Why You Shouldn’t Just Settle For Anyone

February 10th, 2015 by Nick Notas 18 Comments

Low Expectations Keep Everyone Happy

People give more thought to choosing their next Amazon purchase than to choosing their next relationship.

When it comes to romance, everyone is in such a hurry. You jump into a relationship with the first person who shows you interest. You commit to being exclusive before you’ve even gotten a chance to really know each other.

I think that’s insane! You’re playing Russian roulette and hoping that this person is going to be a good match for you.

I know you’re eager to find love, but being in an unhappy relationship is much worse than being alone. Especially if you’re trying to find someone you plan to be with forever, you shouldn’t just settle for anyone. Choosing the wrong person will affect your entire life.

The right partner can help you grow to the best version of yourself. The wrong partner can bring out the worst in you.

The right partner can support you. The wrong partner can use you and leave you more isolated than when you were single.

The right partner can make every experience more beautiful and satisfying than you could imagine. The wrong partner can strip out any shred of happiness from any moment.

So if the difference between a right partner and a wrong one is so obvious, why do we still find ourselves stuck in unfulfilling relationships?


The unhealthy, unrealistic pressure to settle 

Much of society places unfair expectations on others to settle into a relationship. People make sweeping judgements that you’re an asshole player or a heartless bitch if you don’t stay with someone who likes you.

They’re speaking out of insecurity. They somehow believe dating around cheapens romantic connections or true love. But I’d argue the opposite. I’d argue that settling is a major factor in why the divorce rate is roughly 4853% and 41% of marriages experience some form of infidelity.

We are individuals with our own values, needs, and expectations. Just because you like someone, doesn’t mean you’re compatible with them.

Being romantically selective doesn’t make you a jerk — it’s the only way you discover what you truly care about and need in a partner. It’s how you learn to be a better partner. And it’s how you create healthy, lasting relationships.

As I’ve written before, you are the only person who knows how to fulfill yourself. So those who might judge you don’t understand that settling hurts everyone in the long run. 

Though it doesn’t always happen right away, settling causes resentment, unhappiness, and regret. Delaying the break-up by months or even years will only result in more pain and suffering – and you’ll wish you didn’t settle in the first place.

Why we settle


  • Guilt. You don’t want to hurt a woman’s feelings by breaking things off. You’re not that attracted to her but like her personality. Or you know she’s not “the one” but you’ve already invested so much time in each other. So you stay in the relationship even though you know she’s not a good long-term match.
  • Physical attraction. You stay with a girl you find extremely attractive because she’s the hottest you think you can get with. You ignore your lacking emotional connection.
  • Jealousy and control. You can’t stand the thought of her with someone else and have to keep her to yourself.
  • Fear of being alone. You’re afraid that you might never get another girlfriend like her. You don’t want to be alone. You’re terrified of having to go through the whole dating process again.
  • Comfort and ease. You don’t dislike being with her but you don’t have that “spark”. Still, you get to have sex with her and always have someone to hang out with.


  • Pressure from family or friends. Your friends constantly ask you for relationship updates. Your mother tells you that if he hasn’t committed yet, there must be something wrong. They remind you that if you don’t make it official, he’s going to stray.
  • Biological pressure. You want to get married and have a child and feel like time is running out. You feel your value in the dating scene is decreasing.
  • Societal pressure. Media, movies, music, and tradition tells you that being desired by men is what makes you valuable. Therefore, if you’re single, you must be unattractive and less worthy of love. 
  • Blinded by emotion. You have fun with a guy and are attracted to him. Because of this, you overlook all his negative qualities and red flags. You ignore his mistreatment, disrespect, and believe you can “change him”.
  • Dependence. You believe you need him — whether that’s financially, emotionally, or because you have a history together (house, child, etc). You may even think that without him, you are nothing.

The key to overcoming these points is to start building your self-esteem. Realize your worth. Learn how to meet more people so that you cultivate a mindset of abundance.

This way when you’re deciding to be exclusive with someone, you’ll know that it’s truly YOUR decision. 

5 questions to answer to avoid settling

Don't Settle For Less

Listen to her, she plays Catan. (Source)

To help prevent yourself from settling, make an educated decision before you decide to become exclusive with someone. If you can answer yes to these five questions, you’re on the right path.

