Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
What does settling mean to you?(24 Posts)
I see this word used we're told not to settle or others feel the have settled and I don't really know what it means. I am married to a lovely man, I love him I still fancy him, the sex is great and he is kind. However there are things I can't always share with him like my passion for music and literature. I have friends I can share those things with and lots of things my husband and I do enjoy together like cooking, walking, travel and film.
My husband is smart and has an intellectually demanding job which means he isn't always up for a debate about politics or the meaning of life when he gets home and prefer to take it easy. I've had boyfriends in the past who probably gave me more excitment due to them being unpredictable cads thrilling at 20 but not something you would want at 40. Others who challeneged me more mentally, who pushed me more to achieve but they didn't have all the other qualities I needed in a partner like loyalty, kindness and deep love.
Sometimes I get the feeling from other women, magazines and so on that we should all be looking for someone who fufills us totally and meets our every need as well as pushing us to grow etc. To me this seems very unrealistic to expect everything from just one person?
I'm curious what do you think is meant my settling?
You're talking about compromising and prioritising what is important over what is less so because no one is going to tick all of you boxes.
To me, settling is being with someone you wouldn't be with if you felt you had an alternative.
That's not what you are describing.
I know that my husband and I both settled for the other.
Since we separated, I have had two short relationships, I was aware that both of them were 'settling' for me and ended them both.
I've never been loved and being with someone who has 'settled' for me is my biggest relationship fear.
Thank you for replying, I agree and I don't think I have settled. In a sense my husband couldn't be what I need if he was as unpredictable as my old boyfriends.
I think you put it very well and I'm sorry that things haven't worked out for you in the past.
Settling for me would be marrying a man I didn't love as much as I am capable of loving.
Claudia, how might you know and what does that mean to you? My husband is the only man I have ever really loved. Prior to that I'd been in head over heals infatuation but not actually love. I had that too with my husband but it matured into a much deeper, commited love.
Some people mistake the heady thrill of early lust / infatuation for love and it causes heart ache. A close friend of mine left his long term girlfriend for a "hot" girl with an edgy lifestyle. He was in lust but before long he realised he had made a terrible mistake and his new girl drove him to the brink. He tried to get back with his old gf, she still loved him but could no longer trust him so they never got back together. He still regrets it to this day but he also says the early days with the other girl were the most exciting og his life.
Someone I want to spend my life with, love without the thrill. Stability. Being able to live together and still like each other because people I love but not in a romantic way drive me nuts if I have to share accommodation with for more than a weekend. Even my own family.
To me "settling" is being with a man for ulterior reasons - financial support, to have a baby, not wanting to be alone - and not because you actually want to be with that particular man. The man doesn't have to be a bad man, just the wrong man, but he meets some other need.
Settling for me would be being with someone I love and can depend on but don't fancy. Or being with someone I fancy but am not inlove with.
Settling means 'He'll/she'll do' rather than loving them wholly and completely.
I think what you describe is 'compromising' - I have been married 30 years and my DH and I have very different interests and hobbies - but I enjoy the opportunity to follow my interests alone or with friends. I sometimes think it would be nice to have some interests to share but DH is a wonderful father and fully on board regarding domestic life which so many men (esp. on Mumsnet ) don't seem to be capable of. We differ quite a lot in our political views as well.
I think it is highly unlikely to ever find someone who meets your every need (and just as important - you meet all their needs) - does that sort of relationship really exist? Only you can decide what is important in your relationship & what has to be a compromise.
To me this seems very unrealistic to expect everything from just one person?
I agree with you on this note.
I'd say settling is when you like the person, but even from the beginning, there is something missing. They don't light your fire.
What about being with a partner you love wholly and completely, but aren't suited to, versus being with a person you feel less strongly about but have a much more solid and stable relationship with?
Is it better to have a bunch of relationships that burn with the fire of a thousand suns, or to have one that lasts a lifetime with a warm glow?
Settling to me is staying with someone when they don't meet all your needs like sex, affection and general compatibility.
Settling because without the kids you otherwise wouldn't be with them etc and you don't love them as much as you know you could love.
Differences in interests and hobbies is not settling, you sound like you have a good husband.
When people settle it's not fair on both parties as both deserve to get the best they can in relationships and life,since it is so short.
It is but there are no guarantees that anyone will find the perfect match however hard they look. Let's face it those who are still blissfully happy and fulfilled after 10 years or more together are not the majority when I speak to my friends. Doesn't everyone settle to a point? Men too. I'm sure the fire burns more slowly for them too!
