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Relationships: Do you believe people really settle?

Updated on December 18, 2013

I could have done so much better!

We are always where we choose to be...

I've been going back and forth over the use of the word settle when it comes to relationships.

Simply looking up the definition of settle you will see words like: resolve, sort out, clear up, worked it out, remedy, reconcile, as in "They settled the dispute" or adopt a more steady/secure lifestyle as in "One day I will settle down and raise a family."

With some additional digging I found a place that also included the words: "To accept in spite of incomplete satisfaction." Which of course is a choice we tend to make when we (believe) it is "the best that we can do". After all if we really believed we could do better we would do better.

Cost VS Rewards

If I presented you two cars in a parking lot and told you that you could have either one of them. Car (a) is a 2014 brand new Audi 6 and car (b) is a rusted out 1972 Ford Gremlin, odds are you would choose the new car. However if I told you that you had to run a marathon in order to get the new car or you could simply take the old car right now; Depending on how you feel about the "cost versus reward" you might choose the old car or even (decide) to go without a car. Either way it would be a (choice) and not "settling".

It is our belief that we either have no other "options" or we've decided it's not worth the effort for us to continue on with our search for something better. No matter what we tell ourselves or others the reality is we always "settle” for what we truly (believe) is the best deal we can get based upon the (effort) we are willing to exert.

The Power of Choice

Each of us chooses our own friends, lovers, and spouse. There's no getting around it.

The beautiful thing about a door is it lets those who want in (in) and those who want out (out). Relationships and marriages are (at will). No one is "stuck" with anyone! If someone is unhappy in a relationship and they choose to stay then (they) are choosing to be unhappy.

Whenever someone tells you that they "settled" it's always good to ask them why they (chose) to settle? Odds are when they answer you it will turn out that they really (believed) it was the BEST they could do under the circumstances. Once again if they really believed they could have done better they would have chosen better.

Life is a personal journey

On the other hand when we tell others they are "settling" what we are really doing is imposing (our belief system) on them. It's an uphill battle when we have to "sell them" on the fact that they can do better or deserve better. People whom we deem to have "low self-esteem" actually believe they are doing the best they can with what they have with regards to the effort and time (they) are willing to put forth. Life is a personal journey and people have the right to choose their own path.

Getting what you want is not settling

The first law of nature is "self-preservation". Its human nature to do what we feel is in our best interest at the time. We don't settle. We choose what we consider to be our "best option". Taking the (easy way out) is not settling it's about the effort one is willing to use.

Traits such as ambition, desire for change, and determination are not likely to be found in people who don't believe they deserve the best of what life has to offer.

Anyone who is flipping burgers at McDonalds and tells you they could have been a millionaire but "settled" for that job is lying to themselves! Sometimes we use words like "would've" or "could've" to emphasize the fact that we are where we are by choice. When one settles it just means they've made a final decision.

"I could have been a manager but I didn't want all that pressure and responsibility."

Being where you want to be is not "settling". It's doing what you believe is best for you!

One man's opinion!

Awareness of choice & realistic expectations

Do people choose to settle?

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    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      11 months ago from Chicago


      Thanks for reading my hub and taking the time to post a comment.

      When it comes to so called "settling" I believe two aspects usually come into play with regard to most people.

      1. FOMO = Fear of Missing Out

      In other words no matter who they are with or could potentially be with; THEY believe they could "do better"!

      At some point it becomes impractical to continuing to search. Time waits for no one. Nobody gets "everything" they want.

      That's life!

      "Love isn't finding the perfect person It's seeing an imperfect person perfectly." - Sam Keen

      2. Unable to (realistically) take stock of themselves

      Lets face it if a guy looks like Danny DeVito he's not going to end up with a woman who looks like Halle Berry or Charlize Theron!

      Don't expect to sit next to the moon unless YOU are a star!

      One of the easiest things to do is create a "must haves list" for potential mates. Very few people however put themselves in their "ideal mate's" shoes and ask the question:

      "If I were her/him, would I want me?"

      Naturally if the answer is (no) they need to cultivate the traits they believe such a person would want in (their) mate.

      Last but not least there is somewhat of a "double standard".

      It's okay for a woman to say she refuses to "settle".

