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Aug. 3, 2022

Episode 19 - Don't Settle

Episode 19 - Don't Settle


The Intentionally Emotive Podcast with Shaun Karim

E19 - Don't Settle

Insecurities and how they change people’s points of view.  Insecure people getting into relationships are all over social media, and it seems like they’re taking over the internet–by why is that?  Are the videos, stories, and memes we laugh at a true reflection of the state of the dating and romantic relationship world?

To some extent, yes.  The behavior that these people exhibit is happening in the real world.  Are you one of them?  Are you dealing with one now?

In this episode, Shaun goes into great detail about these insecurities, what you can do about them and the steps you need to take to become a better version of yourself so that you set yourself and your significant other on a path to the best relationship you could ever have. - Subscribe, listen to past episodes, and leave a voicemail message to be featured in future episodes!

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How's it going, everybody?  Welcome to the Intentionally Emotive Podcast with Shaun Karim, part of the Mental Health News Radio Network.  New episodes are available every Wednesday on your favorite podcast platform.

If you want to leave a voice message about any topic or have a question to be featured in a future episode, go to and click the microphone icon on the bottom right of your screen.

This episode is titled “Don’t Settle” and applies to anyone who is looking to get into a romantic relationship with someone, but ladies, this is more for you; and guys, I think you can learn a lot here.

I’ve noticed lately that more and more we’re getting inundated with information about men and women getting into relationships and settling.  One of the main commonalities between the two is their points of view are so screwed up that at some point, this distorts how they see not only people, but themselves as well.  So with this lens that they’re looking through, everything is clouded, nothing is as clear as it could be, and they’re making life changing decisions based on this view and their misconceptions about what’s in front of them.

If this is you, then you need to recalibrate your thinking about yourself first; stop acting like “woe is me” and stop being the victim.  You have work you need to do on yourself; I invite you to look at my past episodes and see which ones resonate with you.

You need to make sure that you address your insecurities that hold you back; look at them as a signal that you have something to do, a task or tasks to complete for yourself in order to bring about the healthiest version of yourself.  The sooner you do that, the better.  Not for your potential significant other; not for your friends; not for your family, but for you.  You come first.  Period.

I’m going to go into a bit of a story to illustrate this point.  I moved to the area I live in now about a year and a half ago and knew nothing about this place and didn’t know anyone.

So I went on this app where you can meet people who share similar interests in your area.  Eventually, I connected with a group that was pretty good and started making friends.  I connected with one guy in particular because the recent experiences we had were so similar that it was something we could talk about, vent and repent, learn, and so on.

Like me, he went through a divorce with someone who had emotionally abandoned him; and he was essentially trying to hit the reset button on his life.  I resonated with that a lot because, at one point, I was thinking about moving out of state and just starting everything all over again.  So we got along really well.  During this time, I was just trying to live a simple life; no drama, not having to answer to someone who was so controlling, and honestly I was on the path to discovering the new me.  I knew I couldn’t go back to the old me because that’s partly what got me in trouble in the first place.

This guy was like that too, or so I thought.  So I’d hang out with him and this group once or twice a week.  I did that with intention because I knew there were some things I still had to figure out, and I needed time alone to do that.  I learned being in a situationship was a silly thing to do.  I finally understood that I didn’t need to explain myself to people who didn’t deserve that type of access to my life.  I saw that my value at my workplace was higher than I thought it was, and that was because my self esteem was so low at one point that I forgot what I had to offer.

So we’d text to check in on each other, and we’d talk whenever we could about this work that I was doing, that he told me he was doing as well.  Eventually, after a few months, he got into a kind-of relationship with someone about ten years younger than him.  As you’d expect, that didn’t last long because these two people are at completely different stages of life.

So they broke up pretty quickly, and what followed was a lot of emotional pain, mental anguish, and honestly my friend would bounce around between being angry and sad quite a bit.  I hated seeing him like this and I was surprised that he got into that relationship to begin with.  After all of the talks we’ve had, about how we couldn’t be with someone ever again with whom we couldn’t have an emotional and mental connection, how we wouldn’t settle, and that we weren’t even seeking a relationship at this point.

The type of relationship she wanted was different from what he could offer; and from what I understand, the appeal of being with a significantly older man was so attractive to her, that when she added in how well they got along and their cultural similarities, she thought this was the best route to a real relationship.

