If You've Ever 'Settled' In Relationships, It's Time You Faced These 7 Harsh Truths About Yourself

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7 Brutal Reasons Men & Women 'Settle' And Stay In Unhealthy, Toxic Relationships
Love

You deserve so much more.

At some point in your dating history, you've probably been in the kind of relationship where friends and family members keep asking you why you stay with “that guy” or “that woman.” You might even be in an unhealthy, toxic relationship with a partner like that right now.

If so, you've likely heard yourself making excuses for their bad behavior:

“She’s just friends with all her ex-boyfriends.”

“He only drinks like that because his friends make him.”

“When she’s jealous, it’s because she loves me so much.”

“He’s not controlling; he’s concerned about me.”

Choosing to stay in toxic relationships with toxic people only because you feel like you need someone isn't healthy, and it definitely won't make things better in the long run.

RELATED: If You Notice These 30 Things, You're Heading For (Or Are Already In) A Toxic Relationship

When you have to make those kinds of excuses for your partner, you’re not getting what you need. But it’s embarrassing to admit that really, you stay because you feel like you need someone — anyone — in your life; even if they’re far less than who you deserve.

So you end up on relationship autopilot, making excuses for unacceptable behaviors, ignoring the warning signs that you are in an unhealthy relationship. When your partner disappoints you yet again, you get angry, then you make another excuse, then you stay.

Here are 7 brutal reasons why men and women settle in unhealthy relationships.

1. You're lying to yourself

When you deny what you really need, who your partner really is, or whether or not you're actually happy, you're are lying to yourself.

Women, especially, are really good at this. You'll see only what you want to see and explain away the rest.

The lies you tell ourselves and others begin to sound believable, as we desperately try to convince everyone that we are happily in love. It becomes easier to deceive ourselves than to face the truth.

2. You think you can "change" them

You believe you can somehow change your partner and make them the person you want and need them to be.

You assume that no matter what their history, somehow they will behave differently from you. You cling to romantic notions of what love “should” feel and look like, and ignore your intuition when reality doesn't align with your fantasy.

3. You feel inadequate

At the core of shame are deep feelings of inadequacy. You feel unworthy, unlovable, and disconnected from others.

When you grow up being invalidated and misunderstood, you’re already on the path to feeling you don’t deserve much of anything.

4. You have low self-esteem

Low self-esteem is often a result of shame. If you grow up in a family where your needs were not met, validated, or even acknowledged, often you end up feeling that what you need isn’t important, or that you’re not worthy to get what you need.

You end up sabotaging your relationships with controlling, rescuing, and/or people-pleasing behaviors.

RELATED: How To Know The Difference Between Healthy And Unhealthy Relationships

5. You're not independent

This doesn't mean you shouldn't depend on anyone; in fact, what you deserve is a healthy connection with a dependable partner.

But extreme dependence — “I can’t exist without a partner” — is unhealthy.

In essence, you cannot recognize your own wholeness and completeness. You get into relationships feeling like half a person.

6. You're emotionally unavailable

When you grow up in a family where your need for nurturing, attachment, and empathy is not met, emptiness is the result. The children of families like this feel abandoned, and that feeling can persist into adulthood.

The emptiness can manifest itself as depression, anxiety, chronic loneliness, and isolation.

7. You have a fear of abandonment and rejection

Missing out on early bonding with a primary caregiver can cause extreme fear of abandonment.

Children who are afraid they will be rejected end up taking on responsibilities way beyond what they are developmentally capable of. When these children become adults, the threat of rejection is still their biggest fear, so they are willing to do anything to keep their partner.

When you don’t recognize the signs of a toxic relationship and deal with these issues, you end up settling for less every time.

So take a moment, slow it down, and check in as to what motivates you to push at making a relationship work, even when you know that deep down, you deserve better. The truth is that you deserve to find a relationship where you don’t have to settle.

RELATED: If You Fight About These 10 Things, You're In An Unhealthy Relationship

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Sherry Gaba is a counselor and therapist who works with people to create worthwhile, healthy, and lasting relationships. She is also the author of The Marriage and Relationship Junkie: Kicking Your Obsession. To find out if you are "addicted" to love, visit her website for more information.

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