After writing my last piece on being bad at love, I really had a chance to sit down and think about love and life. So I joke around about being bad at love, but the truth is I am truly not bad at love (which was evident towards the end of my last post), but I wanted to share the second half of that piece that was missing.
In a society that defines success not only by your own personal accomplishments, but also by your relationship status, it is easy to see why love is on everyone’s mind. As I get older and slightly wiser, I have started to realize that just like everything else in life, love has a timing and place.
Over the past three or so years, I have been focusing so hard on securing the perfect relationship with someone and for some reason I lost focus on how important picking the right person needed to be. I floated between people who truly were not built for the person that I was and the person that I was trying to become. This lead me to great heart-break as well as breaking other’s hearts.
The last two people who I considered dating more than friends were the two individuals I needed to enter my life to truly allow me to figure out this whole love “thing” in my own sort of way. There comes a time in every person’s life when they finally realize that they are ready to truly “settle down” in either in a relationship or life in general.
First thing, you will experience the worst heart-break that you could have ever imagined. This could be the person that you end up marrying later down in life, or it can come from a person without any romantic ties at all. You experience a heart break that will take the wind out of you. It will hit a place you did not know existed. It is the heartbreak that comes when you realize you are not ‘good enough’
A little less than a year ago, I gained feelings for someone who was a genuinely nice person but they would never see me as their ideal partner. Although our we had a similar faith, mutual respect for culture, similar cultural and religious upbringing, shared a mutual friend base, similar infatuation with one another, and career goals were in the same place, having a woman who did not constantly look up and feel inspired by him was not something he desired. Having my own career and becoming continually successful within my career was both intimidating and a turn off for him. Consequently, he only saw me as an object of desire and not a viable partner in life. One drunk night, I texted him how I felt without a filter. He never replied to my text and two weeks later he had a woman crush Wednesday on three of his social medias(if you have not figured it out it was surly not me). At the time I deleted his number, deleted him from snapchat, unfollowed him on Instagram, and unfriended him on Facebook. I have never felt an ache as bad as I did with him. My confidence took a hit, and I was not secure in the person I was becoming.
After this I took a social media hiatus for about three months and started to discover who I was. Outside of my career, social media presence, persona I present to my friends, persona to my family, and all the faces I constantly change to fit my environment. I dug deep into my faith and truly cleansed my soul. I stopped becoming the person that people expected to see or interact with and slowly became the person I always felt I was deep down. The ideal person that I wanted to not only be perceived as but the person I felt was truly who I was. I gained both my confidence and the true knowledge of my past self, current self, and what the future holds for the person I am striving to become. (Just to spoil the ending, we are both now mutual friends with respect for one another who share the same best friend so we are bound to constantly interact)
Second, you will experience one of the most satisfying times when you are not the right person for someone or someone does not see you in a romantic way and you….survive (GASP). Not just survive but thrive. You chalk it up to the person not being the right fit and move on. During the season of finding myself I dated sporadically but kept everything light and tried not to see a future or make plans with another person before I truly became content with myself. At the start of this year, things turned an unexpected turn with a coworker. It was a true infatuation stage. As the infatuation cooled for my coworker, and I truly become engrossed within career shifts on my end and some of my own personal issues, he decided to have the “let’s be friends, I am not sure if you are the one I want” talk. As I felt the conversation coming from a mile away I did not feel the doom that I would typically feel in the past. It was more of a relief. It was the moment when I truly realized that I was whole on my own. I was not searching for someone to complete me but was looking for a person to compliment the whole person I already was. I was finally searching to find another whole person. It is an awakening moment when you realize that it takes two whole people to truly pursue a relationship. Two people who realize who they are as individuals but they are also ready to merge their life with someone else that can amplify and promote growth as two people together.
Although the most recent experience did not leave me torn or had a moment where I felt like I needed to have a full on self-discovery phase (although I spent like eight hours thinking about the situation days later-because I naturally overanalyze everything), it also made me realize that every person needs to get to a certain place in life before truly jumping into the dating pool.
So here are a few ways to realize that you are truly ready to settle down.
You know it is time to “settle down” when you finally realize you are a whole person on your own. You do not need anyone to complete you. When you are broken with the pieces still on the floor and you are still reassembling the pieces of yourself, it can be impossible to allow someone else to fit the pieces together in the proper way . It is hard to truly love another person when you cannot love yourself. Accepting the love from another can only come after you love yourself and have made yourself whole. Being once broken but pieced back together allows light or love to shine through the cracks but you are still whole in your own fragmented way. Being whole is the first key to being ready to accept the love someone else has to share with you.
Settle down when you are content with yourself and not willing to change key components of yourself to please another person. Simply you can truly be the unedited version of yourself. If a certain trait is not attractive to your potential match than they are simply not meant for you. Your true self-will eventually surface and it is easier to start sharing who you truly are as a person than to have it discovered later after emotions are invested.
Settle down when you find someone who you can mutually grow with. It is not about who is more successful or who is more accomplished, it is about finding a person that allows you to grow and you do the same in return. We are humans that are constantly attempting to perfect ourselves and growth is unavoidable. You must be okay with the person you meet being someone totally different in ten, twenty, and even thirty years down the road. Change and growth can be viewed as the element of most lasting relationships because it eliminates becoming complacent or bored with the person. You will learn to love a new person every few years and so will the person you are with.
