Relationships

What Does It Actually Mean To Settle For A Man?

By Jenny White
·  6 min read
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There’s much talk in the modern dating space about “settling,” especially as it pertains to women – along with many clichéd justifications floating around on why women should settle “before their eggs dry up” if they have any hope of finding a husband and raising a family.

When women hear the word “settle,” we can’t help but attach many negative connotations to the idea of it. 

When we think of “settling,” we think of playing relationship roulette with the man who isn’t the man we would pick if we had more desirable options. And we know the relationship is on shaky ground. He’s the man we’re not crazy about, he’s far from perfect but is more or less “good enough” in checking off a few boxes but can’t seem to check off the rest.

But what does it mean when we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place and find ourselves settling? And how will settling potentially impact our relationship and can it last despite all of our hesitations and misgivings?

“Settling” Seems To Be a Female Phenomenon

Funny that you won’t find any articles on the internet suggesting that men should settle. In doing research for this piece, I clocked in information on men settling for women they feel “meh” about at zero. 

It’s a curious conundrum that books and how-to guides for men on “how to settle and why they should” don’t exist anywhere. Different standards for men and women are commonplace with women being expected to settle, while men rarely consider it, if they consider it at all.

It’s common to expect women to settle, while men rarely consider it, if ever.

I can’t help but think the game is rigged for women. We should settle while men ultimately have the final say in commitment and don’t have to settle. Keep that in mind, ladies, as you navigate the dating marketplace and understand that men are the gatekeepers of commitment. And who you settle for will determine how long your relationship will last – if you’re not thrilled about him now, chances are, you won’t be too thrilled about him next year or the year after either.

Dating Apps and FOMO Can Lead to Settling

With the advent of dating apps, many are finding themselves bewildered by the “paradox of choice,” where people are confronted with too many options and face difficulty choosing any one option, or “where you reject someone amazing out of concern there's someone else out there who's even more perfect.” 

The plethora of options available through dating apps should make it easier to find and form connections, but instead, it allows us to be pickier and to think there’s always a better option out there. Consequently, we miss the opportunities before us.

Another related anomaly is “choice overload,” where being perplexed and bombarded with too many choices causes us to be paralyzed in making a choice and sticking to it.

We reject someone amazing out of concern there's someone else out there who's even more perfect.

Furthermore, the “fear of missing out” is a huge problem in the dating marketplace. With many women attracting different types of men from all ages and varying backgrounds, the illusion of choice seems that much more daunting. For example, if Chad is interested, then another Chad and yet another must be right around the corner for me, right? Not so fast…

What Type of Men You’re Attracting and Why It May Be Reasonable for You To Be More Realistic 

Every guy wants the 10/10 supermodel and every girl wants the quintessential Brad Pitt. This is understandable because we desire to procreate with those who provide the very best among us in terms of genetic gifts and offerings.

However, not all of us have what it takes to command such a premium on the “ideal” mate we envision for ourselves. The sense of entitlement on both sides of the fence these days seems to be off the charts from the outside looking in.

We need self-awareness to prevent settling. How old/young are you? What are your goals in a long-term relationship? Do you take care of yourself physically? What kind of man is typically attracted to you? These are a few sample questions you may see fit to ask yourself to “find your spot” and select the most desirable mate you may have among your many options (what’s known as satisficing).

“Find your spot” and select the most desirable mate you may have among your many options.

What is your league? If you have Chads lined up who want commitment, it’s safe to say that is your league. If Chad is lining up for hookups and nothing else, it’s wise for you to understand that is not your league. Your league should exclude any man who’s willing to have sex with you and instead should be focused on the men who are willing to commit to you. 

How To Not Settle

I don’t blame women for not wanting to settle. There’s much at stake in terms of finding a suitable partner you’re compatible with who may wind up being the father of your children. 

However, long-term relationships leading to marriage are a rarity simply by virtue of us not being attracted to just any Josh or Joe who shows up. We choose mates based on what makes the most sense to us in the grand scheme. 

Thus you must ask yourself: does it really make sense to you to pass up a great guy who is by all accounts “Mr. Perfect for you” simply because you feel you’re entitled to something better?

That’s not realistic thinking. That’s defeatist thinking. If you can find a man who loves you, cares for you, and is willing to commit, and you likewise share the same sentiments, then it makes perfect sense to commit to him and avoid settling for someone else.

Closing Thoughts

Make it your priority to strike while the iron is hot and choose the man you feel 100% confident with in your decision to commit, strive to make it work, and cease chasing those elusive Mr. Perfect relationship rainbows. Time and time again, there’s no pot of gold to be found there – but you’ll often find a lifetime of regret when you look back on “the one that got away” years ago who ran off and married someone else. 

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