What are the Signs That You are in a Substandard Relationship?
I once worked with a real estate agent who came to therapy explaining that he kept renting his relationships rather than buying them. He repeatedly chose temporary and substandard relationships and wanted to break out of this pattern. How did he know he was renting his relationships? What are the signs that a relationship is more of a rental than a long-term commitment?
If you have been dating for a while but your plans tend to be last minute and either one or both partners are not making the effort to prioritize time together, that often indicates that either one or both partners are not invested in the relationship. If it is Thursday evening, and you have no idea if you will see each other over the weekend, even though you are both in town, the relationship is not likely to last. This is especially true if the two of you never discuss or plan outings that will take place in the future.
If you are spending a lot of time together, and you are sexually intimate, but you have not met any of your partner’s friends, this may also indicate that the relationship is temporary. Similarly, if you feel uncomfortable introducing your partner to your friends, your reservations may be a sign that your relationship is sub-standard and so you don’t feel motivated to let people know that you are settling.
A clear way to determine if a relationship is worth the investment of “ownership” is to ask yourself if you feel good about yourself when you are with this person. Have you been your best self since beginning this relationship? Or have you noticed feelings of self-doubt, excessive anxiety or insecurity as this relationship continues? Be honest. If you do not feel like your best self in this relationship, it is likely that you have chosen this partner from a place of desperation. It is always preferable to choose to enter into a relationship from a place of strength. Learning to feel satisfied and fulfilled on your own, without a relationship, is an important survival skill that increases the likelihood that you will become someone who chooses relationships from a place of strength and will eventually build a relationship that will endure and feel mutually satisfying and fulfilling.