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Thinking About Settling


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Ok so the word settling may not be the best word but this is what's been on my mind for a while and this is what I'm struggling with. I'd love some opinions and advice.


I'm soon to be 38 and I've been divorced for a couple of years. I've been doing the online dating thing for a while. I've gone out on tons of dates and even had a couple of 3 or 4 month relationships. The problem is that I have very high standards. My ex-wife was beautiful and looks are important to me (I know it's superficial but hey it's me). Most of the girls I've been out with were very nice but I just wasn't attracted to them physically. I even went out with one girl for 3 months who was 31 and really liked me. She would have made a great wife and mother but I had to break it off because in the end, I never really felt any physical chemistry.


Of the over 30 women I've been out with over the last couple of years. I'd say 3 or 4 were attractive to me but I never got a second date out of those. Recently I went out with one girl who was stunning and had a great personality. I posted about this a couple of weeks ago so I won't go into detail but let's just say the date went great and we kissed but a few days later she essentially told me thanks but no thanks. This was kind of like the last straw for me and has really made me completely frustrated and disillusioned with dating and especially online dating. It's made me think about things in a way I never really have.


First, it has me questioning if I'm overestimating my worth. I mean I've been told I'm good looking. I have good social skills, I'm tall and in great shape. I have a good job but results or lack thereof speak for themselves. I am usually the one turning down the second date but with the few really attractive ones, I have been rejected.


Second, I've come to realize the futility of online dating. Even though I live in the NYC area, I don't see that many attractive women online. And the few that are have a thousand guys e-mailing them wanting to take them out. I just don't need this competition at this point in my life.


Third, my goal is to hopefully have kids or even a kid and I can't keep waiting for someone that has looks and personality especially with all of the competition online. Frankly, most of the time I write a girl that's I think is attractive, I don't get a reply.


Last, I'm passed the point of meeting a bunch of people. What I mean is, I don't want to play the numbers game anymore and just line up a lot of dates to see if there's chemistry. I only bother with girls where I have a strong feeling of interest and that is leaving me dateless for long stretches.


I have no social structure left. Most of my friends are married with kids and I'm tired of going out to bars/clubs. I don't even like doing my hobbies anymore. Anyway, they're mostly solitary pursuits that don't usually involve girls. So it's pretty much online dating or nothing for me.


After a lot of soul searching I'm wondering if I should just go for a nice girl that likes me and treats me well and I like her too even if there isn't much of a physical spark. The problem is, I've tried to make relationships work where I haven't had much physical attraction but I can's sustain them both emotionally and physically. I can usually hang in for 3 months but then I just get exhausted.


Believe me, it's about more than looks for me but looks are very integral too. How do I compromise? Or can I? Or is it even possible? I hate to use the word settle because I don't think I'm superman and I should be lucky to be with some of these girls but at the same time I can't fake it.


Lastly, I know a lot of people think attraction grows when you get to know someone but not for me. A girl that I'm not physically attracted to who is the sweetest thing is always gonna be a sweet girl I'm not attracted to. I usually know early on if I'm attracted to her.


I'm not looking for Jennifer Aniston (well I am but I'm realistic). I just want someone I find attractive and sexy but I'm not sure I am actually attractive to girls I find attractive.


How do I focus on what I need instead of what I want? Or am I short-changing myself?


Thanks for reading.

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Lastly, I know a lot of people think attraction grows when you get to know someone but not for me. A girl that I'm not physically attracted to who is the sweetest thing is always gonna be a sweet girl I'm not attracted to. I usually know early on if I'm attracted to her.



You're starting to get close to an age where personality and "motherly" skills outweigh appearance, pretty heavily. If you're thinking about settling, then you're going to have to SETTLE, for someone you enjoy being with but isn't necessarily going to be on the cover of the next sports illustrated swimsuit edition. Appearance isn't everything....say you settle with some gorgeous chick and down the line she puts on some weight and things change...you going to divorce her solely based on her change in appearance?

