Is It Ever Okay to Settle?


In a word: No. What does it mean to settle for you? Settling and compromising are two very different things, you see. But to really understand the difference let's talk about what each of these items are, first. I looked to Urban Dictionary for a suitable definition, but came up empty, unless “Being pussy-whipped is a side-effect of settling” is a suitable answer for you. I suspect it may not be.

Settling is what you do when you just want to be a part of the status quo. That is, we settle when we're in a position that's okay, or “good enough.” The situation might be good, but it's not great, or there's a problem that's being overlooked.

An example: Man's wife cheats on him. He finds out. He chooses to keep with his wife and keep the family unit together… There's a lot of good in doing so. Love has a lot to do with his decision to stay. Being an outsider, I can only say that I wouldn't have. But I'm a more selfish person, I think and less forgiving.

That laugh!!! Maria Menounos was hot until she laughed!!! Gack!

Example 2. Boy meets girl, boy and girl date, develop strong feelings and have a child. They haven't been happy together in a while. Each have stated if not for this child they would go their separate ways. They've settled, in the best interest of their child. Whether you agree or not, my opinion is that this is a noble thing to do on their part, even if it's not ‘right.'

But is it okay to settle? Lots of people do and maybe they should. But you get one crack at this thing, the way I've figured it. By “thing” I mean life. So why spend your life in a situation that makes you sad, or drives you bonkers. You'll be 70 and telling some asshole kid how they should follow their dreams because you never did. Well, that's shitty.

I know many folks who have settled for less in their relationships. It's not easy to ask for more. I know I said I wouldn't write anymore about my recent breakup, but I feel it's necessary here. My ex knew she wanted kids. She knew it with everything in her heart. She wouldn't be denied and she wouldn't settle. She said “okay then, I guess that's it.” And like that, it was over. Walking away from someone you love is hard and it's so for a reason. When we grow together, our roots intertwine to a point where it's inconceivable that we would ever be apart. It takes great strength and self love to walk away; it's tough because you leave what's comfortable for the unknown. I think that's where many people get tied up, the unknown.

Settling, just means you're not ready to accept or take a chance on the awesome stuff that life has for you, I feel. I've been told many times, by friends and family “what if you never find someone who loves you like your ex?” Indeed, what if that comes true? That I never meet someone who I can love and who loves me. That would suck. “Life is better with a co-pilot,” after all, as George Clooney put it. I can't see how staying in a situation that isn't right for you because you fear being alone is any type of good at all. It's not. But I guess it's easier for me to say because I'm okay being alone; I know that being alone doesn't last… But tough-minded folks do.

Is it ever okay to settle? Slap yourself in the face, Mija! No, it's not. You're doing more harm to yourself and your significan other by staying in a situation that you both hate.

Author Profile

Alex is the founder and managing editor at the Urban Dater. Alex also runs: DigiSavvy, for which he is the co-founder and Principal. Alex has a lot on his mind. Will he ever get it right? If he does, he'll be sure to write.

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  1. I’m interviewing an Australian author on my blog next week about her new dating book, Finding Mr Darcy, and she talks about this. And how relationships can be hard enough with settling for ‘Mediocre Man’ (or woman) because you don’t want to be alone / think there’s nothing better out there / think you’ll magically fall in love with the person over time etc etc.
    I agree with you about the cheating thing Alex. Settling for that, no. But the couple who used to be happy before kids… Well, I dunno. From what I’ve read and seen, couples sink or swim in the kid’s first five years and if they push through can get to a better place. In one study I read, quite a large proportion of couples who’d split before their child turned 5 regretted it later and wished they’d hung in there.
    On the flip side of settling with someone who doesn’t want kids and you do… So you give it up to be with them…. Well I’ve seen that too and it’s kinda a tragedy.
    Anyhow just my 2 ( or maybe 6) cents. 🙂
    Merry Xmas!

    1. Well said, Rachel. I think there’s a line to be drawn between just settling and being an adult and working things out. The couple that are shacked up with a kid… It could work if they keep grinding at it. It just seems, from an outsider’s perspective, that they are always fighting… I don’t think I’ve seen two people less happy to be together than them, but they’re grinding through it. I don’t think it’s a good play on their end. What do I know, thought? I’m obviously a turd. =)

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