Here’s How You Know You’re Settling In Your Relationship: 10 Signs To Look For

When you want to be in a relationship but have had enough of the dating scene, settling for a partner who falls below your usual standards is an easy mistake. People who you wouldn’t have settled for before look much more attractive when you’re tired of looking. But settling in your relationship (or anywhere in life) will always lead to disappointment. Here are a few indications that you’re settling and need to move on.

  1. You’re constantly justifying your choice of partner. You say things like, “he’s really not my type, but…” or, “I never thought I’d end up with someone like him, but…” Whatever the compliments are that follow, these kinds of words are revealing. They show that you’re trying to preempt other people’s judgment about your relationship even before they say anything. It’s almost automatic, because you’ve been saying the same justifications to yourself since the relationship began.
  2.  You imagine another life for yourself. You get lost sometimes in fantasies of other lives you could lead. You imagine yourself single, or in love with someone powerful and impressive who inspires you and sweeps you off your feet. You imagine being free and open to spontaneity. You imagine a partner who pushes you to be your best self and makes you feel proud and unencumbered. If this life that you imagine includes a partner who is everything your real partner isn’t, it’s safe to say that you already know you’re settling in your relationship.
  3. You try to make people jealous of your relationship. Subconsciously, you know that you’re not happy, so you try to cover it up for yourself and those around you by making a show of how affectionate you are and how thrilled you are to be with your partner. You post about him on social media and tell your friends about all the fun things you do together. You want other people to see an enviable relationship, because maybe, just maybe, if they’re jealous of you, it will convince you that they actually do have something to be jealous about.
  4. You defend your partner even when you don’t need to. Being overly defensive is a sign that you’re embarrassed by your partner. Everything your partner does around other people makes you self-conscious, even little things that no one else notices. You find yourself diffusing awkward situations which are not, in fact, awkward for anyone else. Feeling disproportionately embarrassed by your partner is an indication that you do not respect them as much as a person should respect the person they’re with.
  5. You know he’s capable of more. You should never stay with someone based on their potential. Nine times out of ten, their potential will be permanently stuck in the realm of possibility, and you could waste your whole life waiting for them to change. Who they are now is what you should base your judgment on. There are people out there who are already the person that you’re waiting for your partner to become.
  6. You consider yourself a practical person. Just because you’re realistic doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be in an unsatisfying relationship. But taken in combination with other factors, practicality may predispose you to over-compromising, especially if you also have low self-esteem. If you find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behavior by saying that everyone has flaws, or that waiting for someone better to show up is unrealistic, you’re probably settling.
  7. You cover up your disappointment with humor. You’re constantly making jokes to your friends and family about how inadequate your partner is. You laugh about the fact that he’s just not the kind of guy who does dishes or enjoys doing the things you enjoy. But deep down, it bothers you. You know he isn’t making you happy, but you continue to laugh it off to avoid the pain of having to do something about it.
  8. You’re focused on the life you imagined for yourself, not the one you’re living. You always knew you’d get married by a certain age, or have a house or kids. You’re so focused on fulfilling these expectations that you’re not overly concerned about how they come about. If you feel like you’re running out of time, you may become permanently tied to the wrong person simply because they’re the person you happen to be with when you feel like you have to commit.
  9. You’re afraid of being lonely. Fear of being single is one of the main reasons people settle. Maybe you had a bad breakup once that plunged you into involuntary singledom that made you depressed and insecure. We’ve all been there. But being single isn’t a tragedy. It’s an opportunity. Don’t stay with your partner just because you’re afraid of being alone. Learn how to enjoy being alone, and then find someone who you enjoy being with even more than you enjoy being by yourself.
  10. You’re unhappy. Sometimes, people assume that they’re simply an unhappy person and ignore the fact that their circumstances might be the culprit. If you can’t understand why you’re unhappy even though your life looks amazing on paper, think about your relationship. You might love your partner, but if you don’t feel inspired by them, you’re probably settling for less than you deserve in your relationship.
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.