In our world today—the age of developing ambitions, following dreams and aspiring to confidence and self-love—the word “settling” tends to fly around. Simply put, when most people talk about settling, they mean accepting conditions that are less than ideal, or less than what they really want. This can apply to careers and lifestyles but is perhaps most often associated with relationships.
Not to be confused with settling down, just settling is nine times out of ten seen as a bad thing; if someone accuses you of settling in your relationship, they’re essentially saying that you’re putting up with less than you deserve. Those who believe having anything at all is better than having nothing might wonder what the big deal is, but there are several good reasons why you should think twice before settling.
People tend to settle because of a lot of different factors, but not wanting to be alone is the big one. Considering that our society paints relationships as the ultimate happy ending and being single is sometimes seen as a weakness, it’s easy to understand why many would rather cling to someone they don’t really love than brave it out alone. It’s an easy thing to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Read on to find out why settling doesn’t lead to happiness, especially if relationships are your top priority.
17You’re Missing Out On All The Benefits Of Being With Someone You Truly Love
Generally, most people who settle don’t love their partners in the same way that others do. They might love them as a friend, or love the way they parent the kids or love certain other qualities they have, but they don’t feel that passionate love that fires them up. So one of the biggest reasons why settling doesn’t work out is because if you’re settling with someone you don’t love, you’re missing out all the good parts of being in a relationship that is based on true love.
The benefits of true love are endless, but off the top of our heads, you’d be missing out on someone who heals your pain, who understands you on a level nobody else can and who brings out the best in you. Sorry to be sentimental, but it’s true!
16You’ll Never Stop Wanting What You Want
Some people who end up settling in a relationship believe that what they’re doing will lead to happiness because they will eventually come to love their partner like a soulmate. While it’s true that love that grows is much more common than love at first sight, it’s also true that when you want something with all of your heart, you will probably always want it. So if you commit yourself over a long period of time to someone you don’t really want, chances are you’ll be frustrated (to say the least). Generally speaking, those desires don’t go away.
It’s a much better idea to be honest with who are and what you want, and do what you can to make yourself happy in the moment. Telling yourself your wants and desires will change over time to justify your present unhappiness is pretty risky!
15People Never Change As Much As You Think They Do
The other mistake people often make is believing that settling will lead to happiness because their partner will eventually change. They tell themselves that the other person will eventually transform into the person that they do want if they put enough work into them, so it’s not really settling. Though life would be much easier if we could make people what we want them to be, it doesn’t usually work like that.
It’s pretty unlikely that you’d be able to make someone exactly what you want them to be. Sure, people are capable of change, some to a great extent. But it’s just wishful thinking to assume you can change the essence of who someone is, and change them enough that you feel completely differently about them.
14You Could End Up Resenting Your Partner And Yourself
You better believe settling can lead to resentment. Maybe not straight away, but over time, your unsatisfied feelings could end up turning very sour. It’s totally unfair, but many people who settle can harbor negative emotions toward their partners, for not being what they want. Months or even years of commitment, effort and sacrifice (and all the things that go into a strong relationship) for someone who doesn’t light you up will do that to you!
While many people can end up resenting their partners, many more could end up resenting themselves. After all, if it was your decision to get into and stay in the relationship, it’s possible you’ll end up hating yourself for wasting your time if you feel differently in the future.
13Settling Could Leave You Seriously Unhappy, Which Would Lead To Other Issues
Settling not only leads to resentment in some cases but can also lead to pure unhappiness. Particularly if you’re by nature a passionate person who turns to their emotions instead of logic, any relationship that you have probably needs to be honest and genuine to make you happy. While some personalities are much more practical and can truly find happiness in convenience and comfort, even if there’s no real love there, many people need an intimate connection that actually means something to them.
Constantly feeling unhappy within your relationship can lead to even more serious issues, like depression and other mental illnesses. If you’re the kind of person who craves true love, just settling on what you think you can get could leave you feeling seriously unsatisfied.