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This is a tricky one, and I will try to say this as kindly as I can ... Perhaps I'll start with a story I once heard:


A long long time ago there was an young sage living in the desert with his best male friend. The friend was eager to find love so he set forth looking for the "perfect woman." As the young sage grew old, he walked through the desert in thought and happened upon his best male friend after many years. He said: "Hello friend! In your travels, did you ever find the Perfect Woman?" And his best male friend affirmed that he did but she did not marry him because, sadly, "she was looknig for the Perfect Man."


It's all fine and dandy to want and only feel a spark with Elle McPherson or Megan Fox or Heidi Klum. But the "universe" or whatever you want to call it has a handy dandy way of kicking you in the pants when you aren't learning the lessons you need to learn about life and maturity ... thus ensuring that you stay alone.


I can say with all honesty that many guys, depending upon their surroundings, maturity, and friends/family, value a certain social standard of hot before they grow older and develop a more well-rounded desire for other things.


You are posting here, so I assume/hope it is for advice. My advice is not to settle, not in the least. I recognize that for many attraction is instant, or relatively instant, and is not something you can control consciously. HOWEVER, types DO change, desires DO change, and needs DO change. For the men (and women) who take the time to really really reflect upon the things they want in a relationship, the qualities they are looking for and the benefits of a relationship, I find that their conscious reflections and epiphanies can translate into subconscious shifts in who/what they find attractive. Perhaps that is the deepest sign of maturity.


I'll give an example. A friend used to be exclusively attracted to the "Lucy Lou" type for a while. With age and reflection, he eventually married someone who looks more like "Emma Stone." Not right or wrong, but he opened up his dating pool for someone who shared his values and quirks much more.


I think, too, as men mature they can ACTUALLY see beauty in different nationalities, body types, facial structures etc. It's not settling to do that ... it's growth and it is great.

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I don't want to be offensive, but couples generally fall on the same place on the attractiveness scale. This obviously doesn't apply to the entire world, but often times ugly women are with ugly men, fat women are with fat men, average women are with average men, and beautiful women are with beautiful men. If you can't get replies or second dates out of the women you desire, it's probably because they are somewhat out of your league. Or, they have so many options that you get overlooked. I don't think you should settle, but be a little more realistic. Your situation reminds me of the quote "Whether you think you're going to succeed or fail, you are right." You have convinced yourself that you will never be able to make it last with a woman who isn't exactly the type you like, therefore that won't change. Open your mind.

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I read in a psych textbook last year that people who "settle" are much happier than those who "refuse to settle". But - the people who "settle" in this context are the people who know that things are rarely perfect and would rather spend time in a loving r'ship with a good person (who doesn't meet every ideal) - than spend time waiting and just hoping that the ideal man comes along. They genuinely feel this would be the better thing to do. So they don't feel like they are losing in this "settling" scenario.



I agree with what everyone has said above. BUT - I think if you do not genuinely appreciate your partner-to-be and feel lucky to be with them (for one reason or another) .. I wonder if it can ever work.


I think you know there's a lot more to appreciate and be thankful for in a partner than looks (I mean your ex was beautiful and yet she's your ex) but .. looks are still predominantly important or essential to you. And there's just no easy answer while you continue to feel this way because I would not want to be a woman whose husband.. was really kind of disappointed with being with me because of my looks. I don't think any woman would want that.


So I'm going to say you should keep looking until you find someone that you genuinely do not feel is some kind of disappointment. And in the mean time - work on your perceptions. Think about all the qualities your ex had that made it difficult to be in a r'ship with her. Think of personality qualities you like. Think about all the advantages of being in a relationship with a great person with great qualities. But if you never get to a point where you could date an "average" looking woman without feeling somewhat disappointed - then don't do it. It's not fair to the woman or to you - but especially to the woman that you might very well leave if someone who does fit the bill comes along later in life..

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Are you sure your focus on looks is about chemistry or ego -you like having a "hot" woman on your arm or it validates you in some way?


