When you don’t get what you want, eventually you start looking for other options.
The saddest example of this is when you settle for “almost” relationships because you don’t believe more is possible or that you’ll find it.
Here’s the reason that almost is never good enough and there’s more hope than you think.
1) You’re self-sabotaging
Accepting “almost” relationships is a form of self-sabotage.
You are telling yourself that your true desires and feelings aren’t real or aren’t important.
Essentially, by settling for a relationship that doesn’t mean the world to you, you are gaslighting yourself.
I truly wish this were a rare thing, but so many people settle for somebody they don’t really love.
2) You’re avoiding yourself
There are several common reasons why people settle for an “almost” relationship.
The first is that they are simply very lonely and tired of waiting for somebody they truly click with.
So they pick somebody who they find interesting, or sexy, or emotionally appealing, even though they don’t have very strong feelings toward them.
Another common reason is that heartbreak or disappointment in love has made somebody more or less give up on true love.
A broken heart can cause somebody to avoid themselves at all costs, even if it means sharing a life with someone they don’t love.
3) You’re letting yourself down
When you try to make it work with someone who you don’t love, you’re letting yourself down.
You’re pursuing a life and love that you know isn’t for you.
It’s essentially a form of giving up and gaslighting, as I mentioned earlier.
You’re telling yourself that your perceptions and feelings aren’t real, or even if they are, they don’t really matter.
You’re treating yourself like an object, not a human being.
4) You’re lying to yourself
Let’s face it, an “almost” relationship is a giant lie.
There are so many lies involved it’s hard to keep count.
You’re lying to yourself, to your partner and you’re lying about what you feel.
You may even deny to yourself what’s going on and say “Yes, I love him…in a way,” or “She’s very special, I care about her a lot.”
What you’d never be able to say is that this is the person you’d truly be with no matter what.
That’s why it’s only an “almost” relationship. That’s why it’s ultimately a lie.
5) You’re lying to somebody else
If you are in a relationship that you know is an “almost” relationship, you’re inevitably lying to somebody else.
No matter how you define that relationship, nobody really wants to be somebody’s second choice or their person “for now.”
That’s not love, and it’s not a solid basis for a partnership that’s meaningful and loving.
No matter how nicely you try to think of it, being in an “almost” relationship is lying to your partner.
This is especially true if they’re in love with you but deep down you know you don’t feel the same way.
6) You’re blocking other opportunities
If you’re in an “almost” relationship then you are, by definition, not in a full relationship.
You’re taking yourself off the market and potentially blocking other opportunities.
In the intensity and routine of your relationship, you may lose sight of all the other opportunities around you socially and romantically.
You may simply no longer be looking, and thus miss meeting the love of your life.
7) You’re playing with fire in many ways
Being in an “almost” relationship is playing with fire in many ways.
What if your partner gets pregnant?
What if you break your partner’s heart or they break yours?
What if you run into financial trouble as the result of a common law or married relationship that entails certain commitments you didn’t think through?
Most of all, when you try to settle for an almost relationship you start a very dangerous precedent in your life, the precedent of self-betrayal.
8) You’re buying into harmful social myths
Many authority figures in my life told me growing up that romantic love is a myth.
It’s also very common to hear that relationships are work, that passion is fleeting and that you shouldn’t trust your emotions.
These are powerful social myths, but they need to be unpacked a bit to get at the truth.
Romantic love is not a myth, it’s just rare.
Relationships are work, but it depends if it’s worth it.
Temporary emotions and infatuations come and go and physical desire crests and subsides, but your gut instinct and your heart are something you should always heed.
When you believe love is just a silly myth and relationships are basically unenjoyable, you choose to believe in cynicism and give up on love.
This is nihilism. It’s sad and wrong.
9) You’re likely to develop a cynical attitude about love
When you choose to settle for “almost,” you are taking a dangerous step towards cynicism.
People often talk about being cynical and finally finding real love and having their eyes opened.
But the fact remains that cynicism and negativity about romance can create a definite self-fulfilling prophecy.
That’s part of why allowing yourself to settle for something when you deserve more can harm you in very real and deep ways.
10) You’re damaging yourself for future relationships
Getting into “almost” relationships damages you for future relationships.
First and foremost, it uses up months and sometimes even years of your life.
That’s precious time you won’t get back.
In addition, your emotional core and your stability are being thrown into turmoil by engaging your energy and emotions so deeply with somebody you don’t love.
It’s far better to avoid getting into anything “almost” in the first place.
11) You’re inviting codependency and toxic situations
Every relationship has the potential to become toxic and codependent, but especially “almost” relationships.
When you’re ambivalent about being with someone or not really sure if you love them, it’s far easier to get stuck in a toxic back-and-forth.
You like the comfort, the sex, the company, or some aspect of the relationship, perhaps, but you also sometimes feel resentful about not finding real love.
The result is often a very codependent and toxic situation.
12) You’re underestimating the power of love
When you settle for less than you deserve, you underestimate the power of love.
Trusting yourself and your heart is necessary in order to respect love and give it a chance.
When you settle instead, you miss the first step.
How long is this going to take?
There is no guaranteed answer to the question of how long it will take to find the love that is right for you.
But there are several hard truths here about this question, a question I myself have struggled with a lot.
The fact of the matter is that almost will never satisfy you in a meaningful way.
Almost is not enough…
The first reason is that no “almost” relationship will ever lead to true fulfillment in your life or somebody else’s.
At minimum you will waste time, energy, and integrity on love that isn’t meant for you, at worst you may waste years of your life and somebody else’s and contribute to broken families and broken hearts.
The second reason is that all the time and loneliness and struggle when you haven’t found love is a chance to love yourself, and you will become more authentic, more driven, and more sure about what you want as time goes on.
This will make it much clearer when you do meet someone who you truly love and who feels the same about you.
There’s really no other choice!
After all, almost cannot avail; almost is but to fail.