To think people just ‘settle’(139 Posts)
I have been single for two years and it’s been hard at times with my daughter, but I feel like over this period of time I have really got to know myself extremely well. I have battled suicidal post natal depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation and all the rest that comes with being a mum alone. I really do feel like I’ve developed a deep respect for myself for overcoming these things and I have learnt so much about what I need and want from life.
Following a conversation with a friend yesterday, I was saying I’m not sure I want to date anyone unless they benefit my life hugely, challenge and teach me as a person etc. In my mind a committed relationship is a huge and serious thing and something I wouldn’t enter in to now without meeting someone who really is on my wavelength, otherwise what’s the point?
My friend seems to think this signals commitment issues, but I disagree.
I see so many people who have many issues with their partners but just ignore them and carry on, all the while there could be someone much better suited to them. I love my friend, but I found it hard to respect this opinion of hers because there are many many conflicts in her marriage, and not small ones either. I couldn’t help but feel that my quest for happiness ignited an insecurity in her - the fact that she knows she’s just settled?
It seems to me as though a lot of people do this, or I could be overly picky?
It’s important for me to also say I know the ‘perfect person’ doesn’t exist. I don’t care about a physics type or material things I just want someone who emotionally gets me and has the same moral compass, shared interests, humour etc it’s all about personality for me.
Physical type* sorry I’m multitasking whilst writing this!
I don’t think you’re wrong in what you want from a relationship and I agree that some people stay because they’re scared of being alone. But I also think that all relationships take work, and no one is perfect (including ourselves). There are a lot of people who leave relationships that aren’t working and find people who are much better suited but there are also people to leave because they think there is better out there and then a year into a new relationship they discover the same issues coming up.
I think a lot of people (myself included) like to have a partner, and accept that there will be pros and cons to this and there is a level at which the pros outweigh the cons.
This doesn't have to be at a conscious level - you meet someone you get along with, there is a spark, you start dating, and your lives become entangled and while there might be not so good things about the relationship there are also good things and it is harder and more painful to end it than to continue, plus the uncertainty aspect.
I met my 1st H at uni, we settled down into a life together and were happy for a long time ... until we weren't. We had small kids and tbh I'm don't think I recognised my unhappiness as such and would never have ended it myself as I wouldn't have wanted that for my children. And I'm still not sure that it wasn't just the stresses and strains of small children.
I got together with my 2nd H and while there were a number of issues, as there often are in post divorce relationships, the two of us together were completely right for each other and it made me see that I'd been low level unhappy for a while with my H1.
DH used to say I was his soul mate, and I used to tell him that was a load of rubbish. But my heart lifted when he was near, when he entered the house etc. I felt lighter and happier with him around.
I'm now seeing someone (DH died) and I'm maybe settling - but I'm doing this consciously.
I've spent a lot of time considering the pros and cons, and he is a good man, whose company I enjoy, who makes me laugh, who is kind, he pull his weight, the sex is good etc. But he isn't everything, and I probably wouldn't have known that if it wasn't for DH. However he is an awful lot, and tbh I'm happy with that and I'll find the missing bits in other parts of my life.
I totally agree with you. After choosing to leave a long term relationship because of cheating I've grown to really love and respect myself and feel so proud that I chose to put myself first. I now listen to my friends talk about their awful relationships and just think "why are you doing that to yourself?" It does seem that so many people excuse inexcusable behaviour because they don't want to be alone.
Obviously no relationship is perfect but I see so many people staying in relationships with people who treat them very badly and find it a real shame. I now would rather be happy alone than unhappy with someone else and I feel so much peace because of that.
But I suppose it's a journey and everyone has a different path to reaching that contentment. I stayed in my bad relationship for a long time just because I felt like it was what I was supposed to do.
Thank you for your responses. I hadn’t considered the idea of consciously settling, I suppose I had viewed it as something people do out of fear rather than a conscious choice. That’s an interesting perspective and I understand your reasons for doing that!
I’ve been single for 28 years since my DH died. He actually was my soulmate, and I couldn’t imagine “settling” for someone else. His granny was widowed for fifty years, and felt the same way about her late husband. She was re-reading his old letters to her, just before she died, in her nineties.
I imagine it’s different if you never meet your soulmate in the first place. My daughter says only half jokingly that she and a male friend have agreed they’ll marry each other as a back up if they don’t meet “the one” by age 40! However, she’s dating a nice chap at the moment, so it may not come to that...!
Jokes aside, although I couldn’t do it myself, I see nothing wrong in people settling for a relationship that works reasonably well, if they can’t cope alone or prefer not to. It’s their life, their choice.
I’d go easy on your friend, OP. She may feel a little defensive and think you’re criticising her for being weak and selling out.
I had people telling me as a teenager/early 20's that I was being too 'picky' and looking at everyone man as a potential father.
Yet, I'm the one in a successful (but far from problem free) relationship, have 3 older children who enjoy spending time with us and am very comfortable with how we live our lives.
Whilst those telling me to just go out with anyone do not.
I think learning to live with yourself, accepting your flaws and strengths, thinking about what you value, questioning why you're doing something (doesn't have to take long at times!) and can you accept the consequences are crucial to deciding how you want to live the rest of your life. And who with, if anyone.
It’s a tricky one.
With my H I’d say 97% of the time we are what you describe - very well suited.
3% of the time he does things I just cannot fathom and I dream of divorce!
If I left him, I’d be giving up 97% of near perfection. For that 3% I definitely settle.
