We all have that one person we just couldn’t stop thinking about. A person we were so attracted to we could barely think straight. And then, when things went south, we just couldn’t figure out what happened. And finally, in the process of getting over them, we realized that what we had was a superficial relationship! So now when we think about them, we realize we didn’t know them at all.
As you can see, if you have been through something like this, you are not alone. We are often too blinded by attraction or chemistry to understand the truth about a relationship. In the beginning, most relationships are surface-level. This is the period when you are exploring each other. You have fun hanging out and the chemistry is amazing.
This initial phase is important, but if, after a considerable length of time, you are still unable to form a deep emotional connection or attachment, then chances are what you have is a shallow relationship. If that seems familiar, let’s take a closer look at the tell-tale signs of a superficial connection to help you understand what you’re dealing with, along with some tips on how to manage this situation.
11 Tell-Tale Signs You Are In A Superficial Relationship
A superficial relationship is one where partners know each other on a very surface level. Surface relationships can be a whole lot of fun and look cool, but they lack the element of understanding and acceptance.
While shallow relationships aren’t necessarily bad, they are not meant to last. So, if you are looking to build a lasting bond with your significant other, you need to understand the surface relationship vs deep relationship difference, and consciously work on transitioning from the former to the latter. To be able to do that, here are the signs of a superficial connection you need to be aware of:
1. Lack of communication
Communication in relationships doesn’t just involve talking about your favorite K-drama or your favorite flavor of ice cream. It is also about talking about why the sunset makes you sad. It is about discussing and expressing your views, opinions, and feelings, not only about a particular subject but about everything under the sun.
Now, not every conversation you ever have should be deep and meaningful. Light-hearted comedy and banter are vital for building and sustaining a healthy relationship. But if you find that 90% of your conversations are about superficial things, then it’s a clear sign you need to invest time and effort into deepening your connection with your partner.
Related Reading: 9 Signs You Have Serious Communication Issues In Your Relationship
2. Out of sight, out of mind
It is normal to miss the person you love when you are away from them. After all, distance makes the heart grow fonder. But if you hardly think about your bae, let alone text or miss one another when you are apart, it might be a sign of fleeting romantic interest and being shallow in a relationship.
A relationship is so much more than just being together and having fun. It is also about growing in a relationship as individuals and supporting your partner through thick and thin. For a relationship to get there, both partners must be emotionally invested in each other. If a yearning for one another is missing from your connection, it indicates that you’re not as emotionally connected as you need to be to build a relationship that has a future.
3. Your connection is purely sexual
Sexual intimacy plays a very important role in a relationship. Problems in the bedroom tend to snowball into bigger relationship issues. Couples who are not compatible sexually, tend to have a lot of conflict and end up projecting their frustrations onto their partners. This creates a huge rift in the relationship.
On the other hand, a relationship that is primarily based on sex is shallow and will eventually disintegrate as well. Don’t get me wrong, we all want a fiery relationship. Great sexual compatibility. An all-consuming passionate love. But passion does eventually fizzle out.
When that happens, a couple may realize that sex was just one of the superficial things in a relationship and that they have very little else in common. It can be difficult to continue being together. If you suspect that might be the case in your current relationships, here are some signs to look out for:
- All your conversations revolve around sex
- Most of the time you meet your partner, it is only for a sexual encounter
- Neither of you makes an effort to plan romantic dates or fun things to do together
- There is no after-play or cuddling after sex
4. You are in it for the looks
Mindy and Omar seemed like the ideal couple. They made an extremely gorgeous couple, who took social media by storm and gained a lot of popularity. They had a travel blog and their pictures together often went viral. They seemed to be setting couple goals on all conceivable fronts. All was going well until the arrival of their first baby; that’s when things drastically changed.
Mindy has trouble shedding the pregnancy weight. Her postpartum depression only made matters worse. Instead of being there for her, Omar taunted her for not taking care of herself and started cheating on her. When she confronted him about it, Omar straight out told her he wasn’t attracted to her anymore now that she had gained so much weight. He wanted her to sign the divorce papers.
This is a telling example of how surface-level connections based on frivolous attributes such as looks, money, or fame cannot translate into anything more than fleeting, short-term relationships – even if a couple is bound by the ultimate commitment of marriage.
5. You don’t talk about the future
A shallow relationship is always about the here and now, the thrill of living in the moment. Either one or both partners in such a relationship don’t want to talk about the future. This could be due to various reasons – underlying commitment issues, lack of emotional investment, recovering from heartbreak, and being on a rebound after a serious relationship, to name a few.
