Would You Settle In a Relationship?
When I first heard about Lori Gottlieb’s New York Times bestselling book, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, I was offended. At first glance, the book seemed to be asking women and men to settle in a relationship, to give up what they truly want and need in a mate. Doesn’t that set you up for failure? Should you really give up on your dream of meeting and marrying your true love? That’s not at all what Lori Gottlieb is talking about.
Lori Gottlieb, single and forty, had grown frustrated with her search for “Mr. Right”. She decided to stop chasing the elusive Prince Charming and get real about finding a husband. She began by observing her happily married friends who had married not-so-perfect men. What made them happy?
Did They Settle In a Relationship?
Many admitted that the men they married were not immediate heart-throbs. Their love and affection grew for their husbands. It was based on shared core values. Qualities such as kindness, consideration, compassion, intelligence; these are the things that great matches are made of. These women gave their future spouses a chance. Their relationships developed in a very solid way, and ultimately they did not feel as if they were settling at all.
Prince Charming? Not in the conventional sense, but these men did become their happily ever after. This perspective for settling for Mr. Good Enough makes very good sense.
Here’s what Gottlieb had to say in an interview:
“Many women in their twenties or early thirties are either breaking up with really good guys, or refusing to even go on a first date with a really good guy, because there’s not instant “chemistry” or because the guy is kind (but not a mind-reader), successful (but not wealthy enough), cute (but balding), and funny (but not Jon Stewart), and they think there’s someone better out there.
So they pass up the 8 in order to hold out for the 10 – and then suddenly they’re 38 or 40 and now they can only get a 5. The 8 would have been the catch. Most of us would be very happy married to the 8. But we don’t realize this at the time. This whole business of “having it all” is a problem because guess what, most of us aren’t 10s either. Some guy is going to have to put up with our flaws and give up certain things he may want in a partner, too.
Maybe he wanted someone taller, or someone with a better sense of humor or someone less sensitive. We tend to forget about that because our female friends are always telling us how fabulous we are, and soon we think we’re so fabulous that we always find a reason that this guy or that guy isn’t good enough for us.
By acknowledging these truths, you can adjust your behavior so you’re not always sitting there wondering why you can’t find Mr. Right. If you’re like many single women today, you’ve probably been passing up a lot of Mr. Rights along the way because of these unrealistic expectations.”
Why I think this book is important:
1. Many people settle in a relationship. They may think that their partner is as good as it gets. If they are marrying a 7 or 8, perhaps their love will grow with time. But when they compromise on too many of the most important elements of a truly loving union, those marriages usually fail. This is not the “good enough” that Gottlieb is referring to. Focus on the most essential non-negotiable qualities you need in a truly loving compatible connection, and your love will grow over time.
2. Think twice about passing up a perfectly good guy. Judging him based on his job? Education? Height? These things don’t necessarily indicate his true nature/ability/intelligence. Focus less on the externals and more on the internal qualities in a potential match.
3. Attraction is based on many unpredictable factors. Gottlieb concludes that we don’t always know what we need in a relationship or understand why we are attracted to the opposite sex. We may think we need certain things in a partner, but something totally different will make us happier. We wouldn’t know it unless it hit us in the face. In other words, give the good guys a chance. You may be passing up Mr. Good Enough in your search for what you believe is Mr. Right.
Give relationships a chance to develop. Be open. Don’t turn down a potential match based on preconceived notions. Open up your possibility of finding Mr. Right by giving Mr. Good Enough a chance.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.