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Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Do you settle for Mr. Good Enough or quit stressing and enjoy life?

I read two very interesting articles from two different perspectives published in the Dallas Dailey News:

In the first one called ‘ Don’t be afraid to settle for Mr. Good Enough’ Lori Gottlieb basically encourages women to settle for a good enough partner – not wait for ‘Mr.Right’. Interestingly, she talks from the point of view of someone who decided to have a child on her own by AI. But she says she has realised the difficulties of having a child on her own and feels it is preferable to be in a relationship.

The other article by, Catherine Cuellar called ‘Quit stressing about finding Mr. Right and start enjoying life’ puts the perspective that women shouldn’t be panicked into getting into a relationship that isn’t right for them. One of the most powerful quotes from this piece is this one:

‘Whether I reproduce, adopt or abstain; am step-, foster-, or godparent; or just love my neighbors, I'll teach children in my life they are precious, unique individuals who should respect themselves enough to enter a relationship only if they find a worthy partner.

Meanwhile, I'm active in church; practice yoga and meditation; and have worked with a therapist and a personal trainer – so if an ideal mate comes along, I'm ready. In my professional and volunteer work, I pursue my passions, surrounding myself with people who share my values and interests. I don't believe it humanly possible for any one person to meet all my social, emotional, spiritual and physical needs. Rather, I live in a gracious and generous community with married and single people, some with and others without children – some by choice, others by circumstance. ‘

I do understand where Lori Gottlieb is coming from – the reality of long term relationships is that you do have to accept that it is not a whirl of romantic love. It is a steady love – a partnership. And if you are always holding out for the fairy tale notion of love and relationships, you are bound to be disappointed. It is also stressful for women who have always wanted children in the context of a long term relationship. As Emma, one of my interviewees for my book pointed out ‘I was married at 27 and divorced at 29. Now I’m almost 31, and I’m aware that if I want to have a child, I need to start in a few years. But although I have a boyfriend now, he is just into having fun and not being committed. So what do I do? I never imagined life without a family, without children.’

So it is a tough one.

However, Catherine’s article really resonates with me and it chimes with one of the key messages of my book and my coaching. That you can have a fantastic and fulfilled life – regardless of whether you are married or not, whether you have children or not. You can live a life in alignment with your values whatever choices you make, whatever life throws at you. That’s why in the coaching I do, I always ask people to step back from the decision and look at their vision of life 20 years from now and at their values.


Sass E-mum said...

I go with the enjoying life idea. No one should 'settle'. If you did that, I expect you'd have to also accept yourself as an arrogant kind of person.

I do think that we can look at our relationships more objectively as we get older. We can have a perspective which helps us accept the idea that the right man isn't necessarily a perfect man (it's guaranteed that he won't be that).

Maybe that sense of perspective is what some people call 'settling'. But I think it comes of knowing more about yourself and having more realistic expectations of others.

Beth said...

Yes, I think that's right. It's about gaining perspective. Also, sometimes what seemed so romantic and exciting in youth (someone who is abit dangerous and non-committal) seems really depressing as we get older.

A friend of mine put it perfectly - she said that all she wants is someone who is solid, responsible and there for her!

womaninawindow said...

What an interesting job you have. So many perspectives to deal with. And yet, is there always a right answer? I guess it's up to all of us to answer that for ourselves. And my, you get to see the world, don't you. I wonder about cultural differences, country to country. Interesting.

Beth said...

Yes, woman in the window - it'll be a different answer for different people really.

And, since I've discovered I can set google alerts - my world has never been the same! It's great because I get sent links to articles on this topic that appear anywhere in the world! So fantastic!