So, if you have been dating for close to a year or more and your partner is not willing to talk about vacation ideas or holiday plans, let alone your future as a couple, chances are they are not that invested in the relationship and might just be using you. This is one of the classic examples of superficial love. Your partner is not in it for the long term. When it strikes their fancy, they will leave.
Related Reading: 22 Signs Of A Commitment-Phobe
6. You don’t spend quality time together
Picture this: You plan a date night. You take time out of your busy schedule to meet each other, maybe catch a movie or go bowling or just have dinner. Just minutes into the date, you both take out your phones and spend a better part of the evening scrolling through social media. Maybe, deep down, you’re telling yourself, “I hate superficial relationships”, and yet, somehow you find yourself trapped in one.
There is nothing wrong with posting pictures of your food on Instagram and putting up selfies. But, when you use your phone or social media as an escape to fill the void in your time together, it is a cause for concern. Particularly, if you are looking for a long-term relationship but your partner is just not interested in getting to know you on a deeper level. It’s a sign that they just might not be into you.
7. You don’t really know them
Of course, you may know your partner loves karaoke nights. You can tell if the tea is too sweet for their taste buds. You know what happened to them on prom night and it makes you laugh every time. But dig deeper. Do you really know them? Here are a few signs that what you feel is, at best, superficial love for a person you don’t really know too well:
- You make jokes that trigger your loved one
- You can’t tell if your partner needs your care or wants some me-time
- You have no idea what your partner’s deepest fears are
- You are unsure where your partner stands in the relationship and what they expect out of it
- You don’t know their love language
- You don’t know how best to comfort/support them when they’re going through a rough patch
8. Lack of concern for the partner’s well-being
It’s a sign of a superficial connection if your partner is concerned about you only on a surface level and that makes you feel neglected and uncared for. They will definitely ask after you when you are down with a cold. Or ask you what’s wrong when you are visibly upset. But that’s just about where it will end. They will never really put in the effort to make you feel better. Naturally, such a relationship won’t bring you joy and peace. And that’s why most surface-level connections translate into short-term relationships.
On the other hand, a person who is invested in the relationship will go out of their way to make life a bit better. And it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. More often than not, it’s the little acts of kindness that will take your breath away. Such healthy relationships are built on a mix of emotional connection and physical attraction. You know you’re loved on a deeper level and there is someone out there who really cares.
9. Your relationship is riddled with conflict
Fights are inevitable in a relationship. When put in the right context, they can be quite beneficial. It helps a couple get to know each other better and establish boundaries. Conflict resolution can strengthen the bond. That being said, when a relationship is afflicted with constant disagreements and conflicts, it’s a sign that something is amiss.
That something could be the fact that your connection is too superficial to foster a lasting relationship. Since you don’t know each other well and aren’t bonded on a deeper level, it’s only natural that you will do/say things to upset and offend each other. That can set into motion a cycle of bickering, negativity, and conflict. This, in turn, makes it even harder for you to establish an emotional connection that serves as the foundation of a healthy relationship.
Relate Reading: 15 Signs Your Relationship Is Beyond Repair
10. You are two very different people
Opposites attract. The differences in the personalities of the two partners add spice to the relationship and keep it interesting. For instance, if a person is timid and gets walked over by people, they will appreciate having a partner who will stand up for them every once in a while. Likewise, a relationship between a dreamer and a realist can be a beautiful example of two opposing forces balancing each other out – the yin and yang.
While some differences in personality traits are inevitable, your core values, goals, and morals must align if you hope to build a lasting relationship with someone. However, when two people only share a superficial connection and don’t really know and understand each other, these differences can run deep. These fundamental differences in outlook, beliefs, and value systems can become a chronic source of friction in the relationship.
11. You are still not a part of their inner circle
If you have been dating for a while and still haven’t met your partner’s family or are still not an integral part of their inner circle of people, it indicates that your partner isn’t invested in the relationship or thinking about a future with you. People tend to use shallow relationships as a backup till they find someone better. If your partner avoids any conversation about you meeting their family or hanging out with their friends, they might view it as nothing more than a fling and definitely not in it for the long haul.
