So often we hear the words “never settle” from our own mamas and father. Never settle. Not on our dreams and hopes, not on our hearts’ most desires. And while, oftentimes, settling isn’t an option for those without certain privileges a recent post on Reddit is highlighting what happens when you DO settle in love. When you settle for someone who isn’t The One.
Like Mary Fiore almost did for Massimo in The Wedding Planner, these women settled on love.
Check out their feelings on it, below.
“Finally ended it just under three years ago, after a decade of on and off. Now living a happy life with someone, who is definitely the one.”- messyaurora
“Similar situation. Spent many years in a meh relationship, on and off. Finally ended it and now I am very much in love in a healthy relationship. Ladies, don’t settle! On the long run is better to change.”- Messageinabottle17
“Decently well. We have some communication issues to work on (as well as emotional maturity on my partner’s side), but otherwise it’s functional and I’m mostly happy.”-GoddessOfPlants
“I’m kinda in your camp. I don’t know if I really fit in this question. Let’s just say… I had doubts. Serious ones. But I also thought he had strong potential to be a really great dude for me and I knew I loved him so I married him 6 months after we met.
3 years in we’re still going strong. We started a business together, got two dogs, went through infertility together, moved into a new house that were in the process of turning into our dream home. He’s really worked on fixing the parts I had doubts about, and we’ve really worked on our communication. I also work on not being so demanding and being better about my admittedly short temper. We still have struggles from time to time but every month gets easier.
He’s kinda like Captain America. He isn’t a perfect husband but he’s a good man, and that makes him work to be the perfect husband and as long as he’s putting in the effort (and I am too!) we’ll make it.”- frostysbox
“I kinda relate. I love my significant other and I know he loves me but we clash and see life in two different ways. He is more down to earth and stays to himself while I may be more likely to be caught in a spontaneous adventure. We do go well together though and coexist well. Sex is far and in between but I have adapted to that. We do show random appreciations, or obviously celebrate birthdays and milestones together but Sometimes we seem more like roommates than lovers- but it isn’t a bad thing. Being friends with your significant other over romantic isn’t the worst thing on the world is it?”-idk_about_this_J
“I will be amicably divorced and officially single on 4/19/21. It’s insane to think I’ll be single again after 13 years. I’ve been living alone for the last year and once I get my second dose in a week or two I will be back on the dating scene (that is scary!)
“Same. I thought my ex-husband was a good person. Turns out he wasn’t. I was finally able to get away 9 years ago. Soon after realizing that I deserve better I did meet someone who I knew I was meant to be with and we have been happy ever since.”-princessducky11
“Same. I never thought he was “the one,” but I would have stayed with him till death do us part had he remained a good, kind, caring person. I think my “one” was an ex from a while back, but I was unwell and he had a drinking problem. Perhaps I will meet another one in the future or perhaps I will find a man who stays good.”- DeSterrennacht
“This is what I’m trying to do. We have a cat that I absolutely adore and mostly care for and I’m terrified that I might have to leave her with him, which is honestly one of the main reasons I haven’t been able to move forward with this.”-Selthien
“It became clear after 8 months in that he never wanted a relationship, just a girlfriend as a sign of successful “adulting” and to not show up at family functions alone anymore. All the time, I was completely committed to the relationship even though I knew he wasn’t the one from the get-go.
My saving grace was that I found my dream job roughly 2 hours away from where we lived (we lived in the same town, just not together). I was eager to move away and finally pull the plug. I still would have broken up with him anyway, but I was glad to be moving far (enough) away.
