Does it ever make sense to settle (even just a little bit) to find a long term relationship?
posted by sickpuppet to Human Relations (40 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I've tended to have fairly high standards when it comes to the women I've dated. I'm currently 32 years old, and I've found that I probably am getting even pickier as I get older. I've been dating for most of my adult life, but I've only been in 2 serious, long term relationships since graduating from college about 10 years ago. In both cases, I met a really amazing woman who I new I wanted to get to know better almost right from the start. Both of these women were beautiful, sharp, funny, exceedingly kind, and had personalities that meshed well with mine. Unfortunately, I was kind of a mess for most of my 20s, and while I really didn't want either of these relationships to end, in hindsight, both of my past exes probably had good reasons to want out.
The good news is, after getting a little older, a little wiser, and reflecting on some of the things in my life that I probably wasn't doing as well as I could be doing, I've made some changes, and I'm at a much better place career-wise and in terms of personal development than I was a couple of years ago.
The possibly bad news is, I've been single for a couple of years now, and while I've been going on dates and maintaining a fairly active social life, I haven't met anyone who's really come close to piquing my interest like either of my previous two girlfriends did. To use a kind of cliched (but in this case true) example, a couple of months back I went on a date with a really beautiful woman who was... well she was beautiful, but we didn't click at all, didn't really have anything to talk about and I found myself checking my watch about 30 minutes into the date. Not long after, I went on a couple of dates with another woman who, to be honest, on looks alone I probably wouldn't have considered going out on a date with a couple of years ago. She was funny though, and she's lived an interesting life, and I thought once we got to know each better some kind of attraction might start to develop, but it didn't work out that way. I enjoyed talking to her, but never found myself feeling any sort of spark or attraction between us. My dating the last couple of years has generally followed these two patterns, with the occasional complete disaster date thrown in every once in a while.
In my early 20s, when my first really serious "heading towards marriage" girlfriend broke up with me, I took it hard, but at the time I didn't feel any pressure to get into another relationship right away, so I took my time, and eventually, about 4 years later I met someone else who was also incredible. Unfortunately, this time, I was going through a really difficult time at work, which included a 6 month stint abroad that in the end signaled the end of our relationship.
Now, at 32, I don't feel old but I'm starting to feel like the clock is ticking. I'd always planned on having a family, and that’s still something I very much would like to be a part of my life, but relationships take time. I stay active and try to meet new people, but the number of single women that I meet in my daily life is definitely getting smaller, and I’m starting to worry that if I remain as picky as I was before, I may spend most of my 30s waiting and hoping another really amazing girl to come along only to find that I’ve turned 40 and am still waiting. I know that the type of woman that I’m really interested in exists, because I’ve met two women who fit that bill in my lifetime, but I don’t know that I’ll ever meet someone like that again. They were both pretty rare, I live in a big city and I rarely see women that beautiful, and I meet a lot of different people through my job and rarely meet people with whom I have such good chemistry with.
So what do you think? Does there ever come a time to relax one’s standards a bit, and accept that maybe you’re not going to find exactly what it is that you’re looking for? Do you think it’s possible to start a good relationship this way? Or is it better to hold to whatever standards you have and hope that someday, someone comes along who really fits the bill, but live with the fact that they may never show up?