The art of settling

March 1, 2021
▪ 6 mins read

From failure to communication tool- what you know and need to know about settling

I'm a queen of settling and I no longer see it as this dirty word. I hear so many people saying they will never settle. It's become the battle cry as a single person who's come out a bad interaction. This leaves them thinking they will never going to settle. They are going to keep holding this particular ideal.

And I guess why would it stop?

There's so much balance that we can bring to this. When will the good enough be good enough? And I want to keep investing in this? Or is it actually time that I decide that we're never going to have that level of connection?

If you say to a single person you're too picky, or you should lower your standards, they're gonna hit you. That's the worst thing you can ever say to someone who is single. But there's a interesting argument around it. About our ideals, our standards, and our beliefs that we have around how we're going to find love.

Does settling means you have failed?

When I hear people saying: "I'm never gonna settle". It's saying, "I'm not going to compromise on my standards. I'm not going to accept a kind of relationship where excited to be in that relationship, I'm not going to compromise".

And, to a lot of extent, this argument is good. If being single means to you that you actually value your life. If it's enough that you don't feel the need to be in a relationship it's a good place to be. But, there's a balancing act between a nice healthy independence and unrealistic expectations.

While you're looking for someone with a major value to come into your life, be careful the pendulum does no swing too far the other way. Unrealistic expectations can actually block you from finding someone amazing. We can so get fixed on a perfect idea that we overlook good stuff coming along the way for us. One that could give us the opportunity to be happy.

Is settling down same as compromising?

A good question to ask yourself, if you're wondering whether your standards are in the right place, "For everything that I want on my wish list, do I bring that to the table myself?".

Everyone is looking for this kind of perfect person that's off the shelf. They must be this tall, earn this much, have gone to this place. And they must whisk me off on amazing romantic holiday. That's not real life.

And if we're going for that person, we're not looking for like a partner, which is someone who, like us is going to have flaws. Someone who is going to have things about them that aren't perfect and ideal. And then we have to work out, which are the right compromises for us to make.

It's not that we don't get through life without making compromises. If you have a kid, it's a life path. By choosing to go down that path, which has given you so much, you've shut the doors, at least temporary, on a few other things that you could do. But it's the nature of compromise, right?

By choosing to progress down a path, we have to close off other options. Like, I am not going to get up at 10am anytime soon, I'm the 5am warrior now. It's kind of the same with relationships. If we want to actually commit we need to try and make compromise and try and build a long term relationship. We close down those doors to single life. We will also make little compromises along the way because there's no way that this other person is going to be perfect. If you think they're perfect, you're gonna get a shock. They turn out to be another human being.

Is it good enough?

I love that question.  

I see so much of this on social media- good enough, is no longer good enough. We all want perfection.

We're not valuing actual day to day. It drives me nuts when I see other life coaches say if your life isn't super optimum, it's because you failed, or you've made a mistake. You haven't tried hard enough. But life isn't optimum. Nature is like that is just it, whether we're talking about love life, health, whatever it is.

What is so wrong with being acceptant of this other person? I have humility, I'm not perfect myself. I'm compromised, and we communicate. We work stuff together as a team. All those values are actually beautiful. And then not having this pristine, perfect idea of a relationship. It's about having a partnership that actually works in everyday life. It's about getting off that narrative of needing perfection and expecting that across the board. Actually start to value stuff, which makes us happy.

Turning towards

When you have arguments in life, there's gonna be stuff you disagree about. We're not talking about the crazy rage, we're talking about everyday life. If you spend a lot of time with a person, you will inevitably disagree on some things. And that is actually it. That is okay. It's about how you deal with it afterwards. I've been in that exact same situation where I was like, I will walk down the stairs, and I'm going to hug him. My ego is dying with every step, right? But gotta make myself do it.

My husband taught me something about this actually. I was being a little bit petulant here and I was doing the whole, you understand me? storyline. And he says, "I may not understand everything about you, but I really accept you as you are". That, to me is the true romance right there.

It's about accepting them as a whole person, with some good bits, and with some bad bits. If you got some things to work out, work on them together. Be in it as a team, committed, go down that journey together.  

Accept them as a whole package.

It's not settling, it's just not right.

How do you know when you need to go? That it's not gonna work. It's incompatible. No moving forward. When do you know it's not settling, it's not right? Well, it goes back to how you feel on a day to day basis. If you feel a lack of clarity and confused for a long period of time you're not happy.

The other thing is, of course, that the relationship is all you think about. You don't have space and support to actually get on and do other stuff. A hallmark of a good relationship is you feel you can focus on work project, you can go off for that weekend with your friends. Because it's like a metronome in your life. I know this doesn't sound like the sexy passionate thing that we want it to be. But I'm gonna vouch here for the metronome.

The fact that your relationship isn't a big source of drama is stabilising factor allowing you to go on and do the all the other big stuff that you want to do. If your relationship is destabilising you, and you feel a lack of clarity. If you feel foggy everyday, confused, unhappy. You feel like you caught, whatever you're trying to express, you can't communicate it to a person no matter how many letters you write them. No matter how many times you have like a deep discussion.

Sometimes if you feel that line of communication is not working it's because other person isn't able to show up for you. They're not able to turn towards you. There's something about how you want to relate towards one another that isn't connecting. Again, hallmark of a good relationship, even if it's not an smooth process, is that there's a reconciliation and you actually talk and you're able to move forward.

Communication is so important. How you feel within yourself and in your body everyday that day to day is so important. Having enough energy and time and resources to go and do other things in your life is so important as a hallmark of a good relationship.

For more advice and recaps on my conversations with Jillian read:

Love, Hayley

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About the author

Hayley Quinn is a leading dating and relationship coach, with 3 million views of her TEDx talk and 18 million YouTube views. She is spokesperson for Match, a columnist for Cosmopolitan, a regular contributor to international media, and has been published by Harper Collins (“The Last First Date”, 2022) and Simon & Schuster (“Do This, Not That: Dating”, 2023).

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