So finally there is a big enough break–not a clean break–that he gets back into the groove he was in before.  During all of that time, I did a bunch of work, including shadow work that I talked about in a previous episode that I’ll link in the notes, and to say it was eye opening is putting it lightly.  Why?  Because I sat with myself for hours in a quiet room–no TV, no phone, not even light–and I faced as much as I could all of the stuff I was ignoring.  All of those things I went through that I didn’t want to acknowledge and understand, all of the questions I was ignoring, and understanding what I wanted in life–these aren’t light topics for anyone.  It’s not easy and it takes a ton of work, but you can’t expect anyone to do that work for you.

Eventually, I was very clear about what I didn’t want, the mistakes I made to get into those situations before my situationship, before my marriage, understanding more about the trauma from my relationships and my upbringing with my parents; and with all of that I had a very distinct picture of what I wanted in my life, and I wasn’t going to compromise.  That meant, and still means today, that if I have to settle, then I’d rather not have it; I’m not going to accept less than what I know I want.

Eventually, around November 2021, I signed up on one of those dating apps where, at least for a hetero male perspective, the female has to make the first move; not just swiping right, but they have to send a message first.  I had no idea that these dating apps were such a shit show, and pretty quickly I was mainly using this app passively.  I swiped left so much that the app literally told me to stop doing that.  But why did I keep going?  Because I knew what I wanted, I knew what I didn’t want, and I wasn’t going to settle.

I was rewarded for that.  Finally, the right person swiped right, I liked her profile, and we started talking.  Basically the same age.  Similar life experiences.  Similar thought processes.  We’ve done similar work on ourselves.  We understood there was additional work to be done, and we committed to help each other as we could with that.  Our goals for being in a romantic relationship were exactly the same.

Very quickly, we got off the app, and pretty much right away we both closed our dating accounts.  I’m still in a relationship with her today.  As stuff I couldn’t resolve on my own come up because the triggering event requires me to be in a deeper relationship, she helps me through them, and vice versa.  We have a lot of fun with our quirky sense of humor and our interests.  We have very similar life goals, and now we get to achieve them together.

From her perspective, she did the same work that I did; so she knew what she wanted, she knew what she didn’t want, and that was the end of it.  So when we connected, she relied on my consistency, I needed to make my intentions with her clear so she knew what she was getting into, she had to determine quickly whether or not I was going to be a dick or a “nice guy” like she and so many other women encounter regularly, I had to communicate with her using her love language, and the things we wanted in life had to be congruent with each other.

But what’s my friend doing during this time?  He got into a relationship with someone else, this time someone 13 years younger than him.  So now he’s repeated the pattern from his previous relationship.  So, for them two, no similar life experience.  Skewed views on the opposite sex because neither of them have done that internal work that is so important.  Different stages of their professional careers.  Realistically, different expectations from this relationship despite what anyone says.  Their maturity levels aren’t the same.  How they want to live their daily lives aren’t the same; he’s been there, done that; and she’s still learning about what she likes and doesn’t like, what she wants and doesn’t want.

So can you guess how that ended?  The same way his previous relationship did.  So what are the lessons here?

Obviously, for my friend, he’s going to keep making the same mistakes over and over again until he learns those lessons.  His views on women need to be adjusted.  But what’s the lesson for the women he was with?

Ladies, when you are seeking a relationship with someone, one of the first things that needs to be understood is that this is not just a partnership, but a friendship.  Your potential significant other isn’t someone who is only in their own separate category as your boyfriend or husband.  If you can’t see this person as your best friend, then why bother?  This person with whom you are going to hopefully spend the rest of your life with, who you are going to share finances with, make memories, start a family, why would this person be anything but the best of the best for you?

The foundation of your relationship with this person needs to be solid.  I can’t stress this enough.  It needs to be the most solid of any relationship you’ve ever had.  It takes work, commitment, understanding, acceptance, trust, reassurance, respect, and love.  None of this happens by accident.  All of it happens with intention.  That means you must go into this knowing that you want this from your person; otherwise, at some point, this will fail.

But how do you do this?  How do you know that you can build this relationship with someone?  How do you know that you won’t be wasting your time?  How do you know that this guy is the one who will treat you right?

I’ll start by saying there is no guarantee about anyone.  I think that’s obvious.  With the story I shared, I’m not saying that you absolutely need to meet someone who is around your age; there are always exceptions to anything.  What I’m getting at is that the person you’re with needs to be where you are–that means, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

There needs to be an understanding that the reason you two are on the same page is because your experiences, whatever they are, got you there.  One isn’t so far ahead of the other that life and relationship goals are so out of line that there’s no way to gain alignment on that.  It doesn’t work that way.  Trust me, I know this more than most people do–my ex-wife was significantly older than I was, and that difference was one of the reasons that our marriage ended.

