Is it Better Just to Settle Rather Than Be Alone?

unhappy couple settling




I had a boyfriend some years ago who was as interested in relationships and finding love as was I. Our conversations were a constant source of growth for us both. We talked while we hiked up mountains, over afternoon tea and even when we were in bed together. There was no aspect of love and gender that we didn’t cover, diving deeply over and over again into one area that seemed to fascinate us both…”settling”.  I would love to give you a clear definition of just what that means, and my partner in crime, were he here, would argue adamantly that it means something else entirely. I would ask you to consider thinking about what the difference is between compromise and the concept of “settling” within a relationship you may have had in the past or may be in at present. And if you’re out there looking for someone right now, will you be tempted to settle?




Settling involves compromising beliefs that we hold so dear that we would fight for them, defend them without apology and know in our hearts and souls that they cannot be compromised.  Some would call these things our values. Each of us has a different set of values that constitute our moral compass. These values remain firm and static throughout our lives. They are our North Star and without them, we lose our way. Examples might include honesty, keeping agreements, respect. The Golden Rule is an example of a value for most healthy human beings and if you have experienced a relationship with someone who does not treat others with the same respect that he/she wants to be treated, that relationship is not healthy.


Compromise occurs when we agree to move toward another human being’s way of thinking, believing or living. Though we might want to do something the way we believe is best, we can see the wisdom and respect the other person’s point of view and then become willing to move toward his or her way of thinking.  Healthy relationships will always require compromise if they are to survive. The best way to move toward your partner when there are differences is to ask  “How important is it?”. Many times, the answer is “not very”. So, we compromise.


When individuals settle, they lose themselves in the process. Bargaining with your moral compass can result in depression and victimization. Often it’s more subtle. Maybe you don’t feel “that bad” or you say, “it’s better than being alone” or “at least he doesn’t hit me”. And though you aren’t alone you will feel ill at ease, perhaps sad or confused and live in some degree of denial. You might bargain with yourself while parts of you slowly disappear over time. Settling is toxic and much like addiction, will strip away your self-esteem.


If you are dating someone or further down the road in a relationship which you “know” isn’t life-giving, think about the cost of settling. Be sure you know the difference between compromise and the corrosive nature of settling. If you are staying put because you feel afraid you will always be alone, begin by making friends with yourself, remember that you are loved by many wonderful people, and trust that if you truly want to find someone who will love you and share your values, it will be worth the search, the slog and the wait. It truly will.  You deserve to be happy and wholly you.


Do you want to find someone to love, but are afraid you’ll lose yourself again? How about some support and direction to help you find love that won’t ask you to settle, but will feed your soul?

If you’re ready to find love, I’m offering a Complimentary  30-minute Session to show you the best way to make that happen!

Call or email me at 510-817-4242

Donna Bailey, MS

Coaching, Speaking, Writing and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair

*If you loved this blog, sign up on my webpage to receive each new one!






  1. Gerda Jarvis on March 9, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    I love that advise, i will reread it anytime i feel am not sure if its settling or comprimise. Thank you!!

    • admin on September 12, 2017 at 5:48 am

      I’m so happy you can see how important it is to find the right person…not just any person. Thanks for your comment!

Leave a Comment