11 Signs You’re Settling in a Relationship for Less Than You DeserveFeb 04, 2022
If your friends keep telling you, don’t settle for less in a relationship, you have some good friends.
But how do you know you’re settling in a relationship? And what does it mean when someone says ‘don’t settle for less than you deserve?’
If you’re in a relationship with someone and you’re starting to wonder if you are settling, you’re in the right place.
Or if you’re feeling lonely and are tempted to settle in a relationship, this is also for you.
I was tempted to settle in romantic relationships several times before I met my husband, and I know that waiting to receive God’s best for your life is not easy.
In this blog post, we will talk about how to know if you are settling, including:
- What is settling in a relationship
- What does it mean to settle in a relationship
- Why you shouldn’t settle for less than you deserve
- 11 Ways you may be settling in your relationship
- How to avoid settling in your relationships in the future
What is settling in a relationship? What does it mean to settle?
Settling in a relationship means that you are choosing to stay with someone even though you know that they aren’t the one, or that you deserve better.
It means that you are staying with someone even when you know you want and deserve more.
You may be dating someone who you know isn’t the one for you, but you choose to settle in a relationship because you think they are the best you can get.
Or maybe you are sick of waiting, and you choose to settle. Any relationship is better than no relationship, right? Not really.
Settling in a relationship means that you are giving up on believing that there is someone better out there for you, or that you’d rather be with the wrong person instead of being single.
Why you shouldn’t settle for less in a relationship?
Next to your relationship with God, the person you date and marry is the next most important relationship you’ll ever have.
If you decide to settle in who you marry, what else in your life will you settle for?
God is not a settling God. He does not want us to settle. Instead, God calls us to trust Him to experience His best for our lives.
When you settle, you are essentially telling God that you don’t trust Him enough to give you your best.
It can be tempting to think that the person you are with now is better than no one, but that is not true.
Every day you stay with the wrong person delays the right person from coming into your life.
And when you settle in a relationship, you are believing a lie that convinces you to stay with someone for the wrong reasons.
The Devil will do anything to try and convince you to settle for less than you deserve.
He knows that God has a plan for your life, including the spouse that God has for you, and the Devil will tempt you to settle so you can miss out on God’s best for your life.
Do you want to be tricked into settling for someone who isn’t the one God has for you?
I didn’t think so.
Let’s talk about how to know if you are settling in a relationship, and the common lies you may be believing that causes people to settle.
How to know if you are settling in a relationship – 11 signs you are settling
You may have a feeling that you are settling in a relationship, but it’s important to identify why you are settling and how you can avoid settling in the future.
Only God can reveal if you are settling. As you pray and ask God whether you are settling, consider the following signs that you may be settling for less than you deserve in a relationship.
Lack of peace about the relationship
When you don’t have peace about the relationship, this is God trying to get your attention that something is off.
Pray and ask God to identify why you don’t have peace about staying with this person.
God will often speak to us through the Holy Spirit and can guide us through peace. If something feels off, keep pressing in and asking God to guide you.
Sometimes, we may not know why we don’t have peace, but we have to trust that if we don’t have peace, then they aren’t the one.
If you don’t have peace about the relationship, it may be a sign that you are settling and that he isn’t the one God has for you.
Deep down you know you are settling, but you don’t want to admit it
You may be reading this trying to look for a clear sign that you are settling, but deep down you already know it.
If you feel in your gut or have a strong assurance that you are settling, you probably are.
Don’t avoid your gut feeling. This is the Holy Spirit trying to get your attention.
Maybe you’re dating an amazing guy that looks great on paper, but deep down you know that he’s not the one.
You may not even know why he’s not the one, or you may be trying to like him more, but you can’t ignore the feeling deep down that you are settling or he’s not the one.
Trust your gut and admit to yourself that something is off. It’s okay to break up with someone even if you’re not sure why.
You know how some people say, you know when you know?
Well, sometimes you just know when someone is not the person you’re supposed to be with.
Don’t settle for less in a relationship just because you’re afraid to admit it.
You make excuses or justify staying in the relationship
Sometimes we try and convince ourselves to stay with someone, but we know deep down we are settling.
If you’ve been waiting for a relationship for a while, you may want it to work out so bad that you’ll justify or make excuses to convince yourself that it is working.
