Ever felt like you’re rowing a two-seater boat, but only you have the oars?
That gnawing feeling might mean you’re pushing too hard for a relationship.
We’ve all been there—hoping, wishing, ignoring the signs that something’s off.
It’s time to shed some light on this tricky terrain.
Let’s delve into the most common signs of a forced relationship.
You deserve a love that feels right, not one that needs constant pushing.
What Does It Mean to Force a Relationship?
At its core, forcing a relationship often entails trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
You’re striving to make something work that, in truth, is more struggle than synergy. But what exactly does that look like?
- It can be as subtle as consistently initiating conversations or as glaring as ignoring fundamental disagreements on important subjects.
- Maybe it’s the dread you feel when their name pops up on your phone or the relief when plans get canceled.
- Perhaps it’s the constant justification of their actions to your friends or the sinking feeling that something just isn’t quite right.
Every relationship has its ups and downs, but if you constantly find yourself on a battlefield rather than in a partnership, you might be forcing the dynamics.
A healthy relationship should feel balanced, reciprocal, and nourishing, not a perpetual uphill climb.
19 Common Signs You Are Forcing a Relationship
If you’re ever unsure about your relationship’s balance, these 19 common signs can be telling. They indicate that you might be paddling solo in your love boat, forcing the connection more than nurturing it.
1. You’re Always the Initiator
If you find yourself always being the one to send the first text, make the first call, or plan dates, this might be a sign. A relationship should be a two-way street where both parties are equally excited to grow closer.
This doesn’t mean keeping a score, but if the pattern is consistently one-sided, it might be time to question why.
2. You’re Constantly Trying to ‘Fix’ Things
If you find yourself constantly trying to ‘fix’ aspects of your relationship, things aren’t as harmonious as they should be. Healthy relationships naturally have their ups and downs, but if it feels like you’re the one always working on repair and maintenance, it might indicate an underlying issue.
Effort in a relationship should focus on growth and deepening closeness rather than continuous repair. This continuous ‘fixing’ cycle might mean you’re trying to keep a relationship going that doesn’t flow naturally.
3. They Don’t Make Time for You
In a thriving relationship, both individuals value spending quality time together. If your partner often seems too busy or preoccupied, it’s worth noting. Are they just not that interested in you?
Of course, everyone has life’s demands, but consistently putting you on the back burner shows a lack of effort or interest.
4. Your Friends and Family Express Concern
If multiple friends or family members express worry about your relationship, it’s worth pausing to consider their perspective.
While they don’t have the inside scoop on your relationship, these are people who care about you and may see things you’re missing because you’re too close to the situation.
5. You Feel More Drained Than Energized After Spending Time Together
Relationships should generally leave you uplifted instead of downcast. If you often feel drained, exhausted, or down after spending time with your partner, it could signal that you’re exerting too much energy on making it work.
You deserve a partnership that enriches your life and replenishes your energy, not one that depletes it. Your lack of energy may stem from unacknowledged worry that the relationship isn’t working.
6. They Show Little Interest in Your Life
Partners should take a genuine interest in each other’s lives. If your partner consistently shows disinterest in your day, feelings, or aspirations, you might be pushing to make the relationship work harder than they are.
Love thrives on mutual curiosity and appreciation, and a lack thereof might suggest an unbalanced effort. Ask yourself why you are more interested in them than they are in you.
7. You’re Afraid to Express Your Feelings or Concerns
Open communication is key in any relationship. If you find yourself fearful of expressing your feelings or concerns to your partner, it indicates a fundamental issue.
Trust and safety in sharing emotions are vital for a thriving relationship, and the absence of these components may suggest you’re trying not to rock the boat to keep the relationship alive.
8. Feeling Relieved When Plans Get Canceled
If a wave of relief washes over you when your partner cancels plans, consider this a red flag. Does it just feel too taxing to be around your partner, or is your interest in them waning?
Everyone appreciates an unexpected evening alone now and then, but consistent relief suggests you may be happier without the obligation of their company. This is a telling sign that you’re hanging on to a love affair that’s past its expiration date.
9. You’re Constantly Making Excuses for Them
Continually justifying or making excuses for your partner’s actions or behavior—especially when it concerns how they treat you—is not a great sign.
It might mean you’re trying to paint an unrealistic picture of the relationship that doesn’t truly exist, forcing yourself (and others) to believe in something that’s not there. Relationships involve understanding and compromise, but not at the expense of your values and peace of mind.
10. Physical Intimacy Feels Like a Chore
If physical closeness with your partner often feels more like a chore than a joy, it’s worth noting. Physical intimacy should ideally be a mutually enjoyable bonding experience. Does sex frequently feel forced or unenjoyable?
If so, you might be trying too hard to make the relationship work. Remember, genuine intimacy, both emotional and physical, is a key element of a balanced, loving partnership.
