Expert Dating and Relationships
Advice for Men and Women

Should you settle for Mr ‘Good Enough’?

ShouldYouSettleForMrGoodEnough

Have you ever wondered if you should settle for a guy you’re just not 100% into?

You’re dating a guy who’s funny, smart, reasonably good-looking and is always extremely kind and generous to you.

He’s great with your friends and he thinks you’re the most amazing woman to ever have walked this earth.
The problem? You’re just not quite ‘feeling it’.

You like him… but it’s not really love. You enjoy his company… but there are no sparks flying.

You want to be in a relationship… but you’re not sure he’s the right guy.

So what do you do? Dump him and wait for Mr Perfect to come along or commit and try to make the best of what you have?

A while ago Mirabelle asked readers whether a woman should ever settle for less when choosing a life-partner, and this led to a WHOOOLE lot of debate.

So today I thought I’d shed some more light on each side of the debate, and share my own thoughts on the topic as well. And of course, we would love to hear what YOU think at the end!

The case for waiting for your ‘soulmate’:
You should not commit to anyone less than your soulmate. Although infatuation may not last, it is a key foundation from which deeper love and commitment can grow. Without this base, a relationship with remain shallow and unfulfilling.

If you commit to a man you don’t feel very passionate about, you may always be looking elsewhere. And if you do settle, there is a chance that you could meet ‘The One’ a few years down the track… making for a horrible, awkward and PAINFUL situation.

Forever is a long time to be spending with someone you’re not really that into. You may end up plagued with self-doubts and jealous of couples who DO have ‘the spark’. And you don’t want to look back on life with any regrets.

In addition, if you go into a serious relationship or marriage without really loving the other person, everything they do is going to annoy you more and there will be less keeping you together when times are tough.

On the other hand, BELIEVING in your love from the start will help you to stay committed.

As a final note, it’s not fair on the guy you’re with if he’s madly in love with you while you’re only feeling lukewarm. He may always be plagued by a sense that you don’t love him completely – leaving BOTH of you feeling empty inside.

The case for settling for ‘Mr Good Enough’:
Okay, switching to the other side now. First of all, is Mr ‘Perfect’ even real? And if so, how long is he going to take to get here?

Waiting around for years for your ‘soulmate’ while you pass up man after man that could have made a loving husband and father could leave you single and alone as your child-bearing years draw to an end.

And who wants to end up alone?

If you keep passing up on the ‘pretty good’ options you may never find someone better later – so when you feel you’re at the right stage in life to be settling down and starting a family, you should nab the best prospect and tie him down.

In relation to this, Mirabelle previously went over how Lori Gottlieb, author of “Marry Him! The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough” argues that when it comes to marriage, women should prioritize a man’s inner qualities before love.

Gottlieb’s argument goes that as long as a man has all of the important qualities we are looking for, such as kindness, honesty and loyalty, this is all we need to have a successful marriage – even if feelings of passion and being ‘in love’ are absent.

And it’s true that when you marry, you want to know that you will be compatible with your husband in the long run – these inner qualities ARE important.

But is that ENOUGH? To have a nice, dependable man, even if he’s not your Prince Charming? Could you GROW to love him more?

This side of the fence would say YES; comfort and security are the things that will make a marriage last, over the attraction and desire which will only decline anyway.

My perspective…
Okay, I’ve laid out the two sides of the debate. And as you can see, there are pros and cons to each – and you’ve got to decide on best the decision for you if you are ever faced with this dilemma.

But I gotta tell you, I’m with Mirabelle on this one. When it comes to committing to a serious relationship or marriage, you only want to be doing that with a guy you truly love.

Believe me. I’ve had my share of dates, and I never lasted more than two with a guy that was clearly a LOT more into me than I was into him.

I often gave it another chance after the first date to be sure, but figured that if I still wasn’t feeling it on the second then there was no point in trying to force it.

I have also seen a few friends in the same situation – take this example:

A good friend of mine, Renee*, was being pursued by a guy I knew called Tyler* for about six months.
*Names have been changed for privacy purposes.

In a lot of ways, they seemed like they’d be really good for each other. They were both good-looking, very social, enjoyed the outdoors and had degrees under their belts.

The problem was that Renee didn’t feel much sexual chemistry between herself and Tyler – especially compared to what she had felt with her ex.

