October 23rd, 2006 by Nina Atwood
Note: This article is a follow-up to “Am I In a Settle-For Relationship?”
Settling for less is a sign of giving up – on yourself, on your romance, and on the possibility of having a great relationship. Sometimes it is a symptom of underlying problems that haven’t been addressed in the relationship. Sometimes it is the sign of a false beginning – choosing someone because of loneliness or emotional desperation, rather than waiting for a truly right partner.
If you think you may be settling for less than a healthy relationship with someone you deeply love, there are several things you can do. First of all, spend some time with your own thoughts and feelings, asking yourself things such as:
Am I willing to be alone rather than be in a less than healthy relationship? Am I being an honest, effective partner, or am I sitting back wishing for things to be better yet doing nothing about it? Am I blaming my partner for my own unhappiness? Did I compromise from the beginning, or did our relationship drift into this place through my own lack of proactive loving?
If you ever had strong feelings for your partner, than your ambivalence may be a result of not maintaining good communication and loving habits. You can restore the good feelings that were once there by infusing your relationship with loving energy. Often the feelings will follow once again if you do the romantic things you once did: Going on dates, sending flowers and cards, being more attentive to each other.
Sit down with your partner and have an open, honest discussion; a “You and Me” talk, about where the two of you are and where you wish to be. Put your grievances out on the table and address them one by one. Sometimes, just being ready to let it go empowers you to make a new beginning. Get help if you get stuck.
If you realize that you have never had strong feelings for your partner and that being with this person is a serious compromise of your deepest desires and values, then the next thing to do is disclose that. Being honest about painful feelings like this will set you both free – to either move on separately or to discover what’s gone wrong and set it right together.
Copyright 1997 by Nina Atwood, All Rights Reserved
No reprints without the express written permission of Nina Atwood
See Nina’s article “Settle-For Relationships and Guilt” for what to do if you know it’s a Settle For and you can’t seem to get out.