      However if man states the same thing he's "afraid" of commitment! :)

    • justthemessenger profile image

      James C Moore 

      11 months ago from The Great Midwest

      I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who questions this notion of "settling." How realistic is it that someone must fulfill a laundry list of traits before you're willing to do lunch or go see a movie with them? Remember, if no one is good enough for you, you'll end up with who's good enough for you- no one.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      13 months ago from Chicago

      "I have been in such situations where I settled; {that was the best} of the lot, even though it didn't meet my ideal." - Farrah

      You're making my point and that is if you took the BEST available option that (you believe) you had it's really not settling.

      In other words if you thought you could do better you would have done so! The other option is to simply choose to walk away.

      Oftentimes our "ideal" is our DREAM (car, man/woman, home...etc) However in reality we seldom if ever have a chance to make our "ideal"/DREAMs a reality. Just because I live in the suburbs of Chicago doesn't mean I "settled" because my dream is having a beachfront mansion in Southern California. :)

      We take (the best) available option. Settling implies you (could have) had something "better" but instead (chose) something inferior.

      Sometimes what people call "settling" is nothing more than a "reality check'. They may have wanted to be a "movie star" but ended up "settling" for a job as a bank teller. Truth is they NEVER had the opportunity to realize their (unrealistic) "ideal/Dream" job.

      Doing the best you can is all anyone can ask. That's not settling.

    • Isivwe Muobo profile image

      Farrah Young 

      13 months ago from Nigeria

      Good read, but I should say life is not always that simple.

      People who settle do so because they don't have a choice. Sometimes, the choice that didn't look so appealing (but was all there was at the time) turns out to be not so bad afterall.

      I have been in such situations where I settled; that was the best of the lot, even though it didn't meet my ideal.

      Turned out the choice wasn't so bad afterall and i adjusted to it and life.

      If we all could have what we wanted EVERY single time, life would be a fairytale.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      13 months ago from Chicago


      Thanks for reading my hub and taking the time to post a comment.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      13 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Nice article. Thanks.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Chicago

      red mermaid, Thanks so much for stopping by to read my hub and for posting your comment. Sadly too many people are "passengers" in their own lives. From their point of view "things just happen" in their lives and it's not because they said "yes" or "no" along the way.

      Simply saying "no" is one of the most empowering statements one can make!

    • red mermaid profile image

      red mermaid 

      3 years ago

      An interesting hub and good read. I truly believe that we all have choices in life and we should all listen to our inner feelings and instincts, never stopping until we're really happy with our decisions.

      I've made many bad decisions in my past in regards to relationships,stayed with people because I felt pressure to settle down at a certain age, settled with someone who treated me badly, even putting up with partners cheating on me because I feared being left on my own.

      Then one morning I awoke and your very own words echoed around inside my head.

      We DO! have choices, we all have the right to pursue happiness but WE need to change and put the effort in to change the outcome of our lives. If we fill our minds with positive thoughts and believe in our own ability to pursue our dreams THEY WILL COME TRUE.

      Well done a good hub that encourages readers to interact.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Chicago

      Besarien, Thanks for your very insightful comment!

      "Settling for someone you don't love denies you, your partner and the two people the two of you would otherwise find the relationship of a lifetime."

      - This is very true! Life is too short for that!

      I also agree with your other statement:

      "The other mistake I see people make is not putting any effort into their relationship but expecting nothing but moonlight, roses, and wild sex every night."

      Too often couples feel as though (now they have someone) they can RELAX and go on autopilot. A marriage however is like a garden.

      Marriage is not like getting a sofa and finding a place to put it to sit for next 20 years.

      Thanks again for stopping by to read my hub and post a comment.

      It requires nurturing. If you neglect a garden it dies.

    • Besarien profile image


      4 years ago from South Florida

      Lots of interesting ideas in this hub and also amid the comments. I'm old and have been happily married for the past eighteen years. This is my first, only, and however it turns out my last marriage. However I had plenty of relationships before my hubby's and mine.

      One mistake I see a lot of people make in their love relationship is to expect their partner to make them happy. I think there is a lot of dissatisfaction when a person goes into a relationship expecting to be made magically happy when we all have to make ourselves happy. No one else in life can do that for us.

