Why do we settle for things, people and situations instead of fix them? This is a question I’ve asked myself for a long, long time. We’re so quick to want to leave and abandon a relationship than to stay and fix what’s wrong. In the off chance that we stay, it’s because we settled and not worked through our problems. This by the way, is dangerous territory. Tread at your own risk.
Sometimes we settle because it’s been too long. Sometimes we settle for the kids. Sometimes we settle because we’re afraid of the backlash. Sometimes we settle because of the stigma attached to a failed relationship. Sometimes we settle because that’s all we know after awhile…
So we settle, we settle, we settle.
They say you shouldn’t settle for a mistake because you spent a long time making it. Here’s the thing though, all those philosophical quotes and sayings only sound good in a book or when you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed. Long story short, it’s easier said than done.
In all these years and my struggle with the understanding of why people, myself included, settle for unhappy situations and less than what they deserve instead of work towards fixing them is because it’s easier than acknowledging just how far gone and broken everything really is.
I’ve learnt with my own relationship that you can’t fix what doesn’t appear to be broken to both of you. You wait for the boy that wooed you and swept you off your feet, and he doesn’t come. You wait for the man that went the extra mile just to catch a glimpse of you before and after work, because it was worth it. You wait for the man that liked to spend time with you; like actual quality time with you. You wait for the man that made your heart skip a beat, and instantly made you smile. You wait for the man that promised better, that promised more, that promised forever. And he doesn’t come; but he’s here, so you tell yourself it’s because life happened. You settle, you settle, you settle.
Life happened. What does that even mean though? He got so busy doing life he forgets to stop and tell you he loves you. That he’s so used to you inherently being there he takes your presence for granted. That you come after life has happened – last. That he’s stressed, worried and just overworked. Maybe it’s habituation. Maybe he just doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body…that’s okay right, some people just don’t but they mean well. Right? Or are you just making excuses now. I think so, this sounds a whole lot like settling again. Because, you’re not supposed to love someone when it’s convenient for you, or when everything else in your life is on track and you have the time for love. Or when you need them, but not when they need you.
You don’t love conveniently, you just love. You just do, you love like it’s all you know. Like it comes naturally to you like breathing does. Is that so hard? Apparently.
We settle. We settle. We settle.
You see that couple, you so desperately want to be and your heart aches. But you can’t beg to be loved a certain way. You can’t force someone to love you the way you’d like. So you brush it off, pick up the pieces of the dignity you have left, stand tall and you settle for what you have. You pretend it’s okay, and you make do with the love there is.
I often ask myself though; what if there comes a day and when you’re tired of settling. I mean…there ought to be a, “that’s it, I’m putting my foot down,” moment in everyones life. So you fear that moment…when the love you receive will not be enough, when the reasons you settled for will not be enough, when nothing will be important enough to make you stay. When you won’t care how long its been, when you won’t care what the kids will think, when it won’t matter what people will say, when the stigma of a failed relationship won’t bother you.
Will you be the couple people gossip about splitting up after a decade long relationship. Will you be so barren of giving, and longing, and not receiving that you won’t even care anymore. I don’t know. For now….you settle, because…
…there’s still love left.
So with heavy hearts, and broken hearts you kiss each other goodnight, mumble words of love and do it all over again tomorrow.