Most people marry for true love and companionship. Those are two of the main reasons I got married. But we all know that isn’t always the case.
Some people get married even when the love isn’t there. Many get married because they feel like time isn’t on their side, and they are tired of waiting. Others do it because they want to start a family. And of course, there are things like financial security and stability that can come into play.
There are many married people who don’t believe they married “the one.” Rather, they believe the settled for the best they could find at a point when they were ready to get married. This doesn’t mean they don’t have love for the person they married. It just means that the romance and deep love that typically comes with marriage isn’t a part of what they have.
But is that wrong? Shouldn’t you marry because it’s hard to imagine life without the one you love? Or is that a fantasy reserved for those who “luck out” and meet the right partner? Maybe, it’s okay for people to settle for “good enough” if the dream partner they envisioned never shows up.
Is there danger in settling?
I think we’ve all settled at some point in our lives. For some of us, it’s a rare occurrence that we often come to regret, while for others, settling is far too common. And although settling doesn’t always lead to damage, there are some instances when settling seems to carry a pretty heavy price.
When you settle for a life partner, I imagine there is always this unsettling feeling that you live with. And with that feeling comes questions like:
Did I do the right thing?
Am I really happy?
Maybe if I waited, the right one would have entered my life?
Can I find the passion I desire with this person?
I’m certain not all people who settle feel this way, but I think many do. They may not express those feelings, but the feelings are there. So the danger with living this way is rooted in the possibility that you will wake up feeling like you did not live your best life. It also comes with knowing that you prevented someone else from living the life they deserved.
I believe settling can come with lots of doubt and frustration. I think people rarely look back and feel glad that they settled. It’s a decision that has the potential to come with a great deal of regret.
Why settling may work for some
Years ago, a friend told me that a colleague confided in her and shared that she did not marry for love. She said she married her husband because he was educated and successful and she was getting older and was ready to have kids. Now she did admit that she loved him, but the passion and romance that typically comes with marriage just wasn’t there, and she was at peace with that.
That story always stuck with me because it made me wonder if I would make the same decision if my story unfolded differently. What if I never fell in love, and I found myself in my late 30s without any romantic prospects? Would I marry a man that was “good enough” so I could start a family?
I don’t think I would, but unless you find yourself in a situation, it’s hard to say what you would do. After all, companionship, stability and starting a family are pretty compelling reasons to settle down with someone.
I can’t recall if the husband in the aforementioned story was clear on why she married him, but I sure hope he was. If two adults agree that they both aren’t willing to wait and they like each other enough to commit and start a family, maybe it can work. But if one partner is walking around thinking they’ve found “the one” while the other is thinking, “this is good enough,” I don’t see how that’s fair at all.
Whether you choose to settle or wait for true love, I hope you choose to do it with a partner who is fully aware about how you feel and what you both have. Some might say that settling is a recipe for disaster, but I think leading someone on is actually what causes the most damage.
BMWK family, do you think it’s ever okay to settle for a mate?