It seems like every few years, there is a new book declaring that women are too picky and that we need to “settle” for Mr. Right Now as opposed to Mr. Perfect Someday. The most famous of the books and articles encouraging this proposition is Lori Gottlieb’s article in The Atlantic, which was later turned into a whole book: Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.
Her argument is compelling, but she is wrong. Because a happy relationship is worth fighting for and, in the end, being alone is better than being with the wrong person. But what does “settling” even mean? Here are the 7 types of men women settle for (and why the need to stop).
1. The Vampire
It’s awesome that this guy is always there for you and fantastic that you can count on him all the time. But isn’t it also weird how you always pay for dinner? Or how he lives with you but doesn’t help with the rent?
Like Shell in Season 3 of Transparent, your mooch is taking your stuff and living off your success. Obviously, we don’t all need to be with Mr. Alpha, but it’s nice to feel like he can hold up his end of the bargain. Especially if and when children and marriage come into the picture. If the guy is lazy and always available and you pay for everything, sticking with him would be a mistake.
2. The Bummer
Look, you can feel badly for him and be his friend, but you cannot have a pity relationship. Or maybe his low self-esteem feels like a guarantee to you. A “never going to be cheated on” guarantee. Not so. Being with a person who lacks self-esteem makes you start to feel badly about yourself. You can’t fix him.
Find a person whose confidence inspires you and who makes you feel like a choice and not just the best he could do in his sad state.
3. The One You’re With Because You Think You Can’t Do Better
The truth is, women sometimes marry for reasons of their own low self-esteem. They feel like they can’t do any better. I certainly dated for those reasons. Some of the men I got serious with were completely ridiculous, but because I felt I didn’t deserve better or couldn’t do better, I settled for being with them.
Luckily, I didn’t marry them.
4. The Guy Who’s Only Good on Paper
He’s perfect. A lawyer or a businessman or a contractor. Just like your dad. Adorable, smart, funny, well-read. If only you could date his impeccable resume. Because the sad truth is there is no chemistry.
We all know you can want to love someone so badly and want to find them sexy—and not. It happens all the time. Sadly, you can’t force chemistry. If you do and you marry him, you will be sorry. Chemistry and sexuality are what make a long-term partnership sing.
5. The Salesman
He might be in sales. He might train women at the gym. Whatever he does, he is hot and always cool in a pinch. But there is something “off” about him. He’s always “babying” you this and cocking his head to the side and making you forget you were angry or suspicious about something.
You might like the idea of having someone who is confident and slick until death do you part. But if it feels disingenuous, you might be looking at a lot of misery. Suave is fine as long as he’s loyal, genuine, and truthful, too.
6. The Workaholic
This guy makes a lot of money and you know you will have a pampered life with him. Why wouldn’t you want to lock that shit down?
Here’s why: Fifteen years from now when you have three kids and a house in the burbs, all the money in the world won’t give you that complete family. It won’t give you Sundays all together or family dinners at 6 p.m. or homework help for the kids at 7 p.m. You can hire help and many do, but it won’t be the same. Think long and hard before signing up for a life with super-long hours and a packed schedule that always comes before you.
7. The Rebellious Choice
He’s fun to date and will do things to you in bed that make you scream with pleasure. But this man will not bring you happiness in the long-run. Any sort of risky, extreme, troublemaking behavior can be sexy when you’re just banging, but in a serious relationship when you need to rely on someone, it is terrifying.
Your lady boner may tell you to walk down the aisle. Don’t listen to it. Stay logical. Like the opposite of the good on paper guy, you need something to balance all that hot sex. Good on paper and good in bed. Now that’s a combo to commit to.