The end of my past romantic relationships went something like this:

 

“I love you.  I know you’re far from perfect; you drive me crazy sometimes and often make me very angry.  You can be hard to live with and difficult to get along with.  But I love you, I believe in you, and I’m committed to you.

 

It’s too bad you don’t feel the same about me.”

 

Today I know that this is what was really going on at the end of my past romantic relationships:

 

“I love you.  I know you’re far from perfect; you drive me crazy sometimes and often make me very angry.  You can be hard to live with and difficult to get along with.  But I love you, I believe in you, and I’m committed to you.

 

It’s too bad you don’t feel the same about yourself.”

 

We Were Probably Both Saying the Same Thing at the End

 

I’m reasonably sure my past romantic partners could’ve said the same thing about me.  Today I understand that how much I love myself is the determiner of how much I’ll allow someone else to love me.  Any time my relationship starts to exceed my self-love and self-acceptance, my relationship is on thin ice.

 

I’ve found that not settling is the quickest and most thorough route to greater self-love.  Settling is an act of self-devaluation; settling is me saying I’m not worthy of healthy boundaries.  While settling may keep a partner around, it starts me down a path just as destructive to our relationship as the behaviors I’m settling for.

 

Settling Is Not Accepting (and Vice-Versa)

 

Settling happens when I am not okay with something, but I decide to put up with it and soldier on.  I usually rationalize settling by calling it “accepting”, but the two are worlds apart.  Accepting something that I cannot change means that, while I still might get hurt or angry about it, I will no longer blame the other person when I feel that way.

 

The hallmark of settling is continuing to blame someone for the fear and anger I feel about what I’m putting up with.  Such blame can be insidious.  For example, when I’m settling I “keep score” of the transgressions I’m putting up with and, during arguments, unload that scorecard on my partner.

 

Two Great Ways to Stop Settling

 

One way to avoid settling is to make sure you do something about it when you get scared or angry.  Here are two situations with high potential for doing something and two suggestions for something to do:

 

  1. When you’re arguing and feel like you absolutely must make your point known – close your lips, open your ears, and listen to what your partner is telling you.
  2. When you’re arguing and feel like your point is too self-centered to share – take a breath and speak up honestly, doing your best not to blame.

 

Note:

Consider joining this independent Facebook group, Grow a Greater You.  You’ll meet friends who enjoy discussing ideas like these.

Disclaimer:

Our discussions in the comment thread need to be civil and respectful.  I am the sole determiner of what constitutes civility and respect.