The person who came up with the phrase “never settle for less” obviously didn’t know it’s much easier said than done.
As cliché as the phrase is, it’s essential to never, under any circumstances, settle for anything less than you deserve. When you are aware of what you have to offer in any relationship, why would you even entertain the thought of settling?
When you’re in a situation you think is not ideal for you, a part of your conscience kicks in and tells you to change it because you know you deserve a thousand times better.
For some, particularly myself, it’s easier to do what’s right when romantic feelings aren’t involved. Once you start dealing with matters of the heart, then it becomes one giant, messy cluster.
If you read last week’s column then you are aware of the real story about my relationship with Brandon. (Yes, people, he’s back.) I painted the picture of the mess I got myself into as the other woman, but what you don’t know is why I settled for what Brandon gave me.
Life as the other woman is like being the bench warmer instead of the main player. No one intentionally sets out to sit on the bench, or at least I hope they don’t, but sometimes we find ourselves playing second string to another person. If Brandon didn’t want to be with only me, then why did I want to stick around?
The problem is love and relationships are much more complex than a sports team. If you have a friend who isn’t treating you right, you cut them out of your life no matter how bad it hurts. But if your significant other isn’t the person you deserve, it’s not as easy to turn off your feelings and move on to something better.
When I realized my role in Brandon’s life, I managed to still stay in the mess because of my uncanny ability to live in a state of denial.
After the initial shock wore off when I got the news he had a girlfriend, things between us were a little tense to say the least. However, he quickly did a fabulous job of melting it away and reinstating the comfort and ease between us. It was as if the main player didn’t exist.
My text messages were responded to in a timely manner a majority of the time, but every once in awhile there would be a significant lag. This occurred mostly on the weekends, when he didn’t have work or school to keep him busy.
I’d tell myself he was just occupied, knowing very well who he was occupied with. Every time I would admit why he wasn’t around I would break down. My heart ached that I wasn’t a top priority. Here I was on the sidelines with no hope of becoming a starter, and it disgusted me that I was OK with it.
Brandon would go through sporadic moments of being emotionally distant from me. I would get livid with his behavior, but I didn’t have a right to because subconsciously I knew the issue was most likely his girlfriend.
When he had the slightest notion he was losing me, that was when he made himself available, both emotionally and in person. He would say and do everything necessary to bring me back, and it worked like a charm time after time.
As soon as he had me back in the game, it wouldn’t take long for him to go back to his usual behavior. But it was the times he was there with me that made up for all those times I was alone.
The whole time we were involved I wanted more than empty words. As a second-stringer I settled for them because, at the end of the day, they were words.
I did a superb job in convincing myself that on some level he meant them and he would occasionally tell me he did. Deep down I knew better, but knowing that didn’t stop me from staying glued to the bench.
I continued to settle for him because it was better to have something than to have nothing at all. I couldn’t fathom the thought of being emotionally alone, and keeping Brandon around helped me avoid that possibility.
There were times when the relationship was amazing. I couldn’t ask for anything better, except maybe a legitimate commitment. The problem was he made it easy for me to be real and I didn’t want to lose that person in my life.
I enjoyed the moments we spent together, but the problem was they were only moments. He knew I wanted more than what he was giving. He warned me that his situation wasn’t going to change, but as you’ve read, I stupidly stuck around.
As much as I love him, for my own sanity and heartache, I wished I realized sooner that the chances of being his star player were slim to none.
If you’re a bench warmer and haven’t admitted it to yourself, what in the world are you waiting for? If you’re worried about the pain, the truth is I can promise you that it’s going to severely hurt. Whether it’s just the beginning, or you’ve already committed your whole heart, get up now.
There is absolutely nothing appealing about this situation. No matter how you feel about the orchestrator of the game, if they are keeping you on the bench, then obviously they aren’t worth your commitment.
For some strange, twisted reason being a bench warmer was my definition of happiness for so long. I hope it won’t be yours.