But if you have to keep convincing yourself to stay with someone, you’re probably settling in a relationship.
And if you have to make excuses for someone when they contradict God’s Word, this is a clear sign that you are settling and the relationship is not godly.
If he says he’s a Christian but really doesn’t live out God’s Word in his life, then he’s not really a Christian.
Maybe you’re dating someone who claims to know God, but you’ve seen behaviors in his life that make you doubt. Learn what characteristics of a man of God looks like, and ask for God to reveal this guy’s true heart.
God’s Word should be used as a standard for truth, and if the person you’re with doesn’t line up with God’s Word, no amount of excuses can excuse their behavior.
You’re dating a nonbeliever and you aren’t equally yoked
If you call yourself a follower of Christ, and you’re dating someone who doesn’t choose to follow Jesus themselves, this is a sign you are settling in a relationship.
God makes it very clear that he does not want his people to marry nonbelievers, or people that don’t worship him or walk in his ways.
“Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols?” - 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 NLT
God wants us to have marriages that are rooted in Christ, and we cannot do this if only one person is walking with the Lord.
I’ve seen so many Christian women make excuses for dating a nonbeliever, or a guy who isn’t a Christian, but not only is this settling, it is disobeying God’s Word.
And trust me, I know how hard it is to obey God in this area and to wait for a guy that truly loves God.
When I first gave my life to Jesus, I was dating a guy who made it clear that he was not open to pursuing a relationship with God.
I kept making excuses for staying with him, and I even prayed that God would change his heart and that he would be open to God so I could date him, but God made it very clear.
If he’s not open to a relationship with God, then I shouldn’t date or marry him. And God showed me that I had to stop hanging out with him if I wanted to honor God with my love life.
I told God that obeying him in this area was more important, and I went through a season of singleness, and guess what kind of men I kept meeting?
I kept meeting other guys that weren’t Christians, and every time I would mention that I only date men that love God, they were clear that they had no interest in faith, Jesus, or church.
But I met so many nonbelieving men that I started to doubt, would I ever meet a guy that loved God? Did they even exist? Was a guy that went to church on Easter and Christmas good enough?
And I felt God saying to me, if I brought you nine nonbelieving men, would you be willing to wait? What if the tenth guy was the one I had for you?
I felt so strongly in that moment that God was reminding me not to settle and not to give in by dating a nonbeliever, and that I needed to continue waiting on God for a man of God.
Looking back, I know that my faith was tested by refusing to settle for a nonbeliever.
If you’re dating a nonbeliever, learn more about the importance of being equally yoked in dating and how to know if you should break up with them to honor God in this area.
Don’t settle for less in a relationship when you know the guy doesn’t have a heart for God.
I know it’s hard to obey God in this area, and I pray God gives you the strength and desire to surrender the guy who you know isn’t God’s best for you.
You’re worried you’ll never find someone else if you break up
If you are worried that you’ll be single forever if you break up with this person, you could be settling in a relationship out of fear.
God does not call us to fear. He calls us to put our trust and faith in him.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power love, and sound judgment.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 CSB
If you find yourself worrying or anxious about finding the right person, surrender these fears to God.
He already knows what you are feeling, and he does not want you to settle in a relationship and stay with the wrong person out of fear.
God even says that the more we focus on Him and what he is capable of, the more peace we will have.
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” - Isaiah 26:3 NLT
Pray and ask God to give you faith to believe that he has someone out there for you.
And when you feel God’s peace and choose to have faith in Him, you won’t have fear about the future.
Don’t settle in a relationship out of fear. Choose faith in God over fear, and ask God to show you what he has for you.
If you want to learn how to trust God more with your future husband, join my free, 14-day future husband prayer challenge.
The 14 day email-challenge will help boost your faith that God is in control, and you’ll be able to see what God’s Word has to say about trusting God with your future spouse.
You have too much invested in the relationship and you think it’s easier to stay together than to break up
If you know he’s not the one but you think it’s easier to stay together than to break up, this is another sign that you are settling in a relationship.
Maybe you live together and you aren’t married, and you have a dog together and breaking up seems like a lot of work.
Or maybe you went into business together, and breaking up would mean the end of this business, and less financial income.
Maybe you’re already engaged and planning a wedding together, and the thought of cancelling the wedding is too much.
Or maybe you’ve been dating for YEARS, and you don’t want to have wasted all this time together.