Two weeks before I officially ended it, he told me that if one of his friends was dating someone like me, he would tell him to run and never look back. So I quoted this in the breakup and asked him what exactly he thought would happen? If he felt that I would want to stay after being told something like this? He said, and I kid you not, that he thought that by saying this to me that I would try to be a better girlfriend
Edit: he was otherwise a decent guy, but he wasn’t honest with himself. He does not want to make the effort to build and maintain a relationship. My interactions with his family especially made me realise that there was some pressure or expectation for him to be in a relationship and have children. But I never got the idea that this was what he wanted for himself.”- Watto_007
“My dad married my mom for the same reason – he was insecure and just wanted to show off to the world that he could “score” a smart and beautiful woman. After they got married and had three kids together, my dad became increasingly controlling and abusive until my parents got divorced 15 years later. The deadbolt on my mom’s bedroom door is still there today and reminds me of the terrifying nights when he’d pick the lock and beat and rape her in her room. You dodged a huge bullet, friend. I’m glad you saw the red flags early enough.”- TheYellowBuhnana
“Don’t get me wrong, my SO and I definitely make fun of each other, but we would never make fun of each other for being a bad partner. That’s a serious disrespect and boundary issue, I’m glad you got out and found someone hopefully who treats you the respect.”-alilminizen
“Fairly well, ups and downs for six years now. He works long hours and I love spending time on my own! It’s harder when we have his kids as I have no desire to be a mother, but I’m better at organizing than him, so take on a child minder role anyway. Hoping for the world to open up soon, as one of the things we enjoy is a romantic get-away. I love him, but I’m not in love with him. But that’s enough for me, as he is one of three men I have ever been interested in. I don’t(and have never) get crushes. I think I’m a bit asexual. Oh and even greater now as we found a rental house instead of a flat and I have gotten cats!!!”-SunshinePipper
“Married for 28 years! We have had our ups and downs, but to be honest he was the one, I just didn’t know it at the time. Sometimes “the one” is an ideal based on youthful priorities, but with maturity, you realize some of those qualities aren’t as important anymore. My husband is my best friend, but whether you marry “the one” or someone else, a good relationship requires hard work and give and take. We have been through many events together, and we grew closer as a result. We are a team!”- LoopyLadyCA
“Something my therapist said to me a while ago completely changed my perspective on my current partnership: “usually what makes a relationship exciting and dramatic is not what makes a good long term partner, those are the tradeoffs.” A lightbulb went off in my head, and that put to rest so many of the lingering demons I had about whether my partner and I were good matches for each other.. or if he was my “one.” Now that I’ve let those obsessions go, our relationship is so much better. I’m so, so happy.”-wabisabister
“I don’t like the idea of “the one”. When I met my ex, our eyes literally met across a crowded room, it felt like he had a spotlight on him, and the world stopped still and moved at the same time. I knew I had met “the one” I was going to marry.
Turns out my gut feeling is a pretty bad judge. We lasted a couple years, mostly because I was so hung up on not losing the one. He isn’t even a bad dude, just not somebody with my life goals, my sense of humor or anything that would be compatible with me.
When I met my fiancé in grad school I didn’t even notice him until we had to do a project together. Now I couldn’t wish for a better partner, I’m so much in love with him and so excited to go through life together.”- AlternativeCover3379
“It went bad. Staying in a relationship like that for me felt like giving up a piece of me. It’s mature to compromise yes, but do it for the rights reasons with the right person for you. If your truth is to feel safe, if that’s the most important always, then go for it. I personally felt a void, something missing..I felt ultimately lonely and we broke up.”- tinaple
“Hmm to offer a different perspective — my partner (of a little over a year) recently told me that he doesn’t feel intensely in love with me/sexually infatuated with me, and hasn’t since after about a month into the relationship (which is when we began cohabitation, thanks covid). But he does love me, very much, and of that I have absolutely no doubt.
We are definitely best friends, have no shortage of emotional and intellectual intimacy, go on countless adventures together. We both really think our partnership is awesome and want to build lives together. Which means we are having a lot of tricky conversations about what this (intense romantic/sexual attraction imbalance) means for us.
Practically, we are monogamous (each has gone on a date or two since meeting) but are more philosophically aligned with ethical nonmonogamy.
This has spurred on a lot of conversations about “the one”. For people struggling with this, I really recommend the book “Designer Relationships”. Even if you’re monogamous, it’s a hugely helpful book (& short! Like 120 pages) for reflecting on your various relationships.
