Staying in a relationship to avoid being lonely is a recipe for disaster, our columnist says.

Sometimes it’s just for the sex. Sometimes it’s to avoid being alone. Whatever the reason, getting into a relationship just to be in a relationship is sure to end badly.

Lately, I seem to have encountered a number of people that aren’t really happy in their relationships, but seem to stay in them just to avoid being single.

“People get into these types of relationships because they don’t want to be alone,” says dating coach Kateryna Spiwak of Dating Essentials ( “They’re tired of doing the work it takes to be in a healthy relationship … so they jump at the first relationship that comes along.”

The problem: This creates an imbalance of power in the relationship as one person begins to have strong feelings for their partner, but that person can’t or won’t reciprocate.

Although it may be hard for some of us to admit we’re in a relationship just to avoid single status, Spiwak says in the end these types of relationships only end up hurting our self-esteem more.

“(In these relationships) one person has more needs that aren’t being met and they begin to feel depressed and powerless.”

Getting into these types of relationships might seem easier than getting out of one, but it’s not impossible.

“The first step is to communicate … your needs in the relationships,” says Spiwak. “Then look for evidence of that.”

Do they show you how much they care, or simply tell you they do to avoid those awkward relationship talks?

If the talk doesn’t work, then it’s time to get out.

Spiwak recommends building a support network before getting out of a relationship like that — a group of close friends and family that can help get us through the breakup.

Ironically, having this close network of friends and family can help keep us out of unhealthy relationships in the first place.

“I always encourage my clients to build a strong social network and get involved in lots of hobbies and social activities,” says Spiwak. “This way you won’t feel vulnerable to the first person that comes along.”

And if it’s the sex you’re missing, then I say buy a few sex toys to occupy your time. They are easier on your self-esteem than a relationship just based on convenience.

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