My friend, no matter how much you have invested in the relationship, the sooner you break up the less drama, pain, and mess you’ll have to deal with later on if you know that this person is not the one.
Don’t settle for less in a relationship just because you don’t want to deal with a break up right now.
Would you rather want to deal with a divorce or have an unhealthy marriage the rest of your life, or would you rather face the mess of breaking up now?
If you aren’t married, it’s not too late to end things.
Don’t convince yourself that it’s easier to stay together. If you’re already so invested in this relationship, I pray you feel God’s strength guiding you to do the right thing.
And if you want to do things in a way that honors God, learn more about what the Bible says about living together before marriage and how to set physical boundaries in dating so you can avoid becoming too attached to the other person before marriage.
Staying with this person is better than being alone
If you’d rather stay with the wrong person than be alone, you are settling in your relationship.
Loneliness is not a reason to stay in a relationship with someone.
I don’t think any of us deliberately choose to settle for the wrong kind of men, but when faced with the decision, a lot of us would rather choose to stay in the wrong relationship than be in a season of singleness.
If you’re afraid to be alone, how much do you trust that God is in control?
Do you trust that God will bring you the right person? Do you trust God’s timing, even if it means being single?
When you jump from relationship to relationship because you don’t want to be alone, you are essentially telling God that you aren’t ready for his best.
And if you’re looking for a man to make you happy, you’ll never be content even when the relationship is going good.
God does not want you to feel alone when you’re single, which is why it’s so important to have a personal relationship with God, and to have other Christian friends and be planted in a local church community.
Don’t settle for less in a relationship just because you feel lonely.
If you’re feeling lonely, I pray these prayers for loneliness encourage you in this season, and that you have the courage to put your trust in God, even if it means being single for a season.
You got sick of waiting on God to bring you someone better
I know how tempting it is to settle when you’ve been praying and waiting on God for a husband for YEARS.
But God’s plans and timing are higher than our own, and we cannot understand how he is moving right now in this season.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV
If God has given you a desire for marriage, trust that he will make it happen.
Don’t settle for less than you deserve just because you’re sick of waiting, or because God didn’t bring you a husband in your ideal time frame.
In Galatians 6:9, God calls us not to grow weary and not to give up.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” – Galatians 6:9 NLT
Do you want to give up on experiencing God’s best for your life?
Ask any woman if her husband was worth the wait, and she will tell you YES.
If you’re sick of waiting and tempted to settle, learn what you can do when you are waiting on God for a husband.
You know you deserve better, but he’s not as bad compared to other guys you’ve dated
Comparing the guy you’re with now to men from your past is deceiving.
Don’t settle for less in a relationship just because a guy is better than other guys you’ve dated in the past.
I know it can be easy to justify dating someone since they aren’t as bad as the other men you’ve dated, but this is where we start losing sense of what we are worth, and what we deserve.
In my twenties, I got so used to meeting guys at bars that only wanted to hook up and that played all the dating games on the dating apps, that I started to settle for any guy that didn’t act like a complete jerk.
Over time, because I wasn’t seeing the high-quality men that I wanted, I started to lower my standards of what I was looking for and I started to settle for less.
It got so bad that I even started dating (and hooking up) with a guy who had just gotten out of a divorce, and who straight up told me that he didn’t want a serious relationship.
Since I wanted a boyfriend so bad and he overall seemed like a nice guy, I settled for going on a few dates every now and then, and hooking up since I figured it was better than nothing.
But months after our “relationship” continued, I found out that he had been sleeping with someone else.
I knew I deserved better, but I let my past experiences with men lower my standards. I started to believe that I wouldn’t find anyone better, so I settled for these guys that weren’t good for me.
I don’t know what kind of men you’ve dated in the past, but there are men of God out there who will treat you with respect.
I’ve experienced a godly husband myself, and I’ve seen other godly men at church who treat their wives with love and respect.
As God’s daughter, you are more precious than jewels (Proverbs 31:10), and you deserve to be with someone who knows just how precious you are.
Your close friends and family think you’re settling in a relationship
God is the most important person to ask if you’re settling, but the opinions of your close family and friends also matter.
Not everyone is going to like your boyfriend, but if the people you trust most in your life are concerned that you are settling in your relationship, listen to what they have to say.
