Dating : I’ve “settled” before; here’s what happened. (Female Perspective)

Dating : I’ve “settled” before; here’s what happened. (Female Perspective)

I’m a 28 yo female. Currently single and I’m just here to give a little story about a long-term relationship where I felt I was “settling” and describe how it went.

I don’t really like using the term settle when describing this relationship or just any relationship for that matter because it has a negative connotation making it sound like ‘ohh I gave in and said yes to the ugly but nice guy’ – that’s not what happened in the story I’m about to tell and I find that in most cases where women and even men feel as though they are settling, it’s not a matter of he/she isn’t good enough, it’s that he/she isn’t the right person.

I was 23 when I met him (were going to call him Ryan). It was a tinder date. I had pretty good luck on tinder. I met zero creeps, I met very decent professional guys, I matched with most of the guys I had swiped right on (of course not all wanted a relationship and I was respectful of that, I wasn’t offended, I understand what these dating apps are for – just politely told them that’s not what I was looking for or just didn’t pursue anything).

Online dating can be fun and very useful, especially for someone like me who’s pretty shy and introverted (but opinionated and definitely not submissive). Obviously physical appearance is the first thing anyone notices but then comes all the other important attributes (interests, lifestyle, goals/ambitions, etc.) and I do my ‘swiping’ based on the criteria I see/like in that order, especially because I’m doing this for serious dating (side note: tinder was not as saturated in 2015 as it is now. And I no longer use it for dating, due to the many fake/spam profiles).

So here’s how I’d separate the guys I’m “swiping right on” – there are guys:

– I really really REALLY like

– I definitely do like

– I kind of like

Ryan was a guy I kind of liked. He was a good looking guy (but not my type – dont scrutinize me, I’m allowed to have a type). He was smart with multiple degrees, and I could tell from the look in his eyes/face that he was a genuinely good guy (I ended up being right). We matched. He was easy to talk to/text. He was very quick in asking me out and since I was very eager to get into dating and hopefully meeting someone and getting serious with them, I said yes. Even though I wasn’t really that into him, I thought it wouldn’t hurt.
Our date went good. He was very very easy to talk, I felt comfortable around him. I had fun. He was really good at ‘courting me’ (hate that word lol but ya). He was a gentleman. I learned that he had a really good job, he was financially stable at age 25! And he wasn’t bad looking. 6 ft, physically in shape, dressed well, well-spoken, great guy! I went home that night not really thinking or feeling anything. I just fell asleep like it was any other night. This story is getting too long…. so we eventually started dating. About a month in I broke up with him because it just didn’t feel right. But then two weeks later, I started to feel alone and I called him and said we’re not getting back together but let’s just go on a date and see what happens. We eventually continued dating….. It was very on and off because I struggled a lot with our intimate life, I had a really really hard time getting into it with him and we really tried everything…. even therapy….

Now I know everyone’s going to wonder why we didn’t just break up for good? Well on my end, it was hard because I had found such a great guy, who understood me, loved me, cared for me, was ALWAYS there for me, he was such an amazing friend to me and that was the problem, he was more like my bestest closest friend that I didn’t want to kiss and have sex with but I did it anyways because he desired me in that way and I felt that I should be doing this because he’s my boyfriend and this is what people do in romantic relationships. I was very open with him about my feelings and had expressed my struggles very clearly from the beginning and he would react by going from being frustrated and resenting me to completely ignoring what I was saying and being in denial about it because he had a bit of a superiority complex (it wasn’t that intolerable, I teased him about it quite often actually) so because of that, he had a hard time even comprehending that someone wouldn’t be “into him” but I’m sure part of him also felt hurt because his feelings/desires were not being reciprocated (at least not genuinely).
The craziest thing was, he was willing to stay with me, he never even considered breaking up as an option, he wanted to make it work and I just went along with it until I couldn’t.

