If It's Called 'Settling' To Stay With A Man Who Makes You Feel Safe — Cheers To Settling!

Photo: courtesy of the author / SilverCharm Photography 
safe men

Safe men are easily the best men to love.

When I first started dating my husband, a then-friend drunkenly sneered, “You just like him because he’s ‘safe.’” A few years later, after we were married, another friend walked into my house, shook him by the hand for the first time, and, without skipping a beat, used the other hand to point at his chest while looking at me, and said, “Not what I was expecting, Liz.”

So yeah, the fact that I picked a guy who was comically different from myself has been a consistent theme for awhile. It’s a running joke that he is very much the Bert to my Ernie, the Kermit to my Miss Piggy or any other Muppet-based illustration of Order and Chaos coexisting with love.

However, the accusation that I picked a guy just because he was “safe” kept coming up in conversation, both to my face and behind my back, and was obviously intended as an insult.

I wish I could say this baffled me but to be fair, I’d believed comfort in a relationship was a negative thing for most of my adolescence, so I couldn’t throw stones. But after spending almost a third of my life in a tumultuous, on-again-off-again romance riddled with more drama, distrust, and straight-up insanity than a mid-2000s VH1 reality show, I stopped to reconsider that maybe love isn’t supposed to be quite so difficult.

Once I decided not to tolerate any of the garbage that had existed in my former relationships, my stock of f*cks to give plummeted. Seriously, I was done. I ghosted a guy after two weeks just for whining about fighting with his ex for longer than ten minutes. Another time, I ditched a guy thirty minutes into a date because he was being too negative; I just turned the car around and dumped him back at his apartment.

Of course, I wanted someone “safe”! I craved a relationship with someone who was honest and loyal and focused and predictable and, hell, maybe even a little bit boring. To this day, I don’t see why that’s supposed to be a bad thing.

I fail to understand how a partner who means what he says, follows through on promises, meets my needs, and doesn’t break my heart is something I should feel like I “settled” for. Call me crazy but I personally consider that a luxury and, until I found it, I was convinced it was a myth.

Here’s the thing: By that point, I realized I’m never going to be boring or predictable, despite my best efforts to step in line. Although this characteristic had finally become a personal point of pride, it occurred to me that I cannot be matched with someone who is the same; that sort of imbalance just creates a catalyst for crazy.

So I found someone to create balance and, to be honest, it’s better than I thought going into this whole thing. See, I’d believed the hype that “good guys” were either a) boring, passionless, and would ultimately snuff my exuberance for life just like every rom-com desperately attempts to convince us will happen, or b) hiding some horrible secret under their unassuming façade.

All photos: SilverCharm Photography

Instead, my now-husband and I create harmony. He keeps my feet on the ground while I encourage him to stick his head in the clouds every so often. Whereas on my own, I may have sailed into the storm unprepared; with him, I at least remember to bring along a life preserver... and a radio... and a compass. Similarly, with me, he is learning the very important art of stopping to smell the flowers... and put on some music... and maybe dance with a squirrel.  

Surprisingly, though, while this tether we create with our dichotomy is fantastic, the privilege of having someone reliable in my corner has caused me to step up my game and be as “safe” with his heart as he is with mine. Before, it didn’t seem to matter if I stayed out hours after I said I would or if I forgot to call when I agreed to because I never received the same courtesy.

I felt like it wasn’t worth my time to give it. But after a few weeks receiving my husband’s incomparable honesty and reliability, I started reevaluating my habits and little white lies and realizing that he deserved the exact same comfort in security as he was providing for me.

So, I like it loud and spontaneous and he likes it quiet and predictable. He thrives on daily routine and I must keep inconsistent hours to keep from going insane. He likes wearing earth tones and I like to dress in Technicolor.

However, because he is a safe man, I am not dangerous. Together, we are balanced, better versions of the very different, dynamic people we are.