Yes I think I agree with BubblingUp - settling is when you are with someone, not solely because you love them and want to be with them, but because they fulfil a particular need. For example they came along when you wanted to get married, or have a baby, or have some financial support, or a self esteem boost. You are with them for that purpose, but you probably wouldn't be if you didn't have that need.
I think "settling" from the outset of a relationship is different from "settling" once you have been together long term and have kids together.
I have a my own weird theory of relationships - I see people like jigsaw pieces. Some fit together better than others, and sometimes the issues are obvious -one of you has a bit that sticks out where the other doesnt have a corresponding gap, and it rubs away at both of you. Sometimes the issues are less obvious, one of you has a gap where the other doesnt have a corresponding bit that fills it - it doesnt actively irk you, but after a while you notice something is missing. I'm sure the metaphor breaks down if you analyse too far, but settling to me is where there are some significant gaps that aren't filled and you meet other people and think 'I wish DP understood me/made me laugh/inspired me/made my knees go weak like X does'.
Ive seen more men settle more than women, it tends to be men who have either never had a LTR (through choice)or who have had many failed relationships. It's as though, all of a sudden they realise they are approaching middle aged alone and delve into a relationship with someone who they would of rejected a decade ago. Marriage and babies quickly follow, all is well for a while and then for some it all falls apart and they revert back to type.
Another one who thinks Bubbling nails it. Among my friends, those who I would say "settled" are those who married because they wanted to be seen as married, or wanted a father for their children, rather than wanting to be with that person.
It's nothing to do with the realistic recognition that no-one is going to share all your interests entirely (surely that requirement would leave you with onanism as your only option), or be entirely free of faults. Happy marriages are those where people love one another warts and all, but importantly, where the positives that each bring to the marriage enrich both their lives, and the negatives are small things that can be worked around.
For me, the definition of 'settling' is nothing to do with accepting that your partner is not perfect. On the contrary, women can be madly in love and marry men who have huge flaws.
Settling means agreeing to a long term commitment with someone you secretly feel does not deserve you, marrying someone even though you think you could have done better, giving yourself while never feeling they are 'the one' for you.
It's a dreadful terrible thing to do to steal the life of someone else by pretending to them that they rock your world when in fact they just provide you with some of the things you are looking for and haven't found (security, children, financial stability, a nice lifestyle etc)
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with compromising romantic notions and high ideals or expectations for something more real, and finding ways to compensate for the fact that no single person can be everything you ever desired every day and always. But there is a certain level of deceit involved in 'settling' because it means not letting a partner know that you think you are selling yourself short because they would obviously find that unacceptable (in most cases). Settling means not giving your heart fully, not being fully in love, not thinking your partner is totally the one for you - but managing for a time to have them believe that they are.
By contrast - what you've described is the inevitable truth that a real person comes with flaws, and that unicorns are for fairy tales, and we can't expect one person to give us everything in life. But we should all expect that love matters, and if you fake it, you have compromised the most important part of yourself, and will be short changing someone else without their knowledge. Hope that makes sense?
Settling is thinking, 'he'll do', rather than being with someone you are mad about. Looks, personality, hobbies and interests don't come into it. Settling is choosing to be with someone even though they don't make your heart ping, or make you feel like you've 'come home' when they hug you.
Settling is getting in deeper into an unsatisfactory or even unhappy relationship, instead of leaving, to me.
Could be from fear of loneliness, social pressure to be in a relationship, biological clock ticking, or internal picture of that future of marriage and 2.4 kids, picket fence and all. Or just it seems like the next logical step and what you do. Or the hope that next step will cure what ails the relationship.
Settling to me means staying with the person who will do rather than the one who makes your heart sing. Maybe because they're dependable or provide security, or because you want babies and time is getting on, or because you've been with them for years and it's habit or because you haven't found the right person yet and you don't want to be on your own. There's lots of reasons for settling. I wouldn't say your examples are settling though OP.
I once heard a great line: in the majority of relationships there is a "settler" and a "reacher". The best relationships are those where both partners identify themselves as the "reacher" and conversely the opposite is true that if both partners identify themselves as the "settler" it is a bad relationship.
I guess settling to me means you've been with someone for a long time and in that time you've not found anyone better so you stick to the status quo being neither happy nor deeply upset in the relationship. Just going through the motions kind of thing.
OP if you have a husband who loves you unconditionally, that's most than some women have already! You can't expect your husband to be 100% exactly what you want but it also doesn't sound like you've settled for him
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.