The Imperfect Partner: Why “Settling” Isn’t Always a Bad Idea

Wed, Jul 14, 2010

Dating Advice, Relationship Advice

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Nobody’s perfect”, but do we really take it to heart?

When it comes to love, it seems that the answer is generally “no”. More than ever before, today’s singles (and marrieds, but that’s a different post…) have options.

Many of us truly believe that we will find the perfect partner, a soulmate who will fulfill our every need through every stage of our lives.

Staying with someone who doesn’t completely fit the bill is labeled as “settling”.

An impossible standard.

When you see it written on a page or hear it said out lout, it’s easy to see how ridiculous this trend is.

Clearly, nobody exists or should exist to meet all of your emotional needs. People change their worldview as they age. Sometimes your life partner will be out of step with you during these changes. Is it a bad thing to “settle” for someone who doesn’t completely share your viewpoints?

The answer:

The reasonable answer is to realize that sometimes a partner can only be asked to support your goals, dreams, and the changes in worldview you undergo. As long as your goals don’t break your marriage vows or personal promises to each other, and you aren’t dragging the relationship through one financial crisis after another, support isn’t an unreasonable request.

Are you in a place where you’re willing/able to support someone else?

When you enter into a committed relationship of any sort with another person, you should also ask yourself whether you can reasonably support that person as they change and mature. This isn’t a one-way street. Sometimes your partner will need more support from you than you’re getting from them. That’s an expected part of any long term relationship, and you shouldn’t consider committing to one if you’re not willing to make that type of sacrifice.

In the long run, settling isn’t always such a bad idea. If you don’t settle on some issues you’re likely to jump from relationship to relationship, never finding anyone who is worthy of your commitment. Assuming that a long-term relationship is something you want, settling for someone who truly cares about you and who tries to support you can be the key to happiness.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at and performs research surrounding online schools. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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8 Responses to “The Imperfect Partner: Why “Settling” Isn’t Always a Bad Idea”

  1. Jasmine Says:

    I was recently married now for a year. I had doubts about marrying him, because he is not sensitive to my feelings n needs, physically n emotionally. But at the time, there was no other man that would wanna take the risk of being with me. And I was probably in a hurry of getting attached to a marriage. Plus, my family loved him, for he is a good n loyal person.
    I’m not saying that he is not a good man or anything less. But the fact that he was trying to change his personality just to be able to fit with mine, is what blows me off. Because I knew then that he wasn’t the man that i’m fond of.

    And now I’m stuck in my own mistake. I’ve been asking for divorce, which he repeatedly declined. My compensation for now is just looking for an affair. Or just give up the whole thing.

  2. Sally Says:

    Hi Jasmine

    An affair is never the answer. Coming from the country you do I am wondering if you are from a Muslim family. If you are then zina is haram but if your husband will not divorce you could you perhaps apply for a divorce through khula?

    If he is a good and loyal person can’t you talk to him about your feelings and needs? Everyone tries to change their personality when they meet someone new, it just depends on how much they try to change. Have you talked with your parents about the possibility of divorce and if so what is their opinion?

  3. Jasmine Says:

    heheee….nope, i’m from a christian family, my husband is catholic, which is also why it is hard to get a divorce when u’r married under d’catholic vows.

    but now, i dont go out praising “the Lord” anymore…i do believe there is a God, but i don’t believe in “putting my life in his hands” anymore, or whatever. i’m just out on my own.

    i’ve stopped believing since i’ve lost hope in getting a passionate marriage.

    i’ve tried everything i know n can, even in high tones, crying, etc. But still, he cant seem or wont understand my points.
    i’m tired now, really. I’m numb towards him.

    I mean, for real, if i had known the real him before (we had a long distance relationship), i would surely dont wanna marry him.
    I just married him for the “goodness” in him, not for his personality.
    It’s really complicated talking to him, we really dont connect.

    I think it’s because our communication building is not building at all.
    Infact, i had broken up with him for ’bout 3 months, sometime before we were engaged. And i felt great, really great, it’s like i got my vibes n energy back.
    But then he tried to convince me, that he could make the relationship better by getting engage, therefore we’d get married n be together.
    He convinced me that once we’r married, things will be different, as in better.

    But as u know, he’s truly himself once married, which i’m not fond of.
    Now my marriage is just like my parents’, which i would not dream of having to spend my life in.

  4. Sally Says:

    Hi Jasmine

    Well if you are sure there is no way to save the marriage then you will have to find a way out of it .. could you take your husband to your parents and get them to explain why the marriage is not working? What about a priest or trusted family friend? Catholics do get divorced but I know it’s not easy.

    I know it’s a nightmare being with someone you just have no feeling for but trust me looking for an affair will just complicate everything even more. Concentrate on getting out of your marriage first before you look for a new man, as I doubt affairs are particularly accepted in the Catholic community?!

  5. Ray (5 comments.) Says:

    This post got me thinking about the early days of my relationship with my wife (we have been married over twenty years). I realised then that although we were not perfect for each other,there was something about our relationship that made me want to build on it.
    I am glad I did. We have for many years now enjoyed a understanding,respectful, and satisfying relationship, comfortable in each others company. I guess that’s as perfect as it gets!
    Ray´s last blog ..No Contact Rule- Does It WorkMy ComLuv Profile

  6. Sally Says:

    Hi Ray

    Thanks for your comments, lovely to read. I think it’s also important to remember that we all change over time, so something you feel is a “must” in a partner may be totally unimportant to you in a couple of years. You have to get the foundations right and build from there.

    Hope you have another 20 plus years together.

  7. Henway Says:

    Definitely agree with this advice! Also, noone ever stays the same in a relationship – both partners grow, in fact that’s what makes relationships so awesome – it’s an opportunity for both partners to learn more about life, and mature as human beings.

    As long as there’s no major differences, such as 1 partner wants a child, and other doesn’t, it’s OK to settle. No relationship is static from start to finish.
    Henway´s last blog ..My Colon Cleanse ExperienceMy ComLuv Profile

  8. Oscar Rogers(new comment) Says:

    I definitely agree as well. I was suffering from these dilusions that I was going to bag a perfect 10 model who cooks and cleans and has rich parents and because everyone’s soul mate is out there, she would appear to me one day. Then I met my wife and realize that there is more to love than getting what you want and think you need. We attended a workshop sponsered by that taught us alot about compromise and lasting love and it really opened my eyes. I think that anyone who feels that they are simply just ‘settling’ needs to go to one of their workshops and learn how to reach for the stars while keeping your feet on the ground. ~ Oscar R.