I hear it all the time: “I don’t want to just settle.” It’s as if these people are in search of perfection and will not compromise. I guess we can’t really blame them, but realistically most people have to settle because there are only so many perfect people (like you and me) to go around. Have you ever thought about settling because it's difficult to find Mr. or Ms. Perfect? Do they even exist?

Do you settle for less than your ideal mate? Before we can answer this question, it makes sense to first look at the consequences of settling. If you don’t settle, there are two outcomes:you may be the happiest person in the world or the loneliest. You end up happy if you find the perfect mate you have been looking for all these years, however, there is a good chance you will never find the perfect mate if you are unwilling to compromise at all. Then you end up with no one, and you get free membership in the Lonely Hearts Club along with Sergeant Pepper and all those other luminaries. Ironically, even if you do settle, you confront the same outcomes. So it's not "do you or don't you settle," it's how you go about settling or not settling.

Like most things in life, it is best to compromise to a moderate degree. But remember, you don’t want to take any old mate for fear of being lonely, because if you pick the wrong person you may end up wishing you were alone. You have to prioritize and establish what is important to you. Decide what you can live with and what you can’t. All of the variables that go into a relationship come into play: chemistry/looks, personality, common interest, intellect, socioeconomic background, personal interests, moral values, activity levels, money or the lack thereof, the list is long, and while these are some of the more important ones, you have to figure out what you want and need in a relationship so you can make a complete list to satisfy your needs.

You have to remember that you are going to be with this person for a potentially long time, or end up breaking up, or in divorce with all the attendant hurt and pain associated with failed relationships. If you can’t imagine being connected to this person both physically and emotionally for the duration, maybe you should look elsewhere and don’t just settle.

I think too many people do settle because of pressure from friends and/or family, or due to the biological clock that keeps ticking, or for security, or loneliness, or even just for sex. While things may work out when all is going well, there is a disaster waiting if the sex fades, the money runs out or whatever things you placed value upon fade away. If you joined together for the shallower things in life like sex, looks or money, there is a real good chance you will end up unhappy and vulnerable down the road. Of course if you have a good divorce lawyer, you may end up rich.... and lonely– still not a pretty picture.

Another consideration of settling has to do with what you bring to the table. You have to be realistic. If you look like Chewbacca, you may have to settle for a Wookiee, unless you are very rich, in which case there are those who look like attractive humans but live with Wookiees who will "keep" them.

A soon-to-be posted subject: compromise and compatibility, will explore these two factors that are needed in any discussion of settling. Once you have that information, you'll be better able to decide if you should settle or not settle... that is the question. You knew the question all along, didn't you? You need the answer!

• MYSTERY DATER (2010/08/30 03:46)
Now here is a person with great forethought and a wonderful command of language. Thanks for your posting and terrific observations. This concept of settling is very complex and we merely touched upon the surface. I do think some settle for convenience others for security and others because of loneliness. I agree that if one loves their solitude, they are less likely to "settle" and then the search for a mate involves finding someone who makes you as happy or happier than being alone. As noted, we just touched on the surface and it can get much deeper.
• Roberta Foss-Morgan (2010/08/29 05:20)
great article....my thoughts are that if you are lonely perhaps you should consider learning how to fall in love with yourself first so you have something to offer "the one."
Being lonely is quite distinct from being alone. There is bliss in solitude with one's own soul and interests........Then when you do meet someone, you are actually somewhat whole, and not figuratively and literally being filled. That is a scenario for true loneliness and despair. This settling because one is lonely is not a gender issue as I meet both men and women who require a beating heart to feel complete.

Doing the experiment to be alone for a while does not obviate the need for a guality carbon based life form in our lives. It is simply that after we learn to like our own company, after we are not feeling desperation but a desire for a healthy connection....then, and only then is there a prayer's chance in hell to find "the one."
Also, many are lonelier with their chosen one then they would be alone. Learning to be alone is only painful for a brief time, then you become someone who is truly ready for loving and being loved.

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