A takeaway is that the invention of the romantic ideal as our life partner is a fairly new one, like as recent as the last century. Prior to this, marriage and life partnership was often based around a “shared goal or project” and romantic fulfillment was sought beyond the relationship (helloooo affairs).
There’s another really good book on the conflict between the domestic and the erotic, called “Mating in Captivity” and it proposes that often times familiarity can cause difficulties in erotic spaces in the relationship and that maintaining a strong sense of independence allows you to maintain erotic energy.
Anyhow, we are both in therapy but have a lot of working theories about the imbalance. Part of it is due to me being attracted to what I can’t have (I could always tell he was a little less sexually thrilled by me, we’ve had some difficulty where he wants sex every couple weeks and I could go every other day, it’s not due to a low libido on his part hahah), part of it is the guilt he put on himself for not being “as in love with me”, part of it is that we spent every freaking minute together since this pandemic started and while familiarity and platonic love breeds sexual desire in me, he likes distance in his erotic relationships.
But honestly, I’ve never grown so much from a relationship. We continue to amaze each other with our ability to navigate this. I’ve cried a good bit, because yeah, it hurts, but our conversations always end with each of us feeling more emotionally intimate and empathized with.
Seeing all of these comments, I’m really wary of people believing they need to find “the one”. No relationship is perfect and takes absolutely no work, and oftentimes, you can cultivate a relationship that is fulfilling and adds a richness to life for both parties. The expectations we put on finding a life partner are honestly ridiculous and downright damaging.”-toomanyblankspaces
“I was convinced the one was going to give me butterflies and be overwhelmed by my presence, when I met my current partner none of those things were true. I kept questioning it being like somethings wrong I don’t know if he’s the one. We’ve been together for a while and I’m glad I didn’t listen to those shreds out doubt. Butterflies are overrated, my partner shows up for me everyday and we have built a really strong and solid foundation. He isn’t overwhelmed by my presence, and turns out it’s a good thing. He pushes me to be a better person everyday and is willing to push himself to be better too. He’s completely changed my understanding of what love is and is supposed to be. I never grew up with a good role model and took my understanding of love from mass media. Turns out that mass media love isn’t real for a reason. I’m incredibly happy with my partner now even though there were times in the beginning where I really thought he wasn’t the one. I’m not saying stick with people you aren’t right for, but that definitions of love change as you get older. And passionate flame sparking loves with no foundation don’t last for a reason.”- killerwheelie
“You are so right with the statement it’s “easy after every issue to think I knew I never should have stayed with him”. There’s something in our brains I think as humans that really makes us goto to that negative area ABOUT US. Like, your husband does something to hurt the relationship intentionally, or unintentionally, and your first thought is to be mad at yourself because you didn’t leave X amount of time ago? Why do our brains do that?!
This is something that my husband pointed out to me was a really unhealthy way that I think. Its not only hurting the relationship because it if we voice that, it seems like we’re always one foot out the door…. but it’s beating me up AND letting him off the hook for any responsibility in the matter, when it should be us against the issue.
It’s been a struggle to recondition my brain to stop thinking like that, and I’ll admit I still struggle especially during big issues (we struggle from libido mismatch as well! I’m so sorry and feel your pain!!) but I’ve got to tell you, working on that has been one of the single biggest improvements on my side for my self worth, our relationship, and well being.”-frostysbox
All couples have their arguments, but it’s only the ones who know how to tackle a disagreement in the right way that will stick it out for the longterm. Happy couples who have “successful” relationships have “successful” arguments, ones where they know that the real “win” is when two partners are able to settle on a solution together and without real attempts at hurting their spouse.
So what works for happy couples who approach arguments with grace?
Reddit Users in longterm relationships share all of the ways to argue successfuly.
