9 Ways People Settle in Relationships

9 Ways People Settle in Relationships

It’s often easier to walk away from an unfulfilling relationship when your partner is being a complete jerk or doing things that are unhealthy. But, more often than not, relationships tend to me more complicated and it’s often the small nuances that are not as clear cut that leaves you scratching your head. You know, the ones that you cannot put your finger on it – initially, but something sure feels ‘off.’ And when we feel that way, we question the relationship and find ourselves asking:

• Is this a healthy relationship?
• Does this relationship offer me the things that are important to me?
• Is this person a good fit for me or am I ignoring things that are hiding in plain sight?


To help you figure that out, here are 9 signs that you just might be settling.

1) You relinquish your values

Your values are something that creates the foundation from where our decisions about our life, work, relationships are formed. When you start to ‘rethink’ or relinquish your values, this should be a red flag. If you start to concede the values that you have lived by, just to keep this person in your life and make them happy, this is also a red flag. However, forsaking your values for someone else will eventually result in veiled resentment towards your partner but mostly this resentment will turn inward. Honor your values and what’s important to you!


2) You justify his/her behaviors

You justify his/her behaviors by saying a lot of ‘yes, but.’ You provide excuses for their aberrant and unhealthy behaviors to your family and friends. Yes, he was wrong, but he was tired, just got home from work, is stressed (you get the point). When they are doing something that bothers you, you justify their behaviors by saying something they are doing right. You do this even though you know this really doesn’t make any sense and what they are doing bothers you. You ignore what’s hiding in plain sight. Don’t justify negative and unhealthy behaviors!


3) You hope they will change

Change is hard. I get it. But hoping the other person will change, keeps you stuck, living an unfulfilled relationship. Our primary responsibility in life is to ourselves. Making the changes we need to make to live our best life possible. But, waiting for your partner to change so they will be perfect for you, is a lesson in futility. And, it removes your responsibility for your life. Don’t wait for your partner to change. Take responsibility for your life!

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4) You ignore the red flags

There are things in relationships that cause us to stop and hit the ‘pause’ button. Sometimes it doesn’t amount to much and could be related to our own stuff and triggers from our childhood or previous relationships. The goal is to examine what made you pause in that moment. However, many times there are blatant red flags, yet people turn a blind eye and ignore them like the plague. Your fear? Probably that you are right and shouldn’t be in the relationship. But by not acknowledging them for what they are, you lose yourself and forsake your happiness. But ignoring them will only result in one thing – these red flags will continue to haunt you and show their ugly face again and again. They will become the ‘thing’ that you will be unable to work through because deep down, you know the truth. Know your red flags and honor them!


5) You have a fear of being alone

This is unfortunate but happens frequently. I believe this to be one of the biggest culprits as to why people stay in relationships well beyond their expiration date and ultimately end up settling. Your fear of being alone keeps you feeling stuck in a relationship. And deep down, I believe people know they are settling because internally they are unhappy. Fears blind you to getting the love you want and need in healthy ways because the fear dictates our thoughts and behaviors. To get the relationship you want to have, you first have to conquer learning how to be alone so that you can need and have people in your life in a healthy way. A fear of being alone places you at the mercy of another person as you wait for them to fulfill your needs (this creates a feeling of being ‘needy’). Learn to be alone so you can have the relationship you want and deserve!

6) You do the heavy lifting

You find that you are doing most of the work in the relationship but justify your behaviors. This might be linked to your fear of being alone, but I find that when you choose to do the majority of the heavy lifting (reaching out to connect, work around the house, working on the relationship) you shortchange yourself in two keys ways. One, you don’t provide your partner the opportunity to show up and give his/her 100% to the relationship and two, doing more doesn’t allow you to look at the relationship objectively to determine if its healthy or not. You are too busy ‘doing’ and voicing your unhappiness in ways that go unnoticed and unheard. You have become the doormat. Don’t be a doormat!


7) Moving on is exhausting

We would love to move on but the thought of moving on starting all over again – dating, finding someone new, introducing them to our friends and family – feels completely exhausting. So why bother? If you have this attitude, you will not find someone who is a better fit for you because you have resigned yourself to the fact that you are just not worth it. You put your feelings and needs on the back burner and let your perception of dating again as too much work, well ahead of your happiness, well-being and having a healthy relationship. Don’t allow exhaustion to be the driver of your life. Demand more for yourself and your life!


8) You don’t feel important

You ‘settle’ for someone because they are good enough (in unhealthy ways) even though they are not the person you want for yourself (and you secretly know this). Self-respect and self-love start at home – with you. If we don’t feel good about ourselves or don’t feel we deserve someone better, then we will attract the very person that reinforces those feelings about ourselves. This becomes a vicious cycle of unhealthy relationships. then we will pick someone who reinforces that feeling. A good place to start? If you are not in a good place in your life and don’t feel good about yourself, take the time to examine why you don’t feel good about yourself. Tackle those issues. After you do that, you will attract someone who is your equal and healthy for you. Figure out yourself first!


9) You ignore friends and family advice

Love is blind. When your friends and family start chiming in, it’s too easy to ignore what they are saying. According to eHarmony, if you anticipate what your friends or family will say about your relationship, chances are you know deep down they are right because you feel the same way. Your friends and family often see things about the other person that you don’t because we don’t want to! We like this person, so we create the person who we want he/she to be in our mind and ignore the little red flags that keep popping up. But, what is ok in the moment, becomes the nemesis in the end. It becomes the ‘thing’ in the relationship. Don’t completely ignore what other people see!


Settling is always a bad idea. You will not only be disappointed by your life, but more importantly with yourself. And even though you might think that settling isn’t ‘so bad’ in the end, it never is. You will question your judgment and your direction. Because deep down, when you take the time to reflect, you are able to recognize when you first started to doubt the relationship and the person. And that settling with a relationship that wasn’t healthy or met your needs were settling for something far less than you deserve even if you don’t feel that way in the moment.

Take the time YOU need to reflect and understand what type of relationship you want, your personal challenges and way to work through them so you can create a different path for yourself and prevent you from settling for a relationship that is subpar and certainly not deserving of you.

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9 Ways People Settle in Relationships


Kristin Davin

Dr. Davin is a Solution Focused Therapist and Coach. She specializes in couples counseling, marriage, dating, relationship challenges, and becoming your best self!. She helps her clients focus on solutions rather than problems, so they can get to a healthier place, faster.View Author posts