No. I have nothing to prove to anybody anymore. Also, at this point in my life, I don't really think my friends, family really care. As long as I'm happy, they're happy. It's more to do with what another person said in the post above. I don't think it's fair to me or a woman if I have to go through the relationship feeling that I settled. It definitely is more about chemistry. I am just asking that she's attractive to me. I'm not talking in superficial ways either. I'm 38 soon and I need someone with a little more sophistication, class, and who pays attention to her body (health and fitness wise) at this point in my life. Yes I think it is to do with being proud to have her on my arm but not as a trophy. More as someone that I'm inspired by.

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Have you ever thought about looking outside of NY? Maybe there's a stunning woman somewhere else that loves the idea of dating a man like you b/c they aren't the norm where they live whereas in NYC you could be a dime a dozen...with all those models and actors and millionaires I can imagine it would be hard to compete.

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You may very well be right but I really don't think so. The one that I referred to in my original post was 35, divorced with a kid. The others were all in their mid to late 30s and one was even 40. These are not women who don't have baggage. I do think the online phenomenon has made it so any woman with above average looks will have so many options that even if they are attracted to someone and have a nice time, they will keep window shopping until they find Brad Pitt. I mean I see all of the hot women in my area online all the time and most have been on there as long or longer than I have...they very well may be overestimating their worth as well. Even if they do find someone, inevitably I see them back on saying, "I'm gonna give this one more shot..."


Also, I had a girl from another area write me today that looks pretty good judging from her photos. She's coming to NY on business next week and wants to get together for a drink. I do pretty good online. I get dates with a good-looking women...they even make out with me. It's just hard getting past the first date because I'm just a number as they probably have 50 dates lines up. And they still go back online looking for Bard Pitt. Women are just as guilty of wanting "hot" as men are.

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Self-reflection is the key to growth. It doesn't matter to any of us if you spend the rest of your life chasing the white rabbit, but if the white rabbit doesn't want you back then there's something to think about.


Not really fair. I married the girl I wanted. It didn't work out in the end but that was the biggest white rabbit and I got that.

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Have you ever thought about looking outside of NY? Maybe there's a stunning woman somewhere else that loves the idea of dating a man like you b/c they aren't the norm where they live whereas in NYC you could be a dime a dozen...with all those models and actors and millionaires I can imagine it would be hard to compete.


Went out with a girl from Philly. Couldn't keep it up...the distance was too much. I own a house, so does she, careers, etc. I won't do that again.

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Thank you for this. My taste has changed. I'm actually not attracted to younger girls as much as I used to be. Ironically that would be perfect for me as I would like to have a kid. I actually would rather someone closer to my age but even that is proving difficult these days. It's really shocking. Women in their mid to late 30's who want kids won't write me back. It's not just me...I've heard complaints from other guys too (good looking guys).

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I can see that but don't write everyone off just b/c LD didn't work with this one woman. I'm just saying NY isn't all there is.


I would LOVE to get out of NY/LI. Your significant other is more a status symbol than anything else around here. It is difficult to do the long-distance thing at my age though.

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I personally think it's a little silly that people make such a big deal about 'settling'. First, when you use the term 'settle', you are implying that you (and I'm referring to the generic view, not only the OP) are in some way better than other people and that other people are kind of beneath you that you have to stoop to their level. Whenever I meet men or women who are concerned about settling, I always tell them to get over themselves! I mean.. come on, so some people weren't born with great looks, but they are still people and deserve a chance if you are compatible in other areas. People who reject other people based on looks I think should be rejected based on their crappy personality.


Second, yes, I did go out with someone that I had a great time with but was not necessarily my type physically. I gave him a fair chance and very quickly came to appreciate not only his looks but also feel very strongly about him. Unfortunately, it didn't work out but the personal growth from getting over myself really put me in a strong place to meet someone even more wonderful.