“This is a very important lesson that I took away from a self help book that has served me well: ‘Did he do something TO hurt you? Or did he do something that happened to hurt you?’ If the answer is the latter, then you are (at least partially) responsible for your own emotional response. Understanding yourself and why something upsets you is essential.”- bonnieirisheyes
“This is really important. However, it’s also important for the SO to take ownership of their actions and realize that actions can have unintended consequences.” –katiesham
“I have some trouble with grey areas. Like when someone doesn’t do something TO hurt you but they know that you would get hurt and still do it. I’m wondering if the book has some pointers for this too, you see.”- Redhaired103
“As a general rule, unless you really mean it in general, make sure you don’t make accusations about character but just the behavior. Like if they do something selfish say what they DID was selfish, not “YOU are selfish.” There’s really a big difference between the two.”- Redhaired103
“Yup. My dad called me annoying almost 15 years ago and it permanently changed our relationship. We’ve talked about it since and he said “you were probably being annoying”. I said “then say that. You called ME an annoyance. You. The man I’m supposed to compare every man in my life to.” He still doesn’t see the difference. One is a way I’m acting. The other is me as a person. It still has left me shaken.”- souponastick
“It helps me to remember we’re on the same team fighting the same problem. Then we’re not fighting with each other so much as brainstorming how to fight the problem together.”- tercerero
“That’s a good one. But rather hard to put into practice when I’m angry.”- mandolin2712
“I am glad this is how it is in your relationship, that makes any disagreements so much more bearable, resolvable, and oddly hopeful for going forward.
Some couples cannot say the same, and their fights seemingly come down to arguing the unsolvable, which is a hindrance and a burden, and almost always about a deeper incompatibility. If you’re constantly trying to “compromise” about, say, money, and your SO constantly doesn’t agree and continues their behavior, that’s not on the same team, at all”- abqkat
“Similar: but I always say it’s not about me being right or you being right but it’s about us getting to the truth which is somewhere in the middle.
Other principles we go by are that I am predominantly responsible for my own happiness and my partner is there to help.
When I am upset, I appreciate apologies but bottom line is that both of us are responsible for keeping both of us happy: it isn’t one person’s job nor is it one person’s failure, we are in it together.”- ellebee83
“This is the one that I stick to the most (or try to). We have to be a team. Our enemy isn’t each other, it’s the problem. At the end of the day, we have the same goal to get rid of the problem. We also have the same goal to keep each other. It helps me put things back into perspective at times.”-rivlet
“Always fight to resolve things, not to hurt each other. If you need to get your anger out, vent to a friend. If you’re too angry to be kind, step away until you’re ready. Don’t fight with your partner until you’re in a place where you can tell them why you’re upset and listen to their perspective. It’s sometimes okay to say things that may be hurtful, but you should be saying them because they’re necessary to fix the problem, not because they’re hurtful. If they’re only hurtful, they’re better left unsaid.”- palacesofparagraphs
“It’s not you vs. me but us vs. the problem.” – jtchicago
“That the excuse of “I said it when I was angry,” is unacceptable. You must take responsibility for your words.”- Poppy29252
“Despite the old saying, sometimes it’s OK to go to bed angry. If you’re going around in circles about something, it’s sometimes best to just take a break from the argument and revisit the issue after a good night’s sleep.”- PandorasTrunk
“Sometimes, the only thing that will cure anger is time, and laying it on a partner to say the exact right things to make you not-angry is unfair and sometimes downright impossible.”- all_iswells
“Not even just for sleep, sometimes you just have to let an argument go. I’m vehemently a talk-everything-out kind of person, but recently learned that some arguments won’t go anywhere and won’t get ‘resolved.’ Some differences just have to be accepted instead of solved.”- AiryNan
“I know this in theory, but I can’t stand my partner sleeping when we still are mad at each other. When it happens, I usually spend the night crying and hating myself for not handling it better. And for nothing, because the issue is usually fixed the day after. I wish he was like me on this particular aspect, but it seems that all men I have dated always preferred to sleep over and deal with things later.”- tightheadband
“I’ve had to leave before, which really pissed my BF off. We didn’t live together and I just knew that we were too angry and at the same time didn’t want to sweep it under the rug, so I went back to my place. He wasn’t happy, but I needed time to think and be alone.”- BilbosHandkerchief
“Sometimes you both need time to cool of, the next morning the problem often looks completely ridiculous and you see the issue at hand wasn’t really the reason for the fight. That’s the time you should talk about the underlying reason. What’s bad is going to bed and never mentioning it again.”- Reddit User
“It’s also a good way to check if the thing you were arguing about is more important than being with your SO and how important the issue is TO your SO. Helps clear up what the priority is. Not saying that you shouldn’t talk about it again, but that might also help with the arguing afterwards.”- BadChase
“Voicing, or harboring, contempt may be the single most destructive act you can take in your relationship. Along with some other key behaviors (criticism, stonewalling, and defensiveness) relationships in which the partners show contempt towards each other have been shown to have about 93% chance of ending.
