Is It Settling or Settling Down?

By Cheryl Lavin

January 1, 2017 4 min read

We're exploring the concept of settling. What is it? When's the time to do it? Never? How does it turn out?

Mickey says, "Sign me up as someone who thought they were settling when they settled down."

When he and Angus first got together 12 years ago, they were both ready to settle down. The timing was great. The problem was neither one was really crazy about the other. He says: "We didn't have the same interests, same sense of humor or similar goals. And, quite frankly, the sex was lousy!"

Still, they got together and stayed together. "I can't say why," says Mickey. "I believe his very large and very supportive family had a lot to do with it. Whenever we'd hit a rough patch, either his dad or mom or some aunt would get on him to work it out."

Before Angus, Mickey had always dated "gorgeous guys, guys who focused on their careers, guys like me who were ambitious." Angus? Not so much.

Mickey says: "But what I discovered over time — and I think it takes time to find these things out — is that Angus is truly the kindest and most decent person I've ever known.

"I love him more each day and each year we're together. After 12 years of growing together, our visions have converged. We laugh at more of the same things. His tastes and my tastes are more similar than when we started, and our goals are more similar.

"Two people could not have been more different at first. Now people often tell us they hope to have a relationship like ours someday. I settled, and I'm so grateful I did.

"I knew you'd ask, so I'll just tell you: The sex still sucks, but hey, you can't have everything!"

Dear Readers: We recently heard from "I Don't Think I'm Ready to Settle." She's 38 and single, and her mother says she should just get married already, because she can always get divorced if it doesn't work out.

"She said that a woman my age is considered damaged goods if she's never been married and I'd have an easier time getting a husband as a divorcee than as an 'old maid,'" she says.

I told IDTIRTS, "This is 2016, not 1916," and that her mother is wrong.

I also said we need to define the word settling: "If you marry a man you respect, a man whose lifestyle is compatible with yours with whom you enjoy having sex, share interests and values and have common goals, is that settling just because your toes don't curl when he kisses you? I don't think that's settling. I think it's being realistic."

ELVIS: Your advice misses the real issue: Why does a 38-year-old woman allow her mother's approval to have this much influence on her life? She's picked up some of her mother's attitude when she talks about "getting" a husband (like he's a new pair of shoes) and being alone just because she's not married.

IDTIRTS needs to orient her life toward those good things she has or can have, like friends, a career, charity work, sports, travel, art, etc. Then she can tell her mother to butt out, that she's happy with her life and that if marriage happens, it happens.

She needs to make a happy, independent life for herself.

Did you settle? How did it work out? Send your tale, along with your relationship questions and problems to [email protected] And check out my e-book, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."

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