Most folks would tell you that if you are already asking yourself, “am I settling?” then you are—and that you shouldn’t. But what happens if the vision that you have set for your partner is either unrealistic or outdated? (Maybe you’ve conjured up a fantasy about Prince Charming as a little girl and chick flicks have added fuel to the fire.) Below, five ways to break down your dream man, check in on yourself—and make sure your relationship is a fit.
1. Phone a friend: Have a conversation with your girlfriends—who hopefully have radically different views—and see what feedback you get on your guy. Your friends know you well—and have a semi-objective view on the guy in your life. If they are honest with you, you’ll be able to get a few different perspectives on what others perceive from your relationship. Do their thoughts reflect your own? Are you surprised by something they say?
2. Take mom’s word with a grain of salt: Make sure that your doubts about settling aren’t coming from your family. It is sweet your mom thinks you should strive for the perfect man since you are such a perfect girl yourself (ahem), but maybe what makes you happy is different. In her mind, you may be settling, but in yours, you’re doing what is right for you—and that’s okay. After all, your dad isn’t perfect, but he may be perfect for your mom, right?
3. Don’t let fear motivate you: Never choose a man because you are scared of being alone. Plenty of women are married and very lonely. In fact, single happy women live longer than anyone. Research shows that marriage, for many women, means more hours of housework and a shorter lifespan. So don’t think it’s a knee jerk must-have. Scoop up Singled Out by Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., if you want more research and hard evidence on why singledom is not so bad at all.
4. Get practical: Make sure you are not doing anything rash during the first few months of dopamine’s love rush. Allowing your relationship to grow in a timely manner lets you also learn more and more about the person you’re with instead of rushing into something based off of a hot and heavy first few weeks.
5. Play with your emotions: Try this trick. Flip a coin—heads for keep him, tails for keep looking, then flip. Really get into the moment, as if this is the deciding factor for your wedding (for “till death do us part”!) Now look. Given what the coin says, does your stomach sink or heart go pitter patter, in a good way? Now that is important scientific information to chew on.