One night during my freshman year, around the time I was going through my “forever alone” phase, I started venting to my roommate. I told her I didn’t think I would ever find the right guy, and maybe it was because my standards were set too high. She then gave me some great advice, which has stuck with me ever since. She told me, “Don’t ever lower your standards, because some day the right guy will meet them.”
When I say never settle for less, I assume that most of you have fairly realistic expectations of what you want in a boyfriend. However, if no guy is meeting your expectations, because you expect roses and massages every day from a billionaire Ryan Gosling look-alike, then you might need a reality check. However, it is not unrealistic to want a significant other who is attractive, treats you with respect, has a great personality, and cares for you.
I’m a big believer in love, romance, and the idea that there is someone for everyone. You deserve to love someone whole-heartedly and be loved back just as much. Unfortunately, sometimes we are so blinded by love, or other distractions, we overlook many of the faults in our relationship or crush. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Stop trying to force a relationship that is not meant to be. You are more likely to lower your standards and settle for less when you are desperately searching for a boyfriend. For example, does he make you a priority? Does he spend time with you only when it is convenient for him?
Stop making excuses for his behavior. If your friends know him and how he treats you, and they are not fans of it, listen to them! Chances are, they are seeing something you are not. If you try to make an excuse for his behavior and they still don't buy it, try to picture them in your situation; if their boyfriend or crush was doing to them what yours is doing to you, would you want them to stay with him? Think of the advice you would give a girl if the same situation was happening to her. If it aligns with your friends' views of ditching the guy, then it is time to leave him.
Abuse of any kind, physical or verbal, is a huge no. It can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Physical abuse is easier to spot than verbal abuse. If the guy you like is aggressively grabbing you, or harming you in any way, due to anger, this is not normal and should not be tolerated. Verbal abuse is harder to detect than physical abuse, because it does not leave visible marks. It is also easier for a girl to dismiss he was drunk or it is just bad words. If he makes a negative comment, it is quickly explained away with apologies and promises. He may even cry to show his remorse. However, if he makes these comments regularly, his behavior clearly is not changing.
Frequent rude and derogatory comments, threats, and insults all constitute verbal abuse, and are signs of an unhealthy relationship. You deserve a boyfriend who compliments you and tells you that you are beautiful, not one who calls you mean names and makes you feel badly about yourself.
Don’t stay in a relationship just because it is comfortable, and don’t be afraid to be single. I find it tragic when a girl does not have enough confidence in herself to leave a guy just because she doesn’t want to be alone. Your friends were there for you before you had a boyfriend, and they will be there for you if you dump him. If you are in a mediocre relationship, chances are, the relationship is not going to get much better. It might sound lame, but writing a list of pros and cons could actually help in deciding whether or not to stay with him. Also, factor in how long you two have been dating and how serious the relationship is. If you you are okay with a casual fling, and are not looking for something too serious, maybe it is okay. However, if you are looking for a long-term relationship with someone, and you don’t see it going anywhere or improving three months from now, then it may be time to end it.
You need to be happy with yourself on your own before you can be happy in a relationship. It is not right to depend on someone else to make you happy or to complete you. Realize your self-worth as an individual and recognize what you deserve. Once you have, that is when you will truly find love. Until then, don’t settle!