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I happen to believe that the second you think you’re “settling” for a guy, that relationship is already doomed. And there’s a difference between overlooking someone’s more undesirable personality quirks—say, his penchant for telling cheesy knock-knock jokes—and bringing a man into your life who brings you down in some way. That’s real settling, and here are four really bad reasons to do so.

1. You’re super sick of being single. Been there, done that, considered dating—and did date—a less than desirable dude. Whether you’re still stinging from your last breakup or you’ve been single so long you’re not sure if sex is still in style, it can be really tempting to take the first guy who isn’t all that bad, rather than holding out for the best life will bring you. The danger in not waiting for someone who really makes your engine rev is that you can start to believe that he’s the best you can get. You owe it to yourself to prove you deserve an amazing, not just OK, man. (This isn’t to say you can’t date an A-OK guy—just save the commitment for someone who doesn’t make you feel like you’re settling.)

2. Because you’ve stopped believing in true love. I don’t believe in soulmates, but I also do believe in true love—because true love is what happens when the honeymoon phase is over and you still work, every day, to make your relationship awesome and your significant other’s life better. When bad relationships have beaten you down, it can be all-too-easy to believe that something subpar is as good as it gets. It’s not. I promise. You may never have a movie-like romance story to tell, but you can find true love—that special love that sustains through fights and tough times and loss, plus all the good, of course.

3. You’re exhausted with life, and you like that he doesn’t challenge you because he, himself, has zero ambition. But unlike you, who’s going through a phase, this man’s top goal in life is to beat the latest level on his favorite PlayStation game. When you get out of your funk, you’ll want more than this man is capable of offering or pushing you to participate in, and you’ll get very tired of the way he drags you down. Better to recognize you’ll move on and up when your batteries recharge, and wait for a man who can climb life’s ladder with you.

4. Because you don’t love yourself. When our self-esteem takes a nose-dive and there’s a hole left in our heart, many of us have a tendency to plug up that hole with any ol’ man. Because even a so-so guy can act as a stopgap to the pain we feel inside, whether that’s shame over a recent weight gain or feeling lost after a layoff—anything that makes you feel like you’re not the incredible, smart, beautiful inside-and-out woman the rest of us know you are. It’s worth being happy with yourself first before searching for love. The happier and more in love you are with yourself (in a non-narcissistic way, of course), the better man you will attract.