One of the worst things about my marriage is it took almost 11 years for it to end.  So all of that time that we spent together and did the things we did was for naught.  Other than the experiences I’ve gained, many of which people should never have, I have nothing to show for it.  The house we bought is gone.  The savings we managed to put together are gone.  The friends we made together are gone.  Neither of us are getting that time back.

The person you choose to be your partner needs to earn your respect and your trust.  Neither of these things should be given to just anyone.  I’m sure many of you have come across the “nice guy”; there are a bunch of memes and social media accounts dedicated to that.  Let me tell you, as a guy, I know them to be true.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had acquaintances or been within earshot of guys taking pride in being an asshole to a woman.

So the person you choose needs to understand how to care for you, needs to understand your traumas and how to respond to them and reassure you, how to be a friend to you, and how to communicate with you.

You’re hopefully choosing someone who wants the same thing you do, and one of the main ways to know that is the way you two communicate with each other.  Learn how to love.  Learn how to speak.  Learn how to argue.  All of it.  A lot of it is going to be uncomfortable, especially if you’ve had negative experiences with that in the past, but you need to do it.  There is no other way around that.

If you can’t relate to each other on a visceral level, at some point those cracks will expose themselves and it’ll be easy for either of you to be distracted by other things or other people.  You want this guy to be faithful to you, right?  You want him to treat you as you should be treated, right?  That means this guy needs to have experienced the things in life that will help him understand the mistakes he’s made, how to avoid them, and has learned what he wants from you and the value he places on all of that; because if he doesn’t, the relationship is pointless.

Take a look at the type of people he surrounds himself with.  Observe his relationship with his family members and learn why those relationships are the way they are.  Understand what he can do to provide for you; not just financially, but mentally and emotionally.

If a guy doesn’t want to learn how to care for and love you, then what can you expect from him?  He needs to learn how to anticipate your needs.  He needs to know how to calm you down or at least put you in a caring environment when you’re pissed off or sad.  He needs to know what it’ll take to relieve the stress you might have when you come home from work.

By the way, none of this is a one-way street.  All of this goes both ways, and there are no exceptions.  The way you want him to be there for you, you must be there for him.  If you want him to care for you, you need to care for him.  Learn what makes him tick.  See what it’s going to take to comfort him.  Understand what his love language is, and tell him what yours is.  Some guys won’t get this only by listening or watching you, so help him out and tell him.

This isn’t a competition.  It’s not about one person being better than the other.  This partnership isn’t you two being a couple, but more like a pair.  You’re a unit who work together and do what you can to make things work.  The health of your relationship with each other is a direct result of the effort you both put in it.

Some of you may have encountered a lot of guys who aren’t up to par.  Maybe you’re thinking you need to snag the best of the bad bunch before someone else snatches him up.

That is a mistake.

If you do that, you will learn to resent him, and his response to that will be exactly the same.  Maybe not right away, but he’ll get there; and when that happens, what’ll be left?

Be happy being alone.  Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.  Enjoy yourself.  Take yourself out on dates.  Go to day spas.  Take a small trip.  Hang out with your friends and family.  Do the things that make you happy.  Don’t rely on someone else to make you happy.  Instead, that person should enhance your life, including your happiness.

You need to choose a guy who has the emotional intelligence to be in this partnership with you.  The guy you end up in a relationship with needs to be someone you can literally call your best friend.  When you wake up, they’re there.  When you go to sleep, they’re there.  When you’re having a tough day, they’re there to comfort you.  When you need love, they are more than ready to give it.

And if you take care of him in these ways?  Imagine how beautiful of a relationship this could be.

So if you’re waiting, and if it seems like you’ve been waiting a long time, and you know you’re ready and don’t settle for second best.  There is no such thing.  Believe me when I say you’re better off being alone and enjoying your own company than being with someone who you know isn’t completely right for you.

If you’re patient enough, when the timing is right, you’ll learn not to settle for a guy like my friend.  No offense to him, but he’s the example of a guy you can’t be in a serious relationship with because he still has a shitload of work to do.  That’s the guy who has a lot to go through, a lot of introspection, someone who needs to look at himself in the mirror and acknowledge and work on the things that need to be improved.

The wait will be worth it.  The work you’ve done will be worth it.  All of the things you’ve gone through, as tough as they may seem right now, will be worth it.  When this guy comes along, he will feel the same exact way.

And that’s beautiful.


All right, guys.  Thanks for listening to the Intentionally Emotive Podcast with Shaun Karim.  If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to spread the word on social media and check out