Am I Settling?
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Cataloged in Romance / Love

‘Am I Settling?’ 25 People Answer The Question No One Wants To Acknowledge

Am I Settling?

1. Settled, Didn’t Work Out

I feel like the divorce was worth every penny

2. How Settling Became Absolute Love

I was in my late teens, still ruffled from a long term relationship breakup a few years prior (note: not actually long term) and I met someone else. I wanted to be in another long term relationship, and I decided that this girl would do for now. I’d been single for a while, and had designed the perfect girlfriend into a picture in my head, and now was waiting for her to arrive. This girl was not that picture, but whatever.

So we started dating and all was going relatively well, but then she got sick. Crap. I needed to be there for her – not only physically, but mentally too. So I told myself to grow up a bit – ‘make more of an investment!’ ‘Jesus Christ!’ ‘It’s over with that other girl (I told myself)!’ I needed to make a commitment or move on – I couldn’t keep stringing her along. So there I was in the hospital, visiting my girlfriend, mentally prepping myself to be more ‘there’ for her, and then it just sort of hit me. My girlfriend needs a real friend, not someone playing pretend. It’s super cliche, I know, but it really was a spark that turned into a flame, then a fire, and eventually that forest of old feelings was eventually burned to ash. This was not a quick process, but over the next few years by really focusing on growing the fuck up, I went from dating one girl and wishing I was with someone else, to dating this amazing girl and being glad I’m not with anyone else – all just a change in perception.

And she was amazing. I, on the other hand, was a complete immature idiot for not caring. We stayed together when she was released (in great health) from the hospital, and started really working on our relationship. And then it just grew, and grew, and grew…

We’re older now, and married, and have talked in the past about how our relationship started. The worst part is that she knew all along. She knew shortly after we started dating that my mind was somewhere else, but for whatever reason we both decided that we would stick it out for lack of something better – at least, that’s what we thought at the time. I feel extremely lucky to be with the woman I’m with – it’s hard remembering how it all started, but it certainly worked out for the best.

So yes, I settled. Actually, we both felt like we settled at the time. But we were lucky enough to be with each other when we started to mature into better people, and we’ve grown only closer because of it. She definitely was not the ‘woman of my dreams’ at the time (my dreams were stupid anyways), but she really is now, and I don’t really care how fucking cheesy that sounds.

TL;DR – I settled for my gf (and she for me), and then grew the fuck up and made that relationship work like a fucking adult, and soon realized that she was the one. ~fin~

3. ‘Settling’ Means You’re Not Happy With Yourself

Being happy with yourself is a very important part of being happy in a relationship. If you require another person to be happy you’re placing an undue burden on your partner. It’s much easier and more satisfying to make someone happy when they’re not counting on you to do it day after day.

I figured out that I was much happier when I stopped making marriage a goal and learned to be happy with myself. When I dated someone new I wasn’t always trying to evaluate them to decide if they were the one. I just entered into relationships naturally and let them run their course naturally.

When I was with my now-wife it was our relationship that indicated marriage. We were (and are) a very good pair and getting married just made a bunch of sense.

I was just enjoying being with her and realized I was probably never going to want to stop. That was the only item on my marriage check list so I proposed.

4. Don’t Make Yourself Crazy

I got married early. I love her immensely. I have a feeling that many people in that situation would agree that they wonder if they settled and didn’t realize it. However, then I think, you’re happy so don’t sweat it. You can drive yourself crazy worrying about things like that.

5. I Didn’t Settle, She Did

How about the shoe on the other foot? My wife is as hot as the noonday sun, has multiple college degrees (she’s a teacher), and she’s a good deal (7 yrs) younger than me. On my best day (pre-cancer) I was a solid 6 and she can do a 9 in a sweatshirt. I asked her out in the beginning knowing I was breaching the sacred “never go higher than 2” rule but I’ll be damned if she didn’t say yes. When dating got serious I told her I was falling in love and she asked if that meant we were going to get married.