      The other mistake I see people make is not putting any effort into their relationship but expecting nothing but moonlight, roses, and wild sex every night. It's a bit like a term paper. If you do the hard work you usually get good feedback. If you skimp, cheat, or just make stuff up- you really can't be too surprised when you fail.

      People often expect good relationships to be effortless. The best relationship is the one where both partners are exerting considerable amounts of thought creativity and effort to keep the relationship respectful, mutually satisfying, strong, fresh, and true. People looking for low maintenance relationships, beware. You can expect to get out close to what you put into them if you are lucky.

      Ask yourself. do I respect this person? Do I feel compassion as well as passion for them? Am I willing to put my own needs second to theirs half the time? Will I love them fat, ill, poor and old? If you can't honestly answer yes to all of that, what's the point? Settling for someone you don't love denies you, your partner and the two people the two of you would otherwise find the relationship of a lifetime. Don't do that! Life is too short not to insist on true love and all the feelings, color, learning, and sensual delights that go with it.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Chicago

      emi sue, Thanks for reading and posting a comment to my hub.

      Settling is essentially whenever a person makes a "final decision" based upon the "best option" (they feel) is available to them.

      Naturally if one believes it's the best they can do then it's not exactly "settling". In my opinion true settling would be a person electing to go with an inferior product or person while knowing a better suitable option is "available" for them. Very few people would (choose) a dented car to rent if they had the option to pick one that looked new.

      As I noted people "settle" for whatever (they believe is the best they can do) in the moment! Having the "best option" isn't exactly "settling".

      If you truly would not want to be married to anyone else it means you married your ideal mate. Congratulations!

    • emi sue profile image

      Emily Lantry 

      4 years ago from Tennessee

      I have to agree, settling isn't always a bad thing.

      I guess you could say I settled for my husband, but I wouldn't want to settle with anyone else!

      This was a great read!

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 

      4 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      One has to decide if a reationship is a "work in progress" or a dead end . This takes time. However dashingscorpio I have never started something that I didn't finish so am conditioned to cobtinue my work in progress..will just take the choice to take time. Cheers

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Chicago

      Kate, Thanks for stopping by to read my hub and post a comment. I also appreciate the vote up! ;)

      I believe some folks love to say they "settled" in order to feel as though they did choose the best option available to them at the time (because) ....etc

      Whenever one is asked; "Is this the best you can do?" Rarely will someone say it is, unless people are complaining about what they've done. ha ha

      Generally speaking no matter what you have there exists something better and something worse. Settling for lack of a better word is a decision to conclude one's search and move on to the next thing based upon cost vs reward. At some point we say it's not (worth it) to us to continue looking!

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 

      4 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      I like the bit where you say " Life is a personal journey and people have a right to choose their own path". When we have a right we also have a responsibility to make and live with the choices we make. A choice takes courage- better than living in fear. Voted up and useful. Thanks for sharing this hub

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Chicago

      PsalmthePoet , Although people often call that "settling" the reality is that person took what they considered to be their BEST option at the time. They decided they didn't want to take a chance pursuing someone who was more worthy of them. It really does come down to a COST VS REWARD thing for most decisions we make. Once we decide something is NOT worth the cost being asked for it then we "settle" for the second or third best option.

      They got what they were willing to (pay) for!

      Being tired or lazy makes people (choose) to have less in life.

      However if we (really believed) we could do better we would do better!

    • PsalmthePoet profile image


      5 years ago

      I have met people who have settled. Indeed it was a decision they made to be with someone who they don't enjoy being with or to be with someone who they know just aren't of their caliber all to be able to say "they have someone."

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Chicago

      Melodie, Thanks for your comment.

      I just wanted make people aware we always "settle” for what we truly (believe) is the best deal we can get based upon the (effort) we are willing to exert. :-)

    • Melodie Yarber profile image

      Mellenium Wins 

      5 years ago

      Wow. This is awesome. I agree with the reader above that this is a very thought provoking article. I never looked at the word settle as a "power"word but it is.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Chicago

      Dr Billy Kidd, Thanks so much for stopping by to read my hub and post your comment.

      The word "settle" is nothing more than making a (final) decision. No matter what we choose today there will be something better out there that we may not be aware of or that will become available in the future.

      Very often it's the (cost versus reward) that determines how long we will go before finally making that (final decision) or "settling". At least these women applying the word "settle" to their own personal goals and not those of others.