12It’s A Terrible Blow To Your Self-Esteem
Opinions tend to differ on this point, but it seems to us that settling into a relationship you don’t actually feel strongly about is harmful to your self-esteem. It might seem the opposite because some people instantly feel better about themselves if they have a partner, no matter who it is. But in reality, agreeing to settle is essentially confirming that you don’t think you can get or deserve what you actually want, so you have to accept something less.
Of course, settling doesn’t mean you saddle yourself with a deadbeat who’s abusive (though it can mean that). You could be settling with someone who’s a nice person, who has a good job and who’s conventionally attractive, simply because you don’t actually have real feelings for them or because you want something different. But even with someone who looks good on paper, denying yourself what you want isn’t the way to a high self-esteem.
11Constantly Seeing Other Happy Couples Who Didn’t Settle Will Make You Feel Sad
This is more relevant in the social media-saturated world we live in today than it ever has been before. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat allow couples to show off their dreamy relationships, which can leave anyone feeling sad about their own lives which don’t appear so dreamy. And it hurts even more when you already have a complex about happy couples because you know you’re not part of one.
A couple posting amazing photos of themselves hugging and kissing on Instagram definitely doesn’t mean they’re actually happy, but it’s hard to remember that when bombarded with said photos. Social media has been known to lead to low self-esteem anyway, but that effect has to be worse when you’re already sensitive about an issue like happy relationships.
10Settling Encourages A Fear Of Being Single, Which Is Silly
Since many people settle in the first place because don’t want to be alone, it’s fair to say that settling can encourage a fear of being single. The only way to conquer a fear is to face it, so it’d be pretty hard to get used to being alone if you always get into a meaningless relationship when you’ve been single for more than a month. To be okay with being on your own, you have to just do it.
And by the way, of all the irrational fears out there, the fear of being single is one of the worst. If you’re the kind of person who would do anything to not be alone, you open yourself up to a lot of dangerous situations. Those who are afraid of being single are more likely to tolerate bad or abusive behavior from a partner, simply because it means they get to say they have a partner.
9Since Settling Is Not The Same As Accepting Someone’s Flaws, It Has No Benefit For You
Some people get confused when the conversation turns to settling because they assume the alternative is having impossibly high standards. To be clear, no person or relationship is perfect, and accepting your partner’s flaws does not mean you’re settling. Rather, settling means that you’re accepting less than you deserve or what you don’t want overall.
If you love your partner and love being with them but wish they worked as an engineer instead of a sales assistant, that’s not settling. Leaving them over something like that doesn’t mean you’re a confident person. It’s more about knowing what makes you happy overall and accepting that, even if it means you have to compromise a few other things. Every partner is going to have qualities you don’t like—it’s about who makes you happy in spite of them.
8Being In An Unhappy Relationship Is Worse Than Being Alone
Being alone is often thought of as the worst possible scenario. People often cite dying alone as their worst fear, females who are single past the age of 30 are told they’ll end up as cat ladies (is it just us, or does that sound like a lot of fun?) and those who are single are asked why, like there must be a reason for their being alone, since everybody wants a relationship. People think that being single the worst thing that can ever happen. But is it? Is it really worse than being unhappy in a relationship?
That might be up for debate, but we don’t think so. We’d take freedom over commitment to someone who makes us unhappy any day of the week!
7You Don’t Want To Bring Kids Into A Loveless Marriage
Where children are involved, it isn’t the best idea to bring them into a family in which there’s no genuine love between the parents. Of course, single parents can do just as good a job as parents who are together, but that’s if they’re being the best version of themselves. It’s hard to be the best version of yourself if you’re in a relationship that leaves you feeling unhappy, and if you have bitter feelings toward your child’s other parent, who lives in your house. Relationships that are not genuine can sometimes harbor a lot of tension, which isn’t a good environment for kids.
