Settling has become a habit for all of us who have been broken into pieces. We settle for relationships that are not right for us. Either we choose someone with potential whom we love half-heartedly or we settle for something that is bad for us or that isn’t working but we are afraid to be alone.

I know because I almost settled once. I had just got out of a relationship with somebody highly toxic and I just needed someone who would be good to me. Someone who was safe. Someone who would never hurt me the way my ex did. I entered into a relationship for all the wrong reasons but I didn’t know better at that time.

And to this day, I thank God I found the courage to break things off. I think I spared myself the pain of spending a lifetime with somebody who wasn’t the real deal.

He was good, decent, honest and loving, everything a girl could hope for, but the sad truth is I never loved him and I was just settling.

The truth is you need love, you need it like you need air so the relationship can breathe.

You need it to remind yourself why you are still with him when he is getting on your last nerve and when things are far from nice. You need to feel like you belong when somebody hugs you.

You need that happy smile because you woke up next to him. You need it so the relationship can exist and last. Settling should never be an option.

I see so many women around me settling for half-love and toxic relationships because they underestimate themselves into thinking they can’t do better. I also see couples getting married and starting a family just because it’s time, as they have been together for a long time. And it seems like by settling, a lot of people give up on love.

What I also realized is that they might be unaware that they are settling, like I was in the past. I genuinely believed that I was in love even when I was far from it. That’s why these signs will help you reconsider your relationship and see if you are settling:

1. You are scared you are missing out on something better

In other words, deep down you are scared you are missing out on love. So you keep on wondering what life would look like if you found someone you could have deeper feelings for or someone who would treat you better, who would see your worth.

If you keep on thinking about how life would look without that person by your side, if you keep longing for a better relationship, and for something more than you already have, you are in the wrong relationship.

2. You are trying too hard to prove your love

You subconsciously look for the reasons why you are in a relationship with him. So you feel the need to justify yourself to him, the people around you and ultimately to yourself.

You start enumerating the reasons why you are together, why he is great and why you love him, when in reality love doesn’t need a reason—it just exists. You feel it and you don’t feel the need to justify it to anybody else.

3. You are with him because he feels safe

That was what happened in my case, and I know that there are a lot of women who can relate. When you are recovering from a relationship that drained you emotionally, that messed with your mind and that was all wrong for you, make sure your new boyfriend is nothing like your ex and that that becomes your only criteria.

But just because somebody is good and honest and loves you it doesn’t mean you will be able to love him back. By staying in this kind of relationship you are unintentionally hurting the both of you. You are depriving both of you of a chance for true love.

4. You are putting in your best efforts into changing him

But that will never happen. A person changes only when they decide that they need to change. Whether your partner has some habits that bug you or his behavior toward you is not acceptable but you keep on hoping your love will change him, you are just deluding yourself and wasting your time.

If you can’t accept your partner for who he is, you shouldn’t be with him even to begin with. Remember that you are not perfect either and that he also has to deal with your flaws, so cut him some slack with his.

If you are in the worst case scenario, that’s staying with somebody who mistreats, cheats on or abuses you in any way. Face the truth that you are settling for less than you deserve and that he will never change.

5. You are jealous of other couples in your surroundings

They all seem to have something you are missing. You can’t help but feel envious of the love that is evident every time you see them together.

You shouldn’t feel like that, you should be more than happy with where you are with your partner, that you would feel no need to compare yourself with others.

If you constantly compare yourself with other couples and wish for the things you don’t have, you are not in love, you are settling.

6. You are not even slightly enthusiastic about seeing him

You prefer to spend time alone or with your friends. You lack a sense of overwhelming joy when you have arranged a date or when you are simply going to hang out with him.

All in all, you feel nothing much when you are spending time with him and that’s one of the major telltale signs that you are settling.

7. Everything is fine, nothing is great

When it comes to intimate moments that you and your partner share, you can’t complain about anything but you are never fully satisfied. You are simply missing that spark that draws you to one another.

You experienced passion before but it cost you a great deal so you think you can live without it but life without passion is not really living.

Without passion, no form of intimacy will work—kisses will be half-hearted, hugs will be too loose and you just feel like something major is missing there.

8. You avoid thinking or talking about the future

Every time the topic of taking your relationship to the next level, moving in or getting married comes up, you immediately get a rash and avoid the subject completely.

The truth is you can’t imagine spending your life with the person next to you. Maybe everything is going great between the two of you, maybe you have been together for a long time, but that little voice inside of you is warning you that he is not someone you should spend yours forever with.