Relationship expert Virginia Clark returns to our blog with a new post about something crucial — our self esteem and settling for second best.
Being single can be frustrating. It can make us feel lonely and sad as we watch our friends pair up and settle down. It might make us feel hopeless and wonder if it will ever be our turn. But that’s no reason to settle for a relationship that isn’t giving what you want or what you deserve.
Settling for less is an epidemic with women especially. They settle for less than they deserve in careers, friendships, and most importantly, in relationships. It happens so often during the dating process, and this inevitably results in too much time and energy spent on the wrong man. Women end up feeling unsatisfied and far from the way they expected love to feel.
Why do any of us settle for less? It starts young. As children most of us were instilled with the sense that we’re not good enough; that somehow we’re not worthy of having what we want most: someone to love us. These beliefs create a deep fear in us as adults—fear that we’ll end up loveless and doomed to die alone. Fear makes us lower our standards and accept whatever a partner is willing to give, even if it’s much less than we deserve.
How do we know that we’re settling for less? It’s simple. If the love we’re experiencing doesn’t feel good, we’re not getting what we should. Too often we get accustomed to our relationships not feeling right. We become immune to the drama, the pain. We don’t recognize that we don’t feel respected. We don’t know what we’re missing because we’ve never had it. So feeling bad in love ends up feeling normal.
There’s a song by The Everly Brothers called “Love Hurts”, which strikes a chord for many. We believe that pain is the price we pay for loving someone. It seems romantic, but it’s really a lie. What should hurt is rejection, being disrespected, or being taken for granted.
Love actually feels happy, fulfilling, and satisfying. Love heals us. True love is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So if we’re not feeling that way, we’re settling for less than we deserve.
What does settling for less in love look like? Here are some major mistakes we make when we’re looking for love:
We don’t take time to find “The One.” In our sense of urgency to find love we grab the one who seems available now. Common sense and good judgment fly out the window as we try to make them fit our image of “Mr. or Ms. Right”.
We make excuses for their bad behavior. For example, because he’s afraid of commitment, we work extra hard for him to trust and accept us. Because she has intimacy issues, we accept that she can’t love us fully or as much as we love her. We lower our standards. We make the lack of attention and care OK when it’s not. For example, when he wants to hang out and not go out. When she doesn’t call on time. When his future plans never materialize.
We lose ourselves keeping them happy. How often have we walked on eggshells, afraid to disturb our partner’s ”moods”? How often have we not asked for what we want because we’ll seem too demanding? How often have we neglected our boundaries to keep the peace? We go out of our way to make things easy, and in the process lose our self-respect and destroy our confidence.
So how do we stop settling for less than we deserve? By appreciating ourselves as the wonderful beings we are. By knowing our value and our worth. By honoring ourselves in our relationships. Only then can we have the love we’ve always dreamed of, the love we deserve.
Does this resonate with you? Why do you think you have settled for less?
More from Virginia Clark at YourTango: