A few years ago, I started dating a handsome guy I met on Tinder. Let’s call him That Guy.
He was tall and handsome and intelligent and funny. He was exactly the type of guy I wanted to date. He checked all my boxes and I was smitten by him just after our very first date. We ended up dating for a few months before I decided to break it off.
Why? Because I spent more time being confused whether he liked me or not rather than actually feeling loved. I was always waiting for his text messages. I was left on read so many times. I kept wondering if he was actually interested in me or not. I was unhappy and I knew I need to leave.
It was a lukewarm relationship.
Let me explain.
What’s a lukewarm relationship?
A lukewarm relationship is a relationship where you are in a relationship technically but it doesn’t feel like you’re in one.
You go on a few dates and you get a few texts but the communication is irregular.
You spend more time worrying whether they really love you or not instead of actually feeling loved.
It’s a relationship where your partner likes you a little but doesn’t love you. Many people, and mostly women, put up with these kinds of relationships because they’re afraid of feeling lonely. Studies suggest that the fear of loneliness skews our priorities and we end up settling for average things.
But being in a lukewarm relationship is even worse than loneliness. It’s horrible. You’ll be driven mad and it will start affecting everything else in your life.
Are you in such a relationship?
5 Signs You Are In A Lukewarm Relationship
They are not consistent in their communication with you
One week ago before Valentine’s day, That Guy stopped texting me. He didn’t respond to my messages and didn’t even text first. I kept waiting and waiting. The evening of Valentine’s day, I sat in my bedroom alone feeling sad because my boyfriend didn’t even remember what day it was. He messaged me a day after Valentine’s day and acted like nothing wrong had happened. He even asked me out on a date.
If you’re dating someone who disappears out of the blue, break it off with them as soon as you can. There can always be emergencies but if it’s happening regularly, then you definitely know that it’s not an emergency.
Ideally, your partner should be clear in their communication with you. Trust me, it’s not difficult to send a small text even when someone is busy.
Months later, I found out that That Guy wasn’t texting me regularly because he was texting multiple women at the same time.
They don’t spend enough time with you even when they’re free
I was in a park the other day and saw this old couple just sitting on a bench and feeding each other ice creams. It warmed my heart and it was exactly what I was looking for with That Guy.
But funnily enough, he was never around when I wanted him to be. Yes, he did take me out on a date every now and then but it was always on his own terms. He decided when we’d go out and if something popped on his schedule at the last moment, there’d be no date. He never even considered asking me for my opinions and for some reason, I never saw this as a red flag.
I was stupid. Don’t be like me.
Your partner should want to spend time with you. It doesn’t even have to be a fancy dinner date every night, it can just be you two cuddling on the couch and having deep conversations.
They haven’t introduced you to their friends/family
Meeting each other’s friends and family is a huge deal in a relationship. It means your partner wants you in their life for the long term. They aren’t just casually wasting your time, they want you to be a big part of your life.
I wish I’d known this while I was dating in my teens. Some of the guys I dated would pretend I didn’t even exist when they were around people they were close to.
But thankfully, That Guy didn’t do this to me.
He did something much worse.
Their friends/family don’t treat you well
In the very early days of our relationship, That Guy introduced me to one of his closest friends. Ah, how good I felt when he asked me to meet Annie. I thought it meant he was taking our relationship more seriously, right? No.
Annie was mean to me and I realized she started hating me within five minutes of meeting me. She was giving me backhanded compliments and pretending I don’t even exist when I was talking.
But why was she doing that?
She didn’t consider me important enough to treat me well. She knew That Guy was dating me only temporarily and I’d be out of his life soon. So, she just wasn’t interested in me.
If your partner’s friends/family are treating you in a similar way, that’s a huge red flag.
They are nice to you only when they want something from you
I know what you must be wondering: “Why the hell were you dating That Guy?”
Well, because I was lonely and stupid. And whenever he would do one nice thing for me, I’d forget all the 1000 horrible things he did.
He did do nice things for me sometimes. Like buying me chocolate or taking me out to a very fancy restaurant for dinner.
But over a period of time, I noticed that he did nice things for me only when he wanted something from me or when there was no one else to hang out with. When all his friends were busy and he didn’t have any plans, he’d ask me out.
