I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine which got me thinking. He is involved with a woman he cares for, likes as a person, finds attractive and has a healthy sex life with. But he doesn’t love her. Not in a deep, passionate way.
What should he do?
The question ultimately comes down to whether settling for someone is good or bad. It has a bad reputation. To settle. But is it bad?
In life we have to make compromises; the fairy tale, happily ever after, everything being perfect and lovely scenario created by Disney doesn’t exist. There is always something you have to let go. For some it’s career goals, for others it’s children, for others it’s passionate romance. I genuinely don’t believe it is possible to have it all our way, because we require too many other people in our lives to be happy, therefore unless their dream is exactly the same as your dream, you will at some point compromise.
So… what is it my friend wants? What is his priority? Passionate romantic love, or a happy, easy relationship?
I’m not saying you can’t have both, believe me, but it’s not always possible. If one is lacking, are you willing to give up the other?
I have been involved with men who, on paper, are perfect for me. I find them physically attractive, interesting, good to talk to, and we have similar goals and dreams. There is no reason we shouldn’t sail off happily together into the sunset. Except I don’t feel that bang. That zing. That heart pounding, head fogging, brain mushing, palm sweating excitement/terror/delight at the prospect of them arriving at my front door. That chemical reaction in my body that means I still feel their hand on my skin hours after we’ve left one another’s company. The feeling that my breath has been sucked out of me after a simple kiss.
For me… right now, how I feel in my life… I need that. I crave it. No matter how perfect a man is for me, if I don’t get that zing, I let them go. Maybe not immediately… but it doesn’t take long.
But that doesn’t mean it’s essential. It doesn’t mean a relationship cannot survive without it. Afterall that zing doesn’t last. That fades with familiarity and comfort and routine. What’s left is the affection, the physical attraction, and the care that is what exists in my friend’s relationship anyway.
To give up the safety of a successful, happy relationship in the quest for the zing is a dangerous business and easy to regret. The zing, whilst exciting and passionate, is dangerous territory and can drive you crazy. The zing offers no guarantee that you will get to the happy, safe place before you implode.
So… to settle or not to settle? What do you want?