What is settling in a relationship?

In all relationships the honeymoon period must come to an end at some point. This is often the stage where you drop the rose-tinted spectacles and your partner’s flaws come to light. No matter how much you like somebody, in any long-term relationship there are bound to be elements of your partner’s behaviour and habits that grate on you. This is where a healthy dose of compromise is needed, to perhaps overlook minor annoyances or work on the parts of your daily life that can be a source of irritation in the relationship. It may be something as small as watching a television show because you know your partner likes it or taking turns doing chores you both hate. You may decide to leave plenty of downtime in your schedule to because your partner prefers not to be wildly sociable all the time. 

However, there becomes a point where making allowances in the relationship strays into unhealthy territory. This is referred to as settling, where you are not truly satisfied in a relationship but not taking steps to address the situation. In a nutshell, you may have a gut feeling things are not right, or find you are all too often sacrificing your own needs to make things work. Settling for less can often be confused with compromising, and it sometimes take a while to recognise what’s going on in your relationship. You may be getting along just fine but you are slowly recognising warning signs that you want more from a relationship. To help you understand what it means to settle in a relationship, we’ve shared the top warning signs to watch out for.     

You end up doing all the work: You might get the creeping feeling you are the one putting all the work into keeping the relationship going. Your partner does not put the effort you’d expect from them, and they can make you feel like you are being unreasonable if you ask them to be more involved. A good relationship is built on a background of listening to each other and making the effort to build a positive connection and support each other – so it can be a red flag if you feel like you are in a one-sided relationship. 

You’re not sure if you enjoy being together anymore: You may start to suspect you really aren’t getting a lot of satisfaction from the relationship anymore. You may be easily annoyed by things your partner says and does, which can tip over into resentment and feeling very unsatisfied in the relationship. Perhaps the only things you like about the relationship are general to any partnership, rather than being things you cherish about the person you are with. 

The compromises are too big: Small disagreements about day-to-day life are often nothing to worry about, but if you are changing your life goals or values to suit your relationship then it’s a sign you are settling. It’s sacrificing the things you want in life to stay with this person. 

You lose individuality: You may start to realise you’ve changed a lot about yourself to suit your partner. Your hobbies have gone out the window and you act differently when you are with your partner. You may even change your appearance and personality to suit your significant other’s preferences. Changing who you are to suit a partner can hit your confidence and lead to a loss of identity which can be bad for your mental well-being

You’re ultimately not compatible: While you may be fond of your partner, there is still a disconnect in what you need and want from the relationship. This can leave you feeling deep down that something isn’t quite right, which can lead to unhappiness and restlessness with the situation. 

Why do people settle in a relationship? 

Fear of being alone is often behind the decision to settle with somebody. Some people end up staying with the wrong person rather than face the unknown of a future on their own. They may worry there is nobody else out there for them, so they decide this is their chance to get married and have the security of a long-term relationship. Low self-esteem can also drive people to worry they won’t meet anybody else. Some stick with an unfulfilling relationship because they don’t want to start over again, as it’s just too comfortable to stick with their current arrangement or they can’t face returning to the dating world. There may also be worries about upsetting a partner, where in fact it’s more hurtful for them to be in a relationship with somebody who is just settling for them. 

We’d love to hear your views on settling in a relationship. Share them over on our Facebook or Instagram page!

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