The other day, I listened to a podcast by dating coach Evan Marc Katz titled “8 Red Flags That Should Send You Running from a Man.” In this episode, childlessness is only a small part of the discussion, but Katz brought up an issue I think we need to talk about here. And that is people, women or men, who settle for partners who are less than ideal because they feel like they have to, that they will never find anybody else who will love them. Some have low self-esteem. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m too old. Others figure this relationship is THE ONE, when maybe it’s not.
He talks about a woman, Elise, who is a “settler,” who will give up her whole life for a man who is not sure he wants to get married or to have kids, and another woman named Sherry who is so picky nobody measures up to her standards. That’s a problem, too, but for today, let’s stick with the “settlers.” I used to be one of those. I felt like I could only get the loser guys. The cute, popular, smart ones with good career prospects wouldn’t want nerdy me. Oh, I could tell you stories about men I went out with, but I won’t. Let’s just say, if my parents were picking a guy for me, it wouldn’t be any of them.
Nor would it be my first husband, who made a negative impression early on by getting slap-happy drunk at my cousin’s wedding, then quit his job and flunked out of college. . . Then there was that time he sat in the car rather than visit my beloved grandfather . . . And oh, yeah, he cheated on me and he didn’t want kids. But I thought this was the guy. I had doubts, but I didn’t have the whatever-it-takes to stand up for myself and say, hey, this is not what I want in a husband. And maybe I need to live my own life for a while before settling with a man with whom I have nothing in common, except sex. Yes, I loved him, but he didn’t treat me like a man who loved ME should have, and I knew that. I settled.
It’s funny. I didn’t settle with jobs. I quit an awful lot of jobs, I admit it. My resume is crazy. But I’d get in there, find myself miserable, and say, “Oh, hell no.” I looked for something better. And I found it. Why didn’t I do that with men?
Long afterward, my ex and I agreed we would have had a great affair, but we shouldn’t have gotten married. Unfortunately, nice girls didn’t do that in those days. Which is how so many wound up with men who were less than ideal. But we have choices now. We do. Anyone who wants to marry me in the future would have to be AMAZING. I am not going to settle.
I lucked out with my second husband, Fred. But again, you should have seen who else I dated before he came along.
In comments here over the last 13 years, I have read so many stories of people, mostly women but not all, who gave up everything to be with a guy–home, country, family, career, and yes, dreams of having children. Sure, they were in love, but is that enough? Don’t we have the right to say, “No, let me look around a little more?” We’re so insecure, so afraid of being alone, that we settle. It’s like settling for shoes that don’t fit. They are always going to hurt, no matter how we try to stretch them out.
I’m on your side, but I see people here settling, and the old would-be wise woman in me wants to scream, “No! Don’t settle.”
What do you think? Have you settled? Are you now? Can you see other possibilities? Why not?
Let’s talk about this. Oh, and give this guy’s podcast a listen or just read the transcript at the link. Katz calls him the “dating coach for strong successful women.” He’s entertaining. If you decide to try his services, that’s between you and your computer.
4 thoughts on “Are You Settling Too Soon for a Childless Life?”
Interesting subject to me, Sue. Like you, I settled on the first marriage. But on the 2nd was pickier, maybe not picky enough, but far less settling.
I actually see a lot of settling with women in general. I know one “No one will ever marry me because I have 6 kids.” Well she found a guy, and it may be settling, but on the outside it doesn’t seem like it. They seem perfectly compatible and truly love each other. If only it were that simple. But for now, so far it’s good.
It never entered my mind that settling for someone who can’t have kids is a category of settling. If I’m following you:
There are 5 men and/or women, 4 can have kids, 1 can’t. If the partner selects the 1 who can’t, that is considered settling?
Strange to me. And quite sad. To be reduced to reproductive quota in such a way. Not that I don’t get it. I of all people get the importance of having a baby of my own. What is sad is to not factor all known pro’s and con’s and then love, before the settling decision is made.
Silver, a lot of us do settle, but I think if we consciously decide we’re okay with the situation, such as a partner who is infertile, that’s not really settling. That’s weighing the pros and cons and saying, okay, I know I have a choice and this is what I choose.
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This is an interesting question for me because I feel like I might have settled TO have children. I got married because I loved him and he was my best friend but also because I thought he would be a trustworthy, hardworking father that would provide stability of various sorts for our family. There were ways I knew I was settling at the time but I figured no relationship was perfect. Anyway, we are now divorced. After going through infertility without becoming parents, we ultimately ended up wanting different things out of life and going our separate ways. No kids and now no husband. But I’m good. And I won’t settle again. 🙂
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Thank you for sharing this!