It’s been almost 20 years now. We have great kids and the best day to day life I could ever imagine. A couple years back I got cancer and it brutalized my face and neck. I went from a 6 to a (look at him, he looks funny!) 4, got all scarred up, lost all my lean muscle mass to wasting, and lost all my teeth. The crazy woman still hugs me every day, kisses me right on the mouth no matter who is around, and keeps me warm at night. She just brought me a fresh coffee as I was typing this…It’s like some crazy long dream I never want to end.

Do me a favor and DON’T ask her. I don’t want to know that answer. Let me die thinking that this is all because she really does love me as much as life itself. That her day revolves around our time together. That growing old together is something to look forward to and not something to fear.

Because that’s how I feel.

6. Being Told You Settled When You Know You Didn’t

I keep being told that I settled, but I don’t honestly think I did. I’m the “hot one” in the relationship, but he’s the confident one. He walks into a room and he owns that fucking room. I read fiction for fun, he devours news, but nothing else. (Don’t worry, he doesn’t believe it all.) I have a bachelor’s degree, he’s pushing 40 and just now going back for his GED. Not that he isn’t smart, because he is, he never needed it. He has always had steady work, so it was never a concern. He just decided he wanted it, so he’s going to get it.

I get told at least once a month that I settled, but I’m still not seeing it. This man stood by me during the darkest times of my life, unflinching, without judgement. I am sure there are times that he kept me alive. If I’m now settling, by giving him a family, and a home, and a partner, then so be it. I’ll “settle” for this for the rest of my life.

7. Holding Out For Mr. Perfect

I don’t think I settled, but I did read snippets of an interesting book on this subject. The gist of the book suggested that there are too many women holding out too long for Mr. Perfect. They might be 40 and still waiting. This book discusses the idea that women who “settle” for Mr. Good Enough earlier in their life will have more long-term happiness.

The book was called, “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” by Lori Gottlieb.

8. What Might Have… 

A friend of mine had been with her partner (and at this point, fiance) for a good seven years. They were a fantastic couple – they brought the best out in each other, and supported each other to continue to discover who they were in the world.

A few month before their wedding, she went into the bathroom, and yet again he had left his wet towels on the floor. She closed the door, and suddenly these wet towels represented to her all the unmet needs in their relationship. In her mind, she had asked repeatedly that he do this one small task to make their home life a little easier. And the fact that he continued to leave them lying around was interpreted as a massive disrespect to her and their relationship.

She catastrophised and saw these towels as a sign that they could not have a future together. If he couldn’t do this tiny thing, then how could they parent together? How could they grow old together with mutual love and respect? If he couldn’t do this little thing for her, then how could he really love her?

So she sat on the floor and cried. She decided to walk downstairs and break up the relationship. She thought through where she’d move to, how they would divide their assets, and how she would break it to their families and friends. She made peace with the fact that they were not meant to be.

Then she stood up. She was about to go downstairs and start the process of separating their lives. Until she looked down again and thought “Want do I want more? His wet towels on the bathroom floor and a life with him? Or a tidy bathroom and no Paul?” And in that moment all her thoughts were reversed and she went downstairs and kissed him and told him how much she loved him.

Ten years on, she now looks at his wet towels with love. She was ready to throw everything away because of one thing he wasn’t doing for her. Yet there were a million other things he did reliably, faithfully, and lovingly to make her feel cared for and valued. If we’re not careful we can require our own version of perfection, and ignore a different perfection right in front of our eyes.

9. What’s Most Important Is Respect

In all honesty, no one is perfect. No man is going to pull up in his Mercedes, walk into my job and carry me off into a perfect life. What’s most important is respect. Does your partner respect you and reasonably supports your decisions to better yourself? If yes then that’s a keeper.

