Like most couples, when you started the relationship, you felt excited at the thought of your partner, you often thought about what a future together would look like.
And now as time has gone by, and you have been interacting with one another on a deeper level, are you finding yourself often wondering: AM I SETTLING FOR THIS PERSON?
I want to first mention that if you are married, and this question is coming up for you regarding your spouse, please see a therapist before making any kind of decisions. There may be other factors that can affect your emotional state that could have nothing to do with your partner. Life can present us with many challenges that can make you feel like it’s your marriage, but that isn’t always necessarily the case. So please don’t rush into anything and speak to a professional to help you sort this out.
So let’s take a look at the big things be mindful of.
11 ways to determine if you are settling in your relationship.
1- Do you have low self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem, chances are you are more likely to settle for someone who doesn't share your beliefs or your core values than someone who is confident and secure. When you have low self-esteem, you can’t see your full worth or your full potential so you are more willing to compromise yourself in order to be in a relationship even one that may not suitable for you. If you are still not sure, I suggest doing a quick check-in by looking at your non-negotiables, (aka) deal breakers. We all have them. Below are a list of the most common non-negotiable.
The most common non-negotiables:
Sense of humor
Stance on children
Once you have done a check- in with your non-negotiables and are finding that you are purposely overlooking these big differences in your partner, this means that you are settling in this relationship and perhaps need to take a step back and do some inner work.
2- Do you have a history of choosing incompatible partners? Maybe you are very attracted to the bad boys, even though it never works out. In same, maybe you love a wild, spontaneous woman even though you are more conservative at heart. Yes, it’s true this can add a lot of excitement and fun into your relationship, but unless you have more in common, the excitement of these qualities will wear off and soon these qualities will become irritations and one of you will call it quits.
3- Are you in love or are you just afraid of being alone? Again, if you are not sure, go back and look at your list of non-negotiables because if you found that you are indeed ignoring these incompatibilities, then most likely it’s loneliness or fear that are driving the vehicle. And if this is the case, this would be a good time to take a step back from dating and do some reflection, healing and lots of self-love.
4- Is there an ulterior motive? Many times, family, friends, or society in general puts pressure on us to get married and/or have children. If you are at a certain age for example, this might sometimes sway you into settling for someone that you would normally not choose. Consciously or subconsciously, you might be making this decision with an ulterior motive -Like fulfilling the need to have a child because you are in your 40s, for instance. Make sure this is not the case for you!
5- Core values. If your core values are not the same or compatible with your partner in any way, this is a big sign that you are settling.
For instance, maybe you are a person who loves to give back and have an altruistic personality while your partner is more selfish or self-centered and unconcerned with the wellness of others, this is a big sign that you are settling in your relationship.
Or maybe you like to be adventurous or travel the world and your partner is more of a home body or likes to play video games all day, - this means you are settling, and it will not work in the long run.
On the other hand, there can be certain situations where the big differences can be a good thing. For example, if you are a very spontaneous/carefree person all the time and have gotten into some predicaments as a result, and your partner is more a stable and responsible person, this relationship might add some much needed balance into your life, however, unless you have other deeper things in common, this will eventually get tiresome and not work out.
6- Are they your fixer upper? Are you always trying to change your partner or fix them in some way? Are you always thinking “if only they were more like this? Or more like that?”
And are these significant things or silly things that you can let go of?
*For example, if they don’t have the body type that you are attracted to like a six pack, and you are always comparing the way they look to others in your mind, OR you find yourself constantly telling them to go to the gym or lose weight...
*Or you if you are an ambitious person, in constant pursuit of getting to the top of your career and your partner is not very ambitious or can’t seem to keep a steady job and you are constantly arguing with them to change... You are not compatible and are settling.
7- Do you find yourself always justifying their words or actions to others?
For example, they got loud and combative with your friends at a dinner and you said it was because they were having a bad day, or because they had a little too much to drink.
Or maybe they insulted or criticized you at a family bbq and you told your family that it was because they were tired and cranky from an issue at work, etc. Of course some of these things could happen for any of the said reasons, and may possibly be excusable -once, depending on the circumstances, but if it’s a regular thing, then you are simply making excuses to cover up bad behavior or trying to justify toxic or unhealthy behavior, and definitely settling for the wrong partner.
8- Do you find that instead of feeling excited about seeing them, you have a constant feeling of uncertainty or uncomfortableness? Instead of looking forward to being with them, now it’s become more out of a sense of obligation. Maybe deep down you feel like you have invested all this time, and in your mind, you don’t want to feel like you wasted months or years of your life. If this is the case, please do both of you a favor and move on because this is definitely a big tell that you are not with the right partner.
9- You are not able to be yourself around them. This is a big one. If there are things that you love about yourself, but you hide from your partner because you fear ridicule, this is not a good sign. For example, you are an advocate for women’s rights, but you keep it to yourself, or worse you no longer participate because they make you feel like you are wasting your time, it's non-sense, or they show a clear lack understanding or caring, than yeah, this is not your partner, and you are settling!
10- Do you avoid expressing issues or concerns for fear of getting into an argument with them? Maybe your partner immediately gets defensive or argumentative when you try to bring up an issue. Or if you find you can’t express how you feel or have anxiety about going to them to have a constructive conversation, then you are settling for the wrong partner. Communication is key in every healthy and successful relationship. This should always be a non-negotiable!
11- Are your family and friends showing deep concern for you? Do your loved ones approve of your partner or are they always warning you about them? Although you are and should always be in charge of selecting your partner, your family and friends know you and love you.
So their opinion is usually a good indicator as to whether or not you need to reevaluate this relationship or at the very least take a closer look.
So, are settling or not? Tune in to your intuition. What is it telling you?
Take a step back and examine your life. Go back to your original goals and dreams prior to your partner. Did you lose yourself somewhere along the way? Are your life goals the same or have you adjusted them to be compatible to your partner? Are you someone who is ignoring red flags because you don’t have a high opinion of yourself? Or are afraid of being alone?If you know already that loneliness is the factor for being with the wrong partner, then please learn to overcome your fear of loneliness. And know that being alone and happy is so much better than being in a toxic relationship, or with the wrong partner.