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Are You Really in Love or Just Settling?

Updated on October 10, 2016
GreenEyes1607 profile image

Sabrina loves to write about love, life, and everything in between in a candid yet humorous approach.

With the divorce rate in the United States being 50 percent, the question that begs to be answered is what the heck is really happening to romance? Are people just settling for the first person that comes along and proposes marriage or are they just really bad judges of character? There is also the issue of whether we idealize our partners to the point where they cannot realistically meet our expectations which in turn leads to disappointment and divorce. Maybe it's a combination of all three. Let's find out..

I have seen this happening time and again, people settling for romantic partners when they know in their heart that it's just not right. It's like they treat their partner like a bookmark until the better chapter comes along and they can finally turn the page and move on. This isn't really fair to you or your partner because both of your time is being wasted and time is something we can never get back so it's the highest currency in this life. It happens like this, boy meets girl and boy likes girl, but somewhere along the line one partner moves forward with their feelings allowing them to progress while the other partner pauses so one ends up liking or loving a lot more. The partner who has paused and is not allowing or wanting their feelings to progress knows they are not being fulfilled in this relationship, but instead of moving on in a mature way and letting the other person go, they instead give about half of what they should because they're happy with a placeholder in their life until something better comes along. When that something better inevitably does come, they toss their partner aside, feelings be damned. No one really wins in this scenario because there's no guarantee that the same thing won't happen again and again.

The issue here isn't really with the other person, but rather it's with you. If you find yourself unfulfilled and unhappy in every relationship you pursue, maybe you're just picking the wrong people because the one thing they all have in common is you. I think it's really important to figure out and find yourself before you involve someone else in your life. Figure out what you want and deserve and then go out and try to find it. If you have a pattern of picking the same type of people, break that pattern and date someone who is the complete opposite of what you normally choose. We accept the love we think we deserve, so maybe it's time to raise our expectations and decide that we deserve so much more.

Something I see happening very often is women settling for the first man that proposes marriage and commitment. It's like they want the whole white picket fence and 2.5 kids so much that any guy who offers it to them they accept. It's like the idea of marriage and the fantasy of it all is more important than the actual marriage itself and that's really a recipe for disaster. Once the newness of it all wears off and you're in your house with the 2.5 kids and white picket, you realize you could've had it all with the love of your life instead of your average Joe. No offense towards Joe, he is a great guy, but we all know he's not the one. Next, commences the divorce and being a single mother and trying to find the kind of love that we should've been looking for in the first place.

Refusing to settle doesn't automatically mean that you'll have to search and chase after a good man. You'll never have to chase a man that's truly right for you, because he won't be running anywhere but towards you. No need to hunt him down or stalk him, if everything happens the way it's supposed to happen, he's going to be the one doing all the pursuing. The right guy won't play games or mess with your head because to him that's just time wasted that he could be spending with you. He's a smart one, this right guy, because he has his priorities straight and you're number one on his list. He's not going to leave you wondering if his feelings for you are real or not, he's going to be proving them to you everyday and hoping you feel the same. We think we have to actively search in this life for the right man when in reality, when the time comes, he's going to be arriving and we'd better be ready for it. The right man is like a butterfly, when you chase him he's just going to fly away, but when you sit still and enjoy the moment, he'll land right on your shoulder.

Sometimes we settle for someone that we should've let go of a long time ago. Perhaps he's a high school sweetheart that we're familiar with because we grew up together. By our logic, he has to be the one because we've spent many years together, yet in reality we were growing further apart. This could be the hardest one to let go of because we've had the image of ourselves with them for the longest time. Maybe at a certain point in time they were the one for us, but that time has passed and now you have to let them go. We ourselves aren't the same people we were when we met so it's only normal to outgrow someone. It may be one of the hardest things you go through, but in the end it'll be one of the best because once you close that door, you leave an opening for someone who's better suited for the present you.

