16 April 2008

Settlers of Venus

"When we're holding out for deep romantic love, we have the fantasy that this level of passionate intensity will make us happier. But marrying Mr. Good Enough might be an equally viable option, especially if you're looking for a stable, reliable life companion. Madame Bovary might not see it that way, but if she'd remained single, I'll bet she would have been even more depressed than she was while living with her tedious but caring husband."
-Lori Gottlieb, Marry Him!-
Here's an interesting article for the ladies. The tagline is "The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough." Aaaah. Everyone is familiar with this problem. Single women who have achieved in so many other areas of their lives are faced with that great big molehill: a serious relationship.

The article's advice? Settle. Take the man that kind of fits your needs and priorities and lock him up now so you can get on with it. Holding out for Mr. Right could make your eggs dry up in the process. Nobody can tell you when he'll show up at your door, or in your inbox, and nobody can even assure you that there is a Mr. Right for you. Why wait when you can just get on with life and stop having to be nagged about "So, got a boyfriend?"

The problem is, doesn't settling suck? I mean, it might if you look at it in the ultra-romantic way that we've all been raised into. True love should equal marriage. There's not a lot of fairy tales about the conveniece of Mr. Not Too Bad. The thing is, if you swap out your thinking, you might be able to convince yourself that you're not settling at all (even if all your friends say you are).

I mean, the alternative is to be alone forever. But the upside is that I'll be readily available and always willing to come over and watch a movie or something. After all, as the article points out, men don't have to settle.
"What I didn't realize when I decided, in my 30s, to break up with boyfriends I might otherwise have ended up marrying, is that while settling seems like an enormous act of resignation when you're looking at it from the vantage point of a single person, once you take the plunge and do it, you'll probably be relatively content.

It sounds obvious now, but I didn't fully appreciate back then that what makes for a good marriage isn't necessarily what makes for a good romantic relationship. Once you're married, it's not about whom you want to go on vacation with; it's about whom you want to run a household with. Marriage isn't a passion-fest; it's more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business. And I mean this in a good way.

I don't mean to say that settling is ideal. I'm simply saying that it might have gotten an undeservedly bad rap."