3 sneaky ways you may be lying to yourself and settling in love – without even knowing it.

The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for. – Maureen Dowd.

Natalie Nov 4


What a wonderful and confusing thing!

Just when we think we have a grasp on understanding ourselves, the way we relate to others, how to be in relationship, things come along to turn it all upside down.

Especially when we have so many conflicting messages and advice coming in around how to navigate our love lives.

I am one of the first people that will say ‘do not settle’ when it comes to love, yet I realize even that is not super clear. I think we get it from a big picture mental level, but that is not the same as being in a relationship or dating and seeing the ways in which it may show up.

The scariest part is when we are doing things that seem to be ‘good habits’ yet really are undercover ways of staying stuck or being okay with the status quo when it comes to love. 

Want to know the top 3 sneakiest ways you may be settling in love without even knowing it? Here they are.

1. There is a ‘lesson’ here for me to learn.

This is probably the sneakiest of them all. Especially for the enlightened person who believes every situation is a learning opportunity waiting to be experienced.

However sometimes when the going gets tough, we really should get going too!

Is there learning to be had in a challenging relationship? Sure thing! We learn a lot about ourselves and people in general.

The downside to this mentality is we may overlook things that are clearly not working for us. That guy that keeps stringing you along? Yeah, he probably is NOT going to change or commit.

Yet we tell ourselves there is something to ‘learn’ here because it is easier than having to admit this person does not feel the same way about us as we do about them.

We want to take all of the responsibility on our shoulders and bend over backwards in order to ‘make it work.’

More often than not there is a pattern around not expressing your needs, or more importantly not standing for your needs being met.

Ask yourself what exactly the lesson is that you think you need to learn? Often times, awareness is all that is required.

Once you acknowledge the lesson, and that you have learned it, you don’t necessarily need to be IN the relationship to ‘continue’ the process.

We have all heard the old adage that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results”.

Learning is about information and action based on that information. At a certain point, the lesson that needs to be learned is to WALK AWAY.

2. I am being too ‘picky’.

I know most of us have either heard this being said or have said it ourselves a gazillion times.

The other version of this statement is ‘My standards are too high. I need to lower them.’

First of all, would you think you were being ‘too picky’ when going after your dream job? What about when getting ready to buy your dream home?

Would you be too picky in regards to your car, your business, your friends, your beauty products?

Why is it any different for the person you plan to be in a relationship with? Especially when we are talking about your forever person, your long haul person?!

This is not a decision to buy brand name Q-tips versus store brand. It is a major decision that could potentially affect the rest of your life. You should be more picky than less picky!

Maybe it is that word that has a negative connotation, but being conscious of what you want, selective and determined on your needs and desires, and selective with the person that will be the recipient of your love, support and devotion is absolutely, unequivocally mandatory in my opinion!!

No ifs, ands or buts when it comes to you being clear of your standards and convinced of your deserving around it!

I am a huge pusher for people to make a detailed, extensive list of their dream love life. Know what you are looking for in an ideal partner and ideal relationship. I even suggest you envisioning what your ideal self looks like as well because this way you are not losing yourself in any given situation.

The point of a relationship is to help you become your best self, not the lost, confused, checked out version!

3. They have ‘potential’.

This one is another super tricky way because it has a feeling of graciousness and open-mindedness, however it is quite the opposite.

When we say ‘they have potential’ what it sounds like on the surface is, I see the great in them, I see their heart, their dreams, their soul. Deep down they are amazing human beings who have not come into their full self (potential) yet.

What we are really saying (a majority of the time) is they are not what I want AS IS. They are not where I want them to be and maybe, one day, maybe they will be.

This is code for ‘I expect you to change.’ Tricky right? And not cool.

Not only are you settling because they are not giving you what you want and need in this moment and possibly never will, but you are trying to control the situation by going in with the intention of them becoming someone else.

That is not love, that is manipulation.

Do these ring true for you at all? In what ways have you seen this in your own love life or with others? How have you been able to recognize and deal with settling in relationships?

Would love to hear your feedback or answer any questions you have! Share in the comments below!

CS Photoshoot IINatalie Vartanian, CPCC, ACC, is a certified life coach and an expert when it comes to sex and relationships.   She knows it’s possible to have amazing love in an unconventional way. Find her at http://nataliethecoach.com, get her free in-depth love wish list worksheet & sign up for her newsletter. Interested in working with her? Through the end of December 2013, she is offering hour-long coaching or tarot sessions for only $50 that can be redeemed at any time. Find out more here!

Main pic credit: Chrismatos, Flickr.com.

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  1. says

    Oh, man … this would have been helpful a few years ago when I was spiraling around with a “should i/shouldn’t i” around my then boyfriend.

    A sweetheart; everyone who met him adored him … and I really DID love him. But there was always a “but” and I couldn’t put my finger on it. No matter what, I just couldn’t seem to get to the point where both feet were all-in and I didn’t go swirl back into the “should i/shouldn’t i” question.

    Yup, I thought there was probably “a lesson” in there for me (i need to learn to receive and not be the one who is more in love?), and I thought that at my age (i was mid-40s at the time), the pool was smaller, and maybe I should just accept and … arg! … yeah, settling. Eventually, I realized that while he was a good guy – an awesome guy – he was not MY guy.