So don’t treat your partner as an inferior, as someone not worthy of you. If you find yourself feeling this, or having regular self-talk in which you are regularly thinking of yourself as superior to your partner or your partner isn’t worthy of you, your relationship may already be beyond hope.”-Reddit User
“Listen to what they’re actually saying. Remember they have feelings too and that doesn’t make them wrong or right. Feelings are feelings. Use “I feel” statements instead of “you did,” don’t shout at them or speak over them, each person should get a chance to talk without being interrupted, remember to apologize even if you feel or think you did nothing wrong. Swallow your pride, don’t blame, and communicate.”- Reddit User
“That just because I’m right, doesn’t mean he has to be wrong. There aren’t always two answers. Listening is important. And so is validating others’ feelings, especially anger and frustration. And never, ever, go cold and make it seem as if I don’t love him (I don’t do this, but I’ve had it done to me). It’s OK to argue and confront. It’s OK to want to strangle each other. It’s not OK to withdraw love and warmth and say things that attack a person’s character or our mutual love and respect.”- itsmyvoice
“That they still love you and you still love them(if that’s the case that is). Everyone forgets the other person’s feelings sometimes. You need to remember that you may forget the hurtful things you say under “I was mad” but they might not. It might stick with them and continue hurting even after you say you didn’t mean it.”- Honeybunches94
“Just argue that particular point and only that point, don’t make it personal, and sure as shit don’t drag in the 20 other things that you’ve been holding grievances about over the last x years. Its also not about being right, its about resolving that issue.”- JayTheFordMan
“That your life shouldn’t feel like a ‘rough patch.’ Fights, approaches to fighting, the content, and frequency of the fighting should be, above all else, RESOLVABLE, and not about your/their character or beliefs or values. If you’re having arguments that leave you feeling defeated and hopeless, that’s probably more than just that one fight. I know a couple, together like 8 years, who has about 2-4 monthly “us fights” about money and BIG stuff. You can say “we’re on the same team” or “we just need to work on this” till the cows come home, but if nothing actually resolves, and you’re not on the same proverbial ladder to the same roof, that’s gonna be
“I was upset that my partner drove on the un-shoveled driveway when I was trying to clear a different part for him to drive on (so there wouldn’t be any hard-packed tire tracks that would turn to ice). He elected to drive on it anyway, after I asked him not to and made a clear path for him elsewhere. I was hurt and confused and felt like he deliberately disrespected me.
Then he told me he has a fear of backing out of the area I cleared, and it’s so bad that it makes him cry. So that’s why he uses the other side. (Edit: and he said he hadn’t told me before because he was ashamed of it.)
I was hung up on feeling like my feelings were justified and that he should just get over it and learn to back out of the cleared area, but after I sat with it a while I realized there are other solutions.
Now I know this, and I will clear the side he DOES like to use first. Even though it takes longer to clear it, I can get started earlier. (If you are wondering why he doesn’t clear it, right now he has a hand injury and can’t use a snow shovel.)
I can offer to back his car out for him.