Others simply fear loneliness so much that they need to pursue the first relationship that comes along to fill that void. To them, having anyone by their side is better than facing the world alone. Loneliness can be pretty scary, what you know what's even scarier? Having the wrong someone by your side who makes life even more terrifying. If your partner doesn't add to the quality of your life in a positive way, it's time to reconsider their position in your world. Life's too short for unsatisfying relationships. Maybe it's better to fill up the emptiness a relationship leaves behind with taking care of yourself first. It's not selfish to take up new hobbies or interests when you don't have a significant other by your side. In this way when the right person comes along, you'll already have a full life and they'll just be an addition to it rather than the central point. And any time a relationship ends your life won't automatically stop because you'll have so many other interests to occupy it with. Remember that it's always better to be alone than with someone you know you don't love.

So what's a girl to do in this crazy world where love is so hard to find yet so desirable? Stop and listen to your intuition. You already have all the answers inside of you if only you'd take the time and hear them. You know that bad boy you dated in high school in spite of your friends protests? You knew he wasn't right for you, but you still went along with it. You knew it in your heart just like you knew that the guy you met for coffee and had an instant connection with could be your future. You were completely satisfied. Something inside of you already knew. That voice in your head that seems to whisper "he's the one" or "she's your future." It's like our heads need to catch up to what our hearts already know. But there's no denying, we know what's right for us and what's not if we really stopped to take a breath and listen to ourselves.

Not to brag or anything, but I've gotten really good at this part. I can tell five minutes into a date whether I can see a future with a guy or not. Call it women's intuition or what have you, but I can sense it right away. The truth is, I think I've always had it, but I just chose not to listen to it when I was younger. For example, a guy I dated in my early twenties I just knew he wasn't right for me. Deep in my heart I knew he would hurt me and things wouldn't end well, yet I stayed in the relationship way past the expiration date because I choose to ignore what my heart was telling me and ended up with a lot of regrets but good life lessons too.

I can also pinpoint two times in my life where I was on a date or dating someone and I could see a future with them and I knew the feeling was mutual. It's like sitting there with him was better than anything else I could be doing at the moment. I was completely all there and not thinking about anyone else. That's how you know you're right where you're meant to be. The hours pass like minutes and you lose yourself completely in the moment. Then the moment passes and it's time to go home and it feels like a really good dream that you keep going back to because you're not quite sure if it really happened because it was just that good. That's the feeling to strive for when looking for a lasting partner. Not the "I suppose he'll do for now" idea, but the "I wish I knew him earlier because he makes everything better" notion. That's how you know you're exactly where you're supposed to be, when you'd rather be nowhere else. You won't be confused about it, and you won't have to talk yourself into anything, you'll just know.

You know you're settling when you're with one person, but thinking about someone else entirely. Maybe the person you're supposed to be with is too far away, so you're looking to date someone of a near proximity. That's not romance but rather convenience. It's like saying "the person I want is too far away so I'll just settle for your because you're near." It's definitely unfair to both people and qualifies as settling in its lowest form. Instead of wasting your time with someone you know you have no future with, wouldn't a better use of your time be to figure out how to be with the person you're really supposed to be with? At the end of the day, no one wins because you're with someone while in love with another, and your partner doesn't get your full love and attention and this leads to a whole slew of issues.

Then there's those people who marry entirely for money. You know there's no way they'd be with that person unless they were rich so their intentions are clear. This can't even be called romance, but rather a business arrangement because no one's in love and everyone's looking out for themselves. I'm going to use the stereotype of the older man and the younger woman. He's the rich old guy who just wants some young arm candy and she just wants a sugar daddy to take care of her. They each have their needs met and that seems to work out to a degree. But then the young woman gets older and realizes she wasted her youth on a man she wasn't even in love with and in middle age it's going to be that much harder to find the kind of love that she wants. Sounds like a business transaction that's run its course. It's sad to see that most people in this world can be bought because they have a price. Real love's the only thing that doesn't, that's why a lot of people can't afford it.