Sometimes we get so caught up in finding someone, that we overlook their flaws in the beginning of a relationship. Especially if you’ve already been involved physically, you may be so caught up in lust and attraction that you’re not seeing this guy for who he really is.
If your close friends and family have reservations about the relationship, it may be another sign that you are settling in a relationship.
You know he’s not the one, but the chemistry is so strong
If you are staying with someone just because the chemistry or sex is good, you are settling in a relationship.
Chemistry or passionate sex does not mean that this is the one God has for you.
Often times, we may think we are in love with someone because of the physical connection, but this is really lust.
And a relationship built on lust is not healthy.
Lust or physical activity outside of marriage can even create ungodly soul ties to form, making it harder to leave the other person.
If you know this person isn’t the one, but you have this strong attachment to them, it’s likely because of the soul tie.
But since God created sex to be enjoyed in marriage only, we were not meant to form these soul ties with someone outside of marriage.
Learn more about soul ties and how to break ungodly soul ties so you can see this person for who they are, and have the strength to break up with them.
And if you're struggling to resist temptation, download my free, 7-day resisting temptation devotional with prayers and scriptures that will help you resist temptation.
How to Avoid Settling in a Relationship
Now that we talked about signs you could be settling in a relationship, how do you make sure you don’t settle again in the future?
And what’s a single girl to do when she’s lonely and wants someone to hang out with on a Friday night?
Here are 5 strategies to avoid settling in a relationship:
- Know what God says about you
- Be on guard against the Enemy
- Surround yourself with wise, godly friends
- Have a plan when you typically feel lonely
- Remind yourself of all the ways God has moved in your life
Know what God says about you
When you know what God says about you, you’ll be less likely to settle in a relationship since you’ll understand what you deserve.
The best way to know what God has to say about you is to read and study God’s Word in the Bible.
When you know what God has to say about you, you’ll realize that you are precious and that you deserve way more than the men you’ve been used to dating.
Reading the Bible is like getting a glimpse into God’s own heart, and he has a lot to say about you my friend.
Psalm 139 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible that illustrates how much God loves us.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.” – Psalm 139:13-18 NIV
You are precious in God’s sight. You are wonderfully and remarkably made, and he created you for a purpose. Ephesians 2:10 even says that you are God’s masterpiece.
He loves you so much, that he sent his only son, Jesus, to die on the cross for your life.
You are worth dying for my friend. When you realize how worthy you are to God and how much God loves you, you won’t be tempted to settle in a relationship for any man who doesn’t look at you how God looks at you.
Be on guard against the Enemy
To avoid settling, we have to be aware that the Enemy will try and tempt us to settle.
The Bible calls us to stand strong and be aware of the Enemy’s tactics.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” – Ephesians 6:10-11 NIV
Ever heard the expression, when the Enemy wants to tempt you, he’ll send a person? And when God wants to bless you, he’ll send a person?
With relationships, the Devil will try and convince us to settle for the wrong person. He does not want you to end up with the person that God has for you.
Whenever you experience meeting random men, or when men from your past come back into your life, be on your guard.
Pray and use your discernment to discern whether these men are from God, or whether they are a temptation from the Enemy.
A few years ago when I was single, I started to meet all these random guys, and guys from my past came back into my life, and I was like, what the heck is going on?
Is it just a coincidence that I’m running into all these men? Is God trying to tell me something?
I realized that it was the week of Valentine’s Day, and thankfully God showed me that these men weren’t sent by him, but that the Enemy was trying to tempt me with all these guys.
The Enemy tried to tempt me so much that I even ran into an ex on the boardwalk by the beach, and he started flirting with me again and turning on the charm. This was the same guy who had broken my heart a few months before that (if you’ve read One Transforming Love, I ran into Jake!).
We cannot think that every guy that comes into our life is from God. Pray and wait for God to confirm whether someone is from him.
To stand strong against the Devil’s schemes, Ephesians 6 urges us to pray in the Spirit on all occasions, and to expose the Enemy’s lies with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
That’s why it’s so important to know what God’s Word says—so when are tempted to settle, we’ll be able to hold it up against what God says, and we’ll be able to see that it’s not God’s best.
Surround yourself with wise, godly friends
If your friend was about to crash into something, you would tell her right?
