If you’re single and want to find a relationship, it can be easy to put a whole lot of weight on getting one. Some people become fixated, treating dating like a professional sport and ignoring other areas of their lives. Now, as I’ve said before, if finding a significant other is a priority for you that’s totally cool— go for it! But keep some perspective. And if you’re single and also happen to be unhappy, it’s easy to think that being single is the thing that makes you unhappy, even when that’s not the case.
Why? Because it seems like an easy fix. We can pinpoint one thing that we want and don’t have, then we assume if we get it that will be then life will be good. We’ll finally be happy. But life is so much more complicated than that. I mean, we’ve all done it, thought “When I find a boyfriend…”, “When I get a promotion…”, “When I move to… ” and convince ourselves it’s going to be a mystery cure-all. The problem with that is, even if you get those things, they’re never the root of the whole issue. We all have rough patches— it’s nothing to feel embarrassed about. But usually if you’re feeling low or dissatisfied, it’s for a whole lot more reasons than just one thing. You have to be a little more holistic, and realistic, in your approach to make things better.
So here are five signs it’s not a relationship that’s keeping you from being happy:
1. You Don’t Like How You Spend Your Days
Unfortunately a lot of people aren’t wild about their jobs. But it’s where you spend most of your time, and if you really hate it it’s bound to make you unhappy. That’s something a relationship won’t fix. There are lots of ways to try and help yourselflove the work you do, so start with that. And if other factors mean that you’re stuck in a job you don’t like, then make sure you maximize the time outside of it. Do things you love and things that make you happy. If you spend all your time either at a job you don’t like or just sitting around, coming home to a significant other isn’t going to help that.
2. You Want A Relationship, But You Actually Enjoy Your Own Time
Sure, you can want to be in a relationship, but unless you’re someone who needs someone around constantly, it’s probably not the thing making you unhappy. If you find that you’re quite content to do your own thing and be in your own company, but that your general life isn’t as happy as you’d like it to be, you should start looking at what else is getting you down besides being single. Maybe it’s that you need a change, or some soul-searching, or maybe just some endorphins. Figure that out first.
3. You’re Grouchy With Everyone
Unhappy people are not pleasant to be around. And I completely include myself in that when I’m unhappy. It’s easy to be self-centered and grouchy when you’re having a rough time. We’ve all done it. But if you’re having trouble interacting with people— if you find yourself easily annoyed or constantly getting into spats— you need some yoga or vacation, not a relationship. Get on good terms with the people in your life before you start to add any new ones.
4. You’re Unhappy With Who You Are
You know that “you have to love yourself before anyone else can” line? It’s totally true. Cheesy, but true. I’ve been through long periods of being single, and that’s in part because I just didn’t like who I was enough to get in a relationship during those periods. It wasn’t until I was able to get myself together and value myself that I wanted to date. And if you try to date when your self-worth is low, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with someone who under-values you too. Wait it out, figure yourself out, or else a relationship could compound your unhappiness, rather than make it disappear.
5. Your Relationships Follow The Same Pattern
We’ve all had bad relationships, yes. We all have figure out how to be in a relationship, who we are, and do some general growing up. But you have to pay attention to patterns. If you’ve sought out happiness in a relationship before and haven’t found it, or just had really awful relationships generally, think about why. Maybe you’re always jealous, go for people who aren’t good for you, or rush in too fast. What ever it is, it’s best to deal with some root causes before jumping into anything. Get yourself happy first, then go looking for someone special.
Originally posted on Bustle