Should You Settle for the “Good Enough” Relationship?
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You’re not in your 20s anymore. You’ve had relationships that never quite lived up to the high standards you had in your head, and more and more, you find yourself alone.
But being alone is hard.
And being part of a couple is easy…usually. Studies back this up: being in a relationship makes people happier than doubling their income does.
So maybe at this point in your life, you back off of those high standards you’ve had in the past, and are more willing to accept a relationship that isn’t quite everything you ever wanted.
Ask yourself: have you ever settled for a “Good Enough” Relationship, just to avoid not being alone?
What is a “Good Enough Relationship”?
It’s what it sounds like: there’s nothing blatantly wrong with this guy, but there’s nothing magical and amazing about the relationship.
Deep down, you know this isn’t The One, but you have no real reason to leave. Maybe you don’t believe you ever will find The One, so you stay with a guy who is safe, but who doesn’t do it for you.
Listen up lady. You may be doing yourself more harm than good; being in an unsatisfying relationship can make people more unhappy than being alone.
How to Know You’re in a Good Enough Relationship
Not sure if you’re in a GER? Here are signs.
1. He Doesn’t Make Your Heart Flutter.
I’m not saying that you should expect the butterflies in your stomach and heart flutters indefinitely, but the start of your relationship should be filled with that sort of nervous anticipation whenever you see him. You care about this guy…but about on par with how you care for your brother. Or a random dog you see.
Don’t confuse mere affection for love, and don’t force yourself into feeling what you don’t.
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2. You Fantasize About Other Guys.
You’re in a restaurant with your beau and you’re checking out the waiter over his shoulder. You dress up when you go out, but not for him. You want other men to find you attractive. Maybe even during sex, you’re conjuring images of Matthew McConaughey or the UberEats delivery guy.
This isn’t fair to the guy you’re with, even if he’s not aware of how little you think about him.
3. You Don’t Look Forward to Sex.
You’ve worn out the whole “I have a headache” excuse, so now you just try to go somewhere else mentally when you have sex because you are not feeling it. You go through the motions because you know this is a good guy…you’re just not passionate about him.
Again: unfair. Here he is trying to connect with you emotionally and physically, and you’re not even enjoying yourself.
4. You Avoid Spending Time with Him.
While you’re happy to tell your friends that you have a boyfriend, no one ever sees you with him. Why? Because you do your best to not be home or have to spend time with him. You’re cool with having boyfriend status, but you’re less than willing to put in the work it takes to nurture this relationship.
If you look back at the past week and realize how little you’ve seen your man, how different is that from being alone?
5. You Argue a Lot.
It seems like either you or he are constantly picking fights. You can’t seem to agree on anything! And yet, by the end of the argument, you find yourself backing down, apologizing when you’re not wrong, out of fear of losing him.
It’s not him you’re actually worried about losing. It’s being with someone you don’t want to lose.
6. You Accept Behavior You Shouldn’t.
This covers everything from him simply being a slob around the house to verbally abusing you — or worse. When you justify his behavior, realize that you’re making excuses for something that he shouldn’t be doing.
Fear of being alone shouldn’t put you in danger or even make you settle for less than what a partner should give you.
If you find yourself making excuses for his behavior, either to yourself or to others, it’s time to accept that this isn’t even a Good Enough Relationship. It’s moved right over into Harmful and Bad Relationship. Make your exit.
7. You Know You’re Settling.
You don’t need any red flags to alert you that you’re in a Good Enough Relationship. You know it completely. You simply don’t believe that letting this guy go and freeing yourself up to finding The One will actually net results. You’ve given up on love, and lady, that makes me sad.
When You Settle…
You prevent yourself from ever knowing whether the right guy is out there.
And I believe he is.
You decide that the guy you’re with checks a lot of boxes on your list, and brush aside the fact that he doesn’t check off the big ones, like that you feel passion and love for him.
You limit your own happiness when you settle. You are sexy. Confident. You deserve 100% happiness.
No, scratch that.
Settling will never help you realize your full life and love potential. You’re cutting yourself short.
When you settle, you give yourself the false sense of security that being with someone — anyone — is better than being alone.
And let me tell you something: being alone isn’t a negative thing.
It gives you time to know yourself. Love yourself.
And you know what they say.
You’ve got to love yourself before you can love anyone else.
Don’t roll your eyes. It’s not BS. When you base your self-worth on whether or not you’re with someone — regardless of whether he’s right for you or not — you do yourself a disservice. You are a worthy woman without a man. You have a full life of friends and career and things you enjoy doing.
