In recent conversations the topic of settling has come up quite a bit. When a friend of ours e-mailed this article with a nudge, saying, "See? This is what I want. A partnership. A man who will vacuum, carry the kids around on his shoulders and hold down a steady job," we gave the topic a good read.
In this article in The Atlantic, a woman finds herself, after bravely having had a baby on her own (with the help of donor sperm), pining for a traditional family similar to those surrounding her at the park, complete with ball-tossing Papas. She gives this advice to single women in their 20s and 30s: Settle already and go for Mr. Close Enough.
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Writes Lorri Gottlieb: "It sounds obvious now, but I didn’t fully appreciate back then that what makes for a good marriage isn’t necessarily what makes for a good romantic relationship. Once you’re married, it’s not about whom you want to go on vacation with; it’s about whom you want to run a household with. Marriage isn’t a passion-fest; it’s more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business. And I mean this in a good way."
To be sure, we can see where she's coming from. What's the difference between the psycho roommate you had that first semester in college and the professional roommate you get along with swimmingly in your adult life? Chances are that your current roommate gladly splits the chores with you (no cleaning schedule required), takes turns picking up the household items, pays bills and rent on time and rarely stirs up drama (with work and an active social life, there's little time when both of you are even home at the same time.)
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Valid points. The only trouble with this, though, is that no romance equals no romance and that makes life a little workaday flat and monotonous. Romance is not something women should stop looking for, and we hate to think that it is going to be null and void from marriage. The unions we envy are those where the couples still hold hands after all those years, finish each others sentences and surprise each other still. Call us crazy, but settling sounds so...boring and predictable. Remember this commercial: Gray-haired woman washes dishes. Crackling slow waltz plays on radio. Bald man walks up, starts swaying with woman whose hands are sudsing dishes. She lights up, he smiles. You don't have moments like those with roommates, or men for whom you settle. What's more, what do these men who are "settled for" think about being seen as "good enough"? Even if we know it can't be every day, even if it's on an anniversary or at the birth of a child or when we're old and frail, we'll take the passion-fest.
Now we want to hear from you readers! What do you think: Better to settle or to hold out? And why?