than them as a person," Lauryn Huang, co-founder of Grouvly, a Singapore-based dating agency, tells Bustle.

Overall, it can certainly be difficult to tell the difference between loving the idea of someone versus actually loving them. To help you figure it out, here are the unexpected signs that you only love the idea of your partner, according to experts.


You'd Rather Go On A Group Date Than Spend Time One-On-One

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If you'd always rather go out with a group of couples rather than spend one-on-one quality time with your partner, it can be a sign of a bigger issue. In other words, if you often choose not to be with your partner alone, it's a sign you're uncomfortable with who they really are. "Consistently prefer to avoid any form of physical contact it can be a good idea to think about what is working in the relationship. The opposite of love isn't hate it is ambivalence," psychosexual and relationship therapist Kate Moyle tells Bustle.

Other subtle examples of this type of behavior are avoiding hand-holding (especially in public), turning the other way in bed when cuddling, and forgoing intimate encounters in favor of watching Netflix.


You're Comparing Your Relationship to Your Friends'

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If you find yourself comparing your relationships to your friends' relationships, you may want to think twice about getting serious with your partner.

Comparing your relationship to others can be extremely toxic, and perhaps it may be a sign that it's time to move on. In the end, it's not worth the time, effort, and heartache, and is also super unhealthy.

"I have asked many clients why they got married, and you may not be surprised at how often the answer was, 'Everyone else around me was getting married and buying houses, that I thought it was time,'" author and relationship therapist Anita Chlipala tells Bustle.


Your Online Profile Doesn't Reflect That You're In A Relationship

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There's a substantial difference between being a private person and not sharing personal information on social media, versus purposefully choosing to leave out certain details of your personal life.

"If you are private and do not have a social media profile, that is congruent. If you share your breakfast and not your relationship, that is incongruent," Dr. Stefani Threadgill, founder of The Sex Therapy Institute, tells Bustle.

In other words, if you're always 'gramming away your Sunday brunch pics and selfies with your squad, but refuse to post any indication that you're dating someone (whether a picture or a relationship status or whatnot), think carefully about that, and maybe consider re-evaluating the relationship.


You Find Yourself Making Excuses For Your Partner

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If you're catching yourself making excuses for your partner in order to justify your choice to be with them, that could be a potential red flag. "It's important to be honest with yourself in order to figure out whether this person is right for you," psychiatrist Susan Edelman tells Bustle. "It requires you to be aware of any feelings of disappointment with your partner."

For example, a common example of an excuse, according to Dr. Edelman, is: "[They] don't have a lot of time for me, but [they're] really smart."

It's important to consider all options and factors when choosing a partner, and of course, trust your gut before anyone else's.


You're Think Love Should be Easy

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If you're a hopeless romantic, there's a chance you're thinking that love should be easy-peasy. Unfortunately, love requires lots of hard work and compromising — and that's OK.

Before rushing into a relationship, ask yourself the right questions: Could you see yourself being with this person? Do you feel connected spiritually, emotionally, and physically? Can you picture your potential partner getting along with your loved ones, and treating them with respect?

A good way to "test" this is to have your friends and family meet your potential partner, but also making it a ~chill~ activity so as to not overwhelm them. "Suggest a group movie date, a picnic or a brunch, where you can all be together," psychotherapist Tina Tessina tells Bustle.


You're Idealizing Your Partner To Family and Friends

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It's easy to romanticize about a person and start planning everything in our heads. For example, we've all imagined and planned out a fictional wedding to someone at one point or another. However, it's important to be self-aware of this and catch yourself before you commit to someone who may not be right for you in the long-run.

According to relationship strategist Anna Gonowon: "The words that you use to describe them are, 'They never do that..' 'Oh, he/she is not like that...' Reason is, it is impossible to know every bit of a person. Leave some room for error," she tells Bustle.

Instead, however, reframe your thoughts and change your thinking. Gonowon recommends to say: "From what I know, I don't think that [they] would do that, but I don't know. I should talk with [them]."


You're Different Around Them

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According to Dr. Threadgill, another subtle sign you may love the idea of your partner is when you're not your true self in front of them. "You present differently when you are available or unavailable, whether it is in photos, on phone calls, or in person," she says.

As a result, you may find yourself appearing or acting distant in front of your partner, either with them directly, or even with yourself. In other words, you may find yourself looking to "shut off" certain parts of your life from your partner, so as to not let them fully in.

Finding the "right" person for you is challenging, and it's easy to let social media, pressure from friends and family, and ideals of love get in the way. But the more you stay true to yourself, trust your gut, and be honest about your feelings, the better off you — and your love life — are.