Today, we’re going to talk about one of the biggest factors in overall relationship success.
Picking your mate well.
Easier said than done, I know. Hear me out.
Imagine that you searched long and hard for a gorgeous vase to decorate your living room mantle. It’s beautiful, perfect, a little expensive but it goes with the decor and ties the room together wonderfully. You searched a long time to find it but when you did, it was just right and you’re thrilled.
One day, someone comes along and bumps into it. It crashes to the floor and breaks. The break isn’t bad, so you glue it back together and put it back on the mantle. The cracks are barely noticeable. You know it was broken, but it was so perfect in the first place that you feel a sense of relief that it could be saved. You move on with your life and continue to enjoy the repaired piece.
Now imagine that instead of starting with the perfect vase, you simply picked up an okay/tolerable vase from a garage sale. It isn’t really perfect for your space, and never has looked quite right but it does it’s job. For the time being, you consider your vase-finding search complete.
Now, imagine that someone breaks your garage sale vase in the same way.
Would you treat your garage sale salvage piece the same as your perfect, pristine vase?
I’d be willing to bet that you wouldn’t. Maybe you’d chuck it in the trash. Maybe you’d glue it back together, but think of it as only temporary until you found the right one. You’d be less tolerant of it not being quite right because your vase finding problem wasn’t considered solved in the first place. Since it was a placeholder, you continue your search for the right piece.
Well.. consider the stop-gap relationship, the okay (but not great) pairing to be like your garage sale vase. It does the job. You’ve convinced yourself subconsciously or not that the relationship is just fine (but still… not great).
The other person is there for you when they need to be. It’s a pretty-good fit for a while. Maybe there is drama, maybe there isn’t, but either way things go along… fine.
The problem is that when cracks (problems) appear as they do in all relationships, the stakes just aren’t as high. It doesn’t feel worth repairing in quite the same way as if you had held out for the right person.
Like anything done half way, it’s hard to stick with it and patch up the cracks because of that stubborn feeling in the back of your mind that there is likely something better, right, shinier, out there somewhere.
The cracks start to outweigh your belief that it can be saved. The relationship was okay, but not ultra-high value in the first place. You might feel fondness, even love for the other person. However, there is that lingering sense that it wasn’t quite right in the first place.
This is the problem with ‘settling’ in a relationship.
Settling seems okay in the short term, but it doesn’t make for a durable, happy, long-term pairing. When the other person leaves the cap off the toothpaste one too many times or forgets to call, it’s more likely you’ll eventually trash the whole thing, or worse, threaten to leave, pushing them away further.
The settled-for relationship doesn’t remain something you’re proud of throughout trials and difficulties. You might stick around, but like your garage sale vase, there is still the lingering feeling that if it was just… different, you would finally be truly happy.
This is why it’s so critical to pick a ridiculously compatible person who you’re over the moon excited about from the beginning.
Without picking well from the start, you forgo ‘glue’ and months or years down the road, when your life doesn’t look like you wanted, it’s significantly more difficult to change course than if you had held out in the first place.
Settling sneaks up on you. Like a frog being boiled in a pot of water, everything seems fine until time passes and you realize it’s too late.
Because in the beginning when it felt easy, you settled for good enough, rather than great.