Our relationship lasted 1.5 years in total with many many breaks in between. We did a lot together. We traveled, stayed in and drank wine, cooked together, ate out at fancy restaurants, he gifted me many many beautiful things. But we also had our ugly moments too. Arguments about my feelings (or lack there of), our awkward sex life (sorry for tmi but I would mainly stay dry to the point where it actually hurt – I never had this issue with anyone else). Toward the end, he loved me but hated me at the same time. We ended on bad terms and don’t speak. I never regret our breakup. I felt suffocated and confused. I had met a decent guy who treated me well and loved me and wanted to give me the world but I just couldn’t bring myself to be into him. I found myself fantasizing about random men all the time while I was with him. He took me “ring browsing” at Tiffany’s once and as excited as I was I kept thinking “why am I here with him? I want this but not with him”, it was awful. I always felt this void.

So here’s why I wasn’t attracted to him even though he wasn’t considered an unattractive guy. It’s because I have my preferences just like anyone else and sometimes (like in my situation) it’s NOT OKAY to ignore these “preferences”. It’s what we desire. I’m not saying it’s the only thing that matters, but it does matter and shouldn’t be ignored. I learned my lesson. I gave a guy that I wasn’t attracted to a chance and it didn’t work for me.

So what I took away from that experience was not to swipe right on someone I kind of like. What I do now when I meet a potential someone in person or come across a potential profile on a dating site, I immediately picture myself having really hot passionate sex with them and if I like it and it excites me then I continue with reading their profile and deciding whether or not there’s potential. I know it sounds crazy but it’s helped me avoid situations like the one I described above.

Now I feel like I’m going to get backlash for the passionate sex thing. People will say things like… oh well… women are only going to feel that with the “top 20% of hot men”. NO. That’s not true. Men on here really don’t give themselves any credit. They bag on themselves more than us women do. Maybe the guy I get excited for when picturing myself having really hot sex with doesn’t look like a Calvin Klein model with a perfect hairline and abs (I actually prefer an average body-type honestly) so don’t say things like that. That guy Ryan I dated, he used to get checked out by girls allll the time when we were out and I always felt confused honestly, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t see what they saw.

Anyways, to end my story. Don’t ignore the signs of attraction (or lack there of). Don’t listen to people who talk about “leagues” and are telling you to lower your standards and “settle”. Don’t ignore your instincts.

Read also  Dating : Anyone else feel like they keep getting rejected for not putting out?

What do you think?

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  1. I’m 21 and just learned this lesson a couple weeks ago. I tried to make it work with a girl I wasn’t attracted to because she liked me (Not really, but another story) and I felt guilty for not reciprocating. So I stuck around for 5 months. She wasn’t my type AT ALL. And I found myself comparing her to girls I was actually attracted to. Never again am I making that mistake.

  2. Just had a 10 year relationship end due to this. She just realized one day that she wasn’t attracted to me and that she never would be. It devastated me, but it’s something that I feel every one should realize and accept early on that you won’t ever « become attracted » to someone if you stick it out long enough. End it early. Don’t force a relationship out of nothing. Save yourself and everyone else that pain.

  3. I needed to read this right now. About to turn 26 and feel exactly this way about a guy I have been on a couple dates with and have just been letting it see where it goes while he’s all in. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I appreciate the thoughtful perspective and reflection. As someone that’s experienced the other side of this I can say that it…. Hurts, a lot. To care for someone like that and know they care about you but not fully, to only kind of be with them.

    I still feel that love and resentment, so it’s nice to see the other side of it, and it’s nice to hear that you’re looking to grow from it.

  5. Interesting story. I had a similar situation and ended things as soon as I knew a committed relationship wasn’t what I wanted with that person. I will say one thing though: it’s important to be willing to expand one’s dating pool because in my case, the women I prefer to go for almost never feel the same way about going for me (i.e. she may match my preferences, but I don’t match up with hers). I think there are 3 categories to use: baseline, preferred, and ideal.

    If someone meets my baseline, then I don’t see anything wrong with giving them a chance to wow me with who they are. If they don’t then the worst thing I get out of it is having spent time with the wrong person, but I gain experience and a more in depth look into what it is I really want.

    The girl in my similar situation didn’t really meet my baseline, but I decided not to be shallow about it so I gave it a chance anyway.

  6. Choosing a partner may seem like choosing an ice cream flavor, where you like what you like and everyone likes something for a different reason. But this is where we get into trouble. There are no consequences in choosing between vanilla and chocolate. But there are consequences for choosing poor partners because choosing what is our preference doesn’t always mean it’s the best thing for us.

