“Where are all the good men,” a 35-year-old once asked.

To which her friend replied “Well it’s hard to see them when you’re nose is that far up in the air”.

The illusion of holding out for something better

Lori Gotlieb sums it up well in her book – Marry Him: The case for settling for Mr Good Enough.

“The logic would be that the people left later on are “better” because they were so discriminating (after all, nobody was good enough so far). But just the opposite is probably true. The people that got married younger who knew how to compromise are less demanding and better partners than those who felt they couldn’t find anyone good enough.”

And as we all know, as you get older your pool of potential options dwindles.

Not only does it dwindle but if you’re a maximiser, you probably have a persistent anxiety that no matter who you date, you could probably do better.

It’s like when I buy a dress and when I’m standing at the counter I freak out and think maybe I could find a dress I like even more than the one I just tried on… even though I love this one.

But I won’t settle… says every single woman

Perhaps a better word for settling is compromising.

We’re wiling to compromise in so many areas. Our jobs, our houses, our education and in our jobs, but yet so many women are not willing to compromise in the area of love?

Around the time I read this book I went out with this new guy we will call Tim. I went into the date like an experiment, taking a mental note of how many ‘deal breakers’ he would have.

The poor guy. He was written off before it even began.

But he ended up being kind, fun, he laughed at my stories, he was trustworthy and he thought I was great.

Needless to say, I decided to see him again.

Start finding reasons to say yes

A good dater doesn’t equal a good husband

As Gotlieb writes, marriage is essentially like running a small non-profit business for which you get very little credit for.

However a lot of the qualities you look for when you’re dating may not be conducive to marriage.

Is he loyal, kind, good at communicating and good at solving conflict?

That boring guy you dismissed may make a great husband and the short balding guy you looked past may just make a phenomenal father?

The same goes for men – that hot 23 year old blonde may make you feel like “the man” right now but does she have what it takes to be a good wife?

Alain de Botton once wrote, “The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition.”

Perhaps instead of going on endless dates to look for The One we should try and build a nice life with Some One?

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Perhaps instead of going on endless dates to look for The One we should try and build a nice life with Some One.

Don’t overvalue yourself

I hear the groans of women the world over at that title. No, I’m not talking about self-esteem, I’m talking about the fact that a man is settling to be with you as well. And FYI – men are far more likely to settle than women.

The reality is this girls, statistically the power balance is in your favour in your 20’s mainly because men want sex and you are the gatekeeper to that. In your thirties though, the power balance shifts to men, and those women who were once in hot demand cannot work out why they’re options are dwindling when they start wanting children.

Remember, in the dating market you’re only as valuable as your options.

Remember, in the dating market you’re only as valuable as your options.

So don’t be surprised if your fussiness leads to frustration as your options dry up.

On the plus side, if you’re a man who didn’t have a way with women in your 20’s, then your 30’s are looking very promising.

But I want a Christian guy

I just had to put this section is as I am so tired of women who want a ‘Christian’ man complain that there aren’t any.

I overhead a girl saying the other week “There are no good Christian men around”.

Frankly this was offensive to all my male friends in the church who are very good men, however women don’t give them a chance as they aren’t as attractive or charismatic as the fantasy man in their head is.

If having a Christian partner is at the top of your list, then you’re going to have to accept the fact that you’ll have to compromise in other areas.

Census statistics report there are around 200,000 people who affiliate as being Anglican or Presbyterian in Auckland. Say half of those are men, which is 100,000. Then take the number of men 20-40 years old as being around a 1/3 of that. This gives you 33,000 men aged 20-40 in Auckland identifying as Christian. Maybe half are married so we’ll put that the number of available Christian men down to 16,500. Maybe make allowances for the fact that the ones that will live up to your hotness standards bring it down to 5,000, your standards for how funny he should be bring it down to 3,000 and the ones you find intelligent enough bring it down to 1,500. *

These are the statistic girls.

You may be able to pray for a husband but you cannot pray the statistics away.

You may be able to pray for a husband but you cannot pray the statistics away.

The biggest tragedy in life would be that you didn’t get this message soon enough

It’s hard to see example after example of women in their late thirties in this book, desperate to have a child and wondering why they can’t find a nice guy. These women would give anything to go back a decade and make better choices.

As one professional matchmaker puts it:

“Women come to me when they’re nearing 40 and they’re hard to match as they have histories by then such as lots of ex boyfriends or children. These are the women that I wish would have come to me when they were 29.”

The way it should be and the way it is

The biggest hurdle when it comes to finding love for women (and men), is that they look for someone to fulfill their preconceived fantasies. They’re looking for a person who fits the mould that they’ve carried around in their heads for decades now, instead of dropping their ‘ideals’ to find a real human man.

Ultimately, this isn’t a book that argues for settling as much as accepting men’s humanity and flaws. And really, don’t we hope they’d do the same for us?

Ultimately, this isn’t a book that argues for settling as much as accepting men’s humanity and flaws. And really, don’t we hope they’d do the same for us?

 

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