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Should women settle ... ever?

Brie Gatchalian is a freelance writer based in Montclair, NJ. When she's not writing about fashion and beauty, she researches topics related to relationships and mulls over her own love life. She'll be the first to admit she doesn't hav...

To settle , or not to settle?

These experts answer the highly debated question.

Last year, an article in (www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/single-marry) urged women to "marry him!" The piece was written by a woman who supports the idea of settling for Mr. Good Enough. Women might have ticking biological clocks, but at the end of the day, you should ask yourself: Do I want to have children for the sake of having children with a man I'm only lukewarm for? I would hope not. Do others agree? I turned to other relationship gurus for their take...

Have a Backbone, Ladies!

For Sam Jernigan, who's been there and done that, the topic of settling struck a nerve because she's been divorced from what she describes as a "vapid"15-year marriage. "I realized I paid a really high price for settling, so I've resisted the temptation to do [so again] since and have urged my gal pals to do [the same],"she explains. When Jernigan dates, if she sees no spark, she drops it (or him rather). "My motto is to keep the flight deck clear [rather than] have someone hover who could prevent a serious contender from landing in my world,"she says.

Jernigan jotted down a (Donald) Trump-ism on a post-it that she keeps on her desk: You have to think anyway, you may as well think big. "To me, if you accept a crappy job because you lost a great one, how exactly is that really solving your problem?"she asks. "Isn't it just forestalling really dealing with the need to get your career fully back on track?"Jernigan feels strongly that women need to be about courage and far-sightedness, and holding out for that which is the best fit possible in each and every area of our complex lives.

Yes and No

Karol Ward, a licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert, says it's not black and white. When asked if it's okay to settle, she says yes and no. "Yes, if you are completely clear on what you are doing and why you are choosing to settle, you can probably create some happiness,"she says. "No, if you are not completely honest with yourself, you can be in for heartache."For example, if you choose someone who doesn't match your core values but fool yourself into thinking you can change him or her, down the road, you are in for a big disappointment, she points out.

"I have worked with patients who have settled, and they carry the emotional weight of that choice with them for the rest of their lives,"she warns.

All Women "Settle"

To my dismay, Dr. Sybil Keane, psychologist and mental health expert on JustAnswer.com disagrees. "Most women settle (or accept) because they believe the myths that society dictates,"she points out. "They settle because they don't think they deserve anything or they settle because that little clock is ticking away. They settle because of expectations of others or themselves."

So should women settle, I ask her? "We all settle whether we want to recognize it as such or not,"she says. "I would like to say we all accept, rather than settle. I think settling has a lot to do with acceptance. Once we accept we are who we are, that most of our fantasies are just that, that real life is full of opportunities and disappointments we can truly live, whether it's alone or with someone."

 

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