“Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you CHOSE your life, you didn’t SETTLE for it.”
~ Mandy Hale
Every relationship has differences of opinion and the potential for a partner to see things the other might not.
This is the beauty of a relationship – the union of two people who see and experience the world in a unique way coming together to support and enjoy each other, and to grow together.
While conflict is not enjoyable, conflict helps you and your partner evaluate whether you can continue to grow together.
When there are differences or disagreements, the question of whether you are settling, or whether you are too picky, may arise.
Each question is a good one – it’s introspective and worthwhile to consider what is the answer.
“Am I settling?” pops into your head when it feels like you consistently adjust to accommodate your partner.
“Am I too picky?” nags you when it feels like your partner is not meeting the mark you mentally set for them.
With either question, it is important to find common ground where both of you can be happy.
Let’s start with ’settling’.
You may feel that your partner will get upset if you speak your mind about what you think or desire. You compromise or give-in rather than risk losing your partner.
The concern with ‘settling’ is that resentment toward your partner can grow as a result of constantly compromising in the relationship.
And resentment can be a wall that blocks opportunities for a true connection – emotional connection as well as love and respect – with your partner.
The ‘picky’ partner, on the other hand, focuses on the faults or flaws of their partner.
You typically have little tolerance for differences of opinion or wavering from predetermined expectations. Like ‘settling’, being ‘picky’ can lead to disappointment with the relationship. This stands in contrast to a fulfilling relationship that is built by being open to your partner’s thoughts and actions.
If you think you might be ‘settling’ or ‘picky’ have an honest, one-on-one conversation with your partner about your needs in the relationship.
Identify some ‘must haves’ in the relationship – what is important to you – whether you are a ‘settler’ or a ‘picky’ person. In each instance, you should communicate why these things are important. The ‘picky’ person has another task though; they must also communicate what they are willing to compromise on.
If you do not share your ‘must haves’ or what you are willing to compromise on, the relationship cannot be strengthened.
And the other partner needs to listen and respect your ‘must haves’. If your partner does not, you need to reconsider the relationship.
Joining together to talk about your needs is an amazing way to grow in fulfillment and connection with your partner. And always remember what brought you into the relationship.
Kim T Nodolf, MA, LPC – www.inspirewellnesswi.com
I don’t think you can ever be too picky. When it comes to major decisions like your relationship, it’s ultimately the life you’re choosing to live.
But how do you know if your relationship is worth staying in? How do you know if you’re settling or being too picky?
When faced with making a relationship decision, it’s normal to feel confused and even overwhelmed. If you’ve been thinking about what to do for awhile, likely you’re stuck in “analysis-paralysis.”
Here are 5 basic steps to take if you’re feeling overwhelmed about your relationship and can help bring clarity to your situation:
1. Going with your “gut”
Your “gut feeling” is your intuition. It’s your keen sense of something that doesn’t need analytic reasoning to deduct. Another way to put it, it’s a feeling you get immediately without needing to “reason it out.” This is critical because when you’re trying to make a decision that is fueled with emotion, resorting to a sense of “knowing” is comforting.
2. Understanding your deeper needs
As humans we have basic needs of love and belonging. We strive to have intimate relationships and have a need to connect with others. But if you’re carrying wounds from childhood and you’re developmental needs were not met (that of parental love and care for example), as an adult you may confuse someone else’s love and attention for “healthy love.”
So to better understand your deeper needs of love and belonging, you may first have to ask yourself questions like this:
- “How would I feel emotionally if my partner was showing healthy love?”
- “How do I want to be treated if my partner was showing healthy love?”
- “How would my partner demonstrate that I belong and am included in his life?”
- “How would my partner communicate if in a healthy, loving relationship?”
- “How will my boundaries be respected in a relationship with a loving, healthy partner?”
3. Partner’s responses to communication
If you’re at a crossroads about your relationship, don’t get stuck in your head about what to do without talking to your partner. You’d be surprised how often this happens in relationships. A lack of communication can lead to more anxiety and overwhelm about the relationship.
Here are a few steps to take:
- Open up to your partner that you’ve been conflicted about the relationship.
