Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Should you settle for second best in order to get married?

This made me rather sad the other other day. It's an article from the Sunday Times style by Laurie Gottlieb, who's 40 and single. She's had a child by artificial insemination, but still feels lonely and unfulfilled in life, and wishes now that she'd "settled" for one of the boyfriends she'd dumped when she was younger.

In a nutshell, she argues that even her friends who are married are often unhappy (but still won't swap their married state for singledom) so, in fact, it's best to just grab whoever comes along, and make the best of it. She says:

"Don’t worry about passion or intense connection. Don’t rule out a guy
based on his annoying habit of yelling “Bravo!” in the cinema. Overlook his
halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. If you want the infrastructure
in place for a family, settling is the way to go. Based on my observations, in
fact, settling will probably make you happier in the long run, because
many of those who marry with great expectations become more disillusioned with
each passing year."
Having read this article, I ended up discussing it with three single female colleagues, all over 30 (which she says is when the need to settle starts). Although they classed themselves as "romantics", they all told me they had given up on finding the "perfect man", and were thinking that perhaps they were just being too picky.

Now, I'm sure that in some cases, this might be true. If you're too hooked on external appearances, say, or you're obsessed with finding a man with a particular job or status. But I also believe that there's someone for everyone, in the end, and that the "perfect man" DOES exist. I know this, because I married mine. I met him and my life changed overnight. Everything fell into place.

And although I know that this isn't possible for everyone, I also believe that it's far better to be single and self-sufficient rather than unhappily married to a man who isn't your best friend, your partner in crime, and the person you love most in the world. Being married to a man you've "settled" for (even if it means you can have children) must be very unpleasant indeed - and let's face it, it's not really fair on the kids, either, is it?

1 comment:

  1. Sabine, Buderim7 June 2009 at 03:32

    I realised that this article was written a year ago but it's a topic that never ceases to be relevant and will never be outdated so I thought I'd add a comment.

    I too believe that if a woman is considering partnering with someone, ideally it should be with a person whom they are able to call their best friend. You are very lucky therefore - your ideal situation (and that of most women) has fallen into place. What would have done however had the feelings not been mutual? I am certain that there are many people who love their best friend to bits but who eventually turn to another person when it finally hits them that their love isn't returned. This is what I would call 'settling'. It is a very realistic and, I have no doubt, common situtation.

    Should these women remain single? And if they want children -should they go through the process of artificial insemmination?




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