Do you have to fall in love to be in a relationship? Or can you exist in a loveless relationship knowing that you don’t harbor any romantic feelings?
The one thing that most people can agree on is that being in a serious relationship automatically makes you a candidate for falling in love. For the romantics out there, being in love is basically the highest achievement that can be reached in terms of human interaction.
Being in a committed relationship is immediately equated to being in love. That is the reason why people continue to sift through a number of dates before they decide to settle down with any one person.
Those people tend to scratch their heads when they see that someone isn’t adhering to that notion. It comes as a big surprise when they see that a person is in a relationship with someone they don’t love.
What most people don’t realize is that there is a relatively huge number of the global population that don’t adhere to this trend. So, the answer to that question is yes. You can be in a relationship with someone you don’t love. But let’s delve a little deeper into why that is possible.
How can a person be in a relationship with someone they don’t love?
Each person who experiences this has a different reason. There are collective causes for being in a relationship without being in love, but what drives a person is their own business. There are good enough reasons to be in a relationship without love, but there are also less than noble reasons why people do it.
Some people choose to be in these types of relationships because it’s convenient. Falling in love is not an option because it’s unnecessary for them at a certain point. Others have different notions of love, but romance might not be one of them. [Read: 23 types of relationships to define your love life]
Can you be in a relationship with someone you don’t love?
It’s hard to understand when you’re standing on the other side of the fence, but it’s best to consider what a person’s reasons are before passing judgment. To give you an idea of what the most common reasons are, they are as follows:
#1 Arranged marriages. No matter which way you look at it, arranged marriages are still a thing. Even if it’s not dictated by culture, some families adhere to this because it is economically beneficial. Some couples end up falling in love, while others are content to go through the motions because it’s what’s best for them.
#2 Out of guilt. It can’t be helped that there are people who are willing to sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of not inflicting pain on others. Some people stay in relationships with someone they don’t love because they feel that it’s their duty or responsibility to stay, even when they don’t feel anything for their partner. [Read: How to stop being manipulated in a relationship]
#3 Out of a sense of duty. Some people will stay in a relationship like this because they feel that they owe their partner. Whether it’s because of financial or emotional reasons, they will stay because they want to pay their dues, not because they want to.
#4 A different kind of love. If a person cares about someone, they won’t hesitate to offer whatever they can to make them happy. Just because they don’t have romantic feelings does not necessarily mean that they don’t love their partner, albeit in a different way.
#5 Fear of being alone. The saddest reason why anyone would want to be in a relationship with someone they don’t love is when they fear the idea of not being with anyone at all. These people are most likely harboring feelings of insecurity towards themselves. That makes it hard to let go of a loveless relationship in exchange for a life without anyone at all.
#6 Dependence. When you’re in a co-dependent relationship, the line between love and dependency gets blurry. A person who is dependent on somebody else can’t tell the difference between their love for their partner or their need for a security blanket. [Read: 10 scary signs of co-dependency in a relationship]
#7 Financial stability. It’s hard to believe that a person is willing to forgo love in lieu of a fat bank account, but times are hard. Most people would rather be rich or sustained, rather than go through life without any sense of financial security.
#8 Legal matters. When it comes to the law, there are some stipulations that don’t allow much room for people to be in a relationship with whomever they want. This could be an issue about citizenships, same-sex marriage, adoption, insurance, medical benefits, IVF treatments, etc.
Most of these require you to be married, even if it’s with a person you don’t love *or even like*. But that’s illegal, in case you’re planning on going down that route.
#9 Self-imposed deadlines. There are those who don’t want to grow old alone, which makes them do impulsive things like start a relationship with someone they can’t fall in love with. It’s sad, but some people find it sadder when they’re past their prime and still looking for their one true love.
#10 Narcissism. No one talks about it or even admits to it, but it’s true. There are a lot of people who agree to be in relationships because it makes them feel wanted and needed. Being adored validates their existence at the expense of someone else’s feelings. [Read: 16 clear signs you’re in a narcissistic relationship]
Is it a good idea to be in a relationship with someone you don’t love?
It depends on your reasons. If you’re planning on doing it to take advantage of somebody, then it’s not a good idea at all. If you’re fooling yourself into thinking that this will make your partner happy, it’s still not a good idea.
The only reason why you should accept this situation is if it will make you happy as well. You can’t sacrifice your well-being for someone else’s, when they are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. If you find yourself looking for more than what you get out of this type of relationship, then we suggest that you let it go, and move on with your life.
If you’re already in a relationship like that, should you stay?
Some people can survive all throughout their lives without falling in love with the person they’re with. But it’s still sad to think that they’re not putting themselves out there for the chance to actually fall in love.
Still, we can’t control other people’s decisions. They know what’s best for them, and we should all respect that. The important thing is that you know what you’ve gotten yourself into, and that you’re prepared to take responsibility for it.
Being in love is very important, but there are other types of love that can compensate for this. The love for a friend is just as strong. How much you care about another person is also powerful, too. Love, in any form, is enough to keep any relationship going.
A relationship is not justified by emotions alone. Caring about someone and doing what’s best for everyone involved is what makes it work, with or without love in the equation.