11. You Frequently Have Anxiety About the Relationship
A good relationship should bring more joy and peace than anxiety and stress. Perhaps you often feel anxious, worried, or uneasy about the state of your relationship. This gut instinct is a strong indicator that something’s off.
You may be trying to compel a fit that simply isn’t there, pushing against your instincts in the process.
12. You Keep Hoping They’ll Change
Wishing for someone to change is a sign you might not be entirely happy with who they are now. Maybe you recognize you aren’t a good match, but you don’t want to be alone. Or you’re tied to something superficial about them, like their money, appearance, security, etc.
Basing your relationship’s potential on future changes in your partner’s character or behavior is a risky bet and might signal that the relationship isn’t natural and wholesome.
13. Ignoring Major Value Differences
Values serve as the compass for our lives. If you’re continuously brushing aside major differences in core values between you and your partner, you are laboring to keep the relationship together.
While compromise is part of any relationship, fundamental values are typically not areas where one should compromise.
14. You’re Unhappy More Often Than Not
It’s normal to have off days in any relationship. However, if you find that you’re unhappy more often than you’re content, it’s a significant sign of a connection that’s off.
It could be that you’re in a dynamic where the struggles outweigh the joy, sacrificing your happiness in the process. Genuine love should enhance your life, not become a constant source of stress or unhappiness.
15. You Feel Like You’re Walking on Eggshells
Walking on eggshells and meticulously selecting your words and actions to avoid upsetting your partner is a major red flag. In a balanced, thriving relationship, there should be space for authenticity, even when disagreements arise.
Constant anxiety over causing a disturbance suggests you’re shouldering too much responsibility in maintaining harmony.
16. You’re More in Love with the Idea of the Relationship
Love can sometimes be more about the picture we paint in our minds than the reality we live. When the image of the relationship outshines the actual person you’re with, it suggests an effort to maintain an ideal that masks the true state of the relationship.
17. You’ve Lost Sight of Who You Are
An unsettling sign in a relationship is when you no longer recognize yourself or when you’ve altered your values, interests, or behavior to fit your partner’s mold.
A healthy relationship should encourage and celebrate each person’s individuality, not demand self-compromise. This loss of self might indicate you’re striving to maintain a bond that isn’t naturally harmonious.
18. The Thought of Breaking Up Doesn’t Scare You
Feeling relief at the thought of breaking up, rather than fear, is a potent indicator that the relationship isn’t serving you well.
It’s natural for the idea of ending a relationship to be scary, but consistently finding the concept of freedom more appealing suggests that the relationship may be more of a burden than a joy.
19. Your Future Together Seems Foggy
When visualizing your future, a shared path with your partner should seem relatively clear, even if the details aren’t specific.
However, if you struggle to imagine a future together, or if the thought brings discomfort, it’s a sign that the relationship might not be right. This could indicate that you’re pushing for a relationship that doesn’t align with your personal vision or life goals.
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Does Forcing a Relationship Work?
Can you really force love to blossom? The short answer is no.
While it’s natural to put effort into a relationship, there’s a stark difference between nurturing love and trying to force it.
A forced relationship often feels like swimming against the current—it’s tiring, stressful, and ultimately unsustainable. Durable relationships are built on mutual respect, shared values, and a genuine desire to be together. They involve compromise and effort, but not to the extent that one person feels consistently burdened or unfulfilled.
In the end, forcing a relationship often leads to resentment, unhappiness, and exhaustion. It’s crucial to remember that everyone deserves a relationship where love flows naturally, where both parties are equally invested, and where the joy vastly outweighs the struggle.
What to Do When You Realize You’re Forcing Your Relationship
Coming to the realization that you might be pushing for a relationship can be tough, but it’s an important first step toward seeking the fulfilling partnership you deserve. Taking steps toward addressing the situation can lead to personal growth and healthier relationships in the future.
Start by taking some time for self-reflection. Understand what led you to this point and recognize your feelings. A clearer understanding of your emotions will help you make more informed decisions.
Next, consider these action points:
- Communicate: Openly discuss your feelings with your partner. They may not even be aware of the imbalance, and communication could lead to meaningful change.
- Seek Professional Help: Relationship counselors or therapists can provide valuable insight and facilitate productive conversations between you and your partner.
- Prioritize Your Needs: This is crucial. Consider what you need from a relationship and whether your current one can fulfill these needs. Don’t discount your feelings.
- Create Boundaries: Establishing personal boundaries can help ensure that you don’t lose yourself in the effort to maintain a relationship.
It’s okay to step back if a relationship is causing more pain than joy. It might be difficult initially, but it often leads to a path of self-discovery and better connections in the future. You deserve a relationship that nourishes you, not one that drains you.
As you journey through the realm of relationships, always remember your worth and the value of genuine, mutual love. Embrace the power of authenticity, and don’t settle for less than a partnership that brings you joy, growth, and fulfillment.