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A couple of thoughts, OP. My first question is - well, how hot are we talking about? I do think that if you are only attracted to women with perfect bodies, flawless skin, great hair, great bone structure, etc, etc, then you are going to set yourself up for disappointment no matter how attractive you are just because, yes, I'm sure there's a ton of competition. And a woman with those things plus a great personality that is compatible with yours is probably pretty rare.


But if you just want cute, if you can handle having some of those things but not all, then you might just not be giving yourself enough time. It's totally normal to want someone your physically attracted to, and I think it's a bad idea to date someone that, from the beginning, your thinking, "meh." Can you handle, gorgeous face but imperfect body? Or vice versa? If not, then you might be aiming too high - not because you're you, but just because most women can't meet that standard so you're severely limiting your choices. I do think personality is most important, but looks are important too - you just have to be willing to compromise a little. You don't have to compromise everything.

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If you read what I wrote I said I don't like to use the word settle and that I should feel lucky to be with some of these girls. But at the end of the day, sex is part of a relationship and there has to be a certain level of attraction for both the man and woman. It's not thinking I'm better, it's just another area of compatibility.

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Two things:


1) if you want to be a dad, stop meeting up with your dates at bars. Do you have a niece or nephew who is school aged? Start going to their baseball and soccer games and plays. Or volunteer to do something at their school. You will quickly meet parents and you may find the mom who finds you charming and introduces a nice, family oriented guy to her single sister or you might meet a mom who has a single child and she's widowed or she divorced a long time ago, like you. Also, if you don't want to do that, start volunteering for charities that benefit kids, etc like Big Brothers and Big Sisters.


2) I think its valid to have a type. Some women are more turned on by big teddy bear guys and some prefer slender guys. That's okay for some men to really be more attracted to larger women or shorter women in general. Even in those parameters, there are a lot of women to meet. But to say someone's type is the gorgeous kind - well that's relative


3) You mention that you want someone to be inspired by, but mention that and physical fitness/health in the same breath. If you want a woman who you can be impressed by in that regard, date a runner or a mountain climber or an equestrienne or a personal trainer. Take classes at the gym to meet women or participate in charity runs. Or get your own personal trainer to be inspired by so that the potential new girlfriend is off the hook for that. Its just like someone going to counseling so they keep from trying to turn their dates into their counselors or someone looking for a partner to fulfill another need.


But if you want something else - to be proud of a woman and to be inspired by her, what about volunteering for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, animal rescue or Habitat for Humanity? You might just meet a woman who blows you away as a kind invidual that inspires you by her patience and her abiltiy to have gotten herself through life the way she has.


3) I don't think online dating is dead. It is just hard to really know if you have chemistry on the first date because the person is a stranger. There are guys who I would never have considered but did because i saw them all the time in another capacity or for another reason that wasn't dating and attraction grew over time.


4) Are you really over your ex wife? If you are comparing everyone to her or trying to match what she was, then you aren't.

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Of course I can compromise. There are things I can't accept but also things I can definitely accept. I'm sure I'm no 10 either. As I mentioned, I'm not expecting Jennifer Aniston, just someone I personally find attractive. A lot of this has to do with time...I'm just frustrated and aggravated with the whole process and don't even want to date right now. I can give it more time but as I mentioned I am getting older now and I am not as happy just dating around anymore.


I'm tired of setting myself up for disappointment but I also can't force myself to feel attracted to someone. It's a tough, frustrating spot to be in.

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Yes I am over her. That's a non-issue. She's remarried with a kid. I'm hoping for a second chance at happiness with a new girl that I feel a connection with. Never thought I would have had to go on this many dates to find it. I'm exhausted from dating and am now a little shell shocked after the last one that I liked gave me the thanks but no thanks.

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I would LOVE to get out of NY/LI. Your significant other is more a status symbol than anything else around here. It is difficult to do the long-distance thing at my age though.