    I’m 37, and it took me a long time to look at my life choices and ask why I made decisions in my 20s that made no sense. I let a lot of good women go because I was looking for women that treated me like my mother did: abusive and prone to abandonment. We are attracted to the familiar. It works at an unconscious level so we don’t even know it’s happening.

    If you find someone that is good looking and treats you well and has all the other check marks, yet for whatever reason you’re not into them, it may be time to do some self reflecting. Using the criteria of wanting to fuck them initially and hoping they have all the other parts will burn you in the long run.

    It’s OK to disagree with me here, just giving you a different perspective from my experience.

  7. What people don’t get is that you can’t force it. There HAS to be sexual desire. He didn’t turn you on. Period. And that is a huge part of a relationship. Good for you OP.

  8. Did you actually see yourself in a relationship with him?? Or was he just someone who you thought met everything on your checklist but was missing something??

  9. This is an incredibly mature perspective and the best story about personal growth I’ve ever read on reddit (Partly because most of the subreddits I hang out on are sex related) but still amazing. One of the best I’ve read period, on or off reddit.


    I’m honestly in awe of this, because of how real it is, I feel like I had a conversation with someone in person rather than having read a post.

  10. I’m a 25 y.o Male and wow this hits home.. i settled for 3 years with a really attractive thin girl but it gets to a point we’re simply not compatible as lovers only as friends.

  11. This is exactly what Mark Manson describes in his law of « Fuck Yes or No ». It’s helped me tremendously in dating and never « settling. »

    Also, I’ve had great relationships with people not everyone would consider attractive but it’s really about when you have that spark. Yes you’re allowed to have a type, that’s what draws you to people and you associate better with them anyway. Good luck! Article below.

    TL; DR: If you are not saying « fuck yes » about this person, then don’t waste your time (aka say no). And also, if only one of you says « fuck yes » then do both of you a favor and still say no.

  12. Great post. Respect to you for sharing this. Literally going through the same thing (from a male perspective) and was beginning to question whether to settle or not. Will stick with it and only swipe on ladies I “really like”.

  13. Wow, some of these comments are so immature. Sometimes you can both do everything right in a relationship and it still just doesn’t work. Either you don’t have the physical attraction or you simply aren’t compatible. It sucks but no one said life was fair. The more time you spend forcing something that isn’t going to happen, the less time you have to be with someone that’s actually a good match for you.

  14. Wow, this was so honest. I relate to it so much. My first and only serious relationship was with a guy like this. I love him but there was something missing always. I would get frustrated with myself that I wasn’t attracted to this sweet guy. I loved him but wasn’t in love with him. I thought maybe I was being too rash and had given up on someone I loved, but then I see my best friend and her husband and I know that’s what all encompassing love looks like. Everyone deserves that. Hope we both find it.

  15. I definitely have met several women as complicated as you once were. Sounds like you’ve learned to be straight up at least. All the best.

  16. I don’t believe that you weren’t attracted to him because of your preferences. In fact, I’ve seen many women throw their preferences to the side for men (including me). It reads as if he was too friendly, too nice, built too much of a connection without balancing it by building an equal amount of attraction. He was so friendly and connect-y that you liked him only as a friend. It’s a common beginner’s mistake. It’s a mistake I’ve made for quite some time as well!

    You probably have a hard time understanding because women attract men passively, which is easy if you look decent, but women’s attraction towards men is, to a large part, created by how the man acts, which is much trickier. He has to learn this.

    Look at all the women who go for « bad boys ». Those guys may not meet the women’s preferences but they display several masculine traits that attract women. It happens so much that it’s become cliché by now. Attraction is not a choice.

  17. Hm, really interesting and timely post for me, as I think I just played the part of « Ryan » in the ending of a relationship, albeit a much shorter and less serious one. In my case, I’ve been thinking that some of that physical chemistry is just a matter of time and communication. I’ve had a couple of ladies bail out before we even got through what I would consider « getting to know you sex. » I mean, there’s a lot to learn about what a new partner likes beyond raw attraction and pheromones.