I don’t care how long your friend has been praying and waiting on God for her husband, if she is about to settle in a relationship with a guy who doesn’t deserve her, you better have the courage to tell her.
Wouldn’t you want a friend to warn you before doing something you’d regret?
Surround yourself with other friends who love God and who walk in his ways.
Hang out with people who refuse to settle in their own lives, and who have the faith to believe that God’s best is worth waiting for.
And give each other permission to speak the truth in love when you’re tempted to settle.
Have a plan when you typically feel lonely
It is so tempting to settle for less than you deserve when you feel lonely or at times when you are most vulnerable.
Maybe you just went through a breakup, and you’re tempted to settle for someone new because you don’t want to be alone.
Or maybe it’s another Friday night, and you’re alone watching a movie on your couch again.
Girl, I know how tempting it is to settle, especially on the weekends when you meet a guy at the bar, or when a guy starts texting you when you feel lonely.
Only you know your most vulnerable moments, so make a plan to resist temptation ahead of time.
Maybe it means avoiding certain bars or social media when you feel lonely. If you do decide to go out, maybe it means limiting the number of drinks you’ll have so you don’t do something you’ll regret.
And if you know you’ll be tempted if you stay home, make a plan with your friends.
Invite a friend over to watch a movie, or call up a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while.
Turn off your phone and learn about godly dating in one of these Christian dating books for women.
Have a plan in place so you’ll have something else to focus on instead of being tempted to settle.
Remind yourself of all the ways God has moved in your life
When you’re sick of waiting and are tempted to settle in a relationship, remind yourself of all the ways God has moved in your life.
Remembering all the prayers that God has already answered will help build your faith that you can trust God with your future husband.
The more you trust God, the less you’ll settle for less than his best.
Refusing to settle for less than God’s best really comes down to faith.
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26 CSB
Do you have faith that God has someone for you? Do you have faith that God will make it happen in his perfect timing?
If you want to trust God more with your desire for marriage, learn how to find a husband and how to let God guide you on the dating journey.
FAQs – Settling in a Relationship
Below are other common questions when it comes to settling in a relationship.
What is settling in a relationship? What is settling for less?
Settling in a relationship means you are choosing to stay with the wrong person even when they are less than what you want or deserve.
When someone says ‘don’t settle for less in a relationship’, they are telling you that you can do better.
Settling for less than you deserve means that you are choosing to stay in the wrong relationship, instead of breaking up and waiting for God’s best for your life.
Is it OK to settle in a relationship?
No, it is not okay to settle in a relationship. When you decide to settle, you are missing out on God’s best for your life.
Do you really think settling in a relationship now is going to make you happy in the long run?
If you decide to settle and stay with this person forever, you may never get to experience the person that God really wanted you to be with.
You may think it’s worth it to be in a relationship now, but you won’t truly be satisfied in the long run if you settle with the wrong person.
When should you settle in a relationship?
Never. You should never settle in a relationship. This is a trick question.
I don’t care how long you’ve been praying and waiting on God to bring you a spouse, you shouldn’t settle.
Keep declaring God’s promises over your life, and choose to believe that God will bring the right person into your life.
And if you’re tempted to settle, check out these prayers for future husband to build your faith.
How do you know you’re settling in a relationship?
Here are 10 signs you may be settling in a relationship:
- You don’t have peace about the relationship
- Deep down you know you are settling, but you don’t want to admit it
- You keep making excuses or trying to justify staying in the relationship
- You’re dating someone that isn’t a believer and you’re not equally yoked
- You’re worried you’ll never find someone else if you break up
- You have too much invested in the relationship and you think it’s easier to stay together than to break up
- Staying with this person is better than being alone
- You got sick of waiting on God to bring you someone better - doubt
- You know you deserve better, but he’s not as bad compared to other guys you’ve dated
- Your close friends and family think you’re settling
- You know he’s not the one, but the chemistry is so strong
In case you missed it, we discussed each one of these signs above in more detail.
If you're still not sure if you're settling, check out these signs he's the one that God has for you.
Do you want to pray over your future husband?
If you're single or not sure if the guy you're dating is your husband, pray over him with these prayers for future husband.
And if you want to be more intentional with praying over yourself and your future husband as you wait on God to bring you together, join the free, 14-day future husband prayer challenge to get 14 days of devotions, scriptures, and prayers.