You ask about lowering the bar. After the initial infatuation phase, it’s natural for desire to ebb and flow. A smart couple, rather than being discouraged by a lull, can find ways to reignite the flame through care and creativity. Perhaps your previous infatuations could have deepened if you had known that long-term relationships require work and compromise. In the future, do not lower the bar; instead, raise reasonable expectations.
Your letter suggests that in your book, there are only two lifestyle choices available: single and lonely, or married with children. In fact, there are many other options. You can have children without a partner, you can have a partner without children, you can have several partners, or you can have no partner. Whatever turns your life takes, it is important to seek personal fulfillment—and avoid the attitude that you are always waiting for something better.