ating can be hard. Sometimes, it may seem as though you are on a road that is leading to absolutely nowhere, whether you are committed to someone or not, and you are wondering when it will end. Many times, this is because there was never a true connection to the person you were dating in the first place -– but this can be a difficult thing to admit. So, what is detached dating, and how do you get yourself out of that cycle? 

What is detached dating?

Detached dating does not really have any type of a formal definition. Detached dating is ultimately the practice of dating multiple people at once without labels. Some people date this way on purpose, and if that is the case for you, then that is great. But, many people in our society do this by accident, and they are not sure how to fix it. This is where things can get tricky. Another form of detached dating is emotionally detached dating, which is basically remaining in a relationship or relationships knowing that you do not feel emotionally attached to anyone. 

The issue with detached dating is that it creates a lot of confusion, and it encourages hiding things from your partner, which is not a habit that you want to get into if you want to be in an honest relationship. It also encourages suppressing emotions within yourself, because if there are things that you are afraid to admit to your partner, it is likely that there are things you are not willing to admit to yourself, as well. 

Signs of detached dating

There are many signs of detached dating and ways to identify it, other than the obvious. Here are just a few.

  • Your partner seems disinterested in what you are saying
  • Your partner puts their own needs above yours
  • You or your partner refuse to compromise for one another
  • You talk badly about them to friends and family, or vice versa
Couple holding hands over coffee
Detached dating happens when both sides of a relationship are either afraid of commitment, or afraid to express their emotions.

What is the cause of accidental detached dating?

Although we use the term “accidental,” it is not technically by accident that this happens. The biggest cause of detached dating is that on both sides of the relationship, people tend to be afraid to tell the other person what they want. They are nervous to make the first move, especially if they think that the other person does not want to be exclusive. This can be really difficult on a person, and extremely discouraging. This usually results in one of the two people in the relationship seeing other people, because no one can read minds. 

Couple lays on the ground, woman caressing her partners face
Rebuilding connections within a relationship can be an easy task if you allow yourself to connect with your partner and with your own emotions.

So, how can I rebuild connections?

If you are already in a relationship, the first thing that you need to do is sit down and have a conversation with your partner. They will never know what you want and need in a relationship if you are not able to tell them. But, if you are someone who has a pattern of going in and out of relationships that end up failing because of detached dating, here is what you can do.

Go to therapy

Honestly, everyone needs therapy. But, when it comes to relationships, this is a hot topic for people at the current rising adult age. With social media, and in the age of COVID-19, relationships are hard. But, going to therapy can teach you the necessary coping mechanisms and self-love-skills that you need to be in a relationship that will actually work out in your favor. 

Couple sits on bed smiling and petting two dogs
Understanding what a love language is, and then identifying your own love language and your partner’s is an easy way to regain trust in a relationship.

Understand your love language, and then research everyone else’s

Understanding your own love language is a huge part of the self work that needs to be done before you get into a relationship. You need to know how you want to be treated before you allow someone to treat you anyway at all. There are five love languages, and each appeals to different types of people who want different kinds of things in life. 

A love language is the way that someone prefers to give and receive love. This can be in the form of words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, or physical touch. You can identify with more than one type of love language, but it is likely that you will relate most to one in particular. Treat yourself with the love language that you prefer, and with the knowledge you gain from that self love, is how you want to be loved. 

Hands holding one another in the sunset
Don’t be afraid of conflict in your relationship – if something is making you uncomfortable, let your partner know that.

Don’t shy away from conflict

If you and your potential partner are in a disagreement about something, do not be afraid to speak your mind. Being afraid of conflict will only create more issues within yourself and your relationship, because you are not able to tell the other person or admit to yourself how you feel. Dealing with your problems head on is going to be how you create a healthy relationship. 

This will also let your partner know that you are comfortable with them, enough to speak your mind and allow them to understand you a bit better. If you have a partner who has difficulty dealing with conflict, encourage them to speak their mind more often and help them through what they are feeling mentally. This can be a great bonding experience for the two of you. Communication is a vital part of a healthy relationship, so hone in on that, even if it feels uncomfortable. 

Couple hiking up a hill together
Express gratitude whenever you get the chance. This is an important part of growing in a relationship while feeling seen and heard.

When you feel grateful, let them know

If you express appreciation often, it can be a sign to your partner that you are happy in your relationship. Sometimes, people need reassurance, especially if you were previously going about a detached dating style of relationships. Let your significant other know that you appreciate them and that you care. A small act of gratitude can go a long way, even if it is just a small thank you here and there. This can also be a sign of respect to your partner and a way to let them know that you care about them. 

A couple smiling and embracing one another
Having deep conversations with your partner will encourage growth within your relationship.

Have deeper conversations

You need to get past the service level and dive into what really matters if you want to have a strong and healthy relationship. If your partner is not willing to communicate with you and inform you about their needs, then maybe that is not the right partner for you. Diving into what life means for them is a necessary part of any relationship — whether that be with a significant other or a friend. To really know someone, you need to hear what they have to say first and understand what is happening inside their head. 

Couple standing in front of a lake, holding hands, looking at one another
Understanding when to walk away from a relationship can be extremely difficult, but necessary in terms of mental wellbeing.

Know when to walk away

Sometimes, in cases of detached dating, it is hard to come back and fix what has been broken for a great deal of time. This is when you have to understand that it might be better to walk away rather than waste more of your own time. Every relationship is valuable and it will teach you something, but there are some lessons that are not worth your time and energy to learn if your partner is going to treat you the same way over and over again. This will allow you to have time to focus on yourself and understand yourself better alone before you jump into another relationship. 

Couple overlooking the water, embracing one another
Getting to know yourself is the best way to understand who you are in a relationship.

Relationships can be difficult to navigate, especially if you have been living in a relationship environment where it has been normal to be emotionally detached from your partner— or you had multiple relationships happening at once. If you take time to get to know yourself better and understand who you are as a person, it will be easier for you to understand the type of person that you are while in a relationship.

Apr 19, 2023