I think a lot of people go into relationships with the right intentions but life and they as a person develop and what was once lives young dream becomes settling. I know I would be better suited to others and my own perinatal happiness would be enhanced if I found them. However I have a DH and children so what do you do? Most people settle for what they have, as I do. It does leave feelings of being unfulfilled though.
Excuse the endless typo’s! I need to go back to bed
You're right. I settled for the first serious relationship I had, and I think he probably did too. We've had huge ups and downs over the years, and I'm now in the difficult position of being unhappy, but not having the confidence or strength to do anything about it.
He's not an awful man. We have common interests, a comfortable life, he's not unfaithful or abusive, I just don't feel like I love him anymore. We live more as friends, annoy each other a bit, but don't really have massive rows. Sex is infrequent (mismatched libido)
I have also seen several friends/acquaintances end their long term marriages in middle age for the same reasons, hoping that their true love would appear. All that's happened is they've had years of unsuccessful online dating and financial hardship. Some have regretted their decision after their ex moved on, some are happy alone and have all but given up on another relationship. Not one has ended up in a happy LTR.
I agree OP, many do just settle for lots of reasons. They want a decent earner, don’t want to be alone, want children, rush into it too soon so don’t know the person fully etc.
If single, like you I’d rather hold out for the relationship I’m looking for. Not soul mate as don’t believe in that but someone who adds to my life in many ways and makes it more interesting and different.
I don’t have a list of criteria, but if I was asked I’d advise to only be with someone if they make you happy, if they treat you well, and if your life is better than it would be without them - not necessarily financially, but in terms of fun, range of experiences, etc. I’d also suggest making sure you are sexually compatible. Nothing worse than one person wanting it every day and the other only wanting it every 6 months.
I think you’re right. People stay in relationships because it’s easier than leaving.
I’ve got to the point I am happy, my ds is happy, I am solvent & stable, I own my own home (me & the bank), and it will take someone very special to tempt me into another relationship.
I won’t tolerate bullying, belittling or finance abuse any more.
If a kind decent honest man turns up at my door, then great, but if not, I really don’t mind. I do realise I shall probably be single for the next 50 years but honestly, that is preferable.
Yeah I can understand. And I get that there’s going to be parts of anyone that you have to compromise on. I’m also unsure if my depression has also left me deeply scarred and I think I’m also scared of someone making me unhappy because I never want to fall in to that hole again?
But at the same time I do think if I’m happy alone, then I’m making the choice not to settle. I can see why if you aren’t happy alone and find someone who makes you happy most of the time but annoys you in some ways you would settle for this as it’s a more attractive prospect than being lonely!
I think the majority of people do 'settle' as it's very rare to find someone who ticks all the boxes i.e. the perfect partner. For most people there have to be elements of compromise in relationships. Depending on what the points of compromise are and whether both partners are equal in their ability to compromise is the crux of whether the relationship is balanced/heathy or not.
People definitely settle. Also people get stuck in a relationship quite easily. I spent 5 years on my own, adamant I would not settle. I’m very glad I didn’t. I could have, and my life would have been considerably easier in many ways, but I wouldn’t have been happy. I’m now married to the man I consider my soul mate and the thought of having potentially missed out on this by settling is very upsetting!
Most important question is:
Are you that they benefit my life hugely, challenge and teach me as a person etc person too?
All relationships take work.
* I can see why if you aren’t happy alone and find someone who makes you happy most of the time but annoys you in some ways you would settle for this as it’s a more attractive prospect than being lonely!*
I genuinely don't know a person who would never annoy me with anything and vice versa. It does sound like you are looking for movie perfect.
Yes, completely agree.
I did. Because I didn't know what I should be aiming for.
I now know what I need from someone else, and what i dont.
I don't need: money; a physical type or good looks; someone to keep me company or occupy dead time; someone to be a father to my kids (they already have one).
I do need: sexual compatibility; for them to smell right; someone who can talk out interesting things and has passions outside a relationship; someone funny; and finally, emotional sensitivity.
So, similar to you, OP.
I have said in previous comments I get that people have to compromise.
What I’m referring to is people I know compromise on things like - it’s okay that their partner goes out drinking til 6am when they have a baby because he’s funny most of the time and has a good job, it’s ok their partner does nothing to help them round the house and sits on his playstation all evening because the fact that he wants to get married and have a second child outweighs this.
These things to me are huge, because they signal bigger issues like lack of respect.
And if that’s a better prospect for people than being lonely I can see why, but it’s not for me.
I’m willing to compromise on different views of the world, politics, someone who has a different background to me, those kinds of things because I don’t want a carbon copy of me. But as I said I want someone with the same moral compass as me, who’s perspective I can learn from and respect.
And it’s also kind of sad in a way that that’s seen as wanting too much?
I’m not in the ‘relationships are hard work’ camp. I’ve been married over 20 years and my husband is my best mate and favourite person to be around. I think picking your battles is important and not sweating the small stuff. So many people settle. I have friends who don’t even like or respect their partners.
Yes, a lot of people settle and you are right to say that unless you both are more than the sum of your parts then you're better off not getting into a committed relationship.
While it's unlikely you will find someone who is completely and utterly perfect (and not many of us can honestly say we are flawless) either) your life should be significantly better for being with that particular person than if you were both single.
I also think it's important to come to peace with being single so that it's not something to be feared. I lived alone for around 3 years, and found it OK, so I know I could do it again if needed.
Quite a lot of people I know have settled.
But most people don’t really mind, Especially if they’ve got children to look after and someone to watch Netflix with (and i mean watch Netflix!)
But it’s bloody hard being single sometimes. So I can see why people do it.
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