Have you ever been told that you’re too picky and that’s why you’re single? I have. But I don’t think I am, I think I’m being selective. I’ve found myself asking the question “To Settle or Not To Settle” every time I meet someone new. I always choose not to settle. Why? Well, that’s how I got into the wrong marriage and wrong relationships before. I knew what I wanted and needed in a partner but I ignored it because I didn’t want to be alone. Settling was the wrong decision for me and I’m not going to make that mistake again.
Is There Something Better?
There definitely is. As hard as it is to imagine, especially if you’re single and having a hard time finding someone, there is something better out there. There has to be. Why settle for less? It’s not worth it. I truly believe that anyone can have just any significant other in their life if they are willing to forego their standards. Is that really worth it? I’m not saying be picky, but each and every one of us has certain things that we won’t budge on and that’s OK. There are also things that are “nice to have’s” that might be seen as superficial, like hair color or even baldness that perhaps we should overlook but, really, that’s up to you.
Finding the right someone is definitely much more difficult than finding just anyone. These days it seems like it’s becoming even harder, or is it just me? It seems that many who SAY they want a real relationship much prefer casual relationships rather than something real. There are also those who are looking for the thunderbolt kind of love that they won’t settle for less. Not sure who’s right or who’s wrong here, all I know is that I am holding out for something better than what’s I’ve gotten so far. Although I love being single and enjoy dating tremendously, I really want to find a partner, but the RIGHT partner, not just any partner.
What Is Happiness Really?
I recently was listening to a TED Talk by Psychologist Barry Schwartz about the “Secret of Happiness” and what he said resonated with me. He said that “the secret of happiness is low expectations” (huh!?), then after all the laughs he said that, really the secret to happiness is realistic and modest expectations. I have to say I agree with him. How many times do we invest too much, too fast into something we think we want and then dump a truck full of expectations on an unsuspecting potential partner only to scare them away? I know I’ve done it, and, I know you’ve done it too. He goes on to say that the reason we’re unhappy is because we have too many choices and we don’t know what to choose anymore because what if something better comes along. All these choices allow us to do better, but, ultimately, make us feel worse because our expectations increase and this produces less satisfaction with the results we do get. He says that “with so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all.” I think this definitely rings true in the dating world.
Expectation is the Root of all Heartache ~William Shakespeare
The Cost of Holding Out For Something Better
I recently read this and found it profoundly true … I just had to share it with you as is …
“Men frequently refuse to commit to one relationship because they don’t want to limit their choices. Often they will be in the midst of spending time with and enjoying a particular woman, and don’t have any other opportunities to consider. Still, they are eager to remain uncommitted on the off chance that a better alternative will soon present itself. In an era when it’s not difficult to hookup with strangers, that better option may be only a weekend away. Of course, he won’t commit to that woman either, and on and on it goes.
Women fall into a variation of the same trap. We meet a guy, enjoy his company,want to like him. But we find we just can’t make it happen. He may have lots of good qualities, but he’s not the catch we dreamed of as we watched The Notebook again last weekend. We want an all-consuming, passionate love, but how many couples do you know like that? How many couples have been brought together by a powerful romantic destiny? In my own life, I don’t know any. I know many happy couples, but they’re not storybook relationships. They’re imperfect, messy, real and rewarding.”
So there you go. Holding out isn’t always the best choice, but you need to decide for yourself if you are being reasonable and if giving that certain someone a chance is worth it for you. Maybe it is. Maybe they are the right someone but you just haven’t seen it yet. It’s really your decision and yours alone.
Are you holding out for something better? How has that worked for you? Do you feel you’re being reasonable? Is the secret to happiness low expectations? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
Copyright Single Dating Diva
I am a great believer in online dating, it has really worked for me. However I feel it exacerbates the problem. Men and women are like children in a sweet – men because we have a seemingly unending supply of singles to contact, women because of the sheer volume of messages they get every single day.
