Dating Over 40: Marry Him – Atlantic Monthly’s Article on Why Women Should Settle

Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought about settling? A lot of women swear they would never settle, while others claim they have. Some settlers are very happy with their choice, while others are less enthusiastic about their results.

Most of this is irrelevant if you ask me, because first we need to establish what it means to SETTLE. has a video from the Today Show entitled "Should Women Settle" It was there yesterday but today you’ll need to use their  video search option. Anyway they interviewed 4 single women who refuse to settle and talk about friends who did who have heavy hearts. Then the interview shifts to Laurie Gottlieb, the author of the Atlantic Monthly’s article that featured this concept of settling. She talks about how she thinks 30 something women should settle earlier because you’ll have to make even more concessions later in life. Interesting…

Then they talked to Katelyn, matchmaker to the Stars who says it’s better to remain single than be lonely in your own marriage.

Here’s what I think. Both are correct.

How can I say that? It goes back to my point – we need to carefully define settling. According to the Dating Goddess (who is next month’s Decoding Dating interview by the way) she feels that women have let Brad Pitt completely ruin their chances for love.

The  Hollywood ideal of what is romantic is so unrealistic and overboard, that you may in fact remain single if you seek than type of man. Brad Pitt or George Clooney perfection does not actually exist. Remember they are in the movies. Make believe stories.

That’s what I think Laurie Gottlieb means. As Dr, Phil would say, "Get real about your choices." That has nothing to do with settling for someone you don’t genuinely like, someone who offends your sense of morals or values, or someone who doesn’t treat you with respect and caring. That’s what comes to mind about Katelyn, the matchmaker’s idea of settling.

No, I doubt that is what the Atlantic monthly writer means at all. She herself bemoans the number of fine men she discounted because while they were great guys, cute, smart, well-employed, she just didn’t feel that immediate spark. No Brad Pitt, heart throbbing,  intense sexual attraction.

And that is a very sad trap to which countless women succumb.

It’s easy to discount a man and cross him off your list. "I don’t like his hair, his clothes, his apartment’s decor, his laugh, his hobbies, his job." But, many of these men would be wonderful partners if you could get past your initial and often erroneous snap judgment and spend time getting to know the prince who lies beneath. You’d probably be pleasantly surprised.

In my 30’s, I did this very same thing. The few men I did meet did not interest me at all. But once I hit 40, I had to rethink what was truly important to me. Did I need my own mirror image of schooling, career success, income, and interests? No. I decided what I really needed what a man with a good heart, who listened to me, accepted and supported me emotionally, was easy to be with, honest, sweet and attractive to me.

I’m extremely happy that I settled. And I highly recommend that you identify for yourself what is crucial to your happiness vs. Hollywood window dressing that you can do without, but might be nice should it come your way.

Read more about how I settled for a heart of gold.

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. She put her skills from personal development and her spiritual path to work, dating 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to manifesting and midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late to help smart, successful women find love or live an empowered and magical life. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000s of midlife women with her Love & Magical Life Coach services. She’s the host of the Breathe Love & Magic podcast and has been featured on NBC, ABC, & Fox News, NPR, BBC, eHarmony,, and Connecticut Magazine among others. Also, Ronnie is the author of 6 books which are available on Amazon.

9 thoughts on “Dating Over 40: Marry Him – Atlantic Monthly’s Article on Why Women Should Settle”

  1. The author clearly had no idea of what she’s talking about when it comes to settling.
    This is what she “settled” for: “I decided what I really needed what a man with a good heart, who listened to me, accepted and supported me emotionally, was easy to be with, honest, sweet and attractive to me.”

    Isn’t this what EVERY normal girl is looking for? The author just sounds like a stuck-up bitch who finally realized how to have NORMAL expectations from a relationship.

    P.S. For the author: settling means settling for someone you’re not that crazy about b/c you don’t think you could ever meet someone better. And it’s better to be someone than no one, in the settler’s eyes.

  2. Well Susan, that’s one way of looking at it – thanks for sharing. But as you yourself said, George Clooney isn’t going to settle down which is exactly my point. He’s not the perfect man if he is unattainable for any reason.

  3. I have to ask the author – now that you have declared to the whole world that, in effect, you ‘settled’ on your husband, has your relationship deteriorated? Because you have clearly just told the world what you have – presumably – failed to tell your own husband…that you don’t really fancy him that much.

    How would the women here like it if their partners turned round and effectively said, ‘well, hmmm, you have a lovely personality’?? The fact will always remain that the main thing you do in a romantic relationship that you can’t do with anyone else is sex….which is really about attraction.

    PS Since when is ‘George Clooney perfection’ not real?? Brad Pitt is a real person too and he got a real person…Angelina…who also just happens to be beautiful and famous. I for one have been out with men just as attractive if not more attractive than George Clooney/Brad Pitt. They are fabulous!! And, no, I don’t look like Angelina but I have a hell of a lot of confidence. These men may not be ‘husband material’ in your eyes but then neither is Clooney, not in real life or in films…the only women he settles with in films are strikingly beautiful (as beautiful as him); likewise Brad in real life. So is this article really about this: don’t expect to get a beautiful husband if you’re not beautiful or confident? At least that would be honest!!

  4. Christen,
    Thanks for the sharing your insights and about your step Mom. I love hearing happy love stories that are still going strong! Proof once again that finding a healthy, lasting love is totally possible!

  5. First off, let me just point out that our author’s idea of settling (for herself) was that her husband didn’t have a college degree.

    If that’s the case, then marrying any man will be settling as we’re all human and no one will fit that perfect mold. In your 20s it’s natural to have that 100 point list of the perfect man, and by your 30s most women have whittled that down to maybe 10.

    I agree with the advice: try dating a guy who has potential even if you’re not instantly attracted to him. Though I gotta say, I’ve tried this theory out, and maybe it’s just that my instincts about compatibility with a man for myself is usually very accurate on first meeting, I’ve found, if I wasn’t terribly attracted to him on the first date, I’m usually even less attracted to him on the 8th.

    My step mom has been married 3 times in her life and after the 2nd time swore she’d NEVER marry again. But at age 45, she found my dad, and after 20 years with him has never been happier.

    Did SHE settle? I bet if I asked her, she’d say she never settled on anything any day of her life.

    And if you are a woman who does not want to have children, or doesn’t need a provider, what IS the point of marriage? You can have companionship, sex and love without it.

  6. George
    Are you a pessimist? Or did you dust off your grandma’s crystal ball? No can say that it’s too late for anyone else. My motto is: “It’s