Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Settling

Words of wisdom from someone who has obviously been there and done that. When it comes to marriage settling for Mr. Good Enough beats holding out for Mr. Right. The author, Lori Gottlieb says :

When we’re holding out for deep romantic love, we have the fantasy that this level of passionate intensity will make us happier. But marrying Mr. Good Enough might be an equally viable option, especially if you’re looking for a stable, reliable life companion. Madame Bovary might not see it that way, but if she’d remained single, I’ll bet she would have been even more depressed than she was while living with her tedious but caring husband.

I could not agree more. In my own case, it has been a long series of misadventures beginning from the time I had looked at marriage as an escape hatch from issues I lacked the courage to face and work through. I preferred to push them under the carpet and pretend all was well. Needless to say, the marriage ended and the issues remained. I was left with no option but to confront them and find my way the slow, painful way.

Many more mistakes happened along the way because of my eagerness to wrap things up well before it was time to do so. The destination was a lot more important than the journey itself - I had no time to enjoy the scenery or even get to know my traveling companion. After we had parted ways, I stopped to think back about the time we had spent together and how it was all wrong from the beginning. Yet, I refused to see acknowledge all that was wrong because to so would be to compromise and "settle" for less than Mr Right.

I have come to realize that the idea of Mr. Right is fraught with ambiguity and morphs with time. Mr. Good Enough is a far more stable concept and in as such a reliable benchmark for who one seeks in marriage. He is far from perfect but he is real and can happen by your life some day. I find women around me married to Mr. Good Enough and it's not such a shabby deal. Sure it's not the stuff of dreams but the mundane business of everyday life is quite well served without it. As Ms. Gottlieb says:

When we’re holding out for deep romantic love, we have the fantasy that this level of passionate intensity will make us happier. But marrying Mr. Good Enough might be an equally viable option, especially if you’re looking for a stable, reliable life companion. Madame Bovary might not see it that way, but if she’d remained single, I’ll bet she would have been even more depressed than she was while living with her tedious but caring husband.

Those of us who choose not to settle in hopes of finding a soul mate later are almost like teenagers who believe they’re invulnerable to dying in a drunk-driving accident. We lose sight of our mortality. We forget that we, too, will age and become less alluring. And even if some men do find us engaging, and they’re ready to have a family, they’ll likely decide to marry someone younger with whom they can have their own biological children. Which is all the more reason to settle before settling is no longer an option.

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