The biggest problem I’ve seen around some women my age is that they do one of two things. Either they spend their nights looking for Mr Right at parties clubs and bars then sleep with the first guy who shows interest in them and complain that he doesn’t want to be serious/won’t grow up, or they become recluses and say how they’re waiting for the right guy.

It takes a balance of getting out there to meet someone, getting to know them better and building lasting bonds.

I’m no expert and I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. The biggest thing I had to do was accept who I was and find someone who was compatible with me and complimented my personality.

3 years later and I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time. My boyfriend is kind and loving but will call me on my shit when I’m being unreasonable. We both met each other at a point in our lives where we were ready to slow down, stop going out so much and just hang out with someone who liked what we liked. Sometimes we just sit around watching cartoons, sometimes we go hiking, and sometimes we just sit and talk in the dark.

Our son is our priority yet we still make time for each other because we aren’t just parents, we’re partners as well. We discuss everything and we try to be as honest with each other as we can. We avoid demeaning each other even though we still fight from time to time.

He isn’t the perfect guy, but he’s the perfect guy for me. And that is what matters most, the puppy love may be gone, but it grew into a deeper, more satisfying love.

10. “The Rules” And Having The Upper Hand

A girl I knew was taught by her sorority sisters to date up during her single days (aka sleep with hot guys) but marry down. By marrying down, she maintains the upper hand by being the one who has more options. The man she would settle with would subconsciously know he married up and had better keep her happy or she would walk, because there’s plenty of other guys who would want her. If she married up (aka married a hot guy), she would always be the one who would have to keep him happy. Something about “The Rules” book girls read.

She was messed up in the head anyways.

11. A Different Way Of Looking At “Settling”

Define “settle.” Let’s say you’re with someone attractive, supportive, loving unconditionally. Yet, you have very little common interests and can hardly do activities together beyond watching movies and eating dinner.

I guess I would call that settling.

12. Waiting Gets You Nowhere

The way to a successful and happy relationship is to find a person you get along with, who is attractive to you in whatever way for whatever reason, and dedicate time to them. As long as you’re both good people who don’t lie, cheat, and steal (at the very least from each other), then over time you will learn how to make each other better and work as a team through life which eventually results in a pretty near perfect combination.

But, even if you did manage to find this mythical “perfect person”, it still probably wouldn’t work out because the seemingly prevalent mindset of “happily ever after” makes people forget to put in the time and the effort. It won’t just happen on its own. This isn’t Disney. Whether your mate is “perfect” to begin with doesn’t matter. You can’t just put your feet up and expect sunshine and bunny farts forever. A good and fulfilling relationship takes time and dedication. Period. And, chances are, if it does seem to be “happening on its own”, your SO is getting really tired of your shit.

So, why spend all that time alone only to discover many years later once you’ve found someone “acceptable enough” you’re still going to have to put in a lot of time to have a meaningful relationship?

If you’re turning people away because they don’t have absolutely everything on your checklist, you’re insane. Love doesn’t come out of a package. You have to make it yourself.

13. Truly Settling Is A Lot Like Delusion

I ignored all the things that I didn’t like. His lack of motivation in life, his video game addiction, his constant complaining when we didn’t have alcohol in the house, his lack of involvement as a parent. Now we are getting divorced and I’m realizing settling was the biggest mistake of my life. Lesson learned. Settling on appearance is one thing, but don’t settle when it comes to life goals and drive to move forward in life.

14. Don’t Be Greedy

I feel like if there’s a net positive in your life, and nothing harmful, you’re not really settling. Don’t be greedy.

15. We All “Settle” In The End

I think all of us settle in the end.

I have been happily married for over a decade now.

My wife isn’t the prettiest girl I ever dated, she isn’t the smartest girl, she isn’t the nicest girl, she isn’t the most thoughtful, she isn’t the funniest.

She is the one that had the best combination of those qualities though.

I am not her dream guy either, I think Chris Pratt is right now, but I am pretty sure she isn’t looking to trade up.