So do it...even if its just to travel to more down to earth areas...St. Louis, KC, Denver, Austin, Memphis...there are so many cities where the status symbol thing doesn't really apply where a you might find a beautiful woman who would be happy with a guy like you. I'm 34 and I live in the mid west and I'd say there seems to be quite a few of them around here....my age maybe divorced once or never married who would love an established guy like you who wants to get married and have a kid or two.


You don't have to settle but you can't stop looking or you will definitely never find what you seek.

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I think if you are looking for more than just someone who will be a good wife or mother (and there are plenty of women out there like that), but you want the beginnings of a relationship too, you have to give it space and time. You can't expect it overnight. It doesn't matter your age; love and relationships take time.


You sound exhausted, and frankly, a little panicked about having a kid/getting married/having a certain kind of life. Maybe that is shining through? And at the same time, you keep going back to looks and sex. Which makes you sound conflicted.


Maybe you are. Maybe you are going through your own things, and this is giving you a vibe. You just sound beat down in your posts, even. Like you are worried about getting old or something. That you won't be able to love or create what you want out of life.


I think you should worry less about the end result (trust me, you won't forget) and try being happy as things are right now. Let things happen naturally a bit. Catch up with yourself and all you have learned thus far. Let the culture shock wear off.

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Try being 57 and feeling the same way. My ex was gorgeous (in my eyes). He wasn't when I first met him, but within 3 months I couldn't believe I was sooo lucky that he would choose to be with me. My eyes almost hurt looking at him! I had attraction at the very beginning...sexually also...and it grew to gigantic proportions. Before him I was crazy over a guy who actually wasn't attractive much at all...but I grew to find him VERY attractive. Now I look at him again and think...gee, he's actually kinda homely....

My sis met a guy online that was NOTHING like the kind she usually dated. She's very short, chubby, with Dolly Parton Boobies. She had always dated guys over 6 ft. tall, and very thin. They always thought she was just fine. When she met her now husband, she wasn't that attracted to him physically. He's very short and squat. Probably around 5'7" or so, she's 5'2" but wears heels all the time. After the 2nd date, he told her he thought he was falling in love with her! freaked her out! But then she claims she loved his sense of humor. (I don't, but that's her...lol) I think she thought he was great in bed also!!!!! lol


So even tho you don't find a person intitially gorgeous, chemistry CAN grow. But I'm looking for that instant attraction also, and it aint happening!


Now I'm gonna tell you MY tale of woe. You said all the good looking women have SO many good looking guys to chose from...who says? Have you looked at any of the guys? I have...it aint pretty. Have I looked at the women...YEP...and they are gorgeous. I can't believe the thin, articulate, and beautiful women out there that are around 50 years old. I'm looking at men 47-57 and they are mostly BALD, AND FAT and don't even TRY to smile for the camera. When all they can talk about is sports, hunting and fishing....nada for me! So when you say these women have been on there FOREVER...maybe there is a reason for that. Women don't want to settle either! I have 68 year old men emailing me that look MUCH worse than my dad...and he's in the process of dying!


I too believe the beautiful usually get with the other beautiful people, and the homely match up with the same. I have gained way too much weight, and that is making me depressed...but my avatar was taken less than 2 years ago, the day before I found out he had another woman...but basically that is what I look like...on a good day! lol


Also, I would like to add, I know a guy in his late 30's and what a pain he is. He keeps talking about women as if they are a trophy, and that he would NEVER date a woman who was FAT, or not beautiful. He was in love once with a beautiful woman, and she ruined it for him...blah, blah, blah....but the thing is...he's ok looking, but his personality is SOOOOO shallow. Plus every other word is the F word...and he can only look at the 'young, HOT chicks"....He went to massage school with mostly girls, and we all knew what his problem was, and why he could never find a date...but we never had the heart to tell him....SHALLOWNESS. He didn't have a kind, generous, thoughtful, caring, insightful, bone in his body...it was all about how the world screwed him over....


Just a thought...sorry I'm rambling....no dates on the internet for me!!! lol

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