8 signs you’re mistaking love for companionship without realizing it

Tina Fey by Tina Fey | May 22, 2024, 2:13 pm

Ever found yourself in the cozy embrace of companionship, only to wonder if it’s love you’re feeling? Ah, the classic conundrum! 

We’ve all been there, tangled up in the web of emotions, trying to decipher what’s what. But fear not, fellow wanderers of the heart!

In this article, we’re diving deep into the subtle nuances between love and companionship.

Buckle up as we explore eight telltale signs that might just reveal if you’re mistaking one for the other without even knowing it. 

Ready? Let’s dive in. 

1) Comfort over passion

In the realm of love and relationships, comfort is a beautiful thing. It’s the feeling of being at ease with someone, of being yourself without any pretensions.

However, when comfort becomes the primary driver of your relationship, it might be a sign you’re veering into companionship territory.

Let’s face it; passion ebbs and flows in a relationship. But when you’re in love, there’s an underlying current of desire, a longing to connect on a deeper level beyond the cozy familiarity.

If you find that your relationship is more about shared activities and routines without that spark of passion, it could be an indicator that you’re mistaking love for companionship.

This doesn’t mean you need to have fireworks every day—that’s not realistic or even desirable. It’s more about whether there’s still an emotional depth and intimacy that transcends the comfort zone.

2) Lack of personal growth

As someone who’s been down the relationship road a few times, I can affirm that love isn’t just about feeling good. It’s also about growing as a person.

When you’re in love, you inspire each other to become better versions of yourselves. It’s a beautiful dance of growth and motivation, characterized by a mutual desire to improve and evolve.

On the other hand, companionship often centers around acceptance and comfort without necessarily pushing each other towards personal growth.

If you’ve noticed that you’re not growing or evolving in your relationship, it might be a sign that it’s more about companionship than love.

As the legendary Bruce Lee once said, “Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning, a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”

Reflect on this quote. Does your relationship feel like a friendship caught on fire? Or does it feel more like a cozy blanket that keeps you warm but doesn’t ignite your spirit?

Again, there’s nothing wrong with either scenario. It’s all about understanding your feelings and making sure you’re in the relationship for the right reasons.

3) Dependence versus independence

In my years as a relationship expert and through my own personal experiences, I’ve come to understand that true love fosters independence, not dependence.

When you’re in love, you cherish the time you spend together. Still, you also value your individuality and independence. You’re two separate entities choosing to walk life’s journey together; you’re not two halves completing each other.

In companionship, there’s often an element of dependence. You might find yourself relying on the other person for your happiness or emotional well-being. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to codependency if not managed correctly.

If you’re finding it hard to distinguish between love and companionship in this aspect, my book “Breaking The Attachment: How To Overcome Codependency in Your Relationship” could be a great resource for you.

It offers insights into understanding and overcoming codependency in relationships, helping you build healthier connections.

4) Excitement in separation

Now, this point may seem a bit counterintuitive, but bear with me.

When you’re in love, time spent apart doesn’t diminish your connection; instead, it can often make you appreciate your partner even more. The old saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” holds a grain of truth.

You miss them, of course, but there’s also a sense of excitement in anticipating your reunion. It’s like a spark that keeps the passion alive.

However, in companionship, separation might feel more like relief than longing. You enjoy each other’s company, but time apart doesn’t necessarily stir up any profound feelings or anticipation.

5) Avoidance of deeper conversations

As a relationship expert, one thing I’ve noticed consistently is that deep, meaningful conversations are the cornerstone of love. These conversations allow you to connect on a profound level, understand each other’s perspectives, and grow together.

In love, you’re not afraid to delve into deeper topics. You share your fears, dreams, aspirations, and even your darkest secrets. It’s through these intimate exchanges that bonds deepen and love flourishes.

On the flip side, companionship often revolves around casual conversations. You enjoy each other’s company and can talk about anything under the sun, but you might avoid diving into deeper subjects.

If your chats are staying surface-level and you’re avoiding those deeper dialogues, it might be a sign that you’re in a companionship rather than a love relationship.

6) Settling for less

This is a tough one, but it’s crucial to address. Sometimes, we settle for companionship when we’re fearful of being alone or when we believe we don’t deserve the kind of love we truly desire.

In love, you feel seen, valued, and cherished for who you are. You don’t feel the need to compromise your wants, needs, or values. You feel fulfilled.

In companionship, while there’s comfort and friendship, there might also be a sense of settling. Perhaps you’re not entirely happy, but you stick around because it’s comfortable or because you fear being alone.

If you find yourself constantly compromising your happiness or feeling that something is missing in your relationship, it might be a sign that you’re mistaking love for companionship.

7) Lack of mutual goals

One thing I’ve observed over the years, both in my own relationships and in those of my clients, is that love often involves a shared vision of the future. You and your partner have common goals and dreams, and you’re excited to work towards them together.

In companionship, while you might enjoy each other’s company in the present, there may be a lack of shared future aspirations. You’re content with the status quo and don’t necessarily discuss or plan for a shared future.

As the great Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” In love, this idea of ‘together’ extends to your dreams and ambitions as well.

8) Fear of change

In a companionship, you know the dynamics, you’re used to the routines, and there’s a certain comfort in the predictability. The thought of change, of stepping into the unknown can be daunting.

In love, however, change is embraced. Love involves growth, and growth often means change. You’re not just willing but excited to explore new avenues, face challenges together, and evolve as a couple.

If you’re clinging to your relationship due to fear of change rather than a deep-seated love and desire to grow together, it’s a sign that you might be mistaking love for companionship.

This is a tough pill to swallow, but facing this truth head-on can lead to greater self-awareness and ultimately guide you to the kind of relationship you truly desire. 

Self-awareness leads to true happiness

Navigating the line between love and companionship can be challenging. But remember, self-awareness is the first step towards understanding and change.

If you’ve resonated with any of these signs, it might be time to dig a little deeper into your feelings. There’s no right or wrong here, just different paths to happiness and fulfillment.

For those who need a little more guidance, my book “Breaking The Attachment: How To Overcome Codependency in Your Relationship” might be a helpful resource.

Keep in mind, love is a journey, not a destination. Whether you’re in love or in companionship, what truly matters is that you’re happy and at peace with where you are.

Until next time, continue to love and grow.

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