Speaking of mutually growing you must not erase the past you have and the past of the person you are with, but simply accept it. There will always be someone they loved before you, or a past that may be frightening. We all have demons or chapters of our lives that we hide away from the world. Accept the fact this impacts the person but may not define the person and who they are trying to become. We are not a victim of our past but rather a product of what our past holds. It affects each person differently and in unknowing ways but has little effect of the absolute and final outcome of who that person becomes. You are truly ready to settle down when you accept your past and are open to the idea that many people have a colorful past in turn.
Settle down when you realize you do not always need to be right (most people who know me-knows I sometimes struggle with this one). In fact, it is okay to be wrong. Having someone who thinks differently than you on some subjects is important. It keeps you from having a single mind-set and being able to see the diversity in the world. Most of us tend to find people with identical beliefs as our own and remain blind to the world around us. I am not saying that you need to find someone who is your complete opposite. Like you are a devout Christian and you need a hard-core atheist, but at the same time I am denoting that you need to find someone that may have a slightly different perspective than yourself. Just realizing that you can be like a person but be different enough to learn and grow. If you are both open-minded about ideas and do not shut down the other person’s thought process, this can help both of you grow. Agree to disagree at times.
You are ready to settle down. When another’s opinion of you does not destroy who you are. Someone telling you that you are not what they are looking for or you are not their ideal mate should not be life crushing. It can hurt, but it should not send you into eating chocolate ice cream alone and crying. Well let me stop here for one second…first anyone who makes you feel this way should never be a part of your life and you were lucky you escaped in one piece, but second the important part of this statement is that your self-worth should come from knowing who you are and never trying to live up to an image or to someone else’s ideal of who you should be.
Settle down when you realize that jealousy is a personal issue and not your love interest’s issue. Having jealously is both natural and a part of human nature. It is how we react on this needless feeling that defines us. I am naturally an overly jealous person, but through training and self-reflection I have learned a few things about it. Jealously is a true reflection on one’s own trust and confidence. It is a manifestation of self-worth and the value we place upon another’s actions that has little to do with them and more to do with our own personal demons. Jealousy is this little monster that tells you that you are not enough. Being jealous is not an issue for your partner or romantic interest to fix but simply your own. Why do you feel this way? What is the true cause of these feelings? On that note if a love interest is purposely flaunting and trying to make you jealous than that person is truly not mature enough for a real long-lasting romantic relationship and you should consider other avenues. If you are open and communicated your concerns and make it a point to tell the person that you feel a certain way because of your own securities, some people are willing to eliminate situations that will cause you to experience low self-esteem. Jealously again is natural and not saying that you should never feel jealous but realizing that jealousy is a reflection of you and not another person is key to knowing when you are truly ready to settle down.
I have focused the last few sections on self and self-reflection but being ready to settle down is a two-sided coin and also involves someone else. Being content with oneself and understanding who you are is vital in the success of a relationship, but there are many other instances that you must move past self-reflection and fulfillment to engage in the reality that a relationship takes two people and a lot of compromising and editing of your life to merge two lives into one consistent relationship.
Settle down when you are able to put someone else’s interests ahead of your own. There is compromise and sacrifice in every relationship. It could mean engaging in topics or movies that have little to no interest for you. The important message here is that in a healthy relationship, your partner’s happiness is just as important as your own. Being willing to put someone’s interest above your own, at times, is a sign that you are ready for a long-term commitment.
Settle down when you can allow the little things slide. No person is perfect and we all have traits that are undesirable. Overlooking this undesirable quirks or not bringing a large amount of attention to the small things is fundamental. We are constantly searching for the perfect person without flaw for a marriage, but most of the time we need to settle with a few quirks and overall be happy with the person they truly are. Again it is a part of being human having at least a trait or two that is not as desirable to others.
Settle down when you can accept a person for who they are at that point in life. Entering into the a relationship in hopes of changing a person into your desired mate will never work. It is important to note like stated above in healthy and thriving relationships, both partners will motivate one another to become better versions of themselves and growth is inevitable, but growth is not the same as trying to change someone’s nature. So be honest and open and never enter a relationship in hopes of trying to mold an individual into your perfect ideal mate.
Settle down when you are ready to merge your life with someone else. Although your relationship should not take up your entire existence, it does affect a large portion of your life. You become interconnected with someone else’s family, friends, hobbies, children, pets, and the list can go on forever. And consequently they become a part of yours. Sure at some point there are boundaries but willingness to allow someone into your daily routine and being a part of someone else’s is a big step on showing someone you care and are willing to make the commitment. This is the first step in building bridges into one another’s life and starting to tear down the walls that separate you from them.
I save my most valued and most important point for last. You are ready to settle down when you are happy in your singleness. As I stated above about being whole and finding self-fulfillment is beyond important. It goes hand in hand with the fact; if you are not happy single, you will not be happy in a relationship. Single is a simply word that can describe someone who is strong enough to live their life by themselves until the right person comes along to share it with them. When you are constantly looking for a relationship out of loneliness, you will find yourself settling with the first person who comes along that happens to have interest in you. You must have enough self-respect and dignity to hold out for the person that truly deserves you. The only way you can truly be able to hold out for this person is to be happy long before they have been introduced into your life.
More important thing to remember than all these signs of knowing the right time to settle down, is something that you cannot read or someone can not advise you on. That is how you feel. When a person is in the right season in life or stumbles across “the person”, you are destined to know that you are ready to leave the single life behind and build a new life alongside someone else. But until that time comes that you find the person who fits into your love story, continuously work on yourself and defining your own happiness because one day you will be able to share this with someone else.
When you are truly ready to settle down, as I experienced myself. You will surly know.