There are other things we can do to avoid this situation in the future. So it doesn’t really matter about which part of the driveway he uses, and I was NOT being disrespected, but rather he was acting out of a deep fear.”- green_carbon07
“We’re on the same side. When we argue, we either both win or we both lose. I know my wife would never intentionally hurt me and she knows I would never intentionally hurt her. If you can successfully keep that in mind, it’s much easier to realize that everything else is the result of a miscommunication or an honest difference of opinion. It takes work and a commitment to assume good intentions, but if you’re able to do that, it makes things much easier.”- ralevin
“Remember that you love them, and that anything hurtful you say will stay with them. Anytime you want to say something spiteful shut up and count to three.”- reihino1
“That they’re still the same person they were before the problem arose, that you’re still the same person you were before the problem arose, and that everyone makes mistakes.
Don’t attribute anything to malice as a first port of call. The vast majority of the time, it’s not malice. A minority of the time, you will be given evidence that it is malice. Wait for the evidence before you go there. If you start an argument/respond to an argument on the presumption you are being attacked then the other person will naturally feel attacked and start defending themselves. Then you’re just in a spiral of both counter-attacking and nothing gets resolved. Lose the accusations, however, and you can both look at the issue to see what actually went wrong.
On the other side, for people who naturally go too far in the other direction and are too forgiving. Most communication is non-verbal. It is not assertive to stand up only to the verbal part of it. Hold people to account by their tone not just the content of what they say. If they’re speaking to you in an unpleasant tone, tell them you do not want them to speak to you like that. They are adults; just like you; they can handle it if you speak to them sharply. Even kind people will slip in their behavioural standards if they learn they can get away with it. So don’t let them get away with it. A good first port of call to point out to people that they are crossing a line is to make a barbed joke – “aren’t you charming today?” etc.; but if this doesn’t work, then step it up. You don’t need to be aggressive, just firm. Don’t speak to me like that. Don’t do that. Etc. No more is needed. Just stand firm.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with raising your voice, calling someone a name, telling someone to fuck off, etc. sometimes. Advice normally aims at people who are naturally emotionally expressive; not people who are naturally emotional inhibited. But being too “self controlled” is just as destructive as being too “impulsive”. If you do not authentically express emotion sometimes you will not go away feeling the problem is resolved. If you don’t show emotion at all, then the emotional part of the problem does not get healed. If you stick entirely to logic and reason, and you have a mild-mannered debate or conversation about the issue in which you logically agree, and you always do this (thinks back to all my previous relationships) you will find that the relationship, while blissfully low conflict, grows apart and ends amicably when you both realise you’re “just room mates now really”. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with emotional expression. You need it and your partner needs it and your relationship needs it. It’s just about balance and not going overboard. A healthy relationship can withstand arguments because they are adequately resolved and the relationship is properly repaired. Avoiding them entirely only pulls you apart.”-reallybigleg
“Take a step back and ask yourself three questions:
Am I tired, hungry or thirsty? If you’re cranky, it’s usually for one of those three reasons. Cranky people argue more about really dumb things, because they aren’t thinking clearly.
Why do I feel the need to “be right” about this? “Being right” is never more important than your SO’s feelings. Putting your SO down just so you can feel superior is a form of abuse and really childish.
How can I compromise on this issue? The art of compromise is how most relationships survive. Learn to give a little and be fair. Both parties should treat each other with respect.
It’s important to remember that you are with this person for a reason. Probably a lot of reasons. They must have a lot of good qualities you admire. You chose to be in this relationship for those reasons. I find it really hard to argue with my man when I hold his hand or cuddle. We cuddle a lot. None of our “fights” (we barely ever even bicker) last more than two or three minutes.”- Jewels133
“When you do something wrong or hurtful, STOP, and apologize unequivocally. I don’t care how right you are or how important it is, it is NEVER okay to yell, curse, insult, manipulate, lie, or minimize your partner’s feelings. You can resume your argument after you’ve acknowledged your error.”- hocean