What Do You Need From Your Relationship? (Being honest with yourself and the person you're with)
Can you actually admit when you've settled in a relationship? Did you have a list of requirements you wanted your lover to have, yet you eventually threw the list out and got with someone who didn't fit the description of the person you wanted to be with at all? Was your age a factor in you settling for the person that you're with? Was it that they were the first person that asked you to marry them and they were just good husband or wife material?
I find questions like this fascinating, but most of us would never have the guts to go up to the people we know and ask them if this is what happened to them. I would love to believe that love was the thing that led the couple before me together, but how can I believe something like that when that's not even how my own parents got together. If there's one thing I'm thankful for, it's the fact that my parents didn't really sugarcoat their relationship for my sister and brother and I. We knew from young that it wasn't necessarily about some great love they had for one another or some fairytale expectancy in life, it's because they were getting older and they wanted children. Simple and to the point. Although their response kind of disappointed me, I'm thankful that they didn't lie about it and pretend that it was something that it wasn't. My mother had a love in her past that broke her heart so she settled. My father wanted a wife and children and he wasn't going to hold out for some woman to capture his heart and soul, so he settled. I think compatibility and mutual respect will take your relationship/marriage to a place where love can sometimes leave it stalled--if you have the right attitude. I'm not saying that my parents' relationship was great at all, but the unfailing truthfulness that I got from what they shared taught me lessons about life so that I didn't become disillusioned about what to expect when I grew up myself.
The first thing someone should ask themselves before getting into any relationship is what matters to them the most when choosing a mate. If your answer is looks and money, then you probably need to reevaluate everything you know of relationships, commitment and love before embarking on anything long term. Be very honest with yourself because with this question you're answering one of the most fundamental of them all: What is it that you truly want? I hate generic answers to this question. Most people will say they want somebody smart, funny, and that has a job. How sweet, but what if they have all those attributes but they're some of the biggest arseholes you've ever met in your life? A lot of people will list about two or three things and try to build a perfect person from there, but the kicker is, there's no such thing as the perfect person so you have to get to the root of the issue, your core beliefs and make a promise to yourself to not gloss over anything or omit anything that is truly important to you.
If your religion is the main thing in your life and it's how you decide that you will choose your mate, stick to it and the principles that go with that. Don't waver simply because you receive attention from someone handsome or beautiful that reels you in with enticing words or the promise of finery. That person could be your worst nightmare. Go beyond the surface when you're dealing with people because if you don't you could possibly have a monster on your hands.
Watch how they treat their parents. If the person has children, pay close attention to the way this person is with their kids. Watch how they interact with their friends and family. If the person is willing to cheat someone out of money or berate someone they know, you're seeing that person's character for what it is, and don't think that those same characteristics that you witness won't come back to bite you in the bum later on.
So many people that get into bad relationships claim that they didn't know this or that about a person. Is that really true, or did they simply ignore the tell tale signs that showcased that person's true personality? Sometimes people will see what they want to see, and if they really want to be someone, they may possibly choose to ignore a lot of the traits that are deal breakers or that show just how disgraceful the person really is.
How honest are we with ourselves?
I think the honesty with ourselves trumps the honesty we divulge with anyone else. If you refuse to admit the truth to yourself, you're never going to admit to anyone else. A lot of us can't face the facts when they're presented to us and that's when we get so deep down in a mess that we need rescuing. Do you really want to be that person? Do you not have any self worth or self esteem that you will lower yourself into devestation because you truly believe that you don't deserve any better? You have to answer those questions for yourself.
Why do we settle? In this day and age, I believe a lot of people settle for financial reasons. If we can find some source of economic stability we will forfeit our emotional and psychological needs and settle for the physical and financial ones. I call this "head over heart". I know of plenty of couples and their only reasons for being together are to pay bills. They're married, but they live more like roommates than lovers. It's settling, but some people can and will easily push aside the romance and passion for a roof, four walls and a promised meal.
Last, but not least, it's the $64,000 question that you should base your decision: Are you content? Or will you be content making your decision to settle? Notice, I didn't say happy, but I used the word "content". Will you be confident in your decision to be with this person, or are you doubting right now as you read? To be content means that you are not constantly looking to past and having "what if's" and if you do, have the certainty that you won't throw something good away for something bad. Will you stick to your decision? Even if you're settling, that doesn't say the other person isn't. Even if you don't love them passionately, do you care enough about their feelings not to cause them undue hurt? I know nothing is guaranteed, but when entering into a relationship, you're joining yourself with another person with feelings of their own. If you're not going to have any empathy, don't go into it believing in your heart that someday you will tear their world apart. One of the things about settling is that even if you're not head over heels happy to be with that person, don't lead them on and down a road by themselves of deception. As long as you're being honest with them, be honest with yourself as well. Treat them as you'd want to be treated, or don't "settle" with them at all.