Piper

"Settling"

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Forgive me if this has been covered before, but I was wondering what you all's opinion would be. Suppose you met someone who was perfect for you by the 'checklist'--say, WTM, of your religion if applicable, a generally good person, etc--but there just wasn't a spark. Supposing you could like, even love, that person, but you aren't in love. There's no big love affair, no infatuation. If the opportunity presented itself, would you settle for being with someone you are comfortable and contented with, rather than hold out for the possibility of meeting someone who fulfills all your checklist criteria but also  give you that spark? The reason I'm asking is that it just seems to unlikely to find all that in one package. Maybe some people get lucky, but for some of the rest of us, would it be better to 'settle' than be alone?

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Suppose you met someone who was perfect for you by the 'checklist'--say, WTM, of your religion if applicable, a generally good person, etc--but there just wasn't a spark. Supposing you could like, even love, that person, but you aren't in love. There's no big love affair, no infatuation. If the opportunity presented itself, would you settle for being with someone you are comfortable and contented with, rather than hold out for the possibility of meeting someone who fulfills all your checklist criteria but also  give you that spark? The reason I'm asking is that it just seems to unlikely to find all that in one package. Maybe some people get lucky, but for some of the rest of us, would it be better to 'settle' than be alone?

 

 

I've been planning to ask a question similar to this, and still will.

 

The problem I have with your question is the premise. That is, if there is a spark now, will there be a spark 6 months from now, a year from now, or 2 years from now?

 

To me 'sparks' are risky business because they may or may not endure.

 

But also, "spark" is a very vague concept and I don't know exactly what you mean by it. I mean, obviously you need a certain measure of chemistry with your partner.

 

One of the things on my checklist that's very important to me is intelligence. I want to be able to have long, deep conversations with my girl. Also, I want her to be capable of understanding me, and all my complexity as well as my virtues and my flaws: This way she's best equipped to help me be the best man I can be.

 

Now, if she is intelligent, has at least a decent sense of humor, is physically attractive to me, and has some other things I desire: I will not be overly concerned if there is a "spark" or not.

 

Now, if there is zero chemistry obviously I won't pursue the relationship. But if there is a reasonable amount of chemistry and she has my checklist I will then drop everything and commit myself to her whole heartedly.

 

You could literally go from date to date to date to date looking for this elusive spark and this preoccupation might not serve you in the end.

 

Also, maybe as your relationship develops and matures, the spark will too.

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If I found someone who checked off my checklist, and who I trusted/respected/admired in that way, I wouldn't consider myself settling.. I would be so excited as if I'd won a lottery haha!

 

I think the initial 'spark' or strong romantic attraction tends to fade a little once you're comfortable with someone anyways.

 

If you're more particular about the initial spark, flirt with them a bit, take her out for a nice fancy dinner etc. in order to get out of the mutual 'friendszone'... that spark will grow quickly :)

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Although my "checklist" comes off as one with impossibly high standards to others who have chosen not to WTM, I believe the list has anchored me in the ability not to settle. 

 

In our hearts, I think it is always revealed to us when we are potentially setting,or having thoughts about settling with someone who may fit the bill. But I liken my future partner for life to be the same as a miracle--where time is stopped, everyone is loved and forgiven, and the truth is expressed and experienced. There have been several miracles in my life--all of which I know I did not settle on or became part of life because I refused to settle. I also look back and know quite clearly when I have settled with a past relationship and have been completely unhappy as a result. Nothing is more clear than the mistake to settle.

 

When it comes to this aspect of my life, I really do follow the "when you know, you know" reality. 

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This is my greatest challenge. In truth, I have met people who met the criteria, but who I didn't feel like were great fits for me in the long run. (For example, in my ambitions down the road, would they be capable of suiting the responsibilities they might have to endure, or support me.)

 

This concept of "chemistry" is challenging. I often find myself strongly attracted towards people who didn't wait, or who dismiss my overtures. Yet when I find someone who seems to fit the criteria, there is no such attraction. I find myself wanting to slap my heart around: "LOVE, dangit!"

 

I was just having this conversation with a friend last night, mulling over the advice I have been given that "falling in love" is overrated infatuation, a feeling seldom lasting or to be trusted. Yet, I'm not looking for the person I can live with. I'm looking for the person I can't live without.

