7 Ways To Tell You Aren’t Settling In Your Relationship, But Being Realistic About Love

by Kristine Fellizar
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If your relationship isn't everything you thought it would be, it can leave you with a lot of doubts. Is this really "The One" or am I just settling? According to experts, there is a fine line between settling and being realistic about love. If you know the differences, you can determine whether or not your partner is really the right one for you.

"Settling in your relationship means that you know there's someone better out there and that you deserve more," April Davis, owner and founder of LUMA (Luxury Matchmaking), tells Bustle. "Having high standards doesn't mean you're stuck up, it means you're unwilling to settle for less. This is a good thing." It doesn't necessarily mean that your partner isn't a good quality partner. You just feel like there may be something better out there for you. There's really nothing wrong with that.

More often than not, Davis says, settling can lead to resentment and then regret. "Any amount of doubt is worth questioning and looking into," she says. "Even if you love your partner, it's important to imagine far, far down the line. Is there something missing? Are you getting your intellectual, and physical needs met? If there's something lacking, there are more fish in the sea."

Sometimes, unhappiness in a relationship can be confused for settling. But it could be something else. So here are some signs you're not settling with your relationship, you're being realistic about love.


In Your Mind, Breaking Up Is Never Really An Option

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"When you're settling, there's a consistent feeling of being unhappy," Michelle Terry, MA, LMHC, of Next Chapter Counseling, tells Bustle. "Nearly every day feels bad with your partner." In this scenario, you find yourself questioning whether or not you should just end things. But when you're being realistic, you know there are going to be both good and bad days in your relationship. When things start feeling off, your brain doesn't automatically think, "We should probably breakup." You don't worry about it too much because you know this rough patch will eventually end.


You're Still Finding Time For Sex

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You may not have that all-consuming passion for your partner anymore. But when you're settling, that passion just sort of dies. Sex becomes something you do every now and then because it's been a while — it's not something you miss. "When you're being realistic, you know there won't be fireworks in your relationship all the time, but you and your partner still do things to regularly show each other that you care," Terry says.


You Never Vent About Your Partner To Your Friends And Family

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"One way to tell if you are settling or being realistic in a relationship is to notice how you speak about your partner when they aren’t around," licensed marriage and family therapist, Allison D. Osburn-Corcoran, M.A., tells Bustle. For instance, do you make digs about them and air out all your issues? Or do you try to keep it positive? When you're settling in a relationship, how other people see your partner isn't something you worry about too much. You just know you need to vent.


Your Fights Never Get Ugly

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Regardless of whether you're settling or being realistic, you're going to fight with your partner. "You're going to have differences," Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist and author, tells Bustle. "As long as it’s done respectfully, it's normal." But if you just say whatever comes to your mind during fights in order to "win," you may want to reevaluate how you really feel about your partner. People who truly love and care about each other will do everything they can to prevent their partner's feelings from getting hurt.


They Annoy You, But It Doesn't Really Change The Way You Feel About Them

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"No person will be perfect and almost everyone will have some things that annoy you," Dr. Sherman says. But if their little annoyances don't change the way you feel about them, that's a good sign. When you're settling, every little thing about your partner can annoy you to no end. You may even find new things that bother you each day.


You're Willing To Work Out Your Issues Together

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Things may not be perfect, but you're willing to put in the work to make your relationship the best it can be. "If both people are willing to make an effort and take responsibility for how to improve things and themselves, it’s OK to have some areas that are in development," Dr. Sherman says. When you're settling, you let a lot of things slide, hope for change, or just stop working on the relationship altogether.


You're Comfortable Right Where You Are

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When you're being realistic about love, things may not be exactly how you pictured it, but you wouldn't want it any other way. "You don't question your decision to choose your partner," Mackenzie Riel, relationship expert with TooTimid, tells Bustle. "You are content enough in the state of the relationship that you don't feel like there are any fears or doubts that could come up about this person." If they do, you'll be ready to deal with it and work through it together.

The biggest difference between settling and being realistic is indifference. When you're settling, you basically stop caring about your relationship. At the end of the day, no relationship is ever going to be perfect. Your partner may not have every single quality you look for in a person. But if you're content and willing to work with them through anything that comes your way, you're not settling.