Why Settling Sucks

No matter what your excuse, staying with someone for the wrong reasons will only cause you heartache

Dear Monica, I have been in a significant relationship for a few years and have not taken the plunge into marriage. I am not sure why I am not looking for a future with her. Is it me?  – J.B.,  Center City

People tend to stay in relationships because it is easier than breaking up. If you were with the right person you would not be thinking twice about a future together. Clearly you are settling and won’t be making any rash decisions until the you-know-what hits the fan. Here are some key scenarios that illustrate relationships that are convenient but not the real deal.

  • You live together and there’s another eight months on the joint lease … why rock the boat?  Reality: The boat is sinking. Get out!
  • You’re enjoying a successful career at your dream job. You´re up for a big promotion and work has hit a busy patch. You can´t afford the drama of a breakup. Best to stay in the relationship until it’s convenient to exit. Reality: There is no good time for drama. At least exit while you are on a high in other parts of your life.
  • You’re in the same social circle, so breaking up would be a social and political nightmare. Reality: This won’t get any prettier if you get married and divorced. It’s likely your small group of guy friends will stay with you and her huge group of girl friends will go with her. Who cares?
  • She’s great arm candy and you´re caught in a sex haze. The sex is way too good to leave just yet. Reality: It is the waking hours that’ll kill you. You will inevitably lose interest. Even in the dark.
  • You want to be a young parent — and you aren’t getting any younger! Reality: If you are having questions now, you might want to think about the future staying power of the relationship once kids enter the picture.
  • Everyone you know is coupled off, and if you call it quits you´ll be “that single guy.” Reality: Perfect, everyone will be fixing you up. The world will be your oyster.
  • Your parents love her and already fear you’ll be a bachelor for life. They’ll be more heartbroken than you if you break it off.  Reality: Parents don’t make the decision. Grow up!
  • The holidays have just passed, why start the New Year off with a break up? Reality: Of course, then it will be really cold out — so why not just wait until March? And then there is St. Paddy’s Day. There will always be a reason why it is not a good time to end a long relationship. It may be painful but in the long run,  it will be the best route for both of you.

Don’t let excuses stand in the way of making the right choice. If you are settling, move on.

Monica Mandell, Ph.D. is the Director of the Philadelphia office of Selective Search, the premiere (off-line) upscale matchmaking firm for the most eligible singles.
Please send your questions to: [email protected].