Having a man in your life only enhances that.
But having the wrong man in your life…even if he’s a really decent guy…curbs your ability to live life fully.
The right guy is out there. I know that it might feel like he’s not, but realize that he will not come into your life before he is meant to!
He might be meant to bump into you at the coffee shop tomorrow morning.
He might be the friend your BFF’s hubby brings to the holiday party.
He’s out there.
So don’t settle.
Never ever compromise on getting what you want from love. Have high expectations.
He’ll find you.
Omg, Adam, you are AWESOME!!!!
I have this type of relationship right now, and I didn’t understand with everything was so ‘meh’ instead of incredible. I chuck it off to being a little closed off, and maybe that’s why I was feeling all these things you described (I sometimes think I’m a little bit of an ice queen, with an unfeeling heart, but it’s nice to know that’s not the case).
Thank you so much! Now my next problem would be ‘How to break up with the guy which isn’t the one for me, but is a great guy nonetheless?’
I would love to hear your insight on that question as well Adam!
I’m in one of these “settling” relationships as well. My mother used to always say, be with the one that loves you , not the one you love. Bad Advice. The real issue is the man will know you don’t really want him the way he wants you and it will end up not working out anyway. Because you are settling, you will never be able to give him what he wants and it will end up bad anyway. No need to keep waisting your time and stringing him along. I plan to keep the faith and keep looking.
What you said about the man eventually finding out that you don’t love him and that leading to problems is absolutely true. I was in this type of relationship for two years. After years of chasing after guys that wanted nothing to do with me, I decided it was time to find a nice, normal, good guy. And I did. The only problem was, I didn’t like him – like AT ALL. But I was tired of trying to make things work with people who didn’t see my worth and mistreated me. So at 23, I settled into a relationship… Read more »
Adam, you always come in the right time with the right topic:)
I need to learn to love myself and walk away from a toxic relationship instead of being on this perpetual merry go around.
Absolutely, you do, I was walked over in my last relationship with my ex, but enough was enough. He treated me like absolute garbage, you deserve better. x
This is a fantastic article! It can be hard as you get older and have been single for a while (like I have!) it is so tempting to just “settle” – but I do absolutely believe that you shouldn’t.
I think I would rather never find “the one” than just find “anyone.”
This is so true… And I am in the situation I am almost settling for a guy… Just asking myself why wouldn’t I give it a shot! And you know why? Well being single when 44 for almost 5 years I start to be desperate in finding my Mr Right. I’ve dated quite a lot of guys the past 5 years. I felt the butterflies maybe 3 times… But they did not reciprocate… I’m exhausted of dating and being alone in life, seeing all those friend couples around me! I do not want to be alone anymore! The guy I… Read more »
This is how i feel except im 23 and will be 24 in june. Ive graduated college, dont get out much, and i have a great boyfriend…but i think im only with him because …like u said…what if i dont find another. All of my peers are getting engaged, married, having kids…and im sitting here only with him bc i feel like if i leave him i wont find anyone worth marrying by the time im 30.
Hi Jae, hope you’re doing great with your life! I read your comment and want to share my story. Maybe it’ll help you somehow, it’s up to you. So, I thought like you when I was 24 and fresh out of college too. I stayed in a relationship with a guy because I thought I wasn’t able to love anyone else. While actually there were other guys around interested in me, I didn’t notice them until later. My bf and I broke up when I was 26 yrs old after more than 4 years being each other’s companion. I was… Read more »
I wasted years with men that I didn’t really like, as I was ugly and that’s all I could get. I was advised not to be so picky and lower my standards. By 30 I’d decided I must be asexual, as I’d never enjoyed sex. I was then single for a while and just worked and saved up money. Got my eyes and teeth fixed, new wardrobe, makeup, hair, lost weight. I then started dating again at 32 and dated two men that I was physically attracted to. I realised that I actually love sex when I’m not settling! Unfortunately,… Read more »
…..this is insane. The notion that “you deserve 1000% happiness and the only way to get it is by finding the perfect human that will feed your happiness for the rest of your days” is absolute trash. There are no perfect people. Marriage is hard. You will have both bliss and disappointment but it is the commitment that makes it beautiful. Don’t you want someone who will love you no matter your flaws? Don’t you want to be the same person for him? Find a good person and make a life with them and jump in with both feet and… Read more »
No, I don’t think he’ll find me, but I agree that being alone isn’t a negative thing.
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