Unhealthy Relationship Drivers

A relationship should be a positive force, not a coping mechanism.

Most of us would like to be part of a healthy, mutually satisfying romantic relationship. As human beings, having this type of intimate personal connection and sharing our lives with someone is an innate desire.

There are many valid, beneficial reasons to enter into relationships and then there are numerous unhealthy intentions for seeking out a romantic partner.

A partnership is just that: two independent people choosing to be together and building upon a foundation of communication, trust, love, and appreciation in which each person supports the other and inspires them to be their best.

Before we choose to share our life with another, it is vital that we are doing it for the right reasons, rather than placing the burden on another person to try to make us happy, heal our emotional wounds, or boost our self-esteem.  These unrealistic relationship expectations -- coupled with a lack of self-awareness -- are a recipe for a failed and profoundly unhealthy relationship.


Listed below are a number of motivations that are almost always guaranteed to create an unsatisfactory partnership.

Unhealthy Relationship Drivers


Common among young adults who desperately want to be out from under their “parents’ rule” and see a partnership as a jumping-off point to freedom and independence. What they don’t fully comprehend, at least initially, is that they have simply traded one type of dependence for another.

Pressure from society, family, friends

Those who care most about us have the best intentions, but can also put undue pressure on us, often without realizing it. Questions like, “So, are you dating anyone?” or “Any romantic prospects?” can result in a person feeling “lesser than” because they are not in a relationship. But some people seek a partner (1) to be able to answer, “Yes” to these intrusive questions, or (2) because they feel obligated to be part of a twosome since all their friends are in relationships. Neither of these are valid reasons to seek a connection.

Emotional insecurity

When we enter into a relationship with the goal of alleviating our emotional insecurity, we carry our self-doubt into that fledgling partnership. Instead of the romantic connection dispelling our self-doubt, we will unconsciously utilize it against our new significant other. Emotional insecurity results in distrust and jealousy, anger, low self-esteem, being overly dependent on your partner and a host of other negative factors. We can’t expect our partner to solve our emotional shortcomings; that is something we alone must overcome. Most of us actually do possess some level of emotional insecurity. That doesn’t mean we should not have romantic relationships. Self-awareness, along with an understanding that another person cannot and will not “cure” us of this anxiety, is key to a healthy relationship. 

Economic need/social status

Just as emotional insecurity is a driver for many to step into a new relationship, so is financial insecurity. This can take the form of feeling as though you are not “keeping up with the Joneses” with regard to the social status you perceive as being essential, or you could be experiencing the financial hardship of being unable to “make ends meet.” Whatever your economic situation, neither of these drivers is a fundamentally sound motive for seeking a significant other. Using someone else to “rescue” us emotionally or financially does not lead to a healthy, fulfilling partnership.


Loneliness is an inevitability of life. But it is also an opportunity to look within ourselves, to understand who we are, to learn to love ourselves and know we can be whole, even in a temporary situation of solitude. Says psychotherapist Mary Beth Somich, MA, EdM, LPCA in an article for Bustle magazine, (LINK: https://www.bustle.com/p/7-wrong-reasons-to-get-into-a-relationship-69258)  “Feeling lonely as a result of being single can actually inspire individuals to have new experiences that they would not have put themselves out there for otherwise.”

Time running out/age

Some believe that when we approach a certain age, we are fundamentally no longer loveable. We have passed our prime, and finding a life partner has a set expiration date. As such, we may feel a sense of desperation to find “the one” before time runs out. Again, if our intentions are based on fear, ultimately, whatever relationship results will lack the desired foundation of trust, love, and respect.


All of the above should easily be understood as highly unhealthy reasons to begin a relationship. If you’re still mourning a past relationship, sit with that situation until you can definitely see the relationship receding into the past. Allow yourself the time to grieve before launching full-on into finding another partner.  Understand the reasons why that relationship didn’t work out, and the part you played. That awareness will definitely serve you well as you enter into a brand-new relationship.

Revenge is never, ever a valid justification for becoming involved with another person, nor is boredom. If you are contemplating connecting with another person because of one of these truly unhealthy reasons, don’t.  It will hold YOU back just as much as it will hold the other person back, maybe even more.

Choosing the person to share your life with is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your intentions should be founded on a desire for true companionship and not merely on finding someone with whom you are physically attracted.  A happy, healthy relationship invites growth and communication, honors the equality of the partners, encourages affection, allows space for the expression of individuality, and inspires each person to be his or her best.