      Life is a personal journey and it's important to have goals and dreams to make life worth living. Personally I believe the institution of marriage would be better served if people waited until they reached the age of the 30 before getting married. I always advise men to get their education and establish a career path before getting married. Women today value having their own financial independence which gives them more options to be selective.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I've been grappling with the word "settle" after interviewing young adults for a research paper. The women keep telling me, "I will not settle." In those words. When I ask to explain, they say that they're got at least until age 30 to establish economic independence, and then they'll look for the right man.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Chicago

      Nell, Thanks for stopping by to read my hub and post a comment. I agree oftentimes we "think" we want something and later on we feel unfulfilled. However the problem is a lot of people refuse to take action in order to make changes. Being afraid or simply being lazy is more of an accurate description than "settling" in my opinion. Very few people turn down great opportunities.

      If someone feel it's "too much work" to stretch and get the bottle on the top shelf what they're really saying is "It's not worth it to me." If they're unwilling to "pay the cost" to have better than it's their (choice) and they're saying; "I'd rather be where I'm at than pay the price to move on. They're where they want to be! That's not settling.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      You have so many good points there. I think the problem is when we are young we believe that the person or job we have is what we want, so we 'settle' for it. but of course as we grow older and wiser we completely change. its whether we let the person or job go that matters, not what has come before, nell

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Chicago

      MsDora , Thanks for your comment!

      I suppose when it comes to most things in life we've been conditioned to "believe" we could always do we could always do better. :-)

      The reality is we "settle" for what we feel is our best option based upon how much (effort) we're willing to expend. At some point we tell ourselves "I'm tired....this is (good enough), I'm done!" It's our BEST in that moment.

      I didn't get what we call "settling" is really nothing more than us saying: "This is about as much time and energy I want to expend on this!" LOL!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      DashingScorpio, you laid it out very sensibly. Thank you for your definition and explanation of settling. It's all about knowing and being where one wants to be.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Chicago

      Welcome back Ellana317!

      Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment. Happy New Year!

    • Ellana317 profile image


      6 years ago from ATL, Georgia

      @ Dashingscorpio, I haven't been on here in a while and I just realized how much I missed reading your hubs. Very well said... I 100% agree that if a person believes they can do better, they do better. Awesome!

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Chicago

      SandCastles , You made some excellent points!

      No matter what we have chosen for ourselves there will always be some people who are doing (better) and some who are doing (worse).

      Having said that if a person reaches the conclusion they really did "settle" or they feel their relationship is toxic then they should leave! However if they decide to stay then they should let go of the negativity.

      There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships: we either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have.

      Thanks for your comment!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      A very interesting hub and thought-provoking hub. I think sometimes in relationships, a person can become ungrateful. They think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence only to be stunned when they find that it has weeds too. When it comes to life and goals and life choices, I think the "I could have done better" mindset is negative and harmful. A person should work towards their goals instead of dwelling on what could have been or what they could have done. If a person is always pitying him or herself and if he or she is always resentful and envious, they drag everyone down. Sometimes the person makes themselves miserable because they have not lived up to someone else's expectations. People have to find their own way and be patient and work towards goals and when they fall (and they will a lot), they have to realize that it's normal to fall just as long as they get back up again.

    • dashingscorpio profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Chicago


      To "settle" means to make a final decision on something. In order to make a "decision" one must be presented with "options". We naturally (choose) the "best option" available to us. We can always walk away.

      We may not be happy with the options presented to us but nevertheless we still do have a choice as to which one we go with. As I stated no one is "stuck" with anyone. If we really don't want to be with someone we will leave. What keeps most people staying in "unhappy relationships" is their unwillingness to "pay the price" for walking away.

      This might entail living on half as much income, in a house or apartment that is not nearly as nice, having to be on a strict budget...and so forth. If someone decides it's not "worth it" to be single and start anew then they will (choose) to stay where they are. It's still their (choice) based upon what (they) feel is best for them.

      Thanks so much for your comment. :-)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Relationships: Do you believe people really settle? An interesting hub I do believe that certain people do settle for what they have in their relationships. Sometimes couples have no choice and settle or else it won't happen for them. It is however, complicated in many cases.


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