There are many voids people can try to fill with a relationship. When we talk about a void, we talk about a lack of something. It could be a lack of a social life. A lack of self-love. A lack of family ties. A lack of self-esteem. The love (or what first appears to be love) of another person seems like a quick and surefire way to fill that hole. It’s an entire human being, after all. Surely they can provide what’s missing, right? Unfortunately, there are some things that we’ll never fully be able to enjoy receiving from others until we’ve given them to ourselves – like love, or confidence, or support. We must love and support ourselves before we can even begin to identify someone else who can do that properly for us, too.
When you look for love out of a need to fill a void, you don’t look with clear eyes. The idea is just to find somebody – anybody – to avoid being alone. When the requirement is that simple, the standards drop pretty low. It can be difficult to know when you’re looking to fill a void, and it isn’t always absolute. Sometimes, people just fill a partial void with a relationship. Or, they really do admire and even adore the person they date, so it’s hard to see that they’re filling a void. We spoke with Dr. Melanie Hussain (IG: @meltuition), Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy, about signs one is looking to fill a void with a relationship.
Relationship dynamics that can occur
When looking at what sorts of dynamics arise in a relationship where filling a void was the main focus, Hussain says, “The need to really belong and the fear of loneliness comes into the relationship. And that can lead to conflict, because if you think about it, the person who doesn’t feel fulfilled or okay with themselves, they project that onto their partner.”