Thursday, February 28, 2008


I know many of you will have thoughts on this. I am anxious to hear what they are. I promise I'll weigh in too - just still processing and trying to form a coherent opinion...

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Blogger mysterygirl! said...

Jezebel posted on this, and I thought Moe and the commenters were right on. If "settling" means toning down one's unrealistic expectations and understanding that no person or relationship is perfect, then that's totally healthy. But for the author, I suspect "settling" means marrying someone "good enough" but not right for you because you're panicking that you're getting too old to attract anyone "better," and that's ridiculous. Imagine learning that someone had "settled" for you! Heartbreaking.

Having high standards, I think, is important. It's having unrealistic expectations that gets you into trouble. :)

2/28/2008 3:15 PM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

MG! - I agree. Realistic expectations is one thing, but saying o.k. to a love-less or sex-less marriage (both things she mentions) is extreme. I didn't see anything in the article that even recognized what a happy or health marriage is about - it was like, "settle for someone who you can be bound to in this awful covenant that is somehow better than being entirely on your own." I think it's totally possible to build a good marriage with someone that doesn't make you swoon every time they come in the room, and that part of maturing is recognizing what you realistically can and can't live without - but there's got to be room for joy in it all, at the very least!

2/28/2008 3:20 PM  
Blogger Finally Free said...

MI, I found this because I read your comment on Lemon Gloria and I'm just as appalled, perhaps even more so, than I anticipated. The author is balancing her argument on a precarious stack of ignorant presuppositions and frankly, it's so illogical that I can't even wrap my mind around it. She paints all women with the same brush, which is patently absurd. Thank you for posting this - I'm almost speechless with disgust.

And personally? I realized after the fact that I'd settled for Mr. Good Enough and anyone who has read my blog knows how utterly fabulously that turned out.

2/28/2008 7:56 PM  
Blogger S'Mat said...

This article's inductive formulation of life and love is so blindsided by its shallow values that it nearly obscures the journalist's indignant pride.

She's haughtily encouraging people to fold to their fears. I thought feminism was about endorsing gender equality, but here she is generalizing the emotional limits of women and make a pejorative fetish out of men.

2/28/2008 11:08 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Yeah, I think it is all about degrees of settling, and what constitutes unreasonable expectations.

There are obviously happy mediums. I guess it is just about finding yours... in a hopefully timely manner.

(Wow. I really didn't add much to the discussion with that.)

2/29/2008 5:41 AM  
Blogger S'Mat said...

Also telling is that the writer never once mentioned her child's emotional and developmental needs. Perhaps if she had added that exposure to even a 'settled-for' male might instill a wider social understanding in her kid, I'd balk less at her argument.
In short, I think she SHOULD settle... on the moon.

2/29/2008 11:47 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

I would hope no one ever has to settle and if they do it is about settling on someone who is right for them although possibly not ideal. You should never settle for someone just for the sake of having someone but I can understand the temptation and I can't say I have never done it. It just doesn't ever work in the long run

2/29/2008 12:07 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

How much have you learned between the ages of 18 and 28?

Now, how much more do you expect to learn by the time you reach the author's age of 40?

I think 20-somethings would naturally cringe at this piece.

I thought this article was more about parenthood and marriage rather than marriage alone.

Have fun!

2/29/2008 1:10 PM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

FF - still catching up on your story, but, yah.

S'mat - I just love the way you make your points in comments. I will say that the only point that was really solvent in her article to me was when she mentioned that the only reason she continues to not settle is that she can't settle for a second-rate dad. To that, I say, amen!

Peter - I agree. And I guess I wish that the article was more about the author as an individual, and how her expectations were unrealistic, rather than this idea that no expectations should be upheld, or you have to kind of fold your cards all together. Some of the reasons she sited that people dismiss potential partners for are admittedly ridiculous. So great, reprioritize, but then hold out for someone you can feel good about at the very least.

Natalie - I understand it to. I just don't think it should be encouraged. To each his own in the end, but her pointed direction to 20-somethings is nervewracking. How could I not end up resenting someone if I "settled" this early? (I being the universal 20-something).

Mike - I appreciate that thought. It's true - all of our perspectives are likely to be vastly different in 10-15 years. I also think that's a great point - she's not just talking about companionship, but partnership in raising a child. In having a child on her own, she put herself in a very unique group to start - and perhaps there doesn't need to be as much "offense" taken by those of us who might not make that same choice if we found by a certain point that Mr. Right hadn't come along.

Thanks for weighing in!