  1. Am I physically attracted? This is the starting point for everyone. I firmly believe it’s damn near impossible to maintain an intimate relationship with someone you don’t find attractive. Again, don’t measure beauty using society’s view, but from your own personal preference.
  2. Do they respect me? Healthy relationships are built on care, compassion, and emotional investment. Unless you enjoy being treated like shit, find someone who treats you as an equal. Not someone who you hope will change, but someone who respects you now
  3. Do I WANT to be with this person or do I NEED to be with them? Staying with someone out of fear, approval, desperation, pressure, or control are never valid reasons. You should want to be that person because you’re excited to connect with them on a deeper level. 
  4. Have I dated enough? This is especially important if you’re inexperienced or trying to find a serious relationship partner. When you have limited experience, it’s hard to know what you truly value in a person. I had no idea what I actually cared about (more than a beautiful body) until I connected with a variety of women.

    Before you commit, why not go on a couple of other dates? Explore your options and see the differences. You don’t have to hook up if you don’t want to, just meet more people. Keeping things casual for a couple weeks or months to date around will confirm whether or not you’ve found the right person for you. 

    Also, experience helps you understand how to be a better partner. You want the best odds possible for maintaining a healthy relationship for when you do find that special someone.

  5. Do we have the same expectations? Or can we at least come to an understanding? If you’re looking to get into a serious relationship — you both need to answer some big questions and figure out what’s important to you.

    Where do I plan on living? What are our financial goals? Can they accept my religious or non-religious beliefs? Do I want to get married soon? Do I want kids?

    There are some major viewpoints in life you both need to agree on. Or at least be able to compromise. Having your expectations not met is a surefire way to be stuck in an unsatisfying relationship.

You should be with someone who makes every day better, not just palatable. When you find a great match there won’t even be a question of “settling”. 

  1. Kristof on February 10, 2015

    I dated someone for two years because my parents guilted me into it. She was controlling and didn’t let me see any of my friends. I’m happy that I got out of that relationship before it was too late.

    • Nick Notas on February 10, 2015

      Sorry to hear that but it sounds like you made the right decision. I had a best friend in the same situation for almost 5 years. He lost most of his friends in the process because of it.

  2. alan on February 10, 2015

    As a child of divorced high school “sweethearts”, I’ve experienced the collateral damage firsthand from settling. My parents were never a good match for each other but I think they didn’t want to waste the history they had. From their whole situation I’ve been determined to really take my time in getting into a serious relationship.

    • Nick Notas on February 10, 2015

      Yeah, unfortunately it’s often the children who endure the worst from failed relationships. On the positive side, you have a reference to make smarter romantic decisions for yourself.

  3. Michael on February 10, 2015

    Hey Nick. Great article and sound advice along with the rest of your blog! I’m going on a first date later tonight and will definitely keep this article in mind as I try to evaluate if she is a potential long-term partner and of course while still having a good time. I got out of a relationship semi-serious relationship not too long ago and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can’t settle for less and you need to be compatible with your partner for it to work out.

    • Nick Notas on February 10, 2015

      Hey Michael,

      Thanks for reading and I’m happy you found the advice useful. The idea should be in the back of your head but of course you still want to enjoy yourself during the date. Hope you have a great time on your date.

  4. Andrian on February 11, 2015

    Great article Nick! A sixth point to add would be, does this person want to grow as much as I want to grow? Many of us just forget the importance of self-growth while in a relationship and consequently end up experiencing a stagnant relationship that is doomed to fail.

  5. Seymoure on February 11, 2015

    Nick, thank you for this masterpiece of a blog. You sincerely continue to amaze me by your supreme wisdom and common sense. I am an experienced person who’s travelled to 122 countries with many relations behind me and no marriage, and your blogs reflect the pearls of wisdom I’ve learned as a result.
    Regarding settling, you are spot on. I just came out of a painful 11 month relation – got dumped – by a woman who is a professional settler. She dumped me because I had not committed to her and by her own admission got into a relation and is living with the first online date she had after me. The No. 1 reason she settles is extreme low self esteem. After some 4 months of living with her new man she has already admitted to me that she isn’t happy, but she will stay as again by her own admission, men don’t want women with baggage and children. She sees herself as undesirable and feels she should go with the first man that will take her in and she has done exactly that. She’s with a 41 year old unethical man who is not even divorced from his 2nd wife with 2 teenage children and lives on a boat. She also has financial issues and looks for men that will support her – she does have high standards so any man with a roof over his head will do. Sadly she is a good looking woman , well travelled and reasonably smart who can be and have so much more but sadly as all wise people are aware it’s ONLY how we see ourselves that counts.

    • Nick Notas on February 13, 2015

      Hey Seymoure,

      Thanks for the kind words. That’s incredible that you’ve been to 122 countries — I’m totally jealous haha.

      Yeah, it sounds like you made the right choice in that situation. It seems she doesn’t value herself enough right now while you do. That tells me you two are currently on two very different paths.

      I hope you find someone who meets what you’re looking for and truly amazes you.

