Am I settling?
Some people have it easy. Somewhere along the way they meet this person that they connect amazingly well with. The romantic sparks fly and a healthy, passionate relationship ensues. Before long this couple is talking about spending life together. “I just know he’s the right one” she says. “She’s perfect for me, I don’t deserve her” he joins in.
A year goes by and they begin married life together. Their passionate relationship has just begun. For some this initial high continues on indefinitely. Five years later they look like they just fell in love. Other crash and burn. These are the couples that divorce or at least strongly dislike each other after only a year or so of marriage.
While we tend to look at these passionate relationships with jealousy (at least initially), the reality is that most of us don’t experience relationships the same way. Most of us either just choose someone because we’re tired of waiting, or fall somewhere in-between. The romance takes a little work. We’re not always 100% sure. But in the long run perhaps this makes for a healthier relationship. According to Sherry Argov people will work harder for and appreciate more something that they are not 100% sure about.
So here’s the question for the day: when do I “settle” for what I know I can get or already have and when do I keep looking for something better?
As we’ve pointed out before there is always something better. And as I just mentioned just now, most of us will not initially know for certain but will grow in love as we develop the relationship. So settling is not being used as a bad term here. It simply means winning with that good hand you have now and cashing out rather than taking the risk of waiting for a better hand that could yield more.
Let’s look back at values. What do you value in life? What are some things that you could not live without? You don’t necessarily need someone who wants those things too. But if dancing is your life and your potential husband hates dancing, would never even try dancing, would never even want to watch you dance, than you’re looking at a value conflict much more significant than whether of not he likes broccoli.
Take some time right now and write down your values. I recommend doing something like this: start with some core values that are general such as 1) adding value to all those I come in contact with 2) evolution: constant growth in every aspect of life. These are two of mine. Next write down maybe ten (or any reasonable amount) of deal breakers for a relationship. These should focus more on the other person’s values. For example, 1) willing to travel, 2) motivated and hardworking, 3) independent, etc.
Now you have the basic tools to ensure that you don’t settle for something less than what you really want. This still doesn’t really answer the question. After all a hamburger and steak both satisfy the values of beef and protein but if given the option I’d probably choose a steak right now.
First, make sure you’re not chasing pipe dreams. If you know that the guy on the baseball team dates tall blonde trophies exclusively and you’re an attractive smart small brunette, you should probably consider that not only is this not going to work but you’d be better off with someone more like you. And none of us is going to date a Hollywood star or some dreamy eyed boy from a movie. The romance in Hollywood is rarely if ever accurate in real life.
Second, when good people get into a relationship we tend to act very similar. For example, an incredibly independent driven girl who falls in love will eventually demonstrate some of the characteristics of a clingy girl – that’s just what relationships do. So when you see that girl who seems so much more fun than the girl you are with stop and remember she probably isn’t that different from your current girl once you actually get her.
Third, if you like what you have and you know you can get it enjoy what you’ve got. Doesn’t mean you have to get married. Just enjoy the moment and stop ruining by thinking about constantly thinking about that other girl texting you.
Finally, don’t worry about ruining your chances with someone else because you are seen with one person. This is one myth i can’t stand but admit I’ve believed it from time to time. If a girl really likes you she’s not going to write you off just because she sees you with another girl. And if she does than she is too insecure for a relationship. Same with guys. If you mention your guy friend helping you fix your car, the guy who’s interested in you is not going to feel threatened unless he’s a needy guy.
If you have something really good, take it and run with it. A good investment increases value with time!