Signs You May Be in Relationship Denial: Recognizing the Warning Signals

Statistic: According to a survey conducted by eHarmony, nearly 63% of participants admitted to staying in a relationship longer than they should have, with the main reason being a fear of loneliness.

Have you ever noticed how a brand-new relationship can make you feel excited, but can also be nerve-racking? Meeting someone new who could potentially become a significant part of your life can bring a whirlwind of emotions, including hopes, fears, expectations, surprises, and that wonderful warm and fuzzy feeling. But amidst the emotional turmoil and optimism, there’s a potential pitfall: relationship denial. It’s the act of convincing yourself that everything is perfect, even when deep down, you know it’s not.

Understanding Relationship Denial

  1. “If Only” Syndrome: One of the most common signs of relationship denial is engaging in frequent thoughts or conversations that end with, “If only…” It’s akin to dating someone’s potential rather than accepting the person right in front of you. Wishing for a significant change in your partner’s behavior, personality, or circumstances, with the belief that everything will be perfect once it happens, is a telltale sign of denial.
  2. You’re Not Yourself: If you consistently find yourself contorting your actions, words, and appearance to please your partner and can’t relax, it’s a red flag that something is amiss. This behavior often indicates heightened insecurities, with the underlying belief that you’re not good enough as you are for the relationship. The problem is, eventually, your true self will emerge, potentially confusing your partner. Starting a relationship based on falsehoods about your identity is unlikely to yield the desired results.
  3. Lack of Integration: Feeling uncomfortable integrating your new partner into your life, whether with family or friends, due to a fear of negative judgment, is a clear indication that something may be awry. When you’re the only one who comprehends why you’re with your partner, it’s often a signal that you sense something is off. An unwillingness to proudly and confidently introduce your partner to the people closest to you might suggest that deep down, you believe you have something to hide.
  4. Loneliness Dictates: Loneliness can be a powerful motivator, but using a relationship as a remedy for emptiness can skew your relationship standards. Allowing yourself to remain in an unsatisfying relationship simply to avoid being alone ultimately shortchanges both you and your partner. It’s crucial to learn to be comfortable on your own, knowing that the right person will enter your life when you’re open and ready for it.

Recognizing and Confronting Relationship Denial

Recognizing relationship denial in yourself can be a challenging endeavor, as it often involves confronting uncomfortable truths. However, by acknowledging these warning signs, you can take steps towards healthier and more fulfilling relationships.

  1. Self-Reflection: Take the time to introspect and honestly assess your feelings and motivations within the relationship. Are you holding onto the relationship because you genuinely believe it’s right for you, or are you doing so out of fear or a desire to change your partner?
  2. Open Communication: Engage in open and honest communication with your partner. Discuss your feelings, concerns, and expectations openly. It’s essential to maintain a level of vulnerability that allows both you and your partner to express yourselves authentically.
  3. Consult with Trusted Friends: Seek the perspective of friends or family members whom you trust and respect. They can often provide valuable insights and an external viewpoint on your relationship.
  4. Self-Work: Focus on your own personal growth and self-improvement. Cultivate self-confidence and a sense of independence. When you are comfortable with who you are as an individual, you are less likely to fall into the trap of using a relationship as a crutch.
  5. Seek Professional Help: If you find yourself struggling to break free from relationship denial patterns, consider seeking therapy or counseling. A qualified therapist can provide guidance and support in navigating your emotions and relationship challenges.

In conclusion, relationship denial can be insidious, leading individuals to cling to unsatisfying partnerships out of fear or a desire for change that may never come. By recognizing the warning signs, engaging in self-reflection, fostering open communication, and seeking support when necessary, you can break free from the shackles of denial and embark on a path toward healthier, more fulfilling relationships.


eHarmony. (2019). eHarmony research reveals a quarter of Brits have stayed in a relationship longer than they should have because they feared being alone.