2/29/2008 1:33 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I have to think she wouldn't feel so vehemently about this issue if she weren't a single parent - and totally alone in parenting as there's no father for this weekend or that. I understand her reasoning, but I'm not OK with this age panic and urging to just find someone - even if he's not right for you - because women are only getting older and age favors men. It sounds to me like she wants someone to be a good parent for her kid - a co-parent, really. I can't blame her for that. But I just can't get behind the negative sentiment of Mr. Right (or even Mr. Fairly Compatible) isn't out there, and if you wait, you'll be screwed.

2/29/2008 2:00 PM  
Anonymous noah said...

I'd rather have a relationship based on what George Burns and Gracie Allen had then based on what Will and Grace didn't have, and that is passion and true unconditional love.

As for me, I am truly and madly in love with the woman of my dreams, the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on, we have so much passion that it’s overwhelming at times… ironically she is settling for someone else even though she is madly in love with me… so, it seems like everyone can be right, the ones who believe in true love and the author of the article, go figure it’s all happening in one situation, mine! But hey, George Burns waited 5 years for Gracie Allen and they have one of the most beautiful love stories ever, so there is hope. Only time will tell if she’ll come back some day, for now I stay, waiting for her even if she has no idea that I am. Though after reading this she might…

"To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead"
- Bertrand Russell

2/29/2008 8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article just pissed me right off. As a 30 something single girl I tried to read this with an open mind. Tried to see her side of things, her age and situation, wondering if she would be doling out some wisdom since I may very well be in her shoes in a few years. After reading it I can safely say, there is still no way I would consider settling. Realistic compromise in a relationship goes without saying, but lowering your standards just so you don't have to be alone, now that's just sad.
Let's look at this for a second.
1. If I settled for a so-so job because it was good-enough and didn't fulfill me, how productive would I be going into the same workplace day after day doing something I mildly-to-moderately dislike.
2. How about I get a good-enough day care worker to look after little Timmy? How would that go over with child services?
3. What about a urologist who got his license by the skin of his teeth?
You get the point.
I find this article a disservice to all singles out there, women and men alike! Life is soo much better when you have faith that there is no greener grass. That where you are is precisely where you're meant to be. That when and if you're meant for marriage, a family, that it will unfold the way it's meant to, even if that means doing it alone. That not settling for good-enough means we have enough faith in ourselves to know that we are and will always be ok with or without a warm body next to us. That we can take out our own trash, that we can stay single and know that doesn't define who we are or the role we play in society.
I know many many women, some single, divorced or married and they're all at various ages and stages of life, and not one of them has ever expressed a desire to 'settle'. It's sad really that a message of this nature gets passed on to singles everywhere and women who may suffer from low self-esteem or are in a good-enough relationship are essentially given permission to give up on their dream.
Mr Right might not show up on a white horse to whisk you away to Neverneverland, but let's say he did and you had Mr Good-Enough answering your door, think Mr Right will stick around?
I didn't think so either.

3/02/2008 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I've been really compelled by this article. This is a subject I feel close to. As I say and mean; love is my favorite thing. I married someone not right for me the first time around; but ironically, not because I was settling but because I thought "things would change." Now in my second marriage, I would say happily that I settled and am grateful he settled for me. Of course, I more mean "settled down" than settled for.

I have a number of unhappy 30 something girlfriends, (rapidly becoming 40-somethings;) whom I honestly feel don't give love a shot at them. I also say, in the vein of love being my favorite thing, that I could LOVE 80% of the population. I start from 'Yes'; I notice many of the singletons in my life starting from 'no' and feeling frustrated.

I'd just say that rather than thinking of it as 'settling'; consider "being had at hello" and starting from yes. Marriage will deliver it's share of frustrations; the partner you overcome disappointments in is going to be "the one."

I took from this article what I found to be a great quote "Marriage isn’t a passion-fest; it’s more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business." Someone who gets you and you laugh with is the key for me.

Also, in discussing this with my husband (MI's brother), I thought he had an interesting point which was that it's in the late 20s that you come to grips with work and family related disappointments. Not being fulfilling one way or another sinks in about work, money, living situation, family relationships etc. He pointed out that admitting that is true in romance is a hold out upon the harsh realities of learning it in other realms of life.

I'd offer that the article had some important messages about keeping high hopes and lowering expectations. So there, devil's advocate!

-the happily settled sister-in-law

3/03/2008 3:59 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

"settling down"


...different than settling...

3/03/2008 5:15 PM  
Blogger Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

I can't say it any better than Mystergirl. Makes me wish she'd post again.

: (

3/04/2008 4:20 PM  

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