6 Questions You Should Ask Yourself If You're Worried You're Settling In A Relationship

by Anjali Sareen Nowakowski

Do you have a great partner who's the envy of your friends... but something just feels off? Are you worried you may be settling in a relationship? Although it may sound a little weird, "settling" can really mean staying stuck in any relationship that isn't the right relationship for you. You don't have to be with a jerk or a dud to feel like you're settling: You may be with a really great person who just happens to be the perfect person for someone else.

The truth is, no matter how kind, sweet, hot, smart, wealthy or seemingly perfect your partner is, if they aren't "the one" for you, then the two of you aren't going to click long-term. Unfortunately, settling isn't so uncommon. It can be really nerve-wracking to see close friends and family starting to pair off, get married, and (seemingly) live happily ever after, while you're still wondering why you can't get past a bad first date.

If you end up finding someone who seems OK, you might be tempted to hold on to them as an attempt to "catch up" to the coupled people in your life. This is never a good idea, though, as you'll quickly find it just doesn't feel right with your partner. If you're worried you might be settling in a relationship, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help figure it out.

1. Do I Pretend To Be Happier Than I Am To Friends And Family?

Do you find yourself talking your relationship up to friends and family, and you're not even sure why you are doing it?

If you aren't in a relationship that is truly great for you, and instead you're just settling, you might find yourself justifying your decision to everyone (including, perhaps, yourself). If, when the two of you are together, you don't feel awesome, but you make everyone around you think you are in the best relationship in the world, this is a sure sign that you feel like you're settling.

Your partner doesn't even have to be a bad person or a jerk — they could just not be the right one for you. Don't settle for just talking about being wildly happy with your partner if you aren't. Let this relationship go and find the real thing.

2. Do I Like The Idea Of A Relationship Better Than My Partner?

What makes you happy when you think about being in a relationship? Is it the companionship or the possibility of a future wedding or kids one day? Or is it your actual partner, how happy they make you, and how comfortable you feel with them?

If it's the former instead of the latter, that could be a sign that you like the idea of a relationship more than you like your actual relationship — and that you are settling.

People don't often settle because they have plenty of choices and just pick the wrong one. Mostly people settle because they are worried they'll never find the real thing, and one hallmark way to tell if this is happening is if your daydreams all revolve around some kind of relationship, but maybe not exactly your own.

If it's a relationship you want, but not the one you currently have with your partner, it's better to end things so you can both find real happiness.

3. Do Small Things Turn Into Big Fights?

Do the smallest issues turn into huge arguments between you and your partner? It's true that we're all imperfect, and we have things we do that probably bother other people — things like perpetual lateness, messiness, or even just a general lack of adulting skills.

But in the right relationship, these are things to laugh about and deal with, not things that should be causing huge arguments. If you and your partner can't seem to connect on any small thing and instead have huge, blowout fights over things that don't even matter, then you may just be settling for each other. Go ahead and move on. You'll be happier you did.

4. Do I Compare My Relationship To Those Of Others?

Do you find yourself constantly looking through the Facebook or Instagram feeds of some couples you know? Do you wonder why they look so happy, while you and your partner can't manage the same thing? If you are comparing constantly, that's a sure sign the two of you probably aren't the best fit.

In a truly happy relationship, you won't have the time or energy to worry about what other people are doing because you'll feel so happy yourself. Finding your soulmate will make you feel like you wish everyone had the kind of happiness you do, not like you need to constantly compare yourself to others.

If you're already stalking other people's social media feeds to see how happy they are in their relationships, your current partner will likely never be able to fulfill you.

5. Do I Feel Locked Into Commitments With This Person?

Is one of the reasons you don't end it because you two have already made a bunch of plans? If you are worried about breaking up because the two of you are supposed to do Christmas at your parents' house, then New Years' with his mom, then a big spring cruise with your besties, that's probably a sign you are just settling.

In the perfect relationship for you, you won't think about ending it because you will be so deliriously happy and in love. And you won't feel pulled to stay because of the commitments the two of you have made with other people. Instead, you'll not even think twice about making future plans because you'll know you want your future to involve your partner for as long as possible.

If it's just plans keeping the two of you together, better to have to reschedule and inconvenience some people than being unhappy for the long-term.

6. Am I Scared To Be Alone?

The biggest question you should ask yourself to see if you are just settling with your partner is if you are scared to be alone. Think about it clearly: Is it just fear of singledom keeping you with your partner?

You'll know you are scared of being by yourself if you can't imagine weekends and holidays without another person (but not necessarily your partner). You'll probably also feel worried about how you'll handle the bumps along the road of life without someone by your side.

While the fear of being alone is understandable, it's certainly not a good reason to stay in a relationship. After all, if a great relationship is truly what you want (instead of just an OK one), you'll have to take a leap of faith and venture out on your own for a bit. It's the only way you'll find your perfect fit.

Letting go of a steady relationship is definitely scary, but sometimes, it's the right choice. If you find that you are just settling for your partner through your answers to these questions, you'll be doing both of you a favor by ending things and moving on.

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