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14 September 2021

What is a pseudo connection? Is it killing your relationship?

Jairek Robbins

Everyone needs to be in a healthy relationship which validates them and enables them to share every aspect of their lives with that one special person. The need for this healthy relationship is even greater in these chaotic times in which we are faced with work pressures, struggling businesses, uncertainty about the future and so on. Unfortunately, many people find themselves in relationships characterized by pseudo connections. But what exactly is a pseudo connection and why is it bad for your relationship? Read on and decide whether there is a pseudo connection in your relationship and learn what you can do about it.

What is a pseudo connection or relationship?

The word pseudo means imitation or not real. A pseudo connection is therefore a semblance of a connection between people in a relationship but there is no deep connection. The people operate at the superficial level talking about work, children, world events and everything except what really matters to them as a couple.

As for a pseudo relationship, things are a lot worse. The relationship isn’t clearly defined, you don’t know where it is headed, there is no commitment and many other hallmarks of non-existent or on-sided relationships are present.

This is different from an open-relationship or friends-with-benefits arrangement because in these situations, both parties are aware of the rules of engagement. Both parties are happy with the terms of the “situationship” or friends-with-benefits arrangement, but no such clarity exists in a pseudo relationship.

Why is a pseudo connection bad?

For starters, your ability to recognize and accept reality diminishes. A pseudo connection doesn’t allow you to freely express yourself because there is no deep, emotional connection to allow your vulnerability to show. Real emotions therefore get masked in the meaningless chatter about superficial things which don’t help to grow the relationship or resolve existing issues. When this happens for long, you can easily lose touch with reality. And that is not good at all! You have to be real in order to enjoy and move the relationship forward.

Secondly, your close friends develop a habit of refraining from telling you the truth about what is happening in your life. We all need true friends who will tell it straight to us as it is, but when they see you having a pseudo connection with your significant other, their instinct is to “protect you” by not telling you the bitter truth. Needless to say, without trusted friends to be a sounding board for issues you are facing, you are on a downward spiral likely to end in tears.

Additionally, as the pseudo connection becomes entrenched in your relationship, another bad thing is bound to happen. Your standards are likely to take a hit, and you will find yourself expecting (or demanding) less and less from your relationship. For example, you may no longer regard standing you up on dates (without reasonable explanation) as something unacceptable. You could also start tolerating abuse, whether emotional or even physical.

Worse still, pseudo connections in relationships result in people forgetting how fabulous or good they are. They lose their sense of self and self-worth. Can anything be worse than this? The problem is, this outcome will creep up on you without registering on your radar. Remember, a pseudo connection is devoid of honest conversations about the relationship, and as you keep things bottled up, it will eat at your sense of self-worth. For example, you may think that meeting you once in a quarter is enough since you both have busy lives. But the truth is, people always create time for what they regard as important to them. Seeing you once in a very long while is a clear message that you aren’t as important to them as you think, and that is a red flag which you will miss due to the pseudo connection you have.

What can you do about a pseudo connection?

The specific steps that you take when you realize that you have a pseudo connection with your significant other may vary from person to person and from situation to situation. However, there are some general rules that you need to keep in mind when dealing with this situation. Here are some of them.

Be honest. The first principle to keep in mind when dealing with a pseudo connection is that you must be real. Be honest about your feelings and expectations. Without this honesty, it will be hard to steer the situation in a direction that serves you and the other person. For example, acknowledge that you feel neglected if this applies to you. Identifying what is wrong and what you need, want and desire is a big step towards the direction you want.

Have a serious conversation. Remember, pseudo connections are characterized by superficial (surface level) interactions and that isn’t good for anyone. You therefore need to have a deep conversation about what is happening and come up with actionable steps together. For example, if you don’t know where the relationship is going, bring this up for discussion. Remember to be conversational during this discussion so that your partner doesn’t feel pressured into taking a defensive position. For example, you can start by saying your partner has been a great partner and that you have some thoughts on how things can get even better. Avoid giving ultimatums or sounding like an interrogator.

Mind your timing. In real estate, the most important thing is location, location, and location. Similarly, in relationships, timing is important. For example, the worst possible thing you can do is to bring up a discussion about your pseudo connection before or even after having sex. Worst timing, ever! Such serious discussions need to be brought up when both parties are happy and relaxed. In such a state, you are unlikely to feel threatened or under attack. So, make your timing perfect!

Ultimately, you are responsible for deciding whether the pseudo connection can be converted into a meaningful connection at a deeper level or if you are in a situationship (pseudo relationship) and it is time to bring the curtain down on that chapter of your life. Remember that healthy and unhealthy relationships take work, so work towards removing pseudo connections from your relationship before you slip down a rabbit hole. You owe it to yourself to nurture your relationship into the best relationship ever!

To Your Success,

Jairek Robbins

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