Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent most of my adult life looking for “the one”.
Always hoping to find that special long-lasting bond, only to keep facing disappointment, sadness, and regret.
In recent years, I started to wonder if relationships were all they were cracked up to be. Far from completing my life, it crossed my mind that maybe relationships are actually a total waste of time.
If you’re feeling tired and totally worn out by the ups and downs of relationship drama (especially when it seems like there are way more downs) then maybe you can relate?
But rather than give up on relationships altogether, I learned to be way more selective about who I let into my life.
So if you are reading this now, frustrated and ready to give up on dating and relationships for good, I hope what I share might help you see things in another light.
Because as challenging as they are, relationships, in all their many different forms, can also be such a valuable part of life.
Why relationships are a waste of time when you’re with the wrong person
Whilst I don’t believe that all relationships are a total waste of time, I do think they are when you’re sticking with the wrong person and are in the wrong relationship.
Here are 6 reasons I think you’re better off alone than with the wrong partner.
1) You can still be lonely when you are in a relationship
It’s funny isn’t it, one of the reasons we want to be in a relationship is to feel close to somebody else and avoid being alone. But you can still feel just as lonely in the wrong relationship as you can being single.
In fact, sometimes you just end up feeling even more alone.
Rather than staying in the wrong relationship and feeling lonely, it would make more sense to put that energy into creating stronger bonds elsewhere —with friends or hobbies — that do help you feel connected.
2) When you’re not the right fit, you don’t bring out one another’s best sides
Your partner in crime should lift you up and allow your best qualities to shine.
Being in a negative or destructive relationship often means that you end up bringing out the worst in one another.
Even when we wish we were, the reality is that we’re not compatible with everyone.
We’re all different and we’re not going to agree or have the same thoughts and opinions on everything, but in the right relationship, these differences will complement one another.
If you feel like your relationship consistently draws out your ugliest qualities, and vice versa, it is probably a sign you are much better off apart.
3) If you’re putting in all the effort, you’re working twice as hard than being alone
Life can be stressful enough when you’re just concentrating on taking care of yourself, but if you feel like you are doing all the work for two people — it’s doubly hard.
One of the reasons relationships are so damn tricky is that they involve a delicate balancing act of two people coming together to compromise and work towards a common goal.
If the other person in your duo isn’t showing up in the same way you do, chances are you are draining all your energy trying to compensate for their missing effort.
If they can’t show up now, it’s a strong indicator they never will.
When your energy reserves finally hit empty, you will have wasted your precious time propping something up that was never going to work.
4) You don’t feel like you can be your true self
Always trying to please someone is beyond exhausting. We’re all flawed and it’s ok to be human and let our perfect imperfections show.
Relationships should be one of the safest feeling spaces to actually be your unapologetic self.
Of course, that doesn’t mean partners need to put up with completely unreasonable behaviours under the excuse of “that’s just me”. But surely it means we should be able to be vulnerable enough to be truly ourselves — warts and all.
If you feel like you have to hide parts of yourself, or are always walking on eggshells, chances are you’re never going to feel truly seen or loved in your relationship.
5) You’re wasting your precious time being unhappy
We’re all on borrowed time in this life of ours.
But rather than seeing that as a totally depressing sentiment, instead, it should motivate and excite us into making every moment count.
Of course, sad times and difficult times are a natural part of life that we cannot and should not try to avoid, but we definitely don’t want to experience more hardship than we need to.
If you are waking up, day in and day out, feeling sad, stuck, lonely, frustrated, bored, or angry in your relationship — at some point, enough is enough.
You have a right to be happy.
If your relationship makes you unhappy more often than it makes you happy, are you holding on to it for the wrong reasons?
6) You’re stopping yourself from finding better
I often think of being in the wrong relationship a bit like standing in the doorway of your own life.
You aren’t fully in, and deep down you probably know it, but you’re also blocking anything new from entering as well as stopping things from leaving.
It’s scary to leave a relationship when all that takes its place is a big question mark over your future, but this limbo-land doesn’t do you any favors in the long run.
A relationship that allows you to feel happy, valued, and loved could be (and probably will be) waiting for you just around the corner.
You don’t want to miss it by wasting time with the wrong person.
Romantic relationships aren’t everything, but the right ones can be so rewarding
Most of us have had to face heartache and relationship turmoil at some point or another in life. So why do plenty of people decide that despite it all, love is still worth it?