- Pay attention to how your partner responds to your expression of feelings. Does he get defensive? Does he blame you for how you feel? Or does he show concern to why you’re unhappy?
- Does he want to listen and seek understanding? Or does he get indifferent? Is he open to whether or not he can meet your needs? Does he show openness and flexibility?
- Does he take what you said personal? Or does he see that your needs for love and affection are not about him, but more about what is important to you and how this is a part of your journey?
As you can see the questions you can ask are endless. Choose the questions that are right for you and allow it to guide you to a place of peace.
4. Aligning with your values
When we list relationship values, we come up with trust, honesty, respect, and loyalty to name a few. But when it comes to making a decision about whether to stay or go, we become paralyzed with fear and forget to connect with our deeper self -our authentic self.
So instead of saying, “Does he still love me?”
I encourage you to change the question to:
“Can I see myself with this person in my future?” “Does he treat me in the manner in which I want to be treated – emotionally, physically, and spiritually, etc?”
5. Trusting your journey
Healthy relationships stem from how you love and accept yourself, and when you can find a sense of purpose not from the relationship but in spite of it – that’s where happiness really lies. Being alone may not be as rewarding as being in an relationship, but an unhealthy relationship certainly has its consequences.
Take the necessary time to evaluate your relationship, but don’t get caught in analysis-paralysis. Don’t worry about making the wrong decision, because in the journey called “life,” there are no mistakes just lessons. And the true path to freedom is trusting the course.
Kavita A. Hatten, MS, LPC – www.phoenixcounseling.net
You’ve been with a guy for a while, and he seems pretty nice, but you’re not sure if he’s “the one”. Or maybe there are parts of him you really like and love, but he also has a darker, destructive, negative side.
How do you decide if you’re are staying in this relationship because it’s there and mostly comfortable, or if you’re too afraid to leave what you have, or if you’re just too picky and you’ll never find anyone better?
Of course, only you can decide. I emphasize the word DECIDE because too often people stay in relationships by default that are really not giving them what they want. The result of that is often a subtle campaign to fix or change your partner into what you really want. My observation says that this option too often ends up with you feeling bitter, angry, and disappointed.
Do you really know what you want in a partner and a relationship?
Try putting the qualities you want into a written list. Look at it and make sure it really covers what you truly yearn for. If these are things you’re genuinely looking for, then you are not being PICKY.
Then write down the primary qualities in your significant other—not the ones you wish were there, or the ones that are sometimes there, or may someday be there, but the personality qualities that are a real part of who he is consistently.
Look for the things about him that are likely to stay constant over decades rather than what job he has, how much money he makes, or how good looking he is, because those things will change many times over the years.
How do the two lists compare?
If you find yourself thinking that he’ll be more of who you want him to be when you’re committed, or when he gets a better job, or develops more self-confidence, or if you show him how much you love him, then you’re SETTLING.
Too often, as a therapist, I hear women saying, “But I really love the good parts of him.”
That’s great, but in a relationship, you have to LIVE with ALL the parts of the other person. The disagreeable parts of him aren’t just going to disappear—ever.
People change their interests and goals over their lifetime, but their personality stays amazingly consistent. If he isn’t the person who fits now what you want, then you’re probably settling rather than being picky.
Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT – www.margalistherapy.com
It’s pretty natural for a feminine to desire to partner up with a masculine.
Most of us have been dreaming about it since childhood. As we grow into adults we learn… hopefully… a lot about life and ourselves and we fine tune what we are looking for in a partner.
We want to have standards after all, we want to have an awareness of how we personally like to give and receive love, and also make sure that we are healed enough ourselves to be in a healthy relationship.
Until we truly take the time to do that, we will always be settling a little. It’s usually to compensate for that fear of being alone and giving ourselves the space we need to truly become whole.
Another form of fear can manifest in the opposite direction and we may use any excuse in the book to push away the right partner because we are afraid of getting hurt or of losing our sense of control.
We may say something like ‘We’ll, I’m just really picky’. Either way, both of these versions of fear will keep you away from true love.
So how do you know when you’re settling?
