Settling For Less: Love Yourself To Love Someone Else

When I hear the phrase “settling for less,” I get automatic flashbacks from my own personal life to my family and friends. Those three words have a huge backstory behind it for me; the question is whether it’s good or bad.

Some people date below their own standards for various reasons, whether because of some insecurities or self-hatred, and they settle for someone who does them no favors, someone who is the definition of disrespect and even abuse.

People also settle for less because they’re intent on finding the ideal mate. They know exactly what they want in a mate, and feel defeated when they can’t find that person.  They run into the arms of the first person they can – usually the total opposite of their ideal – because they feel that’s what they deserve. Some people want to be in a relationship so badly they’re willing to take whatever comes to them.

How do I know? I was that person.

I remember being a young, lost boy with incredibly insecurity and lots of self-hatred. I didn’t think that anyone really looked or acted liked me. I felt I was a combination of so many things that some people assumed I was nonexistent. No one really saw who I really was: a guy who was a combination of geek and gay male. I was smart, hyperactive, and doing my best to be everyone’s friend. I never showed anger or stress. I always had a happy smile.

Because of my differences, people removed me from their lives. The friends I did have revealed to me later on that they became friends with me because they felt sorry that I didn’t have any friends. One secret after the next was revealed to me. It made so miserable that what made me, me was not accepted by anyone.

It even crossed into my relationships. When I started dating my second boyfriend, I began hanging out with men who were the total opposite of me. Bad boys who loved cursing and saying the n-word constantly, smoked and sold drugs, etc. They had jobs, but selling drugs helped to put extra money in their pockets. Their daily regime was hustling, fighting, and having group sex in each other’s cribs every day. I was the kind boy next door who looked like a future trophy wife. When these men showed me affection and attention, I went for it.

Later on in my relationship, when my boyfriend began to know me a little more, he and his friends were all of a sudden turned off by me. They were turned off by my intelligence, mannerisms, and geeky personality. It’s like they’d never seen a guy like me.  My boyfriend pulled me to the side one day and said this to me before I left – he buttered me up before dropping a bomb on me. “When you hang out with me and my boys, adjust your vocabulary. Talk to me like a normal person. I don’t want you upstaging me with that out of this world brain of yours.” He also asked me to change my looks to fit in better with what he thought “a real man” would be.

I walked away from that conversation feeling more miserable than ever. I wanted to be accepted, but I didn’t want to change myself. But because I wanted to keep my relationship, I did.  I changed 99% of myself in front of my boyfriend and his crew. I stopped using “big words,” the n-word was coming out of my mouth like crazy (which I don’t say or use at all), and I even got involved in some risky sexual behavior, all to please my man.  All I was doing was a reflection of how much I hated myself. I felt like no one was going to accept me for who I was, so I changed everything about me and settled for something and someone that was beneath me.

Then one night, I woke up and I realized this wasn’t right. I was not supposed to hate myself; I was supposed to love and accept myself. After that moment of clarity, I knew it was time for everyone to accept me as a black, openly gay, geek.  Within days, I changed back into who I was really was. I broke up with my boyfriend and his crew, and started talking like an intelligent human being again.

I realized that I know who I am and I love who I am. I stopped being myself for a while because of insecurities and self-hatred. It doesn’t matter if someone thinks you’re alien, as long as you know yourself, you should never settle for less – especially in relationships.  Because someday, someone is going to walk into your life and love you for whom you are.

Roque Caston is a writer, blogger, and journalist who resides in New York City. He’s a college student majoring in Writing & Literature. He created the humor blog “Roque’s Reality” from 2009-2014. His writings has been featured in various digital and print publications such as True Fashionista Now, The Future Forward, Gayosphere, Floss Magazine, Juan& and Swerv Magazine.

  • LC

    Thank you for that! I was that kid too, sans relationship. It takes longer for some of us to get comfortable in our own skin.

  • Omar Marks

    I am soo greatful for you posting this. All of my life since I was young, I have been trying to fit in with people that were different from me. The sad thing is I have even pledged a fraternity hoping that they would love and accept me; well they didnt. I have always felt like an outsider and even now I am 42 years old and will be 43 years old. I dont feel feel accepted from other peeople. I am trying to accept myself but I dont know how to do it.So now I am learning.

    • It’s Cost Me A Lot, But There’s One Thing That I’ve Got…

      Well we are a family of strong lbgt support. You can come here any time and talk to any of us and we accept you just as you are. Give me a hug.

      • Omar Marks


        • It’s Cost Me A Lot, But There’s One Thing That I’ve Got…

          Well baby, you’ve got to remember nothing in this life is guaranteed, but that should give you all the motivation to stay on your Ps and Qs just in case. In life you’d rather be safe than sorry. There is a Hospice nurse that is gaining a good deal of attention because she started recording the last regrets of her patients before they passed. Most of them very elderly had thoughts of wishing they had just been themselves and didnt care what others thought. So hopefully this inspires you to keep up the good work and only strive to please those worthy of our love.

        • It’s Cost Me A Lot, But There’s One Thing That I’ve Got…

          *edit* That’s “YOUR LOVE”

  • Yonaton

    I can definitely agree with this article 100%. I have been single for the pass 2 and 1/2 years and for the most part, I can say that it is by choice. However, I would love to be in a strong, loving, and committed relationship. While I have not allowed myself to be in lackluster relationships with people I do not care about, I do find myself getting attached to any hope of a good guy. This means I do date but fall flat because most of the guys are not into the idea of relationships, have baggage, and lack loyalty. I truly believe I do the right thing, but am starting to think people like the “mr. wrong/bad” type of guy. I keep myself in shape, dress nice, work extremely hard, passionate, unique, love to talk, and so much more!!!! But, I am beginning to think that that scares people away or they assume I am “stuck up.” not the truth at all! one question i’d like to post to the editor is where can you find good guys who understands sacrifice and knows how to work hard by putting in the time necessary?

    • It’s Cost Me A Lot, But There’s One Thing That I’ve Got…

      Baby, I believe it was the very classic Velvelettes with their 1965 hit, that said it best, “FINDING A GOOD MAN IS JUST LIKE FINDING A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK!” You know suga, I think it would be best to look at your problem from outside the entire earth. Where have you been? Where have you traveled? If you believe that there is someone out there for everyone, then you’ve got a bit of hunting to do. I mean after all, I am not saying go on a long and drawn out international man hunt, but sweet baby YOU’RE GOING TO ONLY LIVE ONCE, SO WHY THE HELL NOT!? You said yourself you are highly eligible, keeps clean and flies right, so why not fly right into a brand new and fresh location?

      Your man may not be here and that is not an issue. You’ve got the means to do a little hunting and life should be about some adventure. I say get your world map out, mark it and attend some event full of culture somewhere lovely. There is no telling what you may find and whom you may find.


    This is interesting.. but I’d like to present another perspective. I don’t subscribe to the belief of “settling.” I feel loves two big to be boxed in, believing that there is one magical being who will be “the one.” do i agree with the fact that no one should be made to feel less than? hell yes.. however, I feel love, and relationships are all about making decisions. we decide who is for us and who is not. Hopefully we do so with the clear consciousness that the person will elevate us, that may not always be the case.

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