But eventually, tired of being single and not having met anyone better, Renee decided to ‘settle’ for him. She hoped that their chemistry would grow over time.

What happened next was painful to watch.

For two long years, Renee stayed committed to Tyler, while growing less and less interested in him. Over that time, gained almost all of the power in the relationship, to the point where she was basically ordering Tyler around.

And let me be clear here – Renee is a lovely person. She would never mean to hurt anybody – but her lack of passion and affection was sucking all the energy out of her relationship.

And poor Tyler was turning more and more into a hopeless puppy-dog, completely in love but with no knowledge of how to win Renee over.

He frequently endured being turned down when trying to initiate sex with Renee, and having his ego smashed to a pulp in the process.

Eventually, Renee realized that her feelings for Tyler hadn’t changed, neither were they ever likely to. So while regretting causing him pain, she did what was best and broke up with him.

Renee vowed to never settle again for someone she was not 100% sure about, as all it did was cause heartbreak and turn her into a person she didn’t want to be.

Luckily, Renee and Tyler are both now in relationships with people they are truly in love with, and are both a lot happier as a result.

So through experiences such as Renee’s and my own, I’ve drawn the conclusion that it is better to wait for that guy who DOES make your heart start beating wildly in his presence.

The guy who has all of the core qualities you are looking for, as well as that INTENSE sexual attraction. He doesn’t need to be perfect, but he does have to be perfect to you.

Okay, I’ve said my bit… and now it’s time for you to say yours.

What do YOU think about the Mr Perfect versus Mr Good Enough debate? Are you with someone who started off as ‘Mr Good Enough’?

Please share below, I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks!

Brooke Ryan
Author

24 Comment/s

24 Comments to 'Should you settle for Mr ‘Good Enough’?'

Julia

I am currently dating a man who has become the man of my dreams. He does not fit what I would have previously said is ‘my type.’ I found him on an online dating site. Liked what he said in his profile and thought his pictures looked really fun. We met and on our first date we had a great time, great conversation and lots of laughs. When I left, however, I was not really sure I wanted to pursue anything. He asked me on a second date and I said yes, but really didn’t feel like going and considered cancelling. I went and we had such a fun time. Date number 3, it continued and the chemistry and attraction took hold and continues to grow every day. I’ve been seeing him for 3 months. He treats me like a queen and has never let me down. He leaves me just enough space to keep me wanting more. The moral of this story is to give the ‘NICE GUY’ a chance to win your heart AND that slow and steady can win the race. I am head over heels for a man with whom I nearly cancelled our second date. <3

andrea staines

I was on the other side of this. I fell in deeply in love with a man who wasn’t as in love with me… in fact, he told me on the day he asked for a divorce that he had only ever loved one person his entire life and he’d reconnected with her. Devastated isn’t a strong enough word to describe how I felt! Adding insult to injury; I, nor anyone around us, had any inkling of his feelings for her – never saw it coming down the pipe. For me, if I ever find myself in a relationship again I will do everything I can to protect my heart and soul by ensuring it`s me – and only me – who has HIS heart. Bottom line, settling is not the way to go. The inevitable catastrophic ending is more than unfair to the one who isn`t loved as much.

MeetYourSweet

Hi Julia, thanks for sharing your wonderful story with us :) I think that is a great moral – as long as a guy has a great personality and you are enjoying his company, give him a few dates to win your heart. Because like in Julia’s situation, he could turn out to be the guy of your dreams! But if you’re still not feeling it by the end of this time, be honest with him and let him down as gently as possible… at least you gave it a fair chance.

MeetYourSweet

Hi Andrea,
I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve had to go through such a painful situation. Your story definitely highlights a very important point on this topic – that settling is unfair to the person who isn’t loved as much and can lead to a whole lot of pain and heartbreak. Loving someone with your whole heart while only receiving half-heartedness in return can leave you feeling empty, lonely and rejected. Andrea, you are right to be protective of your heart when dating in the future, but the fact that you have allowed yourself to love another completely shows that you are open to love… which is a great thing. Those who can love most openly may be more open to getting hurt, but they also tend to be more resilient and more open to loving again in future. Be strong and be true to yourself – we wish you all the best.

Bren

I know who I want to have, and I don’t want settle for anyone else. Problem is, we dated awhile ago, he got distant, and we’re not even dating currently. I can’t move on because I know he’s the one for me. I’m afraid he doesn’t want me anymore. He acts as if he’s really into me; he just doesn’t do anything about it. What’s a girl to do? Wait around and be miserable, or date and be miserable? It’s a no-win for me.

