Are You In A Disposable Relationship? How Not To Be

Many dating relationships today are treated as disposable commodities. People’s growing self-absorption and social media have made hopping from one relationship to another as easy as the swipe of a finger. When your current relationship gets a little stale, there is no reason to work hard at fixing it. You can just go online and find someone else to relive the excitement of a budding relationship.

I work with many adults who can’t sustain relationships past the honeymoon phase because it requires them to use relationship skills they never learned in the age of disposability. There is always a quick exit and instantaneously better option right around the corner.

The reliance on short, indirect conversations over social media means you no longer have to look into people’s eyes and explore deep parts of someone’s personality. You can just rely on “how is your day going”, clever jokes, photo sharing, and the occasional get-together. These types of conversations abbreviate our lives, and forge relationships around the abridged version of who we are. Shallowness and disposability prevail. And hurt people at times.

Old School Relationships Carry the Answer

Years before social media, if you wanted to meet someone, you had to find a way to place yourself in close proximity and spark up a conversation. You had to call their home phone, meet their family, and go on dates to get to know them. This was a lot of work but it taught you that relationships were special to pursue and sustain.

If you wanted to end a relationship, you thought twice because finding a new partner took a lot of effort, and you had fewer options. So, you learned to make relationships work and, as a result, discovered new aspects of your partner you never knew. Consequently, you developed skills to sustain relationships past the honeymoon phase when they get real, honest, less exciting, and challenging at times.

Is Your Relationship a Disposable One?

How do you know if your current relationship is disposable? Read the characteristics of disposable relationships below and see how many apply to you:

  • After about 2-3 months, your partner goes from being attentive and nice to aloof and jealous

  • Your communications is primarily over texting

  • Your relationship becomes physically intimate well before you got to know each other

  • Your partner waits too long to respond to messages, but you see him or her post on social media in the meantime

  • Your partner replies to your text with one or two word responses

  • One or both partners have a long history using online dating apps

  • Your partner is still on dating apps, and you even catch him or her checking them in your presence

  • Your partner doesn’t think about your needs in advance

  • Your communication is frequently argumentative and competitive over small issues

  • Your partner continues to talk with former partners

  • Your partner avoids having conversations about how the relationship is going

  • Your partner stops having time for you

  • Your partner tells you in advance that he or she is going to be busy and will not be able to communicate or see you much over the next few months

Keep Your Relationship From Becoming Disposable

To keep your relationship from being a disposable casualty, you can build the following activities into the fabric of your lives together:

  • Talk over the phone or in person three times more than texting each other

  • Delete all dating apps, not just freeze your account

  • Have no communication with former partners, and delete all contact information

  • Explore activities in the community that are brand-new to both of you

  • Take physical intimacy very, very slow, and view it as a way to express affection instead of a race to orgasm

  • Have theme weekends, days, or outings that are meant to nurture your relationship

  • Set expectations about the behaviors you want to see from each other that show how much you both care

  • Have periodic conversations about how your relationship is going and how to improve it

  • Express how your partner adds value to your life, frequently

  • Do small gestures for each other that express how much you care

  • Introduce each other to your families

  • Give each other space to do things with friends, without jealousy

Create a Solid Foundation For a Lasting Relationship

By consciously creating the foundation for a lasting relationship that doesn’t fall off the disposability cliff, you can create habits that bind the two of you, instead of keeping one foot out the door. Review your relationship now and build a lasting foundation.