Today, we're continuing on with our relationship series by tackling this question: What is the difference between settling and compromising when it comes to romantic relationships?
(And, before I continue, it would be disingenuous of me if I didn't admit that this post is LARGELY inspired by the book I just read, "Marry Him." I've linked it here, and it's honestly such a good read.)
There is a message given to us in mainstream media and in society at large, that when it comes to relationships, settling is the worst possible thing that you can do.
"Don't you dare settle!"
"I feel like I'm settling with him."
"I just don't want to settle."
These are all phrases we've either heard or said when discussing our dating lives. Yet, if you ask anyone what makes for a healthy relationship, they'll often tell you that compromise is the key.
So what's the difference between settling and compromising? And is settling necessarily a bad thing?
I touched on this in this video, but often times, the man that we're meant to end up with or that we DO end up with, isn't necessarily the person we had in mind. You hear countless stories of women saying things like, "I wasn't attracted to him at first, but then he grew on me." or, 'I never thought I'd end up with a guy like him, but I am so happy I did."
This begs the question, is the fear of settling holding you back from a thriving and successful relationship?
Now, don't get me wrong. I still believe that there should be some non-negotiables when it comes to your expectations for a romantic relationship. But which expectations are logical, and which can be modified?
I also want to mention that this article may not necessarily be for the woman who thinks settling is being with anyone who makes less than a million dollars. I don't live in that fever dream. Rather, it's for the women who can't seem to find Mr. Right. Perhaps because, they're so afraid of settling.
So, what is settling?
A cursory Google search of the word leads you to these top 3 definitions:
To resolve or reach an agreement about.
To pay (a debt).
To place so as to stay.
None of those sound all that bad to me. So why does the word settling have such a negative connotation when it comes to love?
I think often, we confuse settling with compromising.
A compromise is coming to an agreement about something, wherein both people have let go of a specific want or expectation in order to reach the desired result. That's my own definition.
And when we think about it, we compromise in other areas of our lives all the time. We compromise when it comes to the jobs we take, often prioritizing salary and money over happiness.
We compromise when we tell our parents we'd like to stay out until midnight, they say 10pm and we agree on 11:00. (A great example from Google).
We compromise when we tell our boyfriends that they can have their friends over for Sunday Night football, if he comes with us to the mall to find the perfect little black dress.
We compromise all the time. We let go of expectations ALL the time. And it's not a bad thing.
In fact, I think it's healthy. I find it incredibly healthy to recognize that not every guy is going to have 6-pack abs and look like the strikingly stunning guys on your Insta feed. Most of them won't, actually. So why do we have this expectation that we shouldn't "settle" when looking for romantic love, when what we're looking for is often few and far between to begin with?
I'm sure if you asked your girlfriends what settling means to them, they might say that settling means being with anyone who doesn't make their knees weak and give them butterflies. There absolutely MUST be an intense amount of physical chemistry, and he absolutely has to make x amount of money.
While all of that is nice, it doesn't really leave room for much else.
It doesn't leave room for the super sweet guy who's been trying to get your attention at work, but he just isn't "your type". Or the guy friend you've had for years who you've never felt a "spark" with, but he's always been there for you. Or even the guy who's a little shorter than you hoped, but makes you laugh like there's no tomorrow.
Refusing to compromise, is expecting to find perfection.
I challenge you who are searching for your Mr. Right, to ask yourself, what are some things you'd be willing to compromise on?
Can he be 5'9" instead of 6'1"? Especially if you're only 5'2".....
Can he be growing a business instead of already completely settled in his career?
Can he be less stylish than you want?
Can he watch different shows than you?
Can he have different hobbies than you do?
I'm not saying that you should negate the things that are important to you. But I am asking you to think about just how important those things will be to you in 10 years time if you are going to end up together.
How important will it be that he obsesses over Game Of Thrones, while you couldn't be more disinterested? How important will it be that he's taller than you, when we shrink with age anyway?
Relationships are hard work, and they aren't made easier with life's curveballs.
Family tragedies, changes, moves to new places, break ups, births and so much more happens in the span of a lifetime. And your job, is to find the right person to go through it all with.
The person who will be your rock and your support. Who will hold your hand through life's darkest and scariest moments.
It won't matter how ripped he is, if God forbid an illness were to befall either of you. It won't matter how stylish he is, when you're trying to get your kids through school.
So what are the things you can let go of? Where are the areas you can say, "You know what...this really isn't that important."?
It's not settling. It's choosing to be attracted to things that are good for you. Things that will withstand the test of time.
Okay friends! That's it for this post. I sincerely hope you consider some of what I've said, and remember it as you start dating this year.