Not all people who settle are in tumultuous relationships. Sometimes the very reason they do settle is that they’re with someone who’s agreeable, friendly and easy to live with, even if there’s no love. But sooner or later, kids will be able to sense that.
6Time Is Precious, And You’re Wasting It With Someone You Don’t Care About
Time is precious. Yes, that’s clichéd, but it’s the truth, and something so few of us actually take note of. It’s interesting to wonder whether you’ll have some serious regrets on your deathbed one day when you realize that you spent most of your time with someone you didn’t actually love, or who didn’t make you happy.
Being in any relationship takes time and work, but what makes it worth it is the love you get in return, and the happiness you derive from your connection with your partner. Some would argue that without that, the effort that goes into relationships just isn’t worth it. Rather than being with somebody for the sake of it, you could be using your time more wisely to meet goals in other areas of your life and find other avenues to happiness.
5Settling Worsens Your Fear Of Change
Settling doesn’t have to start out as settling. Sometimes you fall in love with someone and then drift apart, but once you’ve become two completely new people with nothing in common, you decide to stay in the relationship because it’s the easy thing to do. We can understand that—life is tough enough without breakups and huge changes. But sometimes, we need those changes to be happy.
Being afraid of change is even worse than being afraid of being single. Everyone knows that change is scary, even when it’s good change, but it’s also sometimes the key to happiness. And even if it’s not, change is inevitable. There’s no point in trying to hide from it or avoid it because it’s going to show up sooner or later, so it’s a good idea to face it.
4Instead Of Getting To Know What You Really Want, You’re Bombarded With What You Don’t Want
Even if people know they’re not happy in their relationship, they don’t know what will change their feelings. They don’t know exactly what it is they want, or what standards they should set. The only way to figure it out is to get out there and experience lots of different things and to find out firsthand what makes you happy or not. Be grateful for any relationships that have taught you what you don’t want, and move on.
Sometimes, spending time alone can also help you figure out what you want out of life—perhaps not in a relationship, but in other areas, which could affect the type of relationship you want. Whether you spend time alone or dating around, the point is you won’t find happiness by staying in a situation that makes you unhappy.
3If Your Settling Comes Down To Laziness, You’re Just Building Bad Habits
Every now and then, people settle not because they’re terrified of being alone or because they’re scared of change, but because they simply can’t find the motivation to do something about it. We can all agree that dating takes a lot of work, and it takes even more work to leave a comfortable relationship that you already have and get back out there. It’s easy to settle out of laziness, but it probably won’t lead to happiness.
If you’re lazy in one area of life, you’re likely to transfer that habit onto other areas. Being a person who’s in control of their own destiny and pursues what they want takes work and practice, and usually doesn’t come with being a person who accepts conditions because they’re convenient.
2By Confining Yourself, You’re Handing Away Your Control
The one right we should all have is to choose the person we commit ourselves to. Making the decision to enter or leave a relationship because it makes us happy comes with a huge amount of power, and if you’re forcing yourself to stay in a relationship that you don’t really want, you’re almost giving that power away. You lose control because even though you’re making the decision to settle, you’re still submitting to what life gives you rather than getting out there and chasing what you want.
In a way, settling is like telling yourself that you have no control over your love life because if you did, you would have what you want. But you don’t. It’s like adopting an attitude of taking whatever you can get because if you didn’t, you would have nothing.
1The Worst Thing About Settling: What If You Settle And Then Meet Your Soulmate?
As you can see, there are quite a few downsides to settling into a relationship you don’t want, and multiple reasons why these relationships don’t end up working out. But in our opinion, the very worst part of settling? You could miss your chance of meeting your true soulmate.
Yes, people have fallen in love while they were already in relationships, but that’s a much more complicated path to take than already being available. We’re not saying to stay single until you meet someone who sweeps you off your feet, but don’t waste too much time with things that don’t feel right, especially because something that does feel right could be just around the corner. There are so many parts of life that are dull and a matter of duty—love shouldn’t be one of them.