Jennifer

I have been dating someone for over 2 1/2 years and just recently got engaged. I am considering calling it all off. I think he asked me to marry him because he knew that I was going to leave if he didn’t commit. I also just recently found out that he is in contact with wife number 2. He says they are just friends and there is nothing to worry about, but if that were true why was it a secret. I do not feel like he is in love with me, I do however feel like he does love me on some level. I know his family loves me very much and I do them, but that isn’t enough. He does not treat me like a queen or is honest with me at all. After reading this I am second guessing everything. I do not want to settle but I feel like being in my 40′s it seems like the options are limited. Trust me there is no one knocking down my door. How confused do you need to be :(.

Jennie

I find this blog post to be a dangerous oversimplification of what happens in real relationships. First of all, many women (and men too) are strongly attracted to a person *because* they know the person will never fully return their feelings or give them the relationship they want. This is very common and unfortunately people are led away from recognizing it in themselves by the sort of messaging communicated by this post (“don’t settle for someone if you don’t feel the sparks flying,” “don’t stay with him if you don’t really love him” – never mind the fact that superficial attraction is not love).

The reality is that immature women are often attracted to exactly the same type of man: he is charming and popular, with a group of devoted female friends who would all date him in a second – so why would he commit to you? Maturity is about recognizing that you don’t need to wait around for a guy like this to choose you; you can take the one who has a solid character and would make a loving husband and father. Renee in the story above was not mature.

Sarah

After my divorce I met a guy online and I felt such an incredible attraction to him that I was literally blown away. The chemistry between us was just wow! and sex with him intoxicating. I’m with him since one year, but he told me already at the beginning that he can’t commit and he isn’t looking for a serious relationship. So actually I should break upo with him, because I can’t build on him and I live for the moment since I’m dating him. He is my dream man and I love him, although I know he isn’t the right one for a new marriage or a long term relationship. There are many “good enough” men around me who want me and who are ready to commit, but I never felt such a intense physical attraction and had such fantastic sex like with my lover, so I’m choosing to stay with him until I meet Mr. Perfect, what ever this means. I was married to a guy who was actually Mr. Perfect, a wonderful person, but I didn’t desire him. I just can’t believe that one single person can give us everything we want. Either we have to choose security, commitment, loyality and stability or we choose hot sex, wild passion and exitement. But to have both? Such man, who can give us both, has to be a Superman..

Sarah

I’ve found reading this article interesting and the comments even more so. I’m pretty young and have never had a serious relationship. Now that my life is setting down (got my first full time job, living in my own place etc.) I’m starting to think about love. I’ve been on an online dating site (my job is too hectic to think about any other way of meeting guys) and I’ve got in touch with two guys. They’re completely different and I’ve only actually met one. He was really passionate, and there was definite chemistry, but I’m not sure how honest he is. The other guy, I know he’s being honest, brutally so, sometimes, and I feel I’ve connected with him on an emotional and intellectual level, but I’ve never met him, so I have no idea if there’s any chemistry there. At this moment, I have no idea which one to go for and whether I’d be ‘settling’ for either of them….

Leila

Wow! Great article about a difficult topic. Women (and men to a certain degree) have a hard job because they have to reconcile two things – getting married and having children and being with their soulmate – the person who makes their heart sing. If you can do both – great. If you have to choose – choose the second, because being with someone you love and who loves you (other than your children) is something everyone deserves. If that isn’t your problem (anymore or ever) then find your soulmate. Of course, get past first or second date nerves – get to know them a bit and make sure they’re the one for you – the one you can stay in love with forever.

Mary

Hey Been, move on. He’s just not that into you. If he is, he’d let you know already. In the meantime you’re missing out on a lot of great guys.
My marriage ended with the death of my husband. I always loved him more that he loved me, and it was miserable in the last years. I look back and wonder what if…
I met a man at a meet and greet. Didn’t seem my type, but there was something about him that piqued my interest. Over time I’ve found him to be the man of my dreams! 3 years later we’re going strong and our love deepens every day. I am so glad I decided not to love someone who didn’t share my passion.
Don’t make the mistake I made the first time around :-).

