Yesterday we discussed the differences between not easy and hard as they pertain to relationships and how perceptions alter our cognitive processing—ultimately contributing to how we relate to loved ones. Another similar distortion used with regularity is when we rationalize that our relationship isn’t bad—which by default—makes us automatically see what we have as good. But is that really true? Not bad and good are two mutually exclusive thoughts. If you’re asked how the steak was and you reply, “not bad,” do you get that wow sensation and refer to the flavor as good? Or does not bad mean mediocre or not great? Not bad means not awful and interchanging the not bad with good means you have settled for less. Don’t gage your relationship on the extreme absolutes but rather take the middle ground and see the relationship for what you truly feel. For example, when someone answers the how-are-you-doing salutation with, not bad are they genuinely convinced that they’re good? Not really, not bad means just what it implies: not bad, not good…just okay. Conversely, stating you’re in a good marriage because you’ve experienced a bad marriage is just as inaccurate. When new budding romances are devoid of certain previous characteristics, which were bad experiences, the knee-jerk reaction might be to compare them to old unhealthy relationships and see the new person as good for you. But the truth is, each relationship is an island that stands alone and must merit its own worth based on how it feels in and of itself. There are couples trapped in marriages that aren’t bad enough to leave yet not good enough to stay. They are in suspended animation. These are the marriages where people stay together and role model to their children what love is supposed to look like but then flee once the kids are on their own. New research finds that divorce isn’t what screws up kids…it’s unhealthy marriages that do. If you find yourself in this predicament determine if what you have with your partner is remotely close to what you want for your children to have in their marriages. The clock is ticking with each moment you spend time convincing yourself the relationship is good based on it not being bad. More importantly, you demonstrate to your kids what love is supposed to feel like. Do you want your kids to have the same relationship that you have? Although each individual contributes to how the relationship looks there are times when nothing can be done to make the relationship right because the other party is unwilling. Decide if staying is worth it because sooner or later the choice between having a relationship, which is not bad will just not be good.