Settling in Relationships and PTSD

By Brian Nadon

There are many reasons why people settle in relationships. Many settle for the wrong reasons, such as convenience, fear of being alone or lonely, financial advantage etc. There are times people involved in the relationship are unclear what he or she actually wants which ultimately, hurts you and your partner in the long term. Now throw PTSD into the mix. What then?

Brian Nadon

In order to have a successful relationship, you must fully understand who you truly are. You should have a good sense of what you are worth. If you haven’t figured this out, it is unwise to have a serious relationship with anyone else. Especially if you’re dealing with PTSD as you’re still trying to figure out, who you were. Some people with PTSD may need years to figure out who they are and what they ultimately want and need in a serious relationship. For others, it is far more simple. You may have doubts about your partner, and that is perfectly normal. The important thing is to discuss the doubts or issues you both have in the relationship.

But what exactly is settling? And what should you watch for if you’re currently working through PTSD?

To some degree we all settle. Settling involves agreeing to be in a relationship where there are some really big, unaddressed issues that bother you.  You settle when you decide to overlook those issues in spite of the fact that know they are deal breakers for you. That is not a healthy relationship.

Brian Nadon

A person with PTSD needs to understand you’re going through a point of emotional immaturity, not by choice, but to regain the ‘true you.’ And if regaining the true you is your end goal, you should look at avoiding one of these five components if it is missing from your relationship.

    Physical chemistry or affection
    Real intimacy, and comfort with the other person
    Trust and security with the other person
    Mutual respect

Chronic settlers end up settling for whoever comes along and who ever is willing to settle with them. They feel fortunate that they are in a relationship. They feel fortunate to be in any relationship and believe it is a better alternative than being alone. Their real motivation is fear of NEVER finding anyone new. Fear paralyzes people with PTSD as you spend your days locked in your mind directing your emotional traffic.

Settling intentionally

Some people are very content being independent within a loving relationship with someone else. They perceive their relationship as dessert to an already fulfilling plate of food, their life. They are very self-sufficient and do not need to have a relationship to have a great life. They are simply open to the idea of being in a relationship.

The other type is someone who craves to be in a relationship. Their need for one is so extreme that they make unwise choices which inevitably lead to sadness, dissatisfaction and broken hearts. Unfortunately, the majority of the adult single population fit into this second mindset. They settle. When you’re struggling with PTSD and your emotional maturity, settling can be a safe departure as you can find someone willing to nurse you. The problem is this type of individual more than often has dependency issues and just looks to mold you into their ideal mate.


Inevitably when one settles for a less than compatible relationships out of longing to be a couple, the result ends up being a lifetime of heartaches. It leads to the kind of life that is not truthfully desired. People often do this after a string of broken hearts. When you look at it from the standpoint of being responsible for whom you choose to be with in a relationship, it can often bring new perspectives. If you recognize that settling is occurring one can take preventative measures to curb it by thinking about your partnerships more deeply.

What are the deeper reasons people with PTSD and emotional issues do it? Main reason, we have been conditioned by society to believe that being coupled is ideal and that it should be what we aspire to attain. Creating our own family and growing old with our soul mate is instilled in our minds from a very young age. As we go through the ups and downs of dating, if after some time we don’t find the person who best fits our needs to sustain a healthy and loving relationship, we begin to believe our ideals are unreasonable or unattainable. Fed up with breakups and longing for a stable relationship, a person may settle for a less than compatible relationship.

Once a person has unconsciously opted to settle, they feel a sense of relief from the difficulties of being single. They enter their relationship with full force and they ignore relationship red flags and dismiss subconscious doubts. They remain in the relationship to the end. It doesn’t matter whether it is stormy, or whether it peacefully lacks a strong love connection. They remain all the same. They are connected as a result of a false connection brought forth out of fear and lack of self-esteem.

There may be times when the relationship feels real and true.  There even may be times of happiness. This is often short-lived. We convince ourselves that the because there are periods of happiness that break up the periods of unhappiness, that it is good enough. The reality is that when a person is in a relationship with someone who is not ideal for them, they make a choice to close off the option of finding true love. It’s unfair to both people in the relationship because everyone deserves to have someone else care for them above all else, and to feel completely safe and secure in their presence. Setting does not produce those results.

What if you are dealing with PTSD, realized you have settled but have good reasons for doing it?

You should ask yourself the following question:

After recovery from trauma, do you wish to spend your time in a relationship that will only bring you limited satisfaction? If you enter or remain in a relationship with someone whom you know does not possess the qualities that you are ultimately seeking, you have sentenced yourself to a lifetime of disappointments and regrets.

People who settle intentionally end up regretting what is missing in their relationship. There are many people who are not particularly physically attracted to their spouses who regret not having a more passionate and exciting sexual life when they get older.

How do you know if you are settling?

“Have you ever seriously thought about what your life would be like with someone else?” If your answer is yes then you are in a relationship with someone you should not be with. You are settling.

People can change and become better mates!


Remember, people who don’t settle and find the right person usually end up in happy healthy relationships, over flowing with love, a promising marriage, and a great family foundation.

It can be difficult to find the right person, but it isn’t impossible. Just remember, “good things come to those who wait.” Not everyone has such discipline. Those who do settle will no doubt waste time and hurt themselves along with the person they are currently with.

If you observe and talk to successful, happy couples who are in serious relationships, they will say without hesitation they never settled in their serious relationships with their significant other.

Wouldn’t you like to say that you aren’t settling too?

You should never settle!

If you’re working through PTSD, not in a relationship, in a relationship, and know in your core that your relationship is not working after you have already gone through great lengths to fix it, then do yourself and your partner a favor and get out. It’s not loving to stay in a relationship with someone you don’t love. It’s not loving to you, your recovery or your partner. Your partner deserves to be with someone who truly wants to be with them! You also deserve to be with someone with whom you’re psyched to wake up beside every day.

Don’t allow fear to block amazing opportunities that may be awaiting you. Take a chance and live and grow; as the saying goes, “feel the fear and do it anyway.”