Are You Settling in Your Relationship?
When you enter a relationship, you have a bar- a standard, whether implicit or explicit, for what you’re seeking from your partner.
Maybe it’s superficial: you need abs, good hair, an hourglass figure. Maybe it’s deeper- you’re looking for unconditional love and support.
Whatever it is, we start out with standards.
But as relationships progress, people change. Sometimes it’s for the better, and the bond between partners develops even stronger.
Unfortunately it’s also likely that both partners grow apart rather than closer.
Maybe you discover insecurities that weren’t present at first; you learn that you don’t communicate well with one another, or maybe it’s simply that those abs have faded away.
By this point, though, you’re invested in each other- maybe you’re in love. And in order to keep up with the person whom you’ve invested so much in, you start sacrificing parts of who you are and your previous standards.
That’s not to say you should never make sacrifices for the people you love, or try to become more accepting… That can be very valuable at times.
For example, if your investment and dedication to your partner allows you to look past their now-receding hairline or the fact that they’re spending more time at work and less time at home to progress in their career, that is completely reasonable.
But what about those other standards we held early on? What about our sense of safety, connection, and trust we were originally searching for?
It’s when we start compromising these fundamental needs that “settling” becomes problematic.
Think about your own relationships, past or present, and consider how the dynamics between you and your partner developed over time.
At any point did you feel like you were beginning to lose yourself?
Here are a few red flags that you might be settling:
You no longer feel secure around your partner:
Your bond isn’t as tight as it used to be. That feeling of safety and comfort you felt about your future together is no longer there.
You’re becoming less of a priority to each other:
Was your partner willing to go above and beyond for you early in the relationship, but now you feel like more of a hassle to them?
You’ve stopped laughing and smiling together:
Your interactions have become more serious, drama-filled, and altogether draining. What used to be a fun time has turned into a drag.
Again, sacrifice in a relationship is very valuable, but only in moderation.
When we start giving up our most fundamental needs for connection and safety, no one benefits- not you or your significant other.
Odds are, those needs going unmet is probably affecting you in other areas of your life outside of just the relationship.
If you think you might be settling- it’s time to break the cycle.
Have a conversation with your partner. Discuss the elephant in the room, and see what the two of you can do together to get back on the same page.
If they’re unwilling to hold the space for that conversation, or if they continue to neglect your needs, maybe it’s time to move on to a new relationship, to find a partner who will be able to provide for you over the long-term.
You are not selfish for having standards. You are not asking for too much to feel loved and supported by your partner.
You deserve to have your needs met.