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Dear Poll: And What About Settling?

Seems I'm hearing a lot of talk lately -- maybe it was a Valentine topic? -- about being alone, being comfortable or uncomfortable with the absence of a significant other, about waiting for the right one, and about adjusting or rethinking one's expectations. Every few years there seems to be a wave of statistics about eligible, available men, fertility rates for women, benefits to our health and finances if we're partnered, and the consequences of professional ambition or passion. It wouldn't be surprising if women began to doubt themselves, their choices, their needs and priorities, or if that doubt began to take some shape in their lives.

Even the title of bachelorette Jen Schefft's new book BETTER SINGLE THAN SORRY, excerpted here, gave me pause. Single as the alternative to sorry? That's defining one condition as preferable only because the other state is negative. Like, better poor than sick. Or better sick than dead. Isn't a thing good because it's good, period?

It's true, tho, dating can be grueling and unnerving. And there are days when the perfectly natural and acceptable experience of being alone can transform into a kind of loneliness that feels unmanageable. And what kinds of choices do we make when faced with this combination of external pressures and internal challenges?

We all handle these questions as best we can in our daily lives, but I'm wondering about your personal experience or opinion of "settling"? Whether it's settling for a few months or a few years, have you? Would you?


Join The Conversation
Marci Marci 10 years
Never ever settle. Ever. Relationships can be hard but loving the person is what makes the difference and makes you want to work things out. I worked with a woman who was going to be 30 and wanted desperately to get married so she settled for the guy she was with. Big wedding, had a baby, and she's miserable. She went from being this easygoing, funny girl, to a stressed out, angry person. And it's all a result of trying to work things out with someone she really doesn't care that much about at this point. I think she thought she liked him enough when she married him, but definitely not now. If you settle, you're off the market and can't ever meet someone who's right for you. Better Single Than Sorry? Absolutely!
karebear karebear 10 years
I'm happy being single. It'd be great to meet someone, but if I can't be just as happy, or happier, with someone, I'd rather be alone
superjules superjules 10 years
When I said I settled in my first marriage I should have been more clear. He wasn't a bad guy, he just wasn't enough for me. He had no ambition, no culture, a mama's boy, pretty stupid, etc. But he's with someone else now and she thinks he's wonderful. So I guess it worked out for everybody.
lms lms 10 years
I have never settled and being married for 10 yrs now, I don't think that I would ever settle even if I wasn't married anymore. I would rather be by myself than settle for less. I had a friend that defined the word settle, in my opinion. She is really overweight and has very low self esteem. When she was involved in a relationship, the guys were either liars, cheats, abusive, users, jailbirds,or even married. I talked to her over and over about it, and told her she needed to work on herself so that she didn't feel the need to accept such bad behaviors from men. She would even offer herself to men at times, only to have them refuse her. Her belief was that it is better to have a no good man than no man at all. It is because of this that I could no longer continue a friendship. She is on a downward spiral and no matter what you would say to her it did not matter.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
Val, I have a friend like that too. She says: Why am I always single? And I say: Because you dismiss guys for not wearing the right sweater on the first date! I don't think she's not settling. I think she has trouble figuring out what's important and what is not. But this is a tough question. I mean, I could probably go out there and find someone "hotter" than my man, or smarter, or whatever, but I don't think I could find someone who was better suited to me. Is that settling? I personally don't think so.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
settling or being realistic about your options? i have a friend who just turned 29 and has not had a healthy relationship in the 6 years i have known her. every guy she dates is "flawed" before she even gives them a chance! she focuses on things that to me don't have any business in future planning, his hair is thinning, his abs are flabby, his job is boring, he likes small dogs. who gives a crap! finding a man that will love YOU and be faithful to YOU and work to build a family is important. character matters, hairline does not! i don't think women need to be married, we can provide for ourselves and live independently and be happy. but if a woman wants to be married she should be honest with herself about who she is likely to attract long term. i didn't know jen had a book. i'm actually looking forward to reading that! i liked firestone and wondered why she shut that down. "heh-hu-ha-hu-heh-he-ha-hu; that's the woody wood pecker song"
ESPNgirl ESPNgirl 10 years
i have been in a committed relationship for over a year, and although i haven't technically settled in the way i view settling (getting married, moving in together, being life partners, etc), i honestly feel that i would be absolutely fine if i did eventually settle with this person who i love dearly. Dating is hard, and it's taken its toll on my heart. I really feel in some ways that if this one DOES NOT work out, then I probably just won't date for awhile, or not I guess I'm ready to settle for one person, but it's not like I'm at the point of ultracommitment.
superjules superjules 10 years
I settled in my first marriage and it was a painful and expensive mistake. But had it not been for that relationship, I wouldn't have been where I needed to be to meet the man of my dreams. I still don't recommend it though. Now that I'm older, I enjoy alone time and if anything goddess forbid happened to my husband I could be very happy alone.
Bonne Bonne 10 years
I'm just not happy for settling with someone medicore. I've tried and it just gets boring after a long time. Single for me works right now and I'm happy with it.
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