On Settling

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Although in French knowledge of another Romance language would enable you to read this... the summary-As a woman get's older she goes from ridiculously high requirements for a man she will be with to being desperate. It's sad, but kind of true.

 

What does it mean to settle?  How can one tell if he/she is settling?  I am once again musing about marriage/life/romance… lol… I promise to get back to Egypt at some point…

But this topic is what today is on Gazelle’s mind… once again, it’s not completely because of the boy… that may or may not blossom into something worthwhile, but what is worthwhile is thinking about this.

I’ve read parts of the book “the case for settling” and I think the author makes a good point.  From what I gather, she does a study of sorts of women in their late thirties who are still unmarried and why… most of them are still single because they dumped past boyfriends because things did not feel absolutely perfect: he was too short, or too boring, or adventurous or bald or had annoying laugh or swallowed his food weird… I mean some of these reasons were just plain ridiculous.  The main idea is that marriage is about partnership…  don’t think of marriage as finding the one that will light your fire, think of it as finding the one that will help you run a non-profit organization….Some may disagree, but it’s kind of true!

Marriage is not about finding the love of your life (well, not necessarily) it’s about finding a life partner who will honor, support and cooperate with you on big things like buying a house and having babies to little things like cooking dinner and washing dishes.

People think about marriage as something about fire, sparks, emotions and attraction, and I don’t think if I ever thought about things that way.  Much more of a practical girl, the things that matter to me are:

 

Is he nice/kind to me?

Does he respect me?

Will he value me as his wife?

Does he value my opinions even he doesn’t share them?

Will he be supportive when making important life-altering decisions?

Will we he be able to be real with me and tell me when I am straight-up tripping in a respectful manner, no matter what?

Will he put up with me even when I’m looking/acting crazy?

Will he give me as much attention as I need, and not as I want?

Will we be spiritually in-tune?

And it goes without saying that I think he should at least have a Bachelor’s degree and preferably a Masters.

There you have it, my complete list…   It’s funny because it’s a simple list and there’s probably quite a few people who fit the bill… I didn’t always things this way… there was a time when I would sit around waiting for feel butterflies in my stomach or to feel “just right.”  That sense of peace and awe when you you’ve met the love of your life…  maybe “the case for settling” has infiltrated my brain, but I’ve changed my perspective.

This doesn’t mean I don’t believe in love. This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be attracted to Mr. Right or Mr. Good Enough.  It just means that even if I end up with Mr. Good Enough, that doesn’t mean that I won’t have a happy, healthy and long-lasting marriage (the end goal).

Needless to day, when the time comes, I will probably settle, not on the big things, but on the romanticized notion of what love and marriage is, according to movies, shows, films and novels.

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5 thoughts on “On Settling

  1. I really like your list of the things that matter to you, very practical and simple indeed.

    I’m not comfortable with the word ‘settle’ at all, because it conjures up images of settling for less or shutting down part of yourself in the name of fulfilling society’s expectations of marriage. But you’re right, you could be happy with Mr. Good Enough. I personally do not believe in the canon Mr. Right, rather there are many Rights and Good Enoughs out there.

    I also think the romanticised notion of love and marriage according to popular entertainment is largely wrong and somewhat problematic. But I’ve been lucky to see love in a long-term marriage plays out in real life so at least I have an idea of what it looks like.

  2. KG

    I agree that romantic comedies etc. can give unrealistic views on what relationships can be like. In fact, think about what some of the characters in those stories do in order to win over their love interest—in real life, a lot of those behaviors would constitute stalking!

    I don’t like the word “settling” either. I think your criteria for a significant other are fairly straight-forward and simple– I don’t think you will have to “settle” in order to find someone who fulfills those characteristics.

  3. Like eccentricyoruba, I also dislike the notion of “settling.” I settled for my ex, and see what that got me! Dumped because of my “weight,” months rebuilding my self-esteem, and he’s currently dating young, skinny college cuties while I remain as single as the day I was born. And I was with him because I thought he was, “right enough.”

    I never constructed a list, though the idea of marrying someone I’m not in love with also makes me sad. My “in love,” though, is several parts admiration and very little having to do with actual physical attraction, so I find, so I don’t think it unreasonable for love to be high in my equation. Mutual admiration I think is key to my successful relationships. I came to love my ex, in spite of his small head and high voice, because I admired his intellect and his global sociopolitical consciousness…and then got dumped because he was confused.

    So I think it’s a fine balance between settling and ending up with a man who is right or good enough for you which is complicated by the wills and desires of the other individual you are relating to, who may have his own issues with that balance he’s trying to resolve…

  4. gazelledusahara

    hmm perhaps I need to refine some things… constructing this list was useful for me because I it made the things that I will settle on concrete. It’s hard to find the balance between what is negotiable and what is not, especially in the context of being a single lady in her mid-to -late twenties….that’s what this pose was about… how to avoid settling for the wrong things.

    of course I have other preferences like height (I would hope he would be 6′ or taller, I also have a thing for Ashton kutcher so if my husband looked like him that would be great!… ha, ha. like that will ever happen) but if I meet someone that fits those things I listed above, even if he’s 5’10 and looks nothing like AK, I will remind myself that it’s ok to “settle.”

    yeah the word itself is problematic, what about “face reality”… lol…

  5. KG

    “Face reality” still seems problematic to me, because “settling” and “facing reality” both have negative connotations.

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