It is too easy to think “this date was 80% great but that isn’t enough… let’s see what else is out there.” I’ve had fantastic first dates with a couple of women who went silent at my request for a second date. Perhaps they thought there was something better around the corner? Who knows? Perhaps like a gambling addict we all thing that the big win is just around the corner.
Thanks for your comment! I like your comparison with gambling, I never thought of it that way, but you’re right … so do the odds ensure our prospects are not good?
No, on the contrary I think if we drop the mercenary attitude and pay attention to what is actually in front of us, it can work really well.
Awesome!!! Awesome!!! 🙂
Thanks so much Stacia! Glad you liked it 🙂
Well, on one hand, I definitely agree that increasing expectations will bring progressive heartache. On the other hand, I do not think the answer is to give in to pragmatism as a way of resolving love. The fact of the matter is, the reason we dwell on this topic at all is because we are unwilling to be alone as a bottom line. I say, its a numbers game and we live in the best age to do that. I’ve found the thunderbolt love and had settled for 6 years before…love is not practical, it is the emotional result of your highest values reflected in that of another. Nothing to throw away. Be alone or be with the best. But monitor how your values might change. Mine really never have. Love how you present and write.
Thanks Neal! So glad you enjoyed it. It’s really hard to make that choice or to take that step when something better might be out there, but, are we setting ourselves up for disappointment? I don’t know. Love is what you make it I think, but some basic needs have to be met.
Right, well but isnt the question, what are those “basic” needs and what is their nature? I do not think we are setting ourselves up for dissappointment, because there are 3 or 4 billion opposite sex members out there and we have scientific instruments at our disposal. No other age. I enjoyed dating too, the thrill the hunt, sex, fake love is fun too when you think it’s real…
Good chat points Miss Diva. The times that I have “settled” for a relationship with lady, that did not come close to what I was looking for, it always seemed to end in me becoming very frustrated and MAD – at myself. At first, one feels a false sense of happiness to meet someone to “do things with” – but that fades away fast…. and you fall into a deep rut where you cannot see other opportunities for healthier matches. I keep wondering over the years how many great match ups I may have missed, while keeping busy with someone that was convenient and available to do stuff with. Anyway, I recently have made a decision that I do not want to just settle for that “anyone”, but will just relax, sit back, watch and wait for that “right one” to come by. But …hope I can speak up and connect with that lady who is like minded, fun and can look past her emotional baggage.
Thanks Dan! Yes, well we can never know really can we? Perhaps we’re just waiting for the one who will pleasantly surprise us?
I agree about holding out for the right one – but my case, its not that there’s too many choices, I seem to not be able to really meet ANYbody, so when someone does come along, I’m tempted to settle because its so hard to meet people.
I know what you mean, selection is not that great so somebody is better than nobody, right? Well, not right because sometimes being alone is better than being unhappy with someone.
Always a topic of conversation. I believe an individual should have reasonable standards and non-negotiables that are specific to their unique personality. However, looking at others as “settle or not settle” can be a very misleading stance. This is one of the negative aspect of online dating. Often times we only give the person one chance over the course of 1 or 2 hours, then a decision is made on if the person “fits” us.
We don’t see or talk to him/her day to day, so we are effectively judging the meal by a crumb. This is absurd, but I’ve done it and I’ve been on the receiving end as well.
YUP… I agree. I once met a lovely lady – she looked way better in person, than on her online dating profile- I thought we got along really well, and was expecting at least another date or meet up. Nope.. she did not feel the same way. I guess she should have won the Acadamy Award for her performance during out first date – Yes, she was an actress 🙂
And the Oscar goes to … lol
Thanks Jacob! So you’re not a fan of first impressions?
I understand the importance of 1st impressions, but I know from experience they’re not always indicative of who a person truly is. That impression is easily influenced by stress, health, family, and/or financial issues he/she was going through when you two met.
Talk to them 2 months later and they could be in a COMPLETELY different place. Remember that guy you thought was kind of cute, but something turned you off? Maybe it’s worth a text or phone call to see…
But there’s definitely something to be said about your gut instincts. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel right and there’s nothing wrong with that. Perhaps that’s even more significant than first impressions.