I tell my clients that like most things, it’s anchored in a feeling, in our intuition, that deep knowingness within where we can feel that we are trying to force something that’s just not truly meeting our needs or matching us.
If you are looking outside of yourself still for your source of happiness in love, you are settling.
You can’t ever fully see or value or love someone for simply who they are while you’re looking to them with the expectation of doing all the things that make you happy.
But you also should be with someone who more often than not (no ones perfect and even the best relationships require communication and work) speaks your love language, communicates with you, is thoughtful, is a giving lover & adds to your joy.
If you’re constantly having the same argument but there’s never any effort or changed behavior, you are settling.
You know a relationship is right and healthy when there are issues but you work through them. Sure, you may have new issues down the road but you’ll work through them as well. An unhealthy stuck relationship just keeps playing out the same toxic pattern again and again.
If you feel you are sacrificing yourself and your joy you are settling, keep it moving.
For the benefit of everyone, give yourself the time and space to learn to truly find happiness within and attract a full healthy partner who is ready to give as much love as they receive.
On the flip side, how do you know when you’re being too picky?
When you are looking for reasons for something not to work. When you are afraid of opening up and losing control for love. When you look for any little reason to pick a fight or push them away… if you sit back for a minute you can feel that it feels like fear.
Bring the logical mind in and ask questions,
- Is this real?
- Is this person kind and genuinely a good match for me?
- Do they deserve this treatment?
What are their actions showing me & do they actually meet the most important qualities to me like:
Kind, loyal, present, passionate, honesty, trustworthy, stable, etc etc etc. You’d be surprised how you can fall deeply in love with someone who’s exhibiting those qualities over time, if you actually allow yourself.
At the end of the day, such as with most things, the key truly is balance.
Taking the time and healthy space to be full and happy within yourself but also remaining open to the right person at the right time. How will you know? It will just flow and you both will feel it. In the meantime try to relax and enjoy the ride.
Ashley Davene, Relationship Counselor – www.ashley-davene.com
A common fear in the dating world is whether you are being “too picky” or if you are “settling” when it comes to choosing a man you will spend the rest of your life with.
Sometimes, both fears are held at once. Whether you fear you are settling or being too picky, the fear is the same, that is being unsure if the right man for you is out there.
More specifically, someone who thinks they are too picky fears they won’t find the “right” man and someone who thinks they are settling thinks this isn’t the right man but they may never find them anyways.
These fears are two sides of the same coin and can be overcome in the same way.
First, know who you are.
- What are your love languages?
- How do you typically handle conflict or strong emotions?
- What do you value?
- What do you believe in?
- What is important to you?
Identify both your strengths and flaws. Knowing who you are as a person and how you are in relationships will help you to determine if the man you are with is the right man for you based on how they relate to you and what you have in common.
Secondly, know what you want in a partner and a relationship.
Ask yourself, how do you wish to be treated?
- What qualities and characteristics do you desire in a partner?
- What values do you hold that your potential life partner needs to hold as well?
- What is a dealbreaker?
- What is ideal?
- And in what areas can you compromise?
Knowing what you want can help you decide early on whether a relationship is going to work.
If you know what you are looking for, you can have the “deep conversations” early on in the relationship.
Despite what society tells us is appropriate for discussion early in a relationship, it’s necessary to lay out all your baggage, desires, and needs early on to figure out as soon as you can if you have a future together.
Additionally, have confidence in yourself and believe that you know what is best for you. It doesn’t matter if someone else thinks you’re “too picky” or that you might be settling.
Their opinion is based on their own standards of what kind of man is right for you, not your own.
They aren’t going to be a part of your relationship and thus their opinion and expectations don’t matter. The only opinions that matter are yours and your man’s.
Finally, There is no set time line for when you need to choose a life partner.
So take your time. The clock isn’t ticking when it comes to love. It will happen on your time and only you can say when that is.
In short, know who you are, know what you want, take your time, and trust yourself and your ability to choose the man of your dreams.
Heather Gillam, MS, NCC, LMFTA – www.sisulumicounseling.com
You may not, except with express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.