    But it sounds like you gave it a good long try and never did manage to make it work. I guess perhaps there’s a deeper element there. Good food for thought, anyway.


    Also, having been in a very long relationship where the physical attraction went away – that shit is miserable. I fought through that for years, and if not for some other factors probably still would be, but I wouldn’t fault anybody for not wanting to start a relationship that way.

  18. there are a lot of bitter men who once again are telling women that she should give any guy a chance and yet only have a limited number of partners.


    you guys are seething in insecurity, hate and idiocy. go see a therapist pls. once you stop reeking of self-loathing and sexist behavior a woman may give you a chance.


    to op, congrats at realizing what you dont want. it sounds like what you have been doing this entire time is chasing the jones’s with this idea of what the attractive mate is supposed to be: tall, handsome, financially secure, etc. you realized that what everyone says is the perfect man, isnt for you, and that being conventionally attractive just isnt enough. i think very few people realize this and spend their entire life being empty. I get what you were saying about imagining them passionately. if you cant get turned on by the person youre with through fantasy or actual sex, thats your body and mind telling you hes not the one. for all we know, the men shitting on you right now are the ones you would be attracted to, but they fucked up lol. you should take this time to further reflect and really look into what your desires are and what attributes you find attractive in a man and go from there. i promise you, once you know what you want in a man, you will find that a lot of those shallow attributes (height, size, wallet) are inconsequential.


    GL OP


    edited cause i english wrong lol.

  19. I get it, from a guys perspective it’s the same with me I’m dating an introverted scientist I find her company pleasant but more as a friend because I’m not physically attracted to her, then there’s this other lass I’m dating, she’s attractive to me a thicc alternative type we have a few things in common and she goes deep into conversation with me in the getting to know you kind of way rather than discussing topics. Out of the two women the second lass gives me a raging hard on.

    Problem is the second lass has a few red flags she’s lacking in homecare traits such as cooking cleaning and bill maintenance and doesn’t have a n ambition to get a better job. She does enjoy hobbies but hobbies don’t pay the bills.

    I think if I commit with either of these I’m going to end in disaster probably financially too especially with the second one but I kind of want to see where it goes too as I’m not attracted to a lot of people.

    But to my point attraction is important. But it’s about being attracted to the right person who has their shit together

  20. This is interesting. I’m attracted to pretty much anyone (lol) but I constantly feel like I’m settling when it comes to personality or success. I think it’s a bit different because I can force myself to hide my feelings about their lives but yeah, not being physically attracted would be difficult to fake.

  21. So whats your type? What was the spark that was lacking in him? I mean to give up all the excellent traits that you described about him, it must’ve been something that you couldn’t just deal with.

    From what I understand, he was a good looking guy, but doesn’t know how to sex?

  22. Settling is the worse because I’m a creature of habit. Even though I’m unhappy, I’ll stay because it’s familiar not because it’s good for me

  23. This post helps me understand why a girl didn’t like me ALL the way on her end. I’m 37 divorced and I’m trying to figure out who to spend time with. Even though we have sex and date it doesn’t mean they’re that into me. Thank you for this post. Many blessings to you.

  24. I just don’t understand how he’s so bad in bed. Did you show him stuff you liked that worked in the past? Also there are more than enough studies that show how ostrisized the bottom 80% of men are for online dating. It’s fucking pitiful lmao. We’re an entire generation of irrelevant and unappealing waste.

  25. Id like to say I went through the same thing except the ending was a lot different. I met him during nursing school and at first I found him average. We clicked instantly and everything just felt absolutely perfect. We were inseparable. We got intimate and then my feelings for him blossomed. He turned into the most handsome man. I saw nothing but beauty in him. I saw nothing but him. Id marry him if I could but he later found that he wasn’t ready for a relationship. My feelings for him surpassed his for me and it just felt so unhealthy to continue. Anyway, sometimes you don’t settle. I don’t see it as settle when you fall in love. Love is a very powerful addiction.

