Why We Settle and Why We Shouldn’t

Woman walking into sunset in a park

“Someday someone will come into your life and make you realise why it didn’t work out with anyone else” – Unknown. 

I never understood what this actually meant till now. My own interpretation of it is a lesson of patience. When married or engaged couples tell you how they knew they’d marry their partner, most will always say ‘I just knew’. I don’t believe it is as simple as that but I do understand it. It’s a matter of timing, what you both want in your future, your values, his/her values, if you want kids, what kind of parents you want to be. When these things align, then you’ll ‘just’ know. It sounds like a matter of chance doesn’t it? That someone will come into your life, be all that you’re looking for and want everything you want at the same time. It’s tempting to just ‘settle’ for the next best thing or cross off a few things off your wish list to compromise but to ‘settle’ is like buying your dream car with faulty parts. It looks the part, kind of performs like the real thing but it’ll never really run the way you want it to. I don’t really want to buy that Audi TT if it’s going to break down on me, regardless of how good the price or how pretty it was. I’d rather wait longer for the real thing to come around. 

Why We Settle and Why We Shouldn’t 

1. You’re Getting Old

This isn’t just women who feel their biological clock ticking. I’ve seen guys panic about needing to settle down because all their friends have. When you’ve been dating for a few years, the next logical step is marriage but some couple just go with the motions in life…taking next steps not fully understanding it’s a life time commitment. This is the part where you might want to shake me out of my corniness but you really deserve the best. Just because you haven’t met the love of your life doesn’t mean you have to settle with the ‘like’ of your life. 

2. You Haven’t Been Single in Ages

I know the feeling…where you’ve spent most of your 20s with the same person. You’ve heard all the dating horror stories from your single friends. The last thing you want to do is get back into dating, especially when most of your friends are married, engaged or having babies. It may feel like you’re taking a step back but you’ll be happier for it. Big risks=big rewards…if you boldly go after what you want, you’d be surprised by what you’d get in return. If it makes you feel better, I’ve seen friends call off their engagement weeks before the wedding and found love 6months-1year later. 

3. You’ve Been Looking for a Long Time and are Sick of Dating

This isn’t picking out a shade of lipstick where just any variation of red will do. This is a partner you hope to share a life and future with. Muscle up and do some work. I often come across women who say they really want to meet a nice guy to settle down with and still party like it’s 1999 on weeknights and weekends. I doubt Mr.Right is just a tequila shot away. Be patient and know anything can happen in the next minute, tomorrow or a month later. It’s so cliche but it happens when you least expect it (sorry! but it’s true). 

How Do You Know You’re Settling: 

It your intuition isn’t screaming alarm bells are you then pay attention to the signs you’re settling

You envy other people’s relationships

You constantly profess your love for your partner on Facebook as public validation of your relationship

You have wandering eyes

You fantasise about leaving the relationship

You can be a part from your partner for months at a time and feel nothing

Don’t stress about the idea of being alone. Be patient and enjoy every relationship good or bad…it’s all about the journey anyway. 


Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.