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My New Least Favorite Word: “Settle”

I feel like I’ve been down this road a thousand times, and each time I get a little more pissed off.

It’s Thursday afternoon, and I’m supposed to be taking a little now. Walking around the block or something. Maybe even washing my hair, so that when I go out tonight (dinner with an old friend I haven’t seen in months) I don’t look like a monster.

But instead I’m writing this. Because I saw a tweet a few minutes ago that really, um, inspired me.

There are a few hot-button topics in the singles world. One of the biggies is, “Should women ?” The flip-side of which is, “Are women too picky?”

Oh, how I loathe these topics.  I loathe them because they lump all women, and more specifically, all unmarried women over a certain age (as they tend to be aimed at the over 30 set) into a big homogeneous group. And I loathe them because they are unnecessarily simplistic. And yeah, sometimes I oversimplify. But I acknowledge it.

Let’s start with the premise:  if a woman is over 30 (or 35, or 40 – pick a number)and single then she is obviously wrong/bad/needing of guidance. She needs to reassess so that she can be set about on the right path. And millions are made each year on the peddling of this self-loathing, so I guess it must be effective.

Anyway, the tweet that got me annoyed was playing with this theme. It’s what people do on twitter. They try to be provocative so that you’ll click on their links.

My New Least Favorite Word: “Settle” single and happy batshit crazy  Jill settle 300x136

Now, I like Jill.  And I read the post. It’s all very go-girl, positive. Lead in to the last paragraph: “Don’t settle for less then you deserve in life and love, keep a good attitude and keep learning and you’ll find your perfect match too.”

But the question in the tweet asks, “at what age and point should you settle?’  And, of course, there are women who would say, NEVER.  And others who would preach the gospel of settling.

I would like to point out, again (I feel like such a broken record on this) that this is another one of those false dichotomies.  A woman can be happily single AND still be open to meeting someone.  She is not either miserable and lonely OR in a .

A woman can realize over a couple of decades (or less) of dating that her priories have shifted.  And that the things she used to prioritize in a potential mate aren’t that important, after all.  She can develop new relationships, later in life, based on those new/different priorities. This is not settling, it’s evolving as a human being.  Or not.

A woman (or man, for that matter) can keep a good attitude, keep learning and keep dating and do everything every single dating/relationship expert says, and still never find their perfect match.   is a not a sign of failure or being unworthy in some cosmic way. It just is what it is. A state of being. Neither definitely good nor bad.

This ends my sermon for the day.

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13 to “My New Least Favorite Word: “Settle””

  1. Sarah says:

    With the medias and advertising spewing stereotypes of “perfect” men and women, it seems that we are driven to constantly raise our expectations of what to expect from others.

    Just watch any ad on TV, on magazines, look at the people that are depicted, not one hair out of place, most often than not photoshped, looking actually more than perfect.

    We tend to forget that real life’s not like that and neither are real people.

    While I don’t believe that we should settle for anything that comes along of course, I think we need to keep things in perspective and realize that we’re not going to meet the “perfect” guy. Like democracy which is the “least bad of government systems”, maybe we should try to look for the “best of the not perfect”.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Who is this “we” you talk about? I’ve been dating on and off (and on and off) for over 2 decades and I’ve been constantly shifting my expectation of what to expect based on experience, but certainly not raising my expectations. And while I have some unhealthy habits of thought that occasionally make me think I should be perfect, I’ve never wanted that of the men in my life.

      Are there really immature and naive people who expect their future mates to be future? I’m sure there are. There are lots of morons in the world who believe all kinds of moronic things. But a mature, intelligent grown-up who’s actually dated more than 5 people in their life knows the difference between TV and reality. Sorry, but I don’t buy the line you’re peddling. It makes for convincing blog rhetoric, but that’s about it.

  2. I agree. I’m not “settling” for anyone or anything. It’s what sediment does.

  3. LadyD says:

    @Vodka – or houses! ;-p

  4. jamy says:

    Why is no one asking at what age men should settle?

  5. SimplyStac says:

    Settle? NO WAY! My “perfect” guy is out there…somewhere. Until then, I’ll date, and meet people, and have fun. Sure it gets lonely, and I get all sad. But fixing it with a not so right for me guy? Never. :)

  6. Arlene says:

    The real catch is knowing how to recognize who is the “perfect” man for you.
    He will be a different person at 40 than he was at 20, and if anyone is more likely to settle, it would be a younger person, rather than an older one…we are usually wiser, due to our years.

  7. rudo says:

    I’m 26 and single. In my culture this is somewhat bizarre and the aunts have started applying pressure. But, i have arrived at a stage where I am so comfortable in my skin that I feel a guy has to be worth my time in order for me to commit to a serious relationship with him. And most married people I meet don’t seem to be jumping up and down their beds about the idea so hey! Imma take as much time as I need. No need to settle!

  8. :) I agree with that rant whole-heartedly!

  9. Terry says:

    I think age 52 is good – oh wait, that’s me. Of course, when I married her I was in a place where I decided I was never even going to allow a woman to spend the night- not leave a toothbrush- never. Ah- so glad I was wrong. Oh but this is not about me –
    I am thinking I was not really ready- I had to grow up (having spent years doing really silly things).
    So being able to settle means that you are in a place to do that. Not want to do that- but in a place where you can be there too. I wasn’t for a long time – of course I thought I was – but like I said – sometimes you have to grow up – and sometimes you are lucky enough that the person who you fall in love with doesn’t mind a bit of immaturity.
    AH SG – you were expecting words of wisdom?

  10. Elizabeth Andrews says:

    “A woman (or man, for that matter) can keep a good attitude, keep learning and keep dating and do everything every single dating/relationship expert says, and still never find their perfect match.”

    Thank you for saying this. It seems that every book, movie, or TV show about the trials of dating has to end with the person finally finding someone. Even “Sex and the City” took that path. It doesn’t always happen.

    Also, for me “settling” means getting into a relationship with someone who just doesn’t feel “right” and around whom I feel like I can’t be myself. That seems like a very lonely road to take. And you are right, as we get older our idea of what we “need” in a relationship changes.

  11. Harry says:

    In my opinion, settling never can be wrong. Its always best for both men and women. There is no harm if you settle your problems and come back into a long lasting relationship.