This next one's obvious, but it still happens way too often nowadays. Staying with someone despite them being verbally or physically abusive. That's another form of settling. I find it's with the women who have the lowest self esteem. In some twisted way, they believe or are made to believe, that they deserve that form of treatment so they stay. They stay around until they find the power inside of themselves to leave. They leave when they finally realize that they do deserve better because no one should be abused in any way in a loving relationship. This one should be a no brainer, but you'd be surprised by the number of women who truly believe that if it only happened one time then he's not an abuser. In this case, that's one time too many.

We settle for too many other things in this life to even consider settling for love. Love's the one thing that's supposed to be so good that it makes everything else worth it. It's the focal point around which the rest of our life develops. It's not supposed to be "good enough" it's supposed to be "too good to be true but somehow still is." You know when you're listening to a love song and there's only one person on your mind? Or reading a good Nicholas Sparks novel and thinking I want that, but I want it with him only. That's the person you need to be with. Contrary to popular belief, the right guys are still out there. They're just waiting for us to slow down so they can catch us.

I COULD BE THE ONE by My Red+Blue

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© 2016 GreenEyes1607

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    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 10 months ago

      "Are people just settling for the first person that comes along and proposes marriage or are they just really bad judges of character?"

      Sometimes it's just a matter of being young and immature.

      It's not uncommon for a 17 or 18 year old to believe they have met their "soul-mate". Surly if the guy proposes that girl isn't going believe that she "settled". She thinks she won the lottery!

      In fact that's true of any woman who feels she's "in love".

      A lot of times people simply chose someone before they took the time to figure who (they) and what they want and need in a mate for life.

      Early on good looks and having explosive orgasms was all it took!

      Happy people never feel like they've "settled" and most relationships start off with both people (feeling happy).

      Settling is seen in "hindsight" much like having a regret (later on).

      At the time you made the choice you felt good about it!

      I think it's important that one defines what "settling" is.

      The reality is if you put in front of someone two cars.

      1. 2017 Audi A7 and 2. 1972 Ford Pinto

      And you told them they could have either car my guess is they'd all go with the Audi A7 as opposed to "settling" for the 1972 Pinto.

      However if you told them in order to get the new car they'd have to run/walk a marathon or they can simply drive off in the Pinto now. Odds are there would be people who would "settle" for the Pinto or opt to walk or ride the bus instead.

      Settling is really about someone choosing (their best option) at the time!

      If someone truly (believed) they "could do better" they would do better. No one says: "Give me the worst one you got on the shelf."

      Another factor is (cost). If someone doesn't "feel" like it's worth putting in the effort to get the better item they'll "settle" for the one that requires least effort or expense on their part.

      Take a staff worker who hates their boss. They may even think they should be the manager. However when the position became available they (decided) or "settled" because they wanted to be able to go home at 5PM, not have to attend manager meetings, or be held responsible for the production of other employees.

      One could argue they "settled" but the truth is {they didn't want} to expend the effort to have a better career.

      Everyone has their own Cost VS Reward gage.

      Some women do the same thing with relationships. Instead of going for a guy who "has everything going for him" including lots of women pursuing him they'd rather find a guy who (draws less competition).

      In fact some women seek out the "stray dogs" in hopes of developing him into what they really want. They believe in the end the guy will reward her with loyalty. However in most instances the guy doesn't want to "change" and if she does elevate his status to a point where other women are now suddenly taking notice of him he'll cave to temptation.

      Instead of putting a guy through med school maybe she should have married a guy who already was a doctor. hmmm

      Sometimes it's one's ego that makes them pursue people who they consider beneath them. They're not comfortable being in a relationship with someone who is their equal or even more outstanding.

      I've heard women say they would never want to date a man who looked better than them. No man would ever say that about dating women.

      Bottom line is "settling" is either getting want you want at the time or what you feel is your "best option" based upon what you're willing to do.

      A door lets those in who want in and those out who want out.

      You're always where you (choose) to be! That's not settling!

      Ultimately "settling" is nothing more than reaching a (final) decision.