 

Could I settle? Would I? That's difficult to say. I think I fear the answer may be yes. If I set my resolve on something, then I would eventually begin feeling that way as well. For example, if I were transported to another planet with only one girl who I was just okay with, I would accept that, hey, this is going to be my wife. Therefore, I will treat her as my wife and love, serve and be a husband to her. If NOT being her husband wasn't an option, then I would perform these duties. Presumably my heart would follow. But I'd much prefer to begin with an involuntary love.

 

Interestingly enough, I know of someone who reasonably fits the description, who I haven't encountered much of a spark or draw towards, but who has been such a stable person (and stabilizing influence) and meets the other criteria that I actually will be driving either 2.5 hours or 5 hours (depending on if she wants to meet halfway) to meet.

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Personally if I ever met such a person I'd certainly stand up take notice.

Settling, no way, what is a "spark", is it youthful "lustful" desire?

I mean is that initial attraction what keeps a successful, happy marriage going strong?

I'd say no, but yes also!

As in, we all can recite the dedication, trust, love, ....etc.

Things that keep marriages together no matter what.

But I'd think at least I'd like to, that suppose figuratively you meet Mr./Ms right, and they had every so called box on your list checked except something minor, no dealbreakers.

The question and my apology for posing a question here, however this answers your original question.

Are we such sticklers that you're really gonna throw-back a decent, all-around good catch, for some minor issue.

I can say that isn't settling, at least to me it isn't.

If or rather when I met Ms. Rookiepilot, if she's on the short-side, but is a Christian (a follower of Jesus, more like it), is a virgin.

Is super kind, and polite, wears her heart on her sleeve like I do, but say she's only 5'2", I'm 6'6" by the way!

Am I gonna say no way, of course not.

Just the same as I typically speak about racial-mixing, suppose Mr or Ms Perfect it's from a different racial background or ethnicity, just suppose.

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I guess 'spark' isn't really the word I was looking for. I'm not talking about physical chemistry exactly, which I know can be a temporary feeling, or any particular deficiency of character. I guess I just feel like we sort of learn from a very early age to think that we all have a Prince Charming (or female equivalent) out there somewhere, someone who's our 'one-and-only,' 'love at first sight,' or whatever you want to call it. What if you just don't get that feeling with someone, even though on paper they might look perfect? Could you be happy with them, or would you eventually become bitter and feel like you'd made a mistake? What if you ended up marrying that person only to find that the real Prince(ss) Charming was just around the corner?

Maybe I just over-analyze things...? LOL :P 

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 I find myself wanting to slap my heart around: "LOVE, dangit!"

 

 

Haha...I know exactly that feeling.

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So they have all the qualities you want but you don't feel in love with them? I would give it time but if I just did not feel that love after a while, I wouldn't stay with them. I would rather be alone than just settle for something.

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Ugh, I know what you are talking about! Yes, that fear of whether someone is "the one," or just a nice person that we chose to avoid loneliness.

 

For example, I currently find myself acquainted with a very nice man. While I haven't thoroughly interrogated him yet, I know for a fact that he already satisfies several of my standards. He is kind, he loves God and treats other people well, he is respectful, responsible, has a good lifestyle, and he loves one of my favorite movies. He laughs at my jokes and is a good listener. He loves learning new things. He seems like one of those very rare men who might actually have everything I'm looking for. But while we have had several pleasant conversations, I have yet to feel that unmistakable connection, that "spark." It might be around the corner, but it hasn't arrived yet.

 

When I say "spark," I am not referring so much to a romantic concept as I am to a strong, platonic attraction. The sort of spark you can feel with someone of any gender, any age. To me, that spark feels like, "Whoa! Wow! You get me! You totally get me! And I don't have to explain a thing to you. You think like I think. You see the world the same way I do. You really understand me, even though we barely know each other, and I know that I could tell you anything, ANYTHING, about me, and you would accept me. I want to talk to you forever. About everything. About anything. About nothing. You, my friend, are officially awesome!" I've found several people with whom I have this kind of spark. It is the foundation of my best friendships, and this kind of spark doesn't fade. I think of these people as kindred spirits.