16. He Understands Me And That’s Worth More Than Money

I guess you could say I “settled” for my current partner. He doesn’t have job or a license, so I pay the bills and drive him wherever he needs to go. I’m young, bright, and moderately attractive, and plenty of people have said, implicitly or explicitly that I could find someone with a job and a car, and they’re absolutely right. On paper I could absolutely do “better.”

But what they don’t realize is what he does do for me. He cleans the apartment when I’m at work and runs errands for me whenever he can get a ride from a friend. But more importantly, he not only puts up with, but understands and loves my crazy brain.

I’ve fought depression and anxiety since I was 12, and last year I was diagnosed as possibly a bit bipolar. I’ve struggled with cutting and eating disorders since I was a young teen. I’ve had tons of friends and partners who supported me and my mental illnesses, but my boyfriend is the first person I’ve met who intrinsically understands what I go through. I’ve spent years trying to downplay and suppress my mental problems in relationships, and for the first time in my life I don’t have to. Ive been trying to find someone like this for 13 years. And that’s worth way more than money to me.

17. “Do I Fit Or Do I Feel?”

I had a friend that was dating a girl and the two of them had a lot in common. He really got along well with her, but he didn’t have that burning passion that he had always envisioned.

Then one day she asked him why they were together. She said “do I fit or do I feel? In other words, do we make sense together, or do you have a very strong attraction to me?

He thought “this is it… This is where we break up”. He said “to be honest with you, it’s more of a fit than a feel.”

She said “Good. Because the feel wears off. But we will always fit.” She confessed to him that some people in the past had dated her just for looks or physical reasons, and if he had this strong passion for her, she was prepared to break it off. Meanwhile he was prepared to break it off because he didn’t have that passion. But in that moment, they both found clarity about what was important to them.

They have been happily married for about 12 years.

18. Holding Out For The One

I settled . . . and now I have one ex-wife under my belt.

Never again. I’ve entered my Costanza years and now I’m holding out for the one.

19. It’s Now Clear That I Lucked Out

A few years ago I may have thought I settled. But now its pretty clear that I just lucked into one of the only possible happy ending scenarios that would be available for a person with my personality and character faults.

20. “My Shit Also Stinks”

Oftentimes while lighting a match I’ll remind myself that my shit also stinks. Literally & figuratively. Cannot imagine putting the effort forward to once again convince someone that I am worth tolerating.

21. She Makes Me Happy, That’s All That Matters

I’m currently dating a girl who hasn’t had much attention from men. She doesn’t put much effort into her appearance but she has a heart of gold. I love to do things for her because she has genuine gratitude and I think she actually cares about me.

I’ve been asked if I’m taking the “safe bet” instead of going for the 10/10.

I don’t like dating really attractive women… I feel like the whole dynamic is just me trying to win over the 10/10. With the 10/10 putting minimal effort because she will have men chasing her all the time.

My current gf makes me happy and that’s all that matters. I’m the lucky one…

The first time I told her she was beautiful she broke down and said “no one has really told me that before.”

I couldn’t understand why such a great person was never told that… She settled for me and I think I love her… Fuck I miss her right now…

22. Sometimes Regretful, Sometimes Not

I settled and at times I’m happy, at times I heavily regret it. At the time, he made me feel like I’d never do any better. He cheated on me, hurt like hell and he turned it around blaming me for him cheating, that I didn’t communicate enough, that I wasn’t loving enough etc. So I tried harder to be a better person, I pushed a lot of my friends away when they tried to make me see it was not my fault, out of desperation I stayed with him. We went to couples therapy for a few years, we got to a much better place and he no longer cheats, but that pain is still there, the feeling of not being good enough is still there so I regret staying, I have low enough self confidence that I don’t need that extra emotional roller coaster in my life.