Chris

Jennifer,

I think you answered your own doubts by saying “I do not feel like he is in love with me, I do however feel like he does love me on some level.”

I don’t know when did you write this comment or if you married this guy, but I wish you all the luck in doing the right thing (right for YOU) !

unicor

I believed we both were in love and after 23 years of marriage at number 18 an affair on his side then trying to mend it, I came to find out he was just waiting for our youngest to be close to 18 and not to have to go back to work and give more money monthly….So long story short how can one trust men? I want to, but I m afraid that what I believe is true is just an illusion. I do not want to be alone. Being in love is the best part of my life and yet I am not confident that what I feel is what the man feels even when he says he does….So How to move on and really trust?? Being alone is painful as well.

Noelle

I met my soul mate. Everything was there in the beginning, however as time went on it became apparent it wasn’t enough for him. He was a compulsive philanderer. A short time later I met someone who was not at all my type. Everyone (friends and family) thought we were terribly mismatched. In spite of it all after a year we married. He was enamored of me and I made chose to marry him. Six months later my soul mate returned, I did not regret my decision. While the marriage recently dissolved it lasted 30 years. I do not regret my choice only that the marriage didn’t last a lifetime. While I have no shortage of suitors, I find I have no true interest in pursuing another relationship. It would have to be a truly stellar man to change my mind. I couldn’t settle if I wanted, too.

Sarah

I am now in a 2 yr relationship with my ‘high school crush’. We were just friends back then and it never went anywhere. We lost touch and each dated different ppl. There was this one guy in particular after high school who I felt deeply for. He did too, but neither of us ever seemed to be in total ‘sync’ with each other. I used to think about all the ways we would be great together and I’m sure he did too. But we never could seem to let down each other’s guards enough to move into an actual relationship with each other. After some time the guy from high school who was my long lost friend and crush suddenly popped into my life. At first I didn’t give him the time of day because I was so focused on the elusive guy. But he persisted until it hit me that maybe I did still feel something for him. It was a faded feeling but I remember I had never truly stopped thinking of him. I decided to quit on Mr. Elusive and turn my attention to my crush from high school right before he gave up on me. My emotions were torn between both guys at first and it was very hard for me but now I am 100% certain that I have found Mr. Right. I have now been with my good friend from high school for 2 yrs. We have been talking about marriage and planning to live together soon. When I look back to think if there was ever a chance me and the other guy would’ve worked out, I realize we wouldn’t have. The guy I’m with now is so much more compassionate, fair, honest, and loyal than the other guy was. I just didn’t see it until now. My thoughts on this is that sometimes I think you are destined to run into your soul mate even if it doesn’t feel like you will. My friend had a similar situation and now she is getting married to what I believe is her perfect match. Sometimes I think it takes patience, a willingness to step back, not try so hard, and look at things objectively.


I’ve been both side of the fence. My second husband of 19 years was the man I loved to my soul, but it wasn’t the same for him. 10 years in, and he was controlling every aspect of my life. despite working, i hadn’t a penny to call my own. At the end ( which I instigated) he said that he ‘loved me in his own way. I grieved the marriage ( it took my wonderful GP to make me realise it was the marriage I was grieving for,not the man) and I went on to have a serious relationship with a lovely man who was everything my ex wasn’t- loving cherishing, amazing in bed, but in the end I just couldn’t do it. Having just turned 60, I have only recently found the man of my dreams. He loves me and I love him and it’s totally wonderful- he’s my ‘for ever’ man. Don’t ever ever settle for anything less than your ‘perfect man’ is what I would say, no matter how old you think you are – it’s the best and the only way to be truly happy with someone

Sue

Not sure about this……I had been married for over 40 years he wasn’t my soul mate, he pasted away. I have found out that, I do not “need” a man, but want a man in my life. I am 62 years young and enjoy dating this one guy. Pretty boy? no. But kind, considerate, attentive, great sex, treats me really well. He visits every other weekend. I have no plans to marry, had that already….. And it is working even long distance. I guess I am in a different stage, I enjoy his company, we travel and enjoy so much together. Is he the “sole mate” as you describe it……..not sure. To me a “sole mate” is someone I have know previously in a different time, and have reconnected with….my belief……I have many of them, and he is one of them….can not explain it nor do I need to know the why……it works, and it is so good, I am enjoying the ride. People who for some reason I have connected with very easily, and find them a total joy in my life…so I guess I do not qualify for the same type of “only settle for your sole mate thing”. But we both agree (he and I) we are going to live life for as long as it is good….Just my outlook…..


