Okay, I know it sounds harsh, but it's the truth... settling in our relationships is stupid, and after spending a week talking about it on the radio, coaching on it with clients, counseling it to friends thinking of leaving their husbands, and remembering the years I myself settled, I have to just say it out loud for everyone to hear, "Let's all get this one statement straight in our heads and hearts, Settling is a dumb choice, don't do it!"
And okay, I get that just because it's dumb, that doesn't stop us from settling. I know that better than most because I settled for 14 years and 6 months in a relationship that lasted 15 years.
And I'm not alone, we've all settled at some point in our relationship. If you say you haven't, please write me a note because I want to know who your parents were so I can send them a gold star!
So the why... as far as I can deduce from my own escapades as well as those of my friends and clients, here are two common reasons why we settle:
1. We are too afraid to leave the relationship and ask for more. Instead we brainwash and bargain with ourselves. I call it Love Poker, in which we keep dealing and playing, staying in the relationship and the game, hoping that we will win back our chips, that we will get whatever we feel we are missing. We are too afraid to fold and walk away from the table, to end the relationship, so instead, we convince ourselves of crazy thoughts like, "Well, he's not always so bad" and "Maybe I am the crazy one to want these things. Maybe I am being unreasonable." We brainwash ourselves! Sure if you are harping on your mate cuz he's not the perfect housekeeper or the biggest breadwinner, then yes, get over yourself. But if you aren't getting the partnership, unconditional love and respect your heart and soul crave, "You deserve to have it, Period! Stop settling."
2. We are on the escalator to death. We are on a mission to get to that next life stage -- marriage, babies, big house -- no matter who we have to settle for to get there. Our focus becomes on attaining the 'thing' vs. actually stopping and asking ourselves why it's really not showing up in our lives, and being real about whether it's actually what we want, or if we've fallen prey to the brainwashing of society that until we have it, we won't be happy. I've been there myself. When I turned 30, it was time to get married. I demanded an engagement and a ring. I got it, only to be broken up with six months later. It would have been a heck of lot less painful if I had just been honest that I was trying to marry this guy for all the wrong reasons, including beating my friends to the altar. It's demented, but it's true, and I know I am not the only one.
Which is what compelled me to start a life long love affair with me so that I could stop settling in love by learning to love ME first. After I got that straight in my head, love from another literally showed up on my doorstep when I wasn't expecting it in the form of a 6 foot 3 inch bald guy named Noah. What did I 'do' to make that happen? What can you do to make sure you don't settle in love? People always ask me this question, and while there are many layers to this, it all starts with two ME-Vows you have to make to you.
Vow #1. I promise not to settle for less than my heart and soul - not my pocketbook, fear, ego, or parents -- really desire. I honor and respect myself so deeply that I only have relationships that do the same.