If you’re a typically anxious person, then you’ve definitely found yourself wondering if any of your relationships, romantic or platonic, are real. Simply because your anxiety makes it seem like your presence is too heavy and stifling for others to enjoy (which it isn’t, by the way). Now, here’s one unfortunate fact you kinda need to know — pity relationships DO exist.
Yeah, we know. This is like a slap in the face but they do and they’re actually way more common than you think they are.
But how do you even define a pity relationship? Well, that’s easy.
For the most part, most pity relationships start with one person not being really interested. We’ll explain. See, what happens is someone is either flirting for fun and the other person didn’t see through it and the flirty person felt too guilty they didn’t end things — no, they actually let them move forward.
And sometimes, it happens in a way in which one person realizes the other person’s feelings for them too late and instead of being all ‘hey, I’m actually not interested’, they feel guilty and they go into a relationship based on a mix of pity and a fear of confrontation and, well, the idea that they may love them eventually. Think Hana and Mo’nes from Le3bet Newton. Yikes.
Another way this not-so lovely dynamic happens is that one half of the relationship quite literally feels sorry for the other half. Maybe they’re in a low place in their life or they thought they could ‘fix’ them but now that they’re in this relationship, they realized that they didn’t really want to be involved like this.
Well, that sounds morbid. But what do all these relationships have in common?
Pity. Yes, we know, we know — duh, right? But here’s the thing. These relationships only share pity and nothing else because there is nothing else in there. No, seriously, if you put the pity you feel for this person and the solely-human compassion that comes with that pity, you’ll be left with nothing but a big gaping hole because there are NO other feelings there.
“But how do you mistake love for pity?”, you may be wondering.
It’s strikingly easy to mistake a lot of things for love when you don’t really know the real deal. For another thing, though, the compassion and the pity we may feel toward someone makes us want to be there for them. It may even make us want to care for them and make sure they’re okay and to a lot of people, that can be very easily mixed up with love.
So how do you know you’re in a pity relationship? That’s easy
There are always tells for these kinds of things but the biggest tell of them all is when you can tell they’ve obviously lost interest once you didn’t need or ask for their help or support, emotional or otherwise, anymore.
This lack of heart and enthusiasm is generally a sign that the relationship might be nearing the edge of a cliff. Another sign is the fact that the person you’re seeing literally doesn’t care about your feelings anymore and everything they liked about you now irritates them to no end.
You can also tell you’re in a pity relationship if your partner is hard to get in touch with, even if they’re not busy and this never happened before. When hanging out and being together feels like a chore and the atmosphere is thick with “I wish I was home/somewhere else” energy, that tends to be a big flashing neon sign that this is a pity relationship.
What does this pity relationship say about you, though?
Absolutely nothing, before you even say anything. See, a relationship is essentially a “it takes two to tango” type of thing, so no one person is ever the sole person in control (if your relationship is like this, seek help), so this pity relationship is as about you as it is about them.
If you didn’t know this was a pity relationship, then there’s nothing on you. It was, after all, the other person’s decision to go into this relationship too, wasn’t it? You don’t control what people around you do so this really isn’t your fault.
And what if you did know it was a pity relationship? Well, you can hopefully end it because you don’t deserve to beg for love crumbs. No one does. This relationship maybe keeping you from meeting someone great or fulfilling your greater potential, so keep that in mind.