  6. Erynn Haskins on February 11, 2015

    Wow these are great! I think everyone should read this, so many of people (myself included) settle in our relationships for various reasons and it’s great to read something that helps us acknowledge whats healthy and whats unhealthy in relationships so that we wont settle. I think this information is so important.

    • Nick Notas on February 13, 2015

      Thanks Erynn — I feel the same way. Trying to help people build healthy connections, one relationship at a time.

  7. John on February 13, 2015

    Dear mr.nick,great blog!
    I met a woman three years ago,initially it was great as with everyone,but over the years she’s become very agressive,gets angry within seconds and hits out at me,the reason that she gives is that i have till yet not proposed and got married with her,she cites example of people who got married dating after us(within last one, two years) she swears at me and doesnt care even in front of people,i love her but this is not the person i want to settle forever with,i tried breaking off or suggesting she move on but she threatens to commit suicide or go to the law,m at my lowest and dont no what step to take..

  8. Seymoure on February 15, 2015

    @ John, in my personal opinion you should NOT even think of marrying this woman.
    She seems unstable, she is also unable to control her temper and she does not have respect for you
    She is frustrated as she feels rejected by you but the thing is even if you marry her she will demonstrate similar behavior whenever she doesn’t get her way.
    If you ignore the major warning signs you will in my view be very miserable very soon.

  9. Diane on February 16, 2015

    I enjoyed reading this article.I was married 28 yrs and the decision to divorce was extremely a hard one to make.But I would have been settling to being disrespected and mental abuse at the hands of multiple women.As a women you feel that you will be the I NE woman to make him see the errors of his way and in the end you can’t change their behavior or who they are it has to come from them.

  10. Tom on September 2, 2015

    Well with so many women today that are very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, and very greedy, is a very good reason why there are so many of us good men that are still single as i speak since many women today really want the best and won’t settle for less.

  11. Mary on September 14, 2016

    Enjoyed reading this! I have so many friends and people I know who settled for the wrong guys , and for the wrong reasons. When I say wrong reasons I mean foe exp: the fear of being alone, wanted to have a family etc. Great post, everyone should read this post. thanks for sharing!

  12. RFtma on November 2, 2016

    Hey Nick I found your advice very useful and to the point. I am going through a similar situation, my mum just went through a surgery and me being the eldest she wants me to “settle” because you know she is emotional and thinks what if something happens to her etc. I have realized I have been affected by the thought and made a wrong decision because of that. I almost got married to someone in a different country without meeting him, luckily I realized we are not compatible and broke it off. Now I have another case where I have been shown a photo I didn’t find attractive at all unlike the last one and I can’t imagine him as a life partner. When I decided I wanted to talk to him to see if I like his personality I was told I need to find him atleast a little attractive in order for me to like him fully and I should just say no if I am not going to like him after meeting him because it’s awkward. He has a stable job and is a “nice person” according to my relatives who I can’t relate to but I feel there might be a communication gap as he comes from a town (Sorry to sound shallow) and I am from the city and also because he is 8 years older to me. I don’t know what to do. What’s driving me to meet him mainly is the fact that I am 24 and what if I don’t find anyoneelse with a stable job and my parents like. I have rejected guys in the past who were better than him and I regret it. I feel like what If it gets worse. Sorry for my essay.

  13. My Name on February 4, 2017

    I was wondering if anyone can answer this:
    I have been on the verge of committing to a girl who is great. She is honest, reliable, listens and likes to get outdoors and do interesting stuff.
    I have trouble committing because, unlike these articles that scratch the surface only, I am looking for more or something else. I want danger and risk and to laugh till I cry like I do with my guy friends.
    She doesn’t do this for me.
    She doesn’t take risks, doesn’t make me laugh unless it is circumstantial, and she is always on her back foot a bit like she is very conscious of her body and what she says.
    I mean if I am going to spend most of my time and experiences from now on with her should i continue to look for someone that does the things i need plus is honest and caring?
    its like I only find sweet, predictable boring people or chaotic, rollercoaster emotional wild girls. How hard is it to be normal? and why am I ‘normal’ when they aren’t? how did i get like this… or am i abnormal because i am not normally weird and extreme?
    I am in my early 40s and am giving up and will settle for the nice boring girl because I can’t find one that is balanced and when I do they are ALWAYS taken mostly by guys that are not compatible with them. It’s been the bane of my existence and has helped me get over the fear of death simply because it all is so confusing and BS that I want it to be over and not torturingly predictable anymore.

    Does anyone have this experience? In their defense, I have been a little broad with my life experience from punk rock bands to corporate jobs to long solo world travels to reclusive hibernation so maybe I am covering too much of life and wanting someone to cover all that with me in the future.
    I don’t know. too hard.


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