Unfortunately, knowing when you are settling in a relationship with someone isn't always super obvious. It can be all too easy to let the potential you might see in a partner overshadow their current ability to meet your needs. The signs you’re settling with a relationship or partner that isn't the best fit can start off pretty subtle, but may end up developing into bigger issues as time goes on.
When it comes to dating, the word "settling" often evokes the image of a person who is dating someone who isn't as desirable as they are — which aside from being a kind of messed up thing to imply, doesn't really encompass the issue, which is that you're dating someone who you simply aren't compatible with on some level. IMHO, "settling" really just means that you are in a relationship with someone who might be a great partner for someone else, but isn't giving you what you need to feel fully satisfied.
I spoke with Cayla Buettner, Philadelphia-based matchmaker with Three Day Rule and noted psychotherapist Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, to get their thoughts on what it means to settle and how to know if you're in a relationship that might not be the best one out there for you.
"For example, you might say things such as:"[They] might not seem very outgoing or confident, but [they are] really smart and so sweet," Wish tells Elite Daily.
Introducing someone new to your inner circle is already nerve-wracking without feeling the need to make excuses for them or to constantly assure the people in your life of their positive qualities. This may be a sign that you're overcompensating.
According to Buettner, if you find yourself feeling like you need to change yourself to feel fully accepted by your partner, then this could be another hint that you aren't with the best match.
"Your partner should accept you as you are and support your personal growth, you should be two whole people coming together as a team," Buettner tells Elite Daily. "If you are feeling less than, or like you aren't already enough, heed this as a warning sign that you are settling."
Wish notes that "[If] you come away feeling sad or a little 'out of sorts' after being with your friends who have partners," then this could mean that you aren't in the right relationship.
According to Wish, if you also find yourself comparing your partner "unfavorably" to the partners of your friends, it could be because deep down you are concerned that this person might not be adding to your life in the ways you'd like.
"No partner fits all your needs," says Wish. "The secret is [finding someone who meets] your very top needs that you aren't willing to give up."
Both Buettner and Wish agree that if you are giving up on things that are important to you or feel that you are "over-compromising," then this definitely isn't a good thing.
"If you find that you are letting go of your core values or passions to make your relationship work, you may be settling," says Buettner. "A healthy relationship will allow both partners to thrive, learn and grow — both separately and together."
But since it's clear that finding a relationship in which every single one of your wants and needs is met could be setting yourself up to be disappointed, how are you supposed to figure out what you can compromise on and what you shouldn't?
"Make a list of your past relationships, and write what it was you liked about them — and what was the reason you broke up. Use your list as a guide to help [figure] out your needs," suggests Wish.
Once you know what your needs are, you'll be able to work out if a match is meeting those needs, or if you're settling.
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