We make our own bed in this world. We decide who we go on that second date with, who we sleep with, who we move in with, and, ultimately, who we marry. Make your decisions based on your head and your heart. And never settle!
In dating and relationships, it can be so easy to give in and give up. We get tired of the games. We are not interested in putting ourselves back out there. The endless drinks that don’t lead to dinner have us feeling like a bunch of lonely alcoholics. And worst of all, the more the whole thing continues, the less sure we feel about ourselves and the prospect of finding the one.
And so we settle. We find someone that meets some of our needs but not all of them. We convince ourselves that the big annoyances they bring upon us are really just minor distractions. Sex becomes an opportunity to organize that dinner party we’re having in three weeks or to count sheep when they’re not paying attention—and the bad ones NEVER PAY ATTENTION.
I’d like to make settling illegal, punishable by a thousand dates with the walking toupee that is the Donald. But alas, I am not the president of anything except the Ingrid Michaelson fan club. I guess I’ll just have to give you the five best reasons to never settle in a relationship.
1. Setting a Bad Example: I loathe the phrase "it is what it is," and yet this is precisely the mentality we’re promoting when we settle. We’re talking to friends and family about our relationship and how daft it is, and yet we stick around. Or we say nothing, but our fake smiles and drab conversations and chemistry tell everyone exactly what this really is. And what are they to think? What if they’re a niece, nephew, or, gasp, our own children? What exactly are we modeling? Exactly.
2. Justifying the Behavior: I use the phrase you teach people how to treat you like it’s going out of style. Very often, settling is about staying in a relationship, despite how bad someone talks to us or treats us. If, for instance, you (yes you the reader) and I were dating and I talked down to you on a constant basis, you staying makes my behavior seem justified since it yielded no consequence.
3. Denying Your Own Needs: Remember that time or 200 when you went to the bathroom for 30 minutes and came out grinning? I was the one sitting on the couch unaware. How about the moments at the kitchen table when you were done trying to strike up a conversation with me? Yep, you can only be flirtatious and playful so many times before you realize that my indifference ranks right up there with McDonald’s indifference to real meat. Well, how long will your needs be denied while you are settling down with me?
4. The Domino Effect: Why did you snap at your friend who was just asking you where you wanted to have dinner? What prompted you to stop going to happy hour with your workmates? I’m willing to bet that all of the bad sex, feelings of complete and utter loneliness, and consistent belittling has made you bitter, solemn, and a host of other unflattering adjectives.
5. Because I Said So: Yep, sometimes I’m just going to be that relationship coach that has seen 468 clients over the past 10 years and, thus, has seen and heard everything in the world of sex, love, and relationships. I’ve seen Jenny cheat on Jake because he was not meeting her needs, and he was oblivious to it. I’ve heard Mark talk to me about putting $7,500 into improving the garage so that he had some place to go when he was done acting like there was chemistry in his marriage. And just this week, I heard Alice tell me that she may move across continents to be with a man that she knew wasn’t right for her. Her reason? “He may be the best that I can get.”
Enough said. Good night and good luck. Though, this has nothing to do with luck. We make our own bed in this world. We decide who we go on that second date with, who we sleep with, who we move in with, and, ultimately, who we marry. Make your decisions based on your head and your heart. I love you!