23. When Settling Means Not Making The Same Mistake Over And Over Again

My first marriage was based on the idealized image of the perfect woman for me. She was attractive, wild, and wanted to have fun above all else. Unsurprisingly, she decided to leave me a note that said goodbye. For ten years after the divorce, I chased after similar women who fit that idealized view of “my type”…it was miserable.

I met my current wife at a wedding, it was probably supposed to be another one night stand. For some reason, I called her the next day and we just kept talking…right down the aisle five years later. I settled, in that I settled on compatibility rather than my idealized image of my type. While my wife isn’t the life of the party or wild in bed, she’s still beautiful and my absolute best friend. Not a day goes by where I don’t thank my lucky stars for having called the bridesmaid to see if she was hung over too.

24. Both People In A Relationship Have Their Own Gravity…

I think that the idea of “having settled” once you are at any distance into your relationship is a sign that the relationship has failed, or is failing. And the idea of settling at the beginning of the relationship is a sign that the relationship is struggling to get going, and that something important is missing.

I’ve been with my wife since 2000 now, having met her when I was 14. We have been married since 2007. As she is the most important person in my life, my life has been, to a great extent, shaped by her. My goals have shifted, imperceptibly at any given time, but obviously when looked at from a distance. My desires have changed in the same way. And my personality has gradually changed as well. It is much like two stars or planets who have drifted so close to one another that their gravitational pulls are drawing each other in, closer and closer as time goes on. You may not notice it if you are looking for a short while. But the overall trends are clear.

These changes aren’t volitional, but they aren’t against your will either. Rather than being compelled to change who you are, your intimacy inevitably changes you. We are all affected, to some degree of other, by those in our lives. It only makes sense that the one that we love the most, and spend most of our time with, affects us more clearly than any other. And it only makes sense that becoming more like the person that you love would not be a disheartening phenomenon. You do, after all, love them for a reason.

In a relationship like this, where you both are unwittingly exerting your (gravitational) force on one another, and where you are spiraling closer and closer together, it makes sense that you become more and more perfect for one another. That you come to be better fits. And, the love that you have makes you, perhaps irrationally, appreciate the small quirks and nuances of them more than you would a stranger. Their value to you is increased both because of the ways in which you come to resemble one another, but also because of the biasing effects of the love that causes you to grow together.

When you first meet somebody, and you first begin to fall for them, you are often (and hopefully) infatuated with them. You have a quick burning passion for them. They are, at least to you, the most beautiful person in any room that they’re in. The glint and glow of their eyes shines brighter than anybody else, and at least partly because they are glowing for, and at, you. It makes sense yet again that you will be unlikely to see yourself as settling at this stage.

If you are in a loving, intimate relationship, your partner may not be perfect. They might, objectively, have flaws. But, they begin, and become, perfect for you and to you. Or, at the very least, they begin and become much closer to and for you than they would be to and for others.

I will say, though, that I think that my partner is pretty damned perfect. Maybe that’s my biases talking. And maybe that’s just because I’ve grown up and developed with her. But, I can’t tell the difference. And I don’t think that makes it any less meaningful.

25. If You Think You’re Settling Then They’re Better Off Without You

There’s no such thing as “settling” for someone unless you’re an arrogant jackass who thinks they’re better than their partner. In which case, it’s really your partner who settled with putting up with your bullshit.

You date around. You find some people you click with and some people you don’t. But actually having a relationship has nothing to do with finding the perfect person, it has to do with BUILDING a relationship with the person you find.

Relationships take work, and you get out what you put in – it can be difficult, and heart wrenching and change you as a person, but that’s how life works. You open up to someone, put your feelings out there, and they reciprocate. Now, it’s possible that they don’t reciprocate and they don’t feel for you like you feel for them – you can stick around or not, in that case. And sometimes you really should cut off ties if someone is crossing lines they shouldn’t.

If you stay in a relationship with the idea that you’re somehow making a sacrifice by sticking around instead of dumping them, they’d be better off without your selfish martyr-complex ass. TC mark

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