  26. Thanks for this. I (26m) was hooking up with a girl (28f) who I would consider out of my league for a few months and she broke up with me after we were officially dating for a few weeks saying I was more invested than she was and that she wasn’t looking for a relationship. I get the sense she was « settling » with me because I was chasing her while she was chasing 2 other guys. One of the guys turned her down (mutual acquaintance I dislike as he is a racist piece of shit but she doesn’t know this) and she got bored of the other one after spending a weekend with him and he did nothing but get high and tell her how pretty she is. Literally that was it for the weekend and she was over him immediately as she told me this. We had a solid couple months of hooking up but she told me that she wasn’t interested in anything (this was around the time she was chasing the other guys) but a month later that changed and she wanted to start seeing each other.

    I thought maybe she finally came around and started developing feelings for me but now I’m not even sure if she cared for me at all based on her actions. I was kind of a douche when she broke up with me (took me a month of being sober to realize how much of an asshole I wass) and she totally called me out on it. I made some poor decisions out of anger such as blocking her on social media and saying I really only liked doing drugs with her (honestly our whole relationship was fueled by sex drugs and money which is why I got sober after breaking up.)

    I didn’t realize how much that hurt her since she wasn’t really good at communicating her feelings and neither was I so a few weeks after she broke up, she sent me a bunch of long messages on how much of an asshole I am and why she broke up with me and that I was smothering her and all this shit before saying she needed her space if we were to « remain cordial » with each other (her words). I got the sense she was taking the high road here and using her friendship as some sort of power dynamic (since she told me that her relationship with her ex of 7 years was one big power dynamic that is still ongoing) so I snapped. The last thing I told her that if she wanted to be friends then to let me know but don’t bother reaching out for any other reason and I deleted her number right after so I don’t have the urge to contact her.

    It’s been a month since all that and I don’t expect her to ever reach out (because she is living her life and has so many other guys/girls to choose from so why bother with me.) It does help that we live a couple hundred miles apart but that whole relationship fucked with me and at the very end I still am convinced she never cared about me. But reading your post gave me some insight on what she may be going through. We talked a lot about our past relationships and knew we weren’t each other’s type yet she thought I was very attractive (which honestly surprised me as I think I’m hideous) so I figured that was enough. Looking back, the relationship felt very one-sided and was unsustainable from the start considering we would get incredibly high and fuck whenever we hung out. I also realized that I just wanted to have sex with her (as she was the hottest girl I have ever seen) so it wasn’t all bad.

    Definitely a learning experience for the next girl I pursue though.

  27. I totally understand your view and I’m not gonna hate on you, but I really feel bad for the guy, it’s really unfair. What you’re saying is like a curse, no matter what he does, he’ll never get you to feel it for him, ever?

    Not sure what to say honestly but at least you tried. (I mainly felt bad because of the ring thought you had).

  28. I wouldn’t call this settling, you just tried to date someone you weren’t physically attracted to. There was nothing wrong with him. I’ve made that mistake before, like I thought maybe he would grow on me, even though we were much better suited as friends. I wouldn’t commit to him, I was actively encouraging him to date other people at the same time. It was a mess for both of us. When I heard about other girls being into him I was actually sceptical, that’s how unattractive he was to me, but there were other girls interested in dating him the whole time and after we ended things he went out with a bunch of people and got a girlfriend shortly after. I wanted to keep seeing him because he was really fun to hang out with and talk to, but sex wasn’t going to work. I stopped hanging out with him when I met my boyfriend (now ex) and the difference in how I was attracted to him was so obvious I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I knew I had always wanted to be just friends with the first guy and I was only trying to make something romantic happen because he wanted it so bad.

    However, I think your strategy of picturing whether you want to have sex with someone right from their photos isn’t necessarily going to be perfect. I do that now *somewhat* I’m honest with myself if I’m positive someone is not remotely my type or interesting to me, but if I just went off photos I’d have a rough time. My ex looked bad in photos and our interactions before meeting were short enough that I didn’t even want to go to the first date and thought « why am I doing this ». He looks loads better in person and turns out he’s the least photogenic guy ever. It’s a real thing. As soon as the camera is turned on him he gets a goofy deer in the headlights look. I tried to get nice pictures of him when we were together but it didn’t go the greatest. Not to mention there’s no chemistry through a photo anyway.

