It was a humbling and shocking experience to read Lori Gottlieb’s new book, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough—but I’m so glad I did. “There’s a big difference between compromising and settling,” Gottlieb said.
Here’s what many single women do that we might want to reconsider:
1. We feel entitled.
Gottlieb: “Women try to be good friends to each other. We say, ‘You deserve this, you’re so great! You’re such a good catch! Any man would be lucky!’ (Men don’t say that to each other.)
We are good catches, but we also are human and we’re not perfect and somebody’s going to have to put up with us for the rest of his life. And we forget. My dating coach said, write down all the reasons a guy would not want to date you.
At first I didn’t think I had that many things, because you think you’re a pretty good catch. He said, what you think of as quirky, endearing, and cute, is really annoying to someone else. But he would love you so much that he would overlook that. And you need to overlook things in him. Everybody has to compromise.”
2. We think we have unlimited options.
Gottlieb: “You walk into a store and you know you want a sweater and it has to go with this outfit and it has to be this color, and you’d like to be on sale. You find something great, but you wonder if there’s something better out there, so you keep searching.
In the end, after three more weeks of searching for the perfect sweater—was it so much better than the one you could have bought originally? Whether it’s with men or sweaters…if you just think you have unlimited options for the rest of your life, of course you’ll keep looking, who wouldn’t?”
3. We’re judgmental.
Gottlieb: “The guys I interviewed for the book said women judge them so much. Women gave me 300 reasons they wouldn’t go on a second date with a guy, and men gave 3.
When guys are ready for that stage of life, they find someone who is good enough that they’re totally in love with—but that person may not seem to the outside world to be as appealing in superficial ways—maybe she’s not as accomplished or funny as the last girl. Whatever he sees in her, he does. Guys don’t sit and micro-analyze a woman the way a woman would with a man. He knows she’s not as hot as the last girl he dated, but that’s okay. She’s hot enough.”
4. We’re pickier than men.
Gottlieb: “With online dating, we judge based on objective criteria (height, sports nut), rather than subjective (attraction), which you can’t judge until you meet the person.
When you read other people’s profiles, don’t make assumptions or rule them out because of one thing they wrote. You can fall in love with a guy who wrote that he likes Madonna, but you can’t fall in love with a guy who isn’t kind.”
5. We go for the alpha males.
Gottlieb: “In cities where you find a lot of really ambitious, Type A, driven people, like in the entertainment business and Wall Street…you get a lot of ‘maximizers’ (people who keep looking over their shoulder for something better).
Maximizer women date maximizer men. They will be just as picky in a bad and unhealthy way. The men who are actually available and wanting commitment and who are smart and funny and cute—maybe one guy is a little bit shorter, so he’s not getting the women. Maybe he’s not smooth initially or in big groups, but he is one-on-one.
These are the kind of people who when you’re 35, 45, 55, that you’ll be happy with when you’re married, and the guy who is super charming at the party and has the crowd of women around him, maybe he’s not going to make as good of a husband. Maybe he’s not going to call you back. That guy is going to be judgmental and picky, and who wants that?”
6. We think, “I love me more.”
Gottlieb: “We don’t need a man. We don’t. But if you want one and you go around with this attitude of ‘I love me more,’ (what Samantha said in the Sex and the City movie, after she dumps a hot guy who helped her through cancer (and female audiences cheered)) well, a relationship is about reciprocity, so you need to love yourself and you need to be able to have some selflessness and love somebody else. Women take Samantha’s message as really empowering. If you don’t want to be alone—maybe Samantha does—that’s a dangerous message.”
7. We think he needs to share every interest.
Gottlieb: “We say, ‘I’m a writer, but he doesn’t read! I’m creative.’ But people can be creative in different ways, and the fact that he doesn’t read the same books that you do, well, maybe he wants someone who he can talk about the baseball game with but you’re not that person. The guy doesn’t have to be one-stop shopping.
You’re not going to share every single interest, and that’s okay. The shared interest should be, Do we want the same things out of life? Do we both want to be married right now?”