I settled before I ever really knew what it was like to be in love.
There was a large part of me that really did mistake that relationship for love. But even then, there was something missing. There was something inexplicable that I was craving. Something more.
This guy was perfect. He checked off every box on my list: nice, hot, smart, successful, good family, great manners. Also, he was very into me.
But did the thought of hooking up with him make me squirm with excitement in my seat? No. Did seeing his name flash across my telephone screen make butterflies flutter all over my stomach? No.
The whole time I was with him, I was just... fine. Not horribly devastated, but not extremely overcome with pure, unadulterated joy, either. No, I was neither of those things. I was just fine.
No matter how hard you try yourself to trick yourself into thinking the relationship you're settling for is love, there is a fundamental difference between being in love and settling.
Settling is logical; love is pure insanity.
Settling is the relationship you have with the person who checks every box on your list. It makes sense. You take solace in the fact that this is the right decision with the right guy.
Being in love is the complete opposite. There is no solace to take when you are in love. You are just living a life in pure extremes: simultaneously so ecstatic and so terrified of losing this feeling of pure ecstasy.
Settling is numb; love is butterflies.
When you settle, the answer to “How are you?” is always the same. It's always "fine.” You are constantly fine. Constantly content. A text from him in the morning is not unwelcome, but it is expected. There is no element of excitement in your relationship.
When you are in love, the answer to “How are you?” is “I'M IN LOVE.” It consumes you. It takes over your entire body.
He excites you. He makes you feel things. An unexpected flash of his name across your phone screen sends you into cartwheels across the living room; you are just THAT stoked to be talking to him.
Settling is safe; love is terrifying.
Settling is what you do when you are afraid of being hurt. And the thing is, it's an effective method of prevention. You can never really lose when you're settling.
That being said, you can also never really win. Because settling is cowardice.
But being in love is bold. While settling stems from fear, your willingness to fall deeply and madly in love comes from courage. You know the risk you're taking in letting yourself fall, but you know that risk is worth it.
After all, you've got to bet big to win big, right?
Settling is black and white; love is technicolor.
Settling is about making the “right” choice. There's no question about your decision. No doubt. This relationship is an unquestionably a sound decision. A wise investment, if you will.
Being in love is not necessarily the right choice -- not at all. It might mean falling for the absolutely wrong person. It might mean falling for the right person at the wrong time. But whoever he or she is, the relationship takes your life from black and white to technicolor.
The passion you feel paints your whole life bright and beautiful.
Settling happens with your mind; love happens with your heart.
Settling is a decision you make. It happens after you carefully weigh your pros and your cons. It happens when you meet someone who holds a stable job, shows up on time, says all the right things and, most importantly, loves you just a little bit more than you love him. Heck, maybe it's even a lot more.
Settling is something you do because your brain is telling you to do it. Your brain has done the research, and THIS guy will make your life a whole lot easier. He makes sense.
Falling in love is not a decision at all. It's an instinct. It's a reaction to another human being. It's an instantaneous connection that simply cannot be ignored.
He might not hold down a steady job, he might always be late, and you might seriously doubt that there is any way he loves you as much as you love him -- let alone more -- but he's all you want.
Your heart has done no research. There are no facts or numbers to back up this relationship. Just a feeling.
And there really is something beautiful about that, isn't there?