In the young adult book, “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower,” Stephen Chbosky writes a moment between the main character, Charlie, and the girl he is in love with. They’re sitting on her bed and she is feeling broken after a relationship ended. She turns to him – this boy who is so desperately in love with her – and asks, “Why does everyone I love keep choosing the people that hurt us?”
He responds by saying, “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
Why do we settle for less than we deserve? In some cases, we choose to stay in a relationship for fear of missing out, of being alone or we simply don’t want to have to keep waiting. In response to our fears, we often settle into something that’s comfortable and convenient because it’s the safer choice. It makes sense and it’s not uncommon. No one wants to spend half their life waiting around, hoping they sit in the right coffee shop at the right time, waiting for someone better that they may or may not ever meet.
And if we choose not to settle, then it might make us look picky and people could say that we’re searching for someone too perfect. So what do we do? How do we know what we deserve and how do we know when we’ve found that?
In learning how to accept the love we deserve, we first need to talk about settling and identify how to know if we’ve settled into a relationship.
Here are some questions to think about:
Am I always making excuses for my partner?
When conversing with friends or family, do you often find yourself making excuses for them? Whether it’s about their behavior, a work issue or the fact that they didn’t come out with everyone, think about how many times you’ve had to make an excuse for them. Does that bother you? Why? Do you avoid arguments by telling yourself it’s not that big of a deal?
Am I staying in this relationship because it’s convenient?
Were you paired together because you were the only single friends in a group full of couples? Do you share any or all of the same friends? Are your families best friends that want you to be together?
A relationship feels too convenient to leave when you’re both settled in and comfortable. Maybe you both work long hours but are on the same schedule or you live together and split the rent. It can also feel convenient if you moved to a new city together or met right when you moved.
Moreover, do you keep coming up with a million reasons why you should stay instead of pursing other options?
Do I want to be in a relationship with someone else?
If you’ve spotted a cute co-worker or met someone new in your yoga class, are you picturing what it would be like to be with that person? Is it just an infatuation or do you wish you were single?
Ask yourself if pursing someone else is worth breaking it off with your partner. How would that make you feel? Have you talked to your infatuation? Do you wish to know more about them? Are you excited at the thought of this? Do you feel this way about your partner anymore?
Am I as inspired as I used to be?
Think about your life pre-relationship. What were you doing and what were you passionate about? How did that change when you started dating your partner? Do they know about your passions? Do they encourage you to pursue them? Do they ask you about your personal projects or do they notice that you stopped?
Do you feel as inspired as you used to be? Do you think that would change if you weren’t in a relationship?
Am I afraid of being alone?
The hardest part about ending a relationship is the fear of being alone. Ask yourself, is it the loneliness that scares you? Or do you fear that you will never find someone else? Or that you’ll regret the break-up later?
If you did break-up, what would you start to do differently? What would be different about your day without your partner? Do you have friends or family you could spend your time with instead?
It’s totally normal to be afraid of being alone. But, sometimes, it’s better to choose being alone for a bit than to settle forever. You deserve to accept the love you deserve. That doesn’t make you picky; it doesn’t make you selfish or mean you’re going to spend forever alone because you’re searching for something too perfect. Accept that you do deserve better; accept that you are going to find whom you are looking for and when you do, you’re going to be glad you never settled for less.
How do you make decisions when it comes to relationships?
Images via Bekah Wriedt