When I was in my early twenties, I was a horrible dater. I didn’t know how to feel secure around men so in turn I unconsciously kept them at bay. Many people would tell me how a great catch I was but I just couldn’t understand why any man would want to be with me.
I came across a book by Susan Page called, “If I’m so wonderful why am I still single?” It was the exact sentiment I felt like telling all the well wishers that tried to hype me up or make me feel better.
In the book I discovered, as you might if you read it, that my self-esteem had taken a nosedive because I had just come out of a BTN –better than nothing relationship.
Being single isn’t always easy. Now I can say I have enjoyed my single life to the fullest but I understand there are times when you wish you had a partner. No matter how badly you may want to be with someone special, the biggest mistake single people make, above all else, is not knowing when to say no to a relationship.
We convince ourselves that anything is better than nothing and that just isn’t true.
Being single can at times mean lacking intimacy in our lives. We long for a connection with one person that we feel we can tell anything to, who will look out for us, someone who we can trust. It’s natural to want this bond more and more the longer we go without it. This desire is what leads us to people who are good people, but not right for us.
When you aren’t able to say no at the right moment you end up in a relationship or, series of relationships that are nice but not great.
Or they are great in some ways and mediocre in others.
We like to think because we have a decent amount of chemistry with someone it will build or grow into something meaningful. As we start to make demands or requests of our partner and they slowly improve their behavior to our preferences our affections start to grow.
These filler relationships start with a purpose and in the beginning can seem rewarding but they are impossible to maintain. You will find more requests and changes to make and your partner will slowly begin to deny you.
You will keep wondering why every thing seems to be what you want but you still aren’t satisfied or happy with this person. Or you are happy sometimes and miserable other times.
The worst thing about being in a relationship with a person who isn’t exactly what you want because they are better than nothing is the toll it takes on your self-worth.
Better than nothing relationships slowly chip away at your self-esteem and sense of well-being, they make you doubt yourself.
If your primary relationship is with someone who doesn’t fully appreciate and love you for exactly who you are, but instead criticizes you or tries to change you, then you will begin to see yourself, not as you are, but as the other person sees you.
We begin to believe that this person who isn’t a bad person necessarily is the best that we can do. We begin to believe that we were single because no one wanted us and if this person, who isn’t exactly what we want, is willing to be with us then we should stick around.
Better than nothing relationships reinforce the thought that something better isn’t out there or you will never get what you truly want.
If your shoulders haven’t slumped, you haven’t sighed or put yourself on suicide watch, up until this paragraph I want to tell you that there is hope.
There is a solution to avoiding BTN relationships:
If you’re down, don’t date.
If you can’t provide a healthy dose of self-esteem to yourself, you’ll never be able to tell if you are unhappy in the relationship of just in general. Life is meant to be enjoyed with or without a boyfriend or girlfriend. If you think only love will make you happy then you need to start showing yourself some.
Get over it or Get out of it
If you honestly believe a change in your partner’s behavior would benefit your relationship and them as an individual, by all means speak your piece. If you want your partner to change a behavior because you just don’t like it, get out of that relationship. If you can’t get over the little hurdles in life that are trivial, inconsequential, and mundane how will you overcome larger challenges? Don’t be afraid to let the person be themselves but don’t be afraid to be without them, whoever they are.
Don’t live by excuses
It’s easy to believe what we want doesn’t exist, what we want is asking too much of another person. We convince ourselves no man is as romantic as we imagine, all women are selfish one time or another etc. We make excuses for why the people we are dating are less than we want or doing less than we wish of them. If you don’t get what you need from a relationship don’t make excuses for why not, set out to find someone who can provide you with more than just security.
The best way to avoid a better than nothing relationship is to make a vow to yourself that you will. Recognize the danger and possibility is out there that you will be approached to be in one, just have the courage to say, “No thanks.”