By Slade Shaw
Author of Why Men Pull Away
Learn exactly what pushes men to leave…and how to NEVER feel abandoned or rejected
Should You Settle For Less?
Have you ever wondered if you should settle for “Mr. Good Enough”?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve met a dozen and a half men who COULD be great boyfriends, husbands, fathers, of your future children … but for whatever reason, you just couldn’t take that next step with them.
So many of us find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place: we deeply want a relationship, but not with any of the men we’re currently dating!
Have YOU ever felt pressured to settle for a guy you weren’t particularly into, simply because you didn’t want to be single?
Read on and discover why “settling” has its advantages as well as disadvantages, and you’ll be able to make up your own mind as to whether you should stick with Mr. “Good Enough.”
First of all, let’s talk about the kind of guy many of us are dating: Mr. Good-But-Not-Great.
Mr. Good-But-Not-Great would be a catch by anyone’s standards. He’s got his life sorted, has a financial plan for his retirement, and treats us with loving respect and admiration.
He cares a lot about us, and he shows it in small ways. He invites us to family gatherings, makes an effort with our friends, and would rather be crashed on our sofa watching movies than out carousing with his buddies.
Our mothers love him, all our friends are asking why we’re not married yet, and yet there’s a tiny voice shouting to be heard over all the congratulations, telling us to…
Ever heard that voice yourself?
In my twenties, I heard it all the time. I wanted NOTHING so much than a boyfriend, but I was caught in a Catch-22. There were young men aplenty who had dreamy eyes for me, but none of them spurred a single iota of romantic excitement in me.
In fact, every time one of them “casually” stopped by to have a chat, the undercurrent of yearning in their voices made me feel the exact opposite emotion: I wanted to run away!
For a long time, I thought there was something wrong with me. Was I just too picky? Maybe I just needed to give these young men a chance.
So I said yes to a few of them. One tedious date after another confirmed my suspicions: it was better to stay home than go out with someone who’s head-over-heels in love with you when you’re not even remotely interested.
I’ve since discovered that my experience was quite normal. I get emails all the time from women who say that they’d LOVE to meet someone to have a relationship with. Unfortunately, they can’t seem to meet anyone who quite spins their wheels.
Some of these women believe that there’s something wrong with THEM for not feeling attracted to the single-and-available men they meet. They wonder if they’re too picky, or if they’re just over the singles scene, or if they’re “meant” to be single forever.
Other women believe that it’s the MEN’S fault. They think that the men they meet are too dull, too immature, or too self-absorbed.
But no matter WHOSE fault it is, the end result is the same. Those of us who desire nothing more than a loving, committed relationship are caught between a rock and a hard place…
…EITHER we settle for someone we’re not really into, OR we stay single.
So should you settle for Mr. Good-But-Not-Great?
Author Lori Gottlieb of TheAtlantic.com says you should. In her article “Marry Him! The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough” (Atlantic Monthly, March 2008), she argues that you should put marriage before love.
Her thinking goes like this. Many modern women believe that they shouldn’t settle for anything less than their soulmate, but, as they hit their thirties and start seeing their fertile years wane, they start to panic.
They start to realize that if they want to have a family, they’ll either have to do it themselves as single moms, or they’ll have to say yes to the next acceptable man who proposes.
According to Gottlieb, there’s nothing wrong at all with the latter option!
She believes that a lot more men are suitable husbands than we think. She says, “Marriage isn’t a passion-fest; it’s more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business.”
So, even if we DON’T feel that spark or overwhelming romantic infatuation for someone, it doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t make a good husband for us – according to Gottlieb.
I would imagine that proponents of arranged marriages would agree. I’ve always been amazed at the number of women who were unable to select their husband, yet found that they could grow to love him as deeply as any man they’d selected on their own.
But is that what we REALLY want?
Do you want to tell your kids, “When I met your daddy, I thought he was a nice man. Then I married him, and I found out that he was … well, even nicer!”
I strongly disagree with the advice that you should settle for someone who’s “good enough,” and I’ll tell you why.
First of all, I believe that men deserve better than a wife who settled for them. When there is an imbalance of love in a relationship – when the man is completely head-over-heels with his wife, and his wife is merely comfortable – it’s visible to everyone around them.
If that women even mentioned just once to one of her friends that she felt like she was settling for her husband, it would eventually get back to him … and what a slap in the face! No man deserves to be in a relationship where everyone knows that his wife was “settling.”
Second of all, marriages are tough to work. They’re not the smooth, tranquil walk in the park that Gottlieb paints them as. When you’re married, you’re going to come into conflict.
You’re going to find that your ideas don’t match. You’re going to argue and fight. You’re even going to wonder if you should separate.
If you NEVER believed that this man was “The One” for you, it will be much easier for you to throw up your hands and bid goodbye to the relationship.
Why go through all the pain and struggle of a challenging marriage when you always felt that you settled for him anyway?
If, on the other hand, you married him believing that this was the one for you in this lifetime, then that faith is going to carry you through your marital challenges.
You will still find things difficult, but you’ll remember how strongly you believed in this relationship and this man. That faith is will help you get through and STAY married.
And there’s something else that Gottlieb hasn’t considered. What happens if you settle for a man … then end up bumping into Mr. Right years down the track? Look at Tori Spelling.
Meeting “The One” while you’re still married puts you in a horrible position: either you’ll have to destroy your marriage and hurt your husband for the chance at true love, or settle for a life apart from your true soulmate.
Settling for a man that’s not-so-perfect, just so that you can have a family and children before it’s too late, can open up an ugly and hurtful can of worms.
But does that mean that you should turn up your nose at any man who doesn’t seem like a potential husband?
Of course not.
I am a firm believer in the idea that every relationship is in your life for a reason. When you’re dating Mr. Good-But-Not-Great, you’re learning valuable relationship skills.
You’re learning how to cope when a relationship isn’t satisfying. You’re learning how to deal with an imperfect situation. You’re learning to clarify your own needs and take a stand.
So yes, go ahead and date men that you wouldn’t marry!
But just don’t MARRY him.
Do one thing for me: imagine yourself at your golden wedding anniversary. You’re sitting at a long table beside your husband and looking proudly at all your children and grandchildren. One of your grandchildren pipes up: “Grandma! Tell us how you and Grandaddy met and fell in love!”
What kind of story do you want to tell?
Do you want to tell a story about how your eyes locked across a table and you just knew you were meant for each other?
Or do you want to tell a story about what a good guy he was and how you decided to get married someday because everyone was expecting you to?
The choice is yours.
Let me know your thoughts and experiences with settling or not in the comments below!
If you’re ready to take the plunge and learn why men pull away – Click here to watch my free video presentation…