THE BLOG

7 Signs You're in a Band Aid Relationship

06/24/2015 03:46 pm ET | Updated Jun 24, 2016

Are you in a lukewarm relationship? One that's neither great, nor bad? It's not too hot to burn you, but not too cold to cause discomfort. One where you know your partner isn't your ideal choice but they'll do for now?

It's a couple's world by design. It's hard to be the odd number at the dinner table, or the one who repeatedly attends events unaccompanied. This universal discomfort isn't the sole reality of singles exhausted from the dating merry-go-round circuit. It affects divorced men and women tired of being an outcast in the suburbs, as well as widows and widowers who find themselves removed from the vibrant social life they once enjoyed with a partner. For many of these individuals, a Band Aid relationship is a seductively hopeful option.

A "Band Aid" relationship is a type of romance that provides quick relief from the pangs of loneliness. It's not something that's meant to last forever. It's a form of "get-by" love affair that's chosen in lieu of finding something more substantial.

In the inability to find meaningful connection, this type of relationship choice serves as a temporary means to an end. It's like going to a restaurant when you're really hungry. Not seeing what you want on the menu is a letdown, but personal preference is of less importance than necessity.

When the hunger for partnership is paramount, substance and quality often become secondary concerns.

Many of us can find ourselves in this type of relationship by default. It may even be with someone we call our boyfriend or girlfriend. But underneath its construct is the thinking, "It'll do for the time being." We've made an up-front compromise for comfort. No, this isn't the type of relationship we want. And it isn't our best choice of a partner. Our participation is justified by rationalizing that its short shelf life can't cause any serious harm. So, why not be with someone rather than no one?

Band Aid relationships are neither good nor bad. They allow direct exit from a world of loneliness. Limited in scope, the emotional involvement appears negligible. So, we're safe on that count. Convenient and easy, this type of junk food dating can be a temporary cure that looks delightful at certain times in our life. And sometimes that's good enough.

How do you know if you're in a Band Aid relationship?

1. You like your partner but you don't feel heat or passion for them.

2. If they cancel a date you're unaffected by their absence.

3. They don't have an "all field pass" to your life. You edit their involvement with friends, family, and business associates on a case-by-case basis.

4. You neither feel high nor low. Your emotional involvement is neutral.

5. Quite stunningly, you never argue. There's nothing at stake.

6. You know you're going to leave them. It's just a matter of when.

7. If they break up with you first, it's an inconvenience but not a crisis.

The fear of being alone and dealing with all the feelings that arise from that loneliness can become overwhelming for many people. I've witnessed acquaintances of both sexes bounce in and out of Band Aid relationships. The need for someone, anyone, is the driving force behind their choice. It's a quick fix connection that seems to do the trick.

All versions of romance are a "choice." Every choice has its merits and consequences. If you're in a Band Aid relationship, be clear on 'what it is' and 'what it isn't.' Accept the reality that comes along with its design. It will be discarded after its use.

This is the clarity one needs to enjoy this type of partnership. It is, what it is. Don't fool yourself. You can't make it more than what its design will allow. But you can participate mindfully and allow it to be the best of what it is. And, for the length of your involvement, strive to be the best partner you can be, while there. Play fair. Be kind. But most of all be honest with yourself.