    The important thing is to just go with your gut and be honest with yourself in the early stages of getting to know someone. Even if you think they’re really, really cool on paper, some people you just vibe with as friends and that’s okay.

  29. I’m a guy and can relate to your story, except my current girlfriend is like the guy you were seeing.

    She’s super nice, thoughtful, etc., but she’s just not my type.

  30. I’m going to go against the grain here. I’m a 28M never dated a woman. I’ve been on dates yes but I only feel it once every couple of years and that is ok. I learned from everyone else to know what I am looking for in a relationship. I will always crave that missing it when people tell me she is attractive, has a good job and you seem compatible. I consider myself a pretty intuitive person so I can tell if something is going to work out or not. The times that I did give women a chance it never progressed passed really good friendship. That extra level just isn’t there. I don’t think you did anything wrong other than prolong it for a year and a half. You should know within a month tops if you see it going somewhere. Don’t settle!!!!! I’ve seen people who settled and it is not pretty. I’m happy single until I meet my one and if I don’t I’m thankful I didn’t get into relationships I knew that were wrong for me. GOOD LUCK !

  31. Thank you, this is a really reassuring post!

    I met someone on Tinder last year who pretty much describes Ryan. I felt like I should be with him because there were no real red flags and I was worried I was just being picky about who I went out with. I managed to break up with him only after 3 months (and him trying to get me to give it another shot) but it felt like way longer!


    ^(Edit: a word)

  32. I kinda think this is a crock of shit. I’m over trying to find that « perfect » someone, because nobody is perfect. IMO if you aren’t attracted to someone, you should let them know early. Don’t wait for « feelings to develop », because that doesn’t happen. How you feel about someones appearance isn’t likely to change (unless they’re just majorly overweight). I think people initially fall into two categories: would sleep with, would not.

    I have a lot of ‘would sleep with’s that I wouldn’t have a relationship with – I choose relationships based on *who they are*. As long as they’re in the ‘would sleep with’ category, I couldn’t care less. Yes, I want wild passionate sex, and if they can’t deliver, that’s a problem – but I think this whole « settling » thing was you stringing him along. Yeah I know « things are complicated » and not black and white, but I’m not sure you were completely honest with him (yeah you « didn’t want to hurt his feelings », but it was more than that…). You were thinking about you, and what *you* could get. You didn’t want to let him go, so you didn’t let him know.

    Personally I’m dating someone I like quite a bit, and even though we aren’t super sexually charged, we get along and it seems like a good match. If I ever want to call it quits, I’ll let her know in the most humane way possible. I don’t see how things like this go this long besides you not wanting to be alone or risk losing someone that treats you well… you don’t have to have that super-electric-warm-fuzzy feeling all of the time – but you so, imo, have to be honest. It’s the decent thing to do – even when the other party « isn’t listening ».

  33. THIS is why I would never ever agree to have one of those “test dates” after being dumped. From a guy’s perspective I’d rather be told to fuck off.

    If it ain’t there at first, it will never be.

    I’m not suited for everyone and I happily accept that fact.

  34. I feel this, I had a similar set of experiences that made me realize that if I’m not going « Fuck yes!! » In one way or the other about a person, I need to be honest with myself and them and not try to force it. It doesn’t matter if it’s about looks or personality, if we don’t mesh well enough for me to be truly excited to spend time both platonically and sexually together, then forcing it isn’t going to help.

  35. You weren’t wrong for any of your preferences; tall, handsome, successful, etc. There’s nothing wrong at all with having your own preferences. The thing you did that was reeaallyy shitty was stringing this dude along, knowing it would go nowhere, taking advantage of the fact that he liked you and using him for what you wanted out of the relationship while he was hoping you’d eventually feel like he did. This is honestly one of the cruelest things you can do to a person and I truly hope you recognize how much pain you inflict on someone when you do this.

  36. Thank you very much for your advice. I’m in the middle of reestablishing my entire life. I’m turning it around and a small part of me wants to go on a few dates, but I’m kinda terrified.

    So when going on online dating websites I’ll take your advice, and only accept people who I have that attraction to.

    My previous relationship fell apart in the sexual department because we were both depressed and had self-esteem issues. So despite how much we loved each other, the lack of lust really messed with our relationship as a whole.

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