 

For me, part of the difficulty of dating now is that I actually had it all. My college sweetheart checked off all the required boxes, but before I even knew for sure that he did, I felt completely drawn to him. Talking to him was so easy, and so amazing! Once, when we had only had a few conversations before, we ran into each other in the library stairway, and, both of us wearing heavy backpacks at the time, ended up talking to each other for 45 minutes before he had to run to class. I don't even remember what we talked about that day; I just know it felt wonderful. I didn't even really think of him romantically yet, but I knew I felt completely myself and completely happy around him. In the months prior to dating, we had many other conversations like this in inconvenient places - crowded hallways, rainy parking lots - but it always felt wonderful because, even though we hardly knew each other, I felt we connected perfectly. So now that he's gone, I feel frightened of settling, because I know how amazing it can be to find someone you never want to stop talking to, who also exceeds all of your romantic standards, and I am scared I'll never find it again.

 

That being said, should the aforementioned nice man I'm acquainted with develop an interest in me and ask me out, I will say yes. You see, I have learned a lot from the love story from someone I know who recently married. When she first met her husband, she felt no attraction at all. She knew he seemed to be a good person, but she did not feel any special draw, any real connection, when they spoke. Physically, he was fine, but the sparks just weren't there. No real chemistry for the first few months of acquaintance. He, however, took a liking to her, and asked her out to coffee. Encouraged by her family, she decided to go, and over the next several weeks, she became increasingly attracted to him. The connection developed. The sparks started flying. It didn't happen instantly for her, but soon, she did feel that infatuation, that chemistry, and it only got stronger with time. Now they are happily married, and she regularly reminds me that just because you don't initially feel sparks with someone, it doesn't mean that you won't. So I am determined to give men a chance to sweep me off my feet, even if they take longer than I would like to find a broom.

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I guess 'spark' isn't really the word I was looking for. I'm not talking about physical chemistry   :P

 

No... Physicality never crossed my mind when you said "spark." I assumed you were talking about something more emotional, certainly not physical. This emotional spark can also be temporary and often is in my opinion.

 

If the girl I found had all my checklist but I didn't feel this spark (and I think I know what you mean by it) I would still pursue her, absolutely.

 

What this really all goes to show is that people break off relationships all the time for many faceted reasons. It's for this reason that I'm still amazed at the discrimination people get for having virginity as a deal-breaker. In fact, I'm convinced there are many things that are not deal-breakers for me that would be for those who scoff at my and others preference for a virgin.

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I agree in that the spark/chemistry/whatever can develop the more you get to know someone. I'm still not quite sure what is meant by that. But I imagine it's the butterfly in the stomach feeling or the "can't get her out of my head" feeling. I think that is something that comes and goes depending on the stage of the relationship. I suppose that will come in time with pretty much anyone you have a great deal of compatibility with. But then again, I don't know from experience as I've never been in a relationship before. I've felt infatuation many times for sure, but they've all been unrequited and those feeling faded pretty quickly. I think that sort of feeling is superficial at best. That cannot compare to the feeling of genuine love. Since I've gone 28 years as of this writing never having a gf before, I think my yearning for one would make me greatly appreciate just being with a girl I'm compatible with at all. I don't consider that settling TBH. I do have high standards for sure, but I try to be realistic about them. As long as we're the same faith, I'm attracted to her and we're committed to making each other happy, then I would consider myself extremely blessed already. I would not dare ask for a perfect fairy tale ending If I already have an amazing person who will be by my side for life through all good times and bad.

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I saw this post and couldn't help but comment on it. I was previously in a year-long relationship which lasted much longer than it should have. I was unhappy in the relationship (for many reasons), and a big part of it was because I had no attraction to the boy I was dating. I cared about him deeply as a friend/brother figure, but no romantic relationship should have developed-he had romatic feelings about me that I simply didn't feel towards him. The thought of kissing him, seeing him wasn't exciting to me- it made me miserable inside, but I felt too bad for him to break up with him because I never wanted to hurt him! Finally we parted ways. I am now in a relationship with an amazing guy who I am very attracted to. We share tons of common interests and can laugh and joke together. He is not a waiter but knows that I am and respects my choice. I am so much happier now that there is some "chemistry" or "spark" between us. It makes me want to see him and be around him so much more than I did before. I can say that even though there may not need to be an overwhelming rush of emotion and attraction that you feel every time you see your significant other, you do need to be attracted to them and have a desire to be with them- otherwise, you're caught in a friendship that has gone too far.

