Although it can be difficult to make the leap from a relationship to singledom, in some cases doing so can make you a much happier person in the long run.
There are a number of reasons someone might be happier single, but there are some common red flags to consider in a relationship, like differences in values, trust issues, and a gut feeling the relationship isn’t right.
If you think you might be happier single, try making a list of the pros and cons of your relationship to determine the right course of action, licensed psychologist Marni Amsellem, PhD, told INSIDER.
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In relationships, partners can grow apart due to conflicting views or values, lack of trust, or simply realising they don’t feel ready to commit to a relationship, according to licensed psychologist Marni Amsellem, PhD.
“A lot of people feel pressure to be in a relationship, but there is no rule saying it’s necessary,” Amsellem told INSIDER. She said that if a person finds more positives in being single rather than being tied down, it could be time to break up, even if it feels scary.
It can be difficult to make the leap from a relationship to singledom, but in some cases doing so can make you a much happier person in the long run.
The reasons a person might be happier single are very individualized, but Amsellem said that there are some common red flags that folks considering singledom typically share. Here are five signs you would be happier single than in a relationship.
You can’t stop checking your partner’s texts and emails.
Lying and cheating are two common trust issues that couples face, but it’s the way people communicate about these breaches of trust that determine future relationship satisfaction, Amsellem said. “If you are able to have a conversation about the problem and feel comfortable after, that will build trust, but if your partner isn’t being open or honest or is gaslighting you and making you feel like you have the problem, that is a red flag,” she explained.
If you both choose to ignore the problem or resort to secretly checking in on what your partner is doing as a coping mechanism, it could mean the problem won’t resolve and you’d feel better if you were on your own.
You put all of your time and energy into your career.
Differing work-life balance preferences are another red flag that could suggest it’s time for you to become single. According to Amsellem, if one partner enjoys working late or on weekends but the other prefers more time off, it can leave the latter feeling neglected and the former feeling guilty.
“If you can set guidelines and expectations about what works for you both, you can work it out,” she said, but if one or both of you refuse to compromise, it could mean you’ll be happier in the long run if you’re single and doing what you prefer.
You want to live in one city, but your partner prefers another location.
Like work-life balance, differing preferences about where to live can drive a person to realise they would be happier single. Amsellem said this realisation can occur when couples are discussing their future and decide they want to live in different places, but it can also happen after a couple moves for one partner’s job.
In this case, a partner can grow resentful over packing up their life and leaving behind things they enjoyed for their partner’s preferences. Some couples can talk through this resentment, according to Amsellem, but if you or your partner’s resentment doesn’t fade, it could be a red flag. “If you feel like you’re compromising more than you want, it’s something to consider,” she said.
You want to go on vacations and date nights, but your partner would rather skip them and save money.
“Any time you have two people in a relationship, you have two sets of values for everything,” Amsellem said. Money is one of those values and it can raise questions over compatibility and overall relationship satisfaction.
Early on in a relationship, partners usually begin to see how their views on money differ and if they can’t compromise, it could mean it’s time to move on. That’s because how you use and save money in your relationship could suggest how invested you are in that connection and in building a life together. “If you partner doesn’t want to spend any on travel or the apartment but you do, that’s a big difference,” Amsellem said.
If a couple can’t work through spending habits and compromise, it can leave someone feeling neglected just like work-life balance differences can.
You daydream about cheating — a lot.
Cheating on your partner makes it pretty obvious that your interest in the relationship no longer exists, but simply thinking about the act could mean breaking up would benefit you.
“Most people who are at the point of wanting [to cheat] are probably going to do it,” relationship therapist Tammy Nelson said.
Rather than continuing to have your cheating daydreams while dating someone, it’s better to end the relationship and do want you want while single. That way, your partner won’t feel to blame for an affair.
You’re unsure if they’re “the one.”
If you’re unsure about whether you’d be happier single or in your current relationship, Amsellem said thinking rationally can help you decide the best course of action. “Go through pros and cons to help identify what draws you into the relationship and is keeping you,” she said. “In doing that, you may realise there is something powerful there, good or bad, keeping you [in the relationship].”
With that realisation, it can be easier to decide whether you’d be happier single, but Amsellem also stressed that at the end of the day, a gut feeling can be enough. She said that in any relationship, emotions play a role, so listening to your first instinct can help in addition to creating a rationale-based pros and cons list.
Deciding whether being single would make you happier is a personal decision that is unique for everyone. “There isn’t one right way to decide what to do,” Amsellem stressed. “That’s why it’s hard.”
- Read more:
- 11 signs you’re in a rebound relationship
- 8 relationship ‘red flags’ that may not be as big of a deal as you think
- The 10 worst places to live if you’re single
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