The Settling Debate

The Settling Debate

Should you settle for Mr. Good Enough?

To settle or not to settle -- it's the single girl question of the year. Over at The Frisky, blogger Natalie Krinsky ponders the question: "When does compromise and understanding turn into settling?"

Earlier this year, a writer for The Atlantic Monthly made waves when she urged women to marry and procreate with 'Mr. Good-Enough' instead of holding out for something better. In a piece titled "Marry Him!," Lori Gottlieb argued in favor of settling from a practicality point-of-view: rather than delaying marriage and childbearing for a 'Mr. Perfect' (who may or may not arrive atop a white horse), marry someone who you can see being a good -- if not completely ideal -- marriage partner.

Gottlieb wrote:

To the outside world, of course, we still call ourselves feminists and insist–vehemently, even–that we're independent and self-sufficient and don't believe in any of that damsel-in-distress stuff, but in reality, we aren't fish who can do without a bicycle, we're women who want a traditional family. And despite growing up in an era when the centuries-old mantra to get married young was finally (and, it seemed, refreshingly) replaced by encouragement to postpone that milestone in pursuit of high ideals (education! career! but also true love!), every woman I know–no matter how successful and ambitious, how financially and emotionally secure–feels panic, occasionally coupled with desperation, if she hits 30 and finds herself unmarried... I don't mean to say that settling is ideal. I'm simply saying that it might have gotten an undeservedly bad rap.

Gottlieb posits (although it's purely anecdotally) that settling only becomes less palatable with age: "The paradox, of course, is that the more it behooves a woman to settle, the less willing she is to settle; a woman in her mid- to late 30s is more discriminating than one in her 20s," she writes. A paradox, of course, because of that ticking biological clock!

Though she's panicked at the thought of her mother rifling through her deceased single daughter's bedside table and only finding vibrators and credit card bills, The Frisky's Krinsky balks at the idea of settling for a fellow with halitosis, biological clock or not. The 25-year-old blogger writes that settling doesn't seem like the best option right now -- she'd rather wait for what one might call self-awareness or maturity to set in:

Maybe in our thirties we no longer believe that we can change the a-hole, or reform the philanderer. Maybe by our thirties, we know ourselves well enough not to date the guys we would in our twenties. Maybe by then, we can see past the halitosis to a good heart.

What do you think about settling? Good idea? Bad idea? Depends on your age? Tell us in the comments section below!