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As waiters & non-waiters, we all have a list of qualities, characteristics & triats we want our potiental mate to have....this "list" really should be treated as a guideline. With some that are a definated must, while MANY of the others you will need to be flexible on. Because in all honesty.....the person you finaly meet, will not meet ALL of those on your "list" & frankly even one of your definate "musts". I say this, because when your waiting for that "one" God has for you, He will give you a lot of what you want, but ultimatly God knows what you NEED. We all get lonely.....and just think about....taking what we can get to end the loneliness. Now, you can't determine who you have that connection or "chemisty" with....but when you do feel it, explore it. Don't limit yourself or God for that matter because of "the list" that person may turn out to be a just a great friend or may turn out to be the "one". I have a "list" myself! Don't get me wrong I'm not gonna settle for "that'll do"! Lol! I know we all want the "fairytale". In all reality we will get some of it....But the fact of the matter remains their are things that will be a compromise, that doesn't equate settling, its just the realization of the day & age we are in. And the social balance of waiters & to non-waiters.

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I think I'd at least consider it. The qualities I want in a wife will be very hard to find. If I meet a woman who has them, I should be thrilled that I found a needle in the haystack. At the same time, though, there is a part of me that knows I might have trouble being with her if there isn't really the right type of connection between us (if that's what you mean by "spark.")

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Wait for the rightful man God gives me..for anyone..it'd be miserable to settle with someone you don't love. I'm uncomfortable being alone with people I don't like. I'd wait for the right one with the spark and btw a spark isn't childish lust thing I believe it's that happy tingling sensation you get from being with a person who makes you happy...like a kid on christmas who is opening a present. It's that heart warming fuzzy feeling or just pure happiness .

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I would say based on my experience, I've definitely settled and for me, it wasn't worth it. I stayed with this guy for a year and there was no spark but I was afraid to end things between us because I got comfortable with him and didn't want to start over with some stranger. I didn't like the process of getting to know somebody all over again but at the same time if you feel something is missing with the person you're comfortable with, you need to end things. I eneded up ending things with the guy I was with because I realized I deserved better. If you know better, you do better. You deserve to be with somebody who meets your standards. I'm not saying the one will be perfect because nobody is but that special person should just click with you on the important things. You should make a list of the things you want in that special person that can't be comporimised such as wanting somebody that is willing to wait to have sex with you. Then you should make a list of things that can be compromised. I would say if that special person meets your standards that can't be compromised and doesn't pressure you to do anything that you're uncomfortable with, you've found the one.

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I would say give it time, because you never know, a spark could develop. However, if you have given it time and nothing has happened, I would say don't pursue further. To me, the fact that you are asking about this is an indication that you are not satisfied and are still looking for something more, so you would be settling if you continued/started the relationship. 

 

SnowWhite thank you so much for your post! I have been struggling in a relationship that I am in. I have known this person for over 6 years, we dated once before for about a week and I broke it off because of what you said: I felt miserable, wrong, something wasn't right when we would try to hold hands or be more romantic. That was years ago and as we are very close, we decided to try and see if more feelings developed by trying again. But I still feel the same way. I don't want to hurt him, I don't want to lose my relationship with him, he is an awesome guy and I have been waiting and hoping that a spark would come, that I would feel romantically attracted to him. I have also been a bit angry with myself for not being able to just feel that way about him. I am currently gone, traveling around the US and he has all these plans for double dates to go on when I get back and I actually really care about his mother too. I dunno, I'm sorry this definitely turned into a pity party monologue. I am just going to have to buck up and break up with him. Any advice or support you could give would be much appreciated!

 

Don't settle! Pray to God for his love and advice, trust in him which I know can be very difficult (it certainly is now) but without him we would make a total mess with our lives that could not be fixed. Thank you to everyone who posted! It was great hearing everyone's advice and opinions!

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Well, one thing that is important is that you make a list of negotiables and non-negotiables. Negotiables could be the more external things like appearance and such while non-negotiables could be things like religion and values and such. Interests can be negotiable, but if you are really passionate about something, tolerance, at minimum, of said passion should be non-negotiable, same with their feelings on children and pets.

 

I tend to find this out. I admit my boyfriend is not perfect, but he satisfies all of my negotiables and beyond by having autism like myself and liking the same video games and sharing the same hobbies so that we actually have other non-sexual things to do together that are fun that we both enjoy. He isn't much of a looker and he doesn't have a lot of money, but because he satisfies so much of what I desire in a man, he definitely seems as though he could be it based on how we often speak in the long term about things like how if/when we marry. 

 

Plus you got to remember, you don't want your future spouse to be too perfect because I don't know about you, but having a spouse that is pretty much perfect in every way is just kind of uncanny valley to me. I find their perfections to actually be quite charming. 

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