Related Reading: 9 Signs You Are In A Dead-End Relationship
5 Tips On How To Fix A Superficial Relationship
Is your relationship superficial and unsatisfying? Has it gotten stuck in a rut? Are you struggling to deepen your romantic bond? Do you feel tired of the same superficial conversations with your partner, and want them to open up to you? Now that we understand what surface relationship vs deep relationship differences are, let’s see what you can do to transition from one to the other. Here are 5 tips that will help build an emotional connection and deepen your love:
1. Prioritize your partner and relationship
If you want to fix your relationship, make it a priority. Spend time with each other and talk about your big plans. Have difficult conversations. Let your partner understand that they are more important to you than superficial things in life. Here are a few ways to show your partner that they’re your priority:
- Spend quality time and plan date nights. Try to disengage from work and other activities during this time. Be intentional about making time for your relationship
- Thank your partner for the little things they do for you every day, instead of reserving your appreciation for special occasions. Let them know you’re grateful to have them in your life every chance you get
- Break unhealthy patterns such as ignoring your partner and withholding information about your whereabouts. If your love is real, make your partner feel safe, show up for them, and ensure they have a good time with you
- Understand your partner’s love language. Make it a point to express your affection in a language that resonates with them the most
2. Open up to your partner
At the beginning of a romantic relationship, we generally like to show our partners the best sides of ourselves and hide our flaws. For example, you may hide the fact that you’re short-tempered. Or you may appreciate a dish they made for you even though you didn’t like it.
But as a relationship evolves, people begin to open up to each other and show the sides of themselves that they aren’t particularly proud of. If despite having been together a long time, your connection still feels surface-level, it’s time to dig deeper. Share your flaws without feeling restless or scared. If you want a deep soul connection, you have to show your partner your true personality. Instead of saying ‘yes’ to everything, open up about your own feelings, desires, and experiences.
3. Share material things with your partner
If your relationship lacks depth, you may be anxious or terrified of sharing material things with your partner. In such a case, it can help to reflect on your relationship with money and its place in your love life. If you want to take the next step forward in your relationship, such as proposing to your partner, financial safety and clarity are crucial. That’s the key to building a transparent relationship. So, ask yourself the following questions:
- What does money mean to you?
- How much security does money give you as an individual and as a partner in a relationship?
- What was your idea of money and material things during your childhood?
- Why do you feel threatened when you have to share material things with your partner?
- What is your partner’s attitude when they have to share material things with you?
- Can you have an honest conversation with your partner about finances, household bills, and material possessions?
- Do you trust your partner enough?
4. Tell each other the truth about your relationship
If you want to build a mature relationship with your partner, tell each other what you expect from your relationship. Be honest and transparent about it. The where-do-we-stand conversation can be daunting at first. But if you have been dating for a considerable amount of time now, it’s vital to have this discussion, especially if you want a future together.
5. Set a few shared goals
Are you and your partner fond of gardening? Do you both feel passionate about volunteering for a greater cause? Have you often told each other how great it would be to start a YouTube channel together? Common interests and shared goals can make your relationship stronger than ever.
Shared values and interests reveal your true self in the relationship. It helps you look at your partner in a new light. You understand if you’re both on the same page. For a serious relationship, spending time together, couple activities, and deep conversations are vital.
- A superficial relationship is one where partners know each other on a very surface level
- While a superficial relationship can be a whole lot of fun and look cool, it cannot lead to a long-term connection based on understanding, depth and acceptance
- If you meet each other only for sex, do not bring up the future of your relationship, or your partner does not care about your well-being, it indicates that your bond lacks depth
- Prioritising your partner, opening up to them and setting common goals can lead to a serious relationship with quality time and deep conversations
Having a deep relationship requires a connection that is not easily found. While you just click with some people right away, it takes a while to establish that connection with others. You must give quality time to your relationship and have honest conversations with your loved one to go beyond that surface-level connection.
Relationships depend on the partners and their intentions. If they do not want an emotional connection and want a purely sexual relationship, they may go for casual relationships. However, in some cases, people often get into an emotional relationship and understand midway that it has been superficial. So, it is difficult to state right away whether most relationships are superficial. But what we can say is that such relationships are not uncommon. You can be a part of them if that is what you truly desire and need. You can also avoid them if you want deep and long-term relationships.
A relationship may feel shallow in the initial stages because you are yet to know a lot of things about your partner. However, if all your long-term term relationships feel the same way, there are underlying reasons you need to dig into. Excessive criticism, blame games, poor communication skills, lack of compassion, and selfish motives can be some of these reasons. Your partner and you need to resolve these issues to build a deep and meaningful relationship. It won’t happen in a day, but the effort is worth it.