The modern dating world with the easily accessible and wide range of daters available through online dating and other avenues, makes it difficult to pick just one person without feeling like you are settling. It gives rise to the grass is always greener syndrome and helps create unrealistic expectations of what we may be able to find.
We all want to find that person who sweeps us off our feet, makes our heart race, and gives us butterflies in our stomach. I certainly dream of the fairy tale where I meet my perfect Prince Charming and live happily ever after. But is this realistic when you are in midlife and have been married before? If you have someone in your life who adores you, and you enjoy his or her company, but he or she is not your Prince or Princess Charming, is it “settling” if you decide to be with him or her for the long term? Is it ever ok to settle? These are difficult questions in modern day dating and it is worth exploring the answers.
There are a number of definitions of the word “settle”, but this one offered by the Free Dictionary seems the most appropriate in the dating context: “to accept in spite of incomplete satisfaction.” As we go on date after date, with a checklist or mental vision of what we are looking for, we would be settling according to this definition if we choose to be with someone who doesn’t completely satisfy us on all levels. We would be “settling” if we didn’t feel a strong emotional, mental and physical connection to our partner. Is it realistic to expect this level of connection with someone and can we still be happy with something less?
The modern dating world with the easily accessible and wide range of daters available through online dating and other avenues, makes it difficult to pick just one person without feeling like you are settling. It gives rise to the grass is always greener syndrome and helps create unrealistic expectations of what we may be able to find. It becomes easy to approach dating with a glass is half empty philosophy where instead of focusing on the positives of our partner, it is easy to look at their shortcomings and where they don’t meet our ideal, and to believe that “someone better” will come along.
If we have someone in our life who treats us well, loves us, but doesn’t excite us, it is easy to ask the question, “is this as good as it gets?” The response to that question may be yes or it may be no. In a world where so many of us have unrealistic expectations about love and relationships, we may be setting ourselves up to always feel like we are settling. On the other hand, I would be the first person to say, NEVER SETTLE….not in love, in life or anywhere. The goal is to be a realistic non-settler. Know what you are looking for and insist on finding it, but make sure it really exists and isn’t some magical unicorn from Neverland. No partner is perfect, so don’t look for this, but at the same time we all deserve to find that person who puts a smile on our face, makes our hearts race and gives us butterflies in our stomach. The person who does those things does exist, and whether you are 20 or 50, and whether you have never been married, or you have been married several times, you owe it to yourself to hold out until you find that person.
The key is to understand that happiness is an inside job and not to look to any relationship to make yourself happy. If you are truly happy with yourself and with your life, when you meet the right person you will know. You will NOT be left wondering, “is this as good as it gets?”