5 Ways to Stop Settling for an Unhealthy Relationship

5 Ways to Stop Settling for an Unhealthy Relationship August 7, 2022

If you find yourself attracted to a partner who is emotionally unavailable or distant, or someone who is a taker, you may be inclined to have one-sided relationships and love too much. Perhaps you grew up in a family where you were a caretaker or focused more on making others happy rather than yourself. Maybe you even felt that you had to be in a good mood regardless of your true feelings so you became a people pleaser. There are many reasons why people develop co-dependent tendencies and settle for less than what they deserve in relationships.

Further, some people settle for less than they deserve in relationships and love too much because they are afraid of being alone. If this is the case, gently remind yourself that you are a worthwhile person regardless of whether or not you are in a relationship. You might often feel that you can’t be yourself and don’t have to walk on eggshells. If this is true, you won’t feel free to express your thoughts, feelings, and desires openly without fear of rejection.

Do you focus too much on your partners needs and not enough on your own? The hallmark of a healthy relationship is mutual respect. Keep in mind that if you don’t feel respected by your partner, it will eat away at your self-esteem over time. To reverse this tendency, it can take time and a commitment to loving and respecting yourself. However simplistic this may sound, you deserve to be happy and to be respected by others.

Here are 8 Reasons Why You Might Settle for Less Than You Deserve:

  1. You often settle for less than you deserve because you fear being alone. But in the end, you are feeling devalued and have lost a positive sense of identity. Many people question: will I be alone forever? Their fear stops them from leaving and they continue to give too much to their partner, even when their needs are not being met.
  2. You are in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship. You may have hidden this from family or friends due to shame or codependency issues – putting your partner’s needs before your own. Verbal or emotional abuse can be very damaging and lower your self-esteem.
  3. You sacrifice too much. Since your partner is unable or unwilling to compromise – you morph into someone else to accommodate his or her expectations, needs, or desires.
  4. People pleasing: You go above and beyond to make others happy. You might avoid confronting your partner about important issues because you fear rejection or worry more about a partner’s feelings than your own. Do you care too much about what others think of you? If so, you may be a people pleaser.
  5.  Ignore red flags: Do you ignore a partner’s dishonesty, possessiveness, emotional distance, aggressiveness, or jealous tendencies?
  6. Give too much in a relationship: You might even ignore your own self-care or feel that you’re being selfish if you take care of yourself.
  7. You have poor boundaries: This can mean you have trouble saying “no” to the requests of others or allow others to take advantage of you.
  8. You stay in a relationship with someone who is distant, cheating, or unavailable – even though you know deep down inside that they may never meet your emotional needs.

According to author Whitney Caudill, “Feeling loneliness or fear from time to time as a single person is normal. In fact, it is normal for everyone.” The key is to recognize this and realize that these are just feelings. Staying in a relationship that is going nowhere to avoid loneliness rarely produces good results.

Here are 5 ways to stop settling for less than you deserve in relationships:

  • Accept that fear is normal and come up with an action plan to change. Identify your fears and make a list of them. Gain self-awareness about their source – such as fear of rejection or of being alone. Set two or three goals and monitor your success daily. Writing in a journal is a good way to keep track of your progress.
  • Use positive self-talk . Practice changing negative thinking about being single to positive. For instance, if you worry about being alone forever, try telling yourself “This is just a feeling. It doesn’t mean it’s true. I can enjoy my own company.”
  • Realize that it takes courage to try singlehood. Congratulate yourself for your decision to withstand the social pressures and expectations to be part of a couple.
  • Embrace some of the pleasures of being single. Take a class, join a book club, watch your favorite movies, etc.
  • Discover your strengths and highlight themWhen you remind yourself about what you like about yourself and what you are good at, your fear will fade away and you’ll feel more self-confident.

In closing, you may need time and perhaps the help of a skilled therapist or relationship coach to figure things out. In the meantime, remind yourself that you are worth the effort and deserve to be loved and to have a commitment from a partner. Often, the courage needed to end a relationship that is no longer meeting one or both partners’ needs shows the greatest strength. Perhaps one of the toughest pressures of being single comes from within yourself. Remember to be kind to yourself on your journey to discovering self-worth.

Find Terry on Twitter, Facebookand, movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s award-winning book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website. Her new book The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around was published by Sounds True on February 18, 2020.

I’d love to hear from you and answer your questions about relationships, divorce, marriage, and remarriage. Please ask a question here. Thanks! Terry 

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