People in relationships should not settle


I remember putting on sparkly, clear lip gloss as I sang along to Ariana Grande’s song, “thank u, next.” The floor of my room was shaking as I jumped around and watched myself dance in the mirror. I remember screaming the lyrics “…one taught me love, one taught me patience, one taught me pain, now I’m so amazing.” Little did I know, these lyrics would resonate with me a couple years later.           

At that time, I was so naive compared to others. I still am today, but in a different sense. I remember liking this particular song solely for how it sounded, but I was missing a big chunk of what it was actually about. 

I’ve figured out now that it’s about learning from past relationships. Most importantly, not settling. When I say don’t settle, I mean people shouldn’t be in a relationship with someone and accept less than they deserve. 

Let’s get one thing straight, settling and compromising are two different things. Compromise involves two parties who are willing to meet in the middle. Settling is one-sided and is made up of unaligned intentions. 

I have firsthand experience with this. When I initially entered the dating scene as a sophomore, I was clueless. I had no idea what I wanted, I didn’t develop a set of standards and I didn’t have any healthy, romantic relationships to look up to.

On dates, I often found myself quite literally carrying the conversations. I was bored, but I kept trying to see if there could be something. Like somehow this person I’m across the table from would hop out of their seat and reciprocate the same energy.

That was the first error right there. I was investing in potential. I’ve learned how someone presents themselves is who they are. Sure, some people need some more time to open up, but if one is not genuinely intrigued by the person and there’s a lack of chemistry, it’s best to not force it and it’s time to say some farewells.

Wow, I feel like a love therapist. Is that what they’re called? Perhaps I’m rambling a little but I hope this feels like a big sister kind of pep talk so far. 

As I soon learned that some of these people I was seeing were not clicking with me, I made a generalization and assumed that no one would be able to connect with me in a romantic sense.

That was yet another step back. 

Soon after, over the summer of junior year, I got into what I considered my first serious relationship. My savior complex got the best of me and old habits and beliefs regarding relationships polluted my mind. There I was, unhappy, uncertain and conflicted. I cared about this person as a human but I knew that I could never be emotionally satisfied with them.

I was honest and real with myself. Saying goodbye has probably been the biggest heartache I’ve experienced so far in my life. But with heartache comes tremendous growth and learning. 

A few months later, I soon began writing down what I wanted in a relationship. It consisted of my emotional needs and wants, the type of person, the dynamic and so much more. It really helped me better see what I want in regards to a future partner, not that it’s my first priority. If it is to happen, I’ll be ready to save some time and energy.

Settling, if I’m being honest, is hard to realize at first. But taking that leap and looking into what’s actually there compared to what one wants is a huge act of self-love. Everyone deserves to be with someone who fills their cup all the way. Not halfway or a quarter of the way, absolutely full. People deserve to be with others who make them feel valued for who they are and all their gifts they so graciously share with the world. So take that step, say “thank u, next” and be grateful for that not so lucky ex.