    Great piece. Glad I popped in to see it. 🙂

    • says

      Deb – I can wholeheartedly agree to the person being an awesome guy but not MY guy. I actually went through that recently with a sweetheart of a man too … and it was our SECOND go round. The lesson definitely was for me to be with someone who was ALL IN and gave just as much, if not more effort to the relationship than I did.

      Lesson Learned!!


  2. says

    DUDE! Natalie!! When I read it, I squirmed at point # 1 – BUSTED!!! I can think of at least one situation right away where I have done that.

    My intuition was loud and clear saying don’t go there! I listened to it at first, then went back thinking “I better learn it now vs attracting the same sitch again’! And it freaking HURT 20,000 times more because of that. Yeeesh!

    You’re making me wonder why I didn’t let it be easy. Why do some of us choose to learn the hard way?! Why is awareness not enough sometimes? Why do we make it about us and our self worth and enoughness? Is it commitmentphobia? Trying to heal childhood wounds? Fear of rejection? None? All?

    Interesting stuff, this! Thanks for the great post!

    • says

      HAHA … Tia, it can be ALL or NONE of the above. I am coming to the place of “we make it whatever it is”. A friend of mine used to tell me, “Natalie, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” 🙂

      What would it be like to say ‘I learn my lessons easily and quickly’?

      And trust me you are not alone. We have ALL been there, I am pretty sure!!


  3. Lydi says

    This all sounded very familiar from so many different romantic situations in the past, might even be in the present as well.
    I always started out also with a gut feeling that there was no future, that there was something wrong personality wise with the person I made myself be with, for however short or long a time. That if I would adjust myself, and be more openminded, learn to be more like other women in some ways, that it might perhaps work, if they would reach their full potential.
    Nowadays, I truly catch myself thinking that I should lower my expectations and that being lonely is less healthy than going through a challenging time with a partner who is not right, and indeed I tell myself I will learn something from this interaction. But always because one does not see the signs in time, that the person is just not that into you, you end up giving more than you could ever take to learn….thanks for opening up my eyes somehow…hopefully this lesson will stay with me…the lesson that sometimes we really should get going !

    • says

      Lydi – Thank you for your comment. It is a hard thing sometimes to see these interactions of ours and the possible motivation behind them. One step at a time … and awareness really is the first step. I have no doubt you will be much more present and sensitive the next time to make sure it does not get repeated!


  4. Joni says

    No, thank god! After coaching with you to set my intentions, everything totally came together for me. Almost 5 months later and still reaping HUGE benefits to that one-hour session!

    • says

      Music to my ears honey, music to my ears!

      Also, I am glad you brought that up because it is true that when you are clear in your intentions, desires, wants, needs, etc and confident in your deserving of them, it is a lot harder to ‘fall’ for anything less!


  5. Becky says

    This was a great article. I was considered a “serial monogamist” going from one relationship to another & never really giving myself any space in between. After my husband left me, I did the same again with a guy who was my best friend in highschool & hadn’t seen since just after we graduated. We were both still in love with each other after 9 years apart. But we screwed it up & he won’t talk to me. There ended up being a huge lesson there. Same with the open relationship that followed. That ended abruptly, but we are still good friends. That’s when I took the much needed break. I started writing a list of what I want in a man. What was important to me in a partner. I started with simple words and by page 5 was writing paragraphs. The 5 pages accumulated over a few months. Some of the things that he doesn’t meet on the list I realized were things I really miss in past partners. But the most important things on the list, he fits. 🙂 Right down to little things like how to make me giggle or laugh & get the giggle or laugh he loves the best. He naturally treats me the way I want to be treated, holds me the way I love to be held, challenges me in healthy ways, supports my spiritual journey & is so blunt, it actually took a little getting used to. Lol.

    • says

      So happy for you Becky!! I am a FIRM believer in the power and magic of the wish list! Every single one of my major relationships (all three) have been spot on with my list … and I have updated, revised and amended after each one too with my lessons learned.

      Happy to hear about your manifesting … even the bluntness (I am a big fan of radical honesty too LOL).


  6. says

    Thanks Natalie!

    I’ve fallen into trap #3 many times. I now just think of physics class: potential energy is energy stored, which is the opposite of kinetic energy, which is energy released. And we all want to feel kinetic!

    • says

      “We all want to feel kinetic” … I LOVE it Mike!! Amen to that. So glad it resonated for you. Have you noticed your interactions changing since you came to that conclusion??

      • says

        I think I may be less likely to give the benefit of the doubt when I find myself relying on “potential.” I look more to what is there now. Is there a solid core with room to grow?

        After having agonized so much over the years on whether or not something is right, the hardest part is realizing that when it is right, we know.


  1. […] Are you making these 3 big mistakes and possibly settling in love? Click to read what they are and learn what to do instead to be lucky in love. Love.What a wonderful and confusing thing!Just when we think we have a grasp on understanding ourselves, the way we relate to others, how to be in relationship, things come along to turn it all upside down.Especially when we have so many conflicting messages and advice coming in around how to navigate our love lives.  […]

  2. […] Are you making these 3 big mistakes and possibly settling in love? Click to read what they are and learn what to do instead to be lucky in love. Love .What a wonderful and confusing thing!Just when we think we have a grasp on understanding ourselves, the way we relate to others, how to be in relationship, things come along to turn it all upside down. Especially when we have so many conflicting messages and advice coming in around how to navigate our love lives.  […]

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