Am 23yrs old young man. A collage graduate very single,and am willing to get and have my object patner in the site. Am very rayal and faithfull, and am therefore looking forward from One of woman/lady who have interest and will be my Wife. I hate jockers for am not ready to be hurt or hurt anyone. Nice time and take care. . . . . .

Unicor

It is interesting to read all the comments including my own! A while back. I have dated several men but nothing serious I do not feel the physical attraction I had with my ex!
So I am not compromising yet however it has been almost 4 years that I have a man loved me and I feel the hormones!! Do the question is does real love exist?
In the real soulmate exist? Is it just our culture and imagination or mother nature tricking us into having children for the preservation of the
Species? Perhaps is best to come to grips that most men are not monogamous, that there are too many women and opportunities for men to leave their wife, that routine can be boring and that we better enjoy while it last?
I for one feel younger than I am in chronology even now when my age starts to show. My libidos is higher than men my age and my energy as well so younger men have what I crave for even though I have not acted on it yet I understand might just be temporary and I want the permanent dream the for ever we all have been lied about… So perhaps like a man had in advise to women in his profile. Yes I am looking there as well. Internet…”Find the man who gives you fantastic sex, find the man who is the best provider, find the man who treats you like a Queen and you make sure these men never meet!!
Was it much simpler when humans lived in groups and could choose from the group without having to deal with the question weather to settle because the commitment was to the group??
Just a thought! Yes illnesses have to be prevented of course….life not simple!!Exiting? Difficult? Worth living? One thing I say NEVER GIVE UP
You might be sad today but tomorrow is another day and full of opportunities. Be happy you are alive and thankful for what you have. Who knows maybe you find the 3 guys you need to be truly happy….

Vicky

I don’t think anyone should settle, but it’s nice to have different people for different reasons.
I think respect plays a big part , it is so easy to lose respect for someone when your needs, or their needs, are not met.
So don’t expect 1 person to be able to fulfill you.

Wendy

I have been in a happy and wonderful relationship with a great guy who I love very much, for the past year and a half. He is every thing I look for in a soul mate except that he comes with 3 kids from 6 years to 10. My 2 girls are out of the house and I just don’t know if I really want to be step mom to young kids. He also struggles financially every month in his business, makes good money but too much overhead with 2 rents to pay, biz and home.
I loves him so much, we get along so well but am I settling if I live the life he wants to live with me? My preference to have freedom from kids and financial security is important to me, so do I find someone else who can give me these, or let love conquer and override these two, not necessarily deal breaker points? I am having such a hard time deciding.

Sue

The right partner is so important, they make every day seem like a trip to the moon on gossamer wings! Good luck

Alison

I spent nine years with a man who was completely in love with me but I did not feel the same about. I married him because I knew he’d be an amazing husband and father, and that seemed far more important than being good in bed. But I have a high sex drive and high standards when it comes to sex. I found myself turning to other men to keep me satisfied. This was something that was out of character for me, as I had never cheated before in my life. After two miscarriages, I finally decided to leave my husband. He deserves much better than I was giving him. It was very difficult because he was devastated when I told him my decision, but I knew that I would hurt him even more if I waited. I don’t regret my decision one bit. I now have a very satisfying sex life, and that is the most important thing to me. So it really depends on what your priorities are… Sex isn’t that important for some people. Those people probably would’ve been very happy in my situation, as my husband was a wonderful man. But for anyone like me, for whom sex is tremendously important, then you will always be left feeling unsatisfied if you settle. My husband was perfect on paper, but I’d rather be with someone who has flaws and sometimes drives me crazy but makes my heart race. That’s how I feel that life is meant to be lived!

Louiza

This is even more difficult if you are a passionate person but alone for years and years mostly because you cannot find that spiritual, intellectual AND physical connection, and you are low on funds, and you are in your 40s and would like to have a child. Some would just “get” a man and divorce after and get money. Or the alternative is to be alone and wait for someone fulfilling and maybe have a child alone when you have money…Then it seemed at 22 an ex friend found someone who is a great guy and there was passion. They are married and on Facebook at least it looks great. They have a happy, healthy son. She met him at a party. Yet other more wonderful women don’t meet the “right” person.

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