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15 Signs You Might Be Settling Romantically

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Whether you’re wondering about a current relationship or you want to know what warning signs to look for in future relationships, here’s 15 telling signs of settling romantically.  

1. You don’t enjoy their presence. Rather than feel happier and comforted when they come home, you become tense or stressed. With a basic requirement of a fulfilling relationship being mutually enhanced lives, if you don’t enjoy their company, it would be worth reflecting on how your partner enhances your life.  

2. They don’t feel like ‘home.’ Your partner doesn’t feel like ‘your person.’ If they died, your life would be shaken, but you wouldn’t feel as though you lost a sacred, space in another person’s heart. 

3. You can’t be your real self around them. Some people use a different persona publicly than at home. If you act as your ‘public self’ around them and your ‘real self’ when they’re absent, it might be that you’re unable to fully relax around them.

While this can be normal in the early dating phase, the longer it lasts, the more problematic it becomes. Eventually, partners are expected to live and entwine lives together; being unable to fully relax in their presence would make spending hours with them everyday difficult.  

4. They rarely make you laugh. A common scenario of unease is seeing your partner laughing with another attractive person who isn’t you. This causes discomfort because those who can make us laugh are often those who we can relax and have fun with. If it’s obvious you have more fun with someone other than your partner, it could be difficult to fend off resentment. 

5. You don’t think of them during the day. When close to someone we care about, it’s natural to think of them often. These thoughts could be mild (wondering how you’ll spend the weekend together) or more intimate (replaying a past kiss or touch with them). If you find yourself rarely thinking of them throughout the day, it’s indicative they don’t deeply affect you.   

6. You don’t enjoy their touch. If touching them doesn’t make you feel warm and safe, you could subconsciously find their energy negatively unsettling.

7. The relationship is distressingly imbalanced. Although perfect balance is likely impossible, a certain level of fairness is needed for a relationship to feel healthy. If you’re putting significantly more into the relationship, it could mean your partner doesn’t care about you and the relationship enough to try more. It could also mean that they’re used to you doing more and have taken you for granted.

Conversely, if you put in significantly less, this could be a sign that subconsciously, you don’t really care if your lack of effort “breaks the camel’s back” and they leave. Either way, this sign is important because unbalanced relationships can easily become abusive.

8. You don’t trust them. Fortunately, a person doesn’t have to be perfect for us to feel they’re trustworthy. Although someone might have a small vice (excess shopping, eating, or being more lazy than they should), at the end of the day, you can trust they’d never do anything to intentionally hurt you.

And, should one of their actions hurt you, you know they’d be open to modifying the behavior so it didn’t happen again. An inability to trust one’s partner is an inability to have faith in their goodwill toward you.  

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9. You don’t respect them. A lack of respect is most apparent in how arguments and patience manifest. If someone doesn’t respect their partner, arguments can trigger hurtful words because deep down, they don’t respect their partner’s character and don’t truly care if they hurt them. A lack of respect can also be expressed as a lack of patience.

Rather than take the time to try to understand or listen to one’s partner, one might regularly talk over them or ignore what they say. In other words, the way they would treat their partner vs. someone they do respect (ex. a favorite author, leader, mentor, athlete, etc.) would be night and day different. 

10. You secretly resent them. To resent someone is to feel a complex combination of disappointment, disgust, and anger. This powerful emotion can also lead to impatience and cruelty. In the presence of resentment, every little thing your partner does could become annoying.

As a poison to any relationship, it’s important to either ask what can be done to resolve any resentment (and do it) or leave. Unchecked resentment can escalate over time making the relationship unbearable.  

11. You only stay because you’re afraid to leave. In a healthy relationship, you stay because the positive emotions make it worth it. When asking yourself why you don’t leave, does a list of positives come first, or a list of worries and fears? Unfortunately, this is why some people can become trapped in abusive relationships. Although they know they aren’t treated properly, their fears can stop them.

12. You’re not attracted to them. Truthfully, attraction is complicated. However, if you aren’t attracted to them at all, that means there’s nothing that really draws you into them.

This is a notable sign because without genuine attraction, it’s only a matter of time until you meet someone who you are more attracted to (even if just slightly). From here, the dreadful poison of resentment can grow.   

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13. Your sex life is a source of stress. Whether you view it as a chore or avoid it altogether, a lack of excitement can mean a number of things: it could mean you don’t feel connected during sex, that you’re unable to climax easily with them, that you feel their needs are prioritized over yours, and more. In a healthy, happy relationship, physical intimacy is enjoyable and comforting. 

14. You don’t want to grow old with them. If the thought of spending the rest of your life with them makes you feel sad or depressed, they’re not a natural fit for your life. 

15. The final sign of settling is knowing deep in your gut that you don’t love them. When walking past other couples who appear in love, how do you feel? If the predominant feeling is a pained longing, this can indicate a missing ingredient in your relationship.

Although many people can accurately self-identify when they’re in love, if you’re not sure (or want a cozy list to relate to), feel free to check out my article, “9 Signs You Love Someone.”

So there you have it! If you found yourself identifying with many of these points, it might be time to reflect on your relationship and ask how mutually enhancing it truly is.

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