While not everyone is actually out in search of their other half, the quest for an ideal life partner can be incredibly tempting for some. But once you've met someone, it can be daunting to figure out
how to know if you're settling or not. No one wants to think they could do better, but sometimes settling down with someone can be quite un-glamorous.
In the end, you're choosing to spend your life with another human being. Of course
things won't look like a rom-com. “The less-glamorous parts of finding your ideal partner have to do with making the inevitable discovery that they are not the ideal, but they are your partner," Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "That is a difficult distinction for some to make, especially in new relationships." So what might look like settling can actually mean starting a new part of your life with someone who also has their own imperfections.
It's magical enough finding someone who wants to share their life with you. "Finding someone to commit to is a mix of things such as intimacy, passion, love but also a share of life goals and values. Things need to work in real life,” sexologist and relationship expert
Dr. Nikki Goldstein tells Bustle. That's why it's important to unpack some of your notions about what makes someone "The One" in order to assess your relationship as it is.
Here are seven things that seem like settling but are really signs you've met your soulmate, according to experts.
You Might Feel Like A New You
You might change alongside a partner. It's not some major red flag if this happens; it's the natural course for two people going through life side-by-side.
So, if you're in a relationship that's leading to some change, it doesn't mean you've settled down with the wrong person. “You may be doing other things: shopping elsewhere, dressing differently, eating new foods, and even speaking differently," Backe explains. "The question is: are you resentful about these things, or do they excite you? ... To some, this may seem like settling and changing for another, but that is not always the case." If you're happy with the changes, and they feel natural, it probably means that the two of you are actually a really good match.
There's A Lot Of Compromising
Compromise isn't everything, but it's not meant to be a dirty word in relationships. "To the outside world, it may seem like you are making tons of concessions and are always giving in, when it reality these are all done with the proper negotiation taking place between the couple prior to that, and with you getting your two cents in there first, and making an informed decision based on your own conclusions," Backe says. And even if this doesn't seem incredibly romantic on the surface, it can be.
will sacrifice their happiness for you to be happy," Dr. Tracey Phillips, owner of Writevision Consulting, LLC, tells Bustle. "This may make [them] seem like a pushover. But they are exhibiting sacrificial love." And that's pretty sexy.
You Actually Might Not Be Thinking That Much About The Future
If you haven't started planning wedding bells or your future house in the country, it doesn't mean something is wrong with you — or the relationship. Sometimes, you really are just living in the moment.
“When you meet someone you are completely into, sometimes you want to make the present last as much as you can — to 'be here now' — so you give less thought to your future, for a time anyway ... As the relationship progresses — if it is a healthy one — you will find yourself and your future within that dynamic, and incorporate your dreams and aspirations into the relationship," Backe says. If they really are the person you are meant to be with, things will fall into place as they need to.
Finding someone who
your parents are over the moon about often seems like the least-romantic thing possible, especially if they're strict about who they want you to end up with.
But if you happen to have found someone who just fits, don't turn away. "Maybe when you find 'The One' you actually want to be sure they won’t totally clash with your parents’ values, because having an ongoing family life with everyone getting along is important to you,"
Amy McManus, LMFT, relationship therapist and founder of Thrive Therapy Los Angeles, tells Bustle. "If your partner is a fit in other important ways as well, then picking someone your parents approve of isn’t 'settling.'" You are allowed to decide your own priorities and values. If you have certain things you need from a relationship, it doesn't mean you're "settling" if you go after them.
The Initial Spark Is Gone
The initial spark goes away. That's OK. You don't need to keep hopping from partner to partner in search of a relationship where it stays, because in healthy long-term relationships, things grow and change.
"This is the natural course of events, and doesn’t necessarily mean you are settling," McManus says. "You may just need to spend some time working on ways to inject some spice back into your relationship." Of course, if the sex gets stale or you find yourself bored of the person, that's worth addressing on another level; but, if things are good but just
different, that probably means your relationship is moving onto another stage. And that's pretty exciting, really.
You're Getting Comfortable
Feeling comfortable is actually often a sign of a very healthy long-term relationship, instead of a red flag that means "run."
"After the initial rush fades, you might start to feel 'comfortable' more than excited," McManus explains. "A healthy relationship feels comfortable because you understand each other and have developed a certain ease around your daily life." So if things feel like they're going to go wrong solely based on the fact that you're feeling safe with your partner, you should know that doesn't have to be true. Of course, if something feels seriously off, you can always get professional help. But if comfort is your main concern, you're probably a-OK.
Of course, you don't have to align with your partner on everything. But, if you do, it doesn't mean that you've got a boring thing going on.
"[Be careful if] you agree on almost everything and you think there is something wrong with that — you start looking for a red flag, which is not there," relationship coach and certified matchmaker
Michelle G tells Bustle. And that advice applies on almost every aspect of this search.
In the end, finding out if this person is your soulmate is up to you, and you alone.
“To me there is only one sign, and that's your gut instinct," Goldstein says. "At some level we are all settling because there is no such thing as perfect ... With love, relationships and marriage, there is no right or wrong. There is only what is right or wrong for you." So for all of these things that should be signs of a healthy relationship, you can and should always end things, or seek professional help, if your relationship feels seriously off. It's up to you to decide who you're meant to be with.