“Subtle Settling” Is A Concerning Trend You Need To Know About

You might think you’re maintaining high standards in your relationship, but what if you’re “subtle settling”? This is a toned-down version of settling, but it can be just as disastrous. Here’s what it’s all about.

  1. Subtle settling is when you aim to please. You’re not bending over backward to try to please your partner, but if you’re subtle settling, you could be trying to please them in small ways even when you don’t feel like you should put their needs above yours. What’s up with that?
  2. You’re ignoring the little red flags. Settling doesn’t happen suddenly and overnight. It can take hold little by little and in small ways until you find yourself in a big problem. Maybe your partner has shown little signs that they’re toxic but you’ve chosen to ignore the red flags. You’re making excuses for them.
  3. You’re caught up by relationship ideals. If you find yourself focusing on all your partner’s good traits at the expense of the negative ones, this could really mean that you’re caught up in relationship ideals or fairytales. You’re trying to make the person appear perfect because you really want to be in a happy relationship. Unfortunately, you’re not seeing the reality of the situation.
  4. You’re ignoring your inner voice. At first, it’s easy not to pay attention to the little voice inside you that tells you when you’re doing something that isn’t right for you. You might not even be sure what your inner voice is trying to tell you. But if you feel a bit unsettled without knowing why, then that’s something to pay attention to — or risk settling in a bigger way.
  5. You’re anxious. If you feel anxious around your partner a lot, that could be a hint that you’re settling. You’re basically making do with the situation and you’re not happy. Even on a small scale, this will start to show up. Your body might want to rebel against this, such as by making you feel irritable or anxious.
  6. You’re scared to show your real self. A sure sign you’re settling is if you don’t feel comfortable enough to show your real self to your partner. Even though you love art or horse riding, you’ll pretend you don’t if your partner expresses that they don’t like those activities. It might not seem like a big deal, but what else are you going to hide about yourself? And, is holding onto a relationship like this worth it? Definitely not.
  7. You change relationship details. When your friends ask about your partner or relationship, you’re quick to tell them that everything’s amazing even if it isn’t. Why lie? It could be that you don’t want to face the reality of your situation or you’re hoping to project an ideal relationship to the world. Hmmm, it sounds like you’re exaggerdating.
  8. You hate planning for the future. You never like to talk about the future with your partner, even though things are getting serious between you. While you might think that this is just as a result of living in the moment, sooner or later you’ll want to talk about serious things with your partner, like when it comes to LTRs and marriage, for instance. If that doesn’t happen for you even though you’ve been dating this person for years, then maybe you’re settling.
  9. You don’t think this is forever. You’re settling but deep down, you know that you deserve better. So you might want to keep the relationship in its current state without making any big decisions about the future. Wow. That’s heavy. You might as well be alone then. I promise, being single is amazing!
  10. You bite your tongue a lot. When your partner upsets you — and it seems to happen regularly — you just bite your tongue so that you don’t lose your cool and have a fight with them. Sadly, this will just cause resentment to build up over time. And for what? So you can stay with someone who isn’t even right for you? It’s so not worth it.
  11. You book a fun outing with your friends after your dates. It’s not a coincidence, either. You try to boost your morale after spending time with your partner (who often leaves you feeling zapped of positive energy) so you hang out with your besties. This is a huge red flag that you’re not happy. Isn’t it time to face the feeling?
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.