Absolutely! Gut instincts usually come from the heart, don’t they?!
That they do!!
I really believe the heart wants what the heart wants. It’s not about being picky, you can’t help how you feel about someone and if you just aren’t feeling it there isn’t much that can be done, no matter how wonderful the other person is.
I don’t think you need to settle for anyone. Having lots of dates with lots of people until you find one who makes you not care about going out with others seems like a good plan. See where each relationship takes you.
As long as you are open about not being exclusive when you start to date, you give yourself a chance to get to know those you meet a bit better and have them grow on you.
I’m just talking about personality here because, for me, in the past, if the initial attraction wasn’t there, I probably wouldn’t have gone on a second date. Does chemistry grow over time? Maybe, but I think there has to be an initial spark of some kind. I definitely wouldn’t settle for a relationship without any spark.
Great post, Suzie!
This one’s close to my heart, so to speak.
I spent most of my “younger” days single, not because I didn’t want to be in a relationship – I did, more than anything – but because I was “too picky.”
I think my friends assumed it was a superficial thing, and that’s partially true (if we’re not attracted to each other, why waste each our time!?), but it was mostly because I didn’t feel “it” whatever “it is.
I’d be criticized for rejecting perfectly okay guys, but I’d remind myself (and my friends) that I didn’t want “perfectly okay” I wanted “perfect for me.”
I tried perfectly okay once and it was the most miserable 7 months of my life. The relationship was 8 months, but I spent seven too cowardly to break up with him even though I was unhappy. That wasn’t good or fair to either of us.
So, I learned my lesson. And then one day, I met my guy. He’s pretty perfect (like on the cover of over 75 Harlequin covers and loves his family and cats perfect). When we started dating, many assumed I was with him for his face (just imagine if they’d seen his body. Zing!), but it was because I felt “it.”
I wasn’t gobsmacked with love, or the idea he was the one, but instead of the urge to run in the other direction, I felt the urge to be with him. It wasn’t an easy start, but we made it work because we knew it was worth our time.
Seven years later, I’ve got this great man who has stood by me through all kinds of drama, including the fact I’ve been chronically ill for the last 5 years. We’ve been through the better or worse, richer or poorer, and come out stronger for it. And none of that has to do with his face, It has to do with the fact we didn’t settle, we didn’t walk away at the first bump, and we love each other warts and all.
When someone suggests my relationship started out superficially, I don’t bother correcting them. In fact, I have a tee shirt that reads, “I’m superficial because it works!”
Sure thing chaps, hold on for something better indefinitely (for pie in the sky…)…
… but don’t whine & complain later on about how your past superficial choices wrecked your life.
Go ahead and read this book ladies (& guys too – it also applies to you as well):
If you don’t have the time for the book, read the condensed version, in this article she wrote for The Atlantic magazine a few years ago causing much controversy:
Give the book or the article a chance, it will open your eyes, and you might even thank me for pointing you in its path and how it changed your perspective completely.
Written by a 40 something woman, unmarried and childless, and now bitter and angry with herself for rejecting everyone coming her way for various delusional, narcissistic, superficial and neurotic reasons (many reasons that I see regularly expressed on this blog as well).
Her point is that those of us that date indefinitely & continuously “holding out for something better”, fail to realize that we are biological creatures with a limited lifespan and also an even more limited reproduction timespan. If one wants kids let’s say, and keeps on wishing for the perfect match, pregnancy after the age of 35 is starting to play with fire (for you gals) & sperm count decrease is also an issue after the age of 50 (for you guys).
Wanting & wishing for too much in a “perfect” match, and ending up with nothing accomplished in your life (family wise), ain’t no accomplishment in the grand scheme of things.
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No one should ignore obvious red flags and date someone they don’t feel a connection with.
My experience with the women close to me that won’t settle is consistent. They are simply unrealistic and feel owed a perfect partner. I attribute this partly to fantasy and partly to our modern day culture of entitlement. I suspect it is the same for both genders.
I don’t bother dating the “won’t settle” crowd. They can carry their cross on their own.
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