The worst thing about him was that he was very observant of my reactions. When he saw that I was frustrated and I was pulling away from him, he’d love-bomb me so that I’d get pulled back to him. He’d talk about things like future and marriage even when he didn’t have any such intentions. He did this simply because he was trying to keep me in this abusive relationship.
Your situation may not be as serious as mine but if you’re feeling like you’re not being respected or appreciated enough in your relationship, you need to leave.
You Deserve More Than A Lukewarm Relationship
If you’re in such a relationship, first of all, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Secondly, you need to get out of it.
Breakups are painful but it’s even more painful to be in a lukewarm relationship. You deserve someone who is madly in love with you, who will move mountains just to see a smile on your face.
Often in life women are ridiculed for having crazy notions about love and relationships. I remember in my teens when I was watching romantic movies and reading romance novels, people would tell me: “Don’t expect love to look like that.”
Women are told we must always be subservient, we must always tolerate shitty relationships to keep the family together.
But why does it always have to be us?
Tips For Getting Out Of A Lukewarm Relationship
Depending on how long you’ve been in such a toxic relationship, it can be difficult to leave your partner. I get it. When I was trying to leave my partner, it was really difficult for me. I kept thinking to myself: “Oh, he might change,” or “Maybe I am overthinking.”
But I wasn’t.
Here are some tips that helped me out.
Seek help from friends
It was my close friends who helped me see things clearly when I was wearing my rose-colored glasses. My friends helped me realize that the way he was behaving with me clearly indicated that I deserved a better relationship. And even though I didn’t agree with them at first, I slowly realized they were indeed right.
My friends also helped me after the breakup. I would cry and vent all my feelings with them for hours and they were there to listen.
I highly recommend seeking support from your loved ones if you’re finding it difficult to leave your toxic partner.
If you don’t have friends, you can join online forums such as Reddit and Facebook groups. Leaving toxic relationships is something many people have gone through and you’d be surprised how helpful strangers can be.
Invest your time in self-improvement
Spending time to become a better person is one of the best ways of spending your time, especially when you’re just getting out of a bad relationship. That’s how I got through my bad breakup.
I threw myself at building my writing career and started an online business. My business was a total failure and I lost a little bit of money. However, I learned a lot and my mind was distracted from my heartbreak.
Seriously, I can assure you, nothing feels as good as working hard to make your life better. If you already have a successful career or are just not interested in working toward it, you can also work on your hobbies.
Try something you’ve never tried before or restart working on your old hobbies that you abandoned. One of the things I have recently promised myself is to cook more often. I find the entire process very therapeutic and I am eating much healthier while saving a lot of money now.
If not for yourself, you can start working on a project for your parents, children, or other loved ones. One of my friends started making soft toys for her children while she was bored and now she has turned it into a 6-figure business.
You never know what might be in store for you. So, wipe those tears away and go explore the world!
Know your self-worth
Lukewarm relationships can end up hurting not just your heart but also your self-worth. When I was dating That Guy, I kept wondering what was wrong with me that he just wasn’t interested in spending more time with me. I thought I wasn’t pretty or smart enough. I started feeling bad about myself.
How wrong I was. There was nothing with me. Just like there’s nothing wrong with you.
Trying to make someone fall in love with you when they are just not interested in you is a losing battle and it will drain you. I read a quote the other day: if they love you, you’ll know. If they don’t, you’ll be confused.
I fully believe in this quote. The person who is truly meant for you will never leave you confused about how they feel about you. They’ll always let you know how special you are to them.
So, you should also be aware of how special you are and don’t ever let anyone make you forget that. (Also read: 10 Green Flags in a Relationship That Tell You You're Dating the Right Person)
The Final Word
It’s been a while since I have gotten out of that lukewarm relationship. I am currently unavailable because I am spending all my time working on the person that’s the most important to me: myself.
I have been in several lukewarm relationships and despite how hard I wished, their warmth was not just enough for me. I am a passionate person who wants the very best things in life, including a loving partner.
I wish the same for you. If you’re in a lukewarm relationship, trust me when I say this: this is a big wide world and you don’t have to keep settling for things that are just not right for you.
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