Here are the conclusions that I ultimately came to that made me realize, in my heart of hearts, I wasn’t ready to give up on relationships.
1) Relationships are fun
If you’re currently in or have just come out of a bad relationship, maybe it’s easy to forget that relationships are meant to be fun.
Good relationships should help enhance the good times in life. We laugh, we play and we get a wonderful hit of happy hormones.
Of course, it’s not always blue skies and rainbows, but being in a healthy relationship can make the dull days more exciting and the difficult times more bearable.
2) Even the hard times teach us about life and ourselves
Some of the biggest lessons, about both life and yourself, can come from the mirror that relationships hold up to us.
Ok, they may feel like sheer hell at the time, but afterward, we (hopefully) come out stronger and wiser from the learning experience.
It’s totally easy to understand why most of us are chasing happiness in life but we also have to accept that painful experiences can be just as (and sometimes more) valuable than the ones that feel good.
Even in the darker moments of any relationship, we get to discover new and valuable information that can ultimately go on to create greater depth and understanding in our lives.
3) Companionship and teamwork help you to face life
The thought of facing life with someone by your side, who always has your back, is one of the more appealing parts of a strong relationship.
Research backs up this notion that good partnerships can help you to deal with the challenges in life.
For example, some studies have shown that just being around a partner can help you beat discomfort and stress.
There’s also evidence that people who feel like they are in happy marriages live longer and experience fewer health problems.
4) We learn how to be less selfish and care for others
All those times that we bite our tongue, are mindful of our tone, and try to consider how what we are saying will be interpreted — we are learning really important communication skills for life.
Relationships do offer up the opportunity to practice things that we don’t have to do as much in a single life.
We have to compromise more and learn to do things we might not particularly want to for the sake of someone else.
Perhaps most importantly, we learn that caring for somebody else can be even more rewarding than putting ourselves first.
5) You get to see things from a different perspective
Have you ever found that it’s often the people who are the closest to us that are able to push our buttons quite like no one else?
Sure it’s that intimacy in relationships that challenge us the most, but it’s this that can also challenge us in the very best of ways.
When we truly care and are close to another person, we get to see life a little bit differently through their eyes. They help us to experience new things, consider new ideas or thoughts — which can enrich our lives in new ways.
6) Even if it’s not forever it doesn’t mean it wasn’t valuable
So many of us still wish that we could have the fairytale ending.
That we would meet one person and everything suddenly clicks into place so that we can have our “happily ever after”.
Sadly though, this image of the perfect relationship can taint our perspective so that we think there is something wrong with dealing with relationship struggles or challenges.
Just like any experience we have in life, there is always value in it.
Even if a relationship doesn’t go the distance and you don’t end up growing old together, it doesn’t mean it has been a waste of time.
Chances are that you did have some good times together, shared precious moments, and grew as a person because of that connection.
As the saying goes, it’s all about the journey in life, not the destination.
Times are changing
Maybe back in the day, there was more of a mapped out a socially acceptable pre-prescribed route that people felt they had to follow in relationships — you know, the whole get married and settle down route.
Of course, that is still what a lot of people do, but increasingly it’s becoming more and more acceptable to do things differently to suit you.
I think overall we are becoming less judgemental about personal lifestyle choices — whether that is not wanting children, not wanting to get married, not wanting a monogamous relationship or not wanting any romantic relationships at all (as is the case with people who identify as romantic).
Times are changing and it certainly doesn’t mean there is “something wrong with you” if you aren’t in a relationship or don’t want one right now (or ever).
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
Maybe it’s all those romantic films or storybooks from such an early age, but has anyone else felt like there is a lot of pressure to meet someone?
That pressure might be from outside sources like family, friends, or even just society in general — giving us an unrealistic and false timetable of how life should play out.
It might also come from that little voice within your own head, that is so quick to tell you all your perceived failings in life or where you’re not stacking up compared to others.
But sometimes this pressure to meet someone means we end up acting like anyone will do, and lower our standards too quickly to fill the role.
Personally, the more I learned to be truly happy and actually value being single, the happier I was when I was in relationships.
Single life can be just as rewarding as coupling up. And when we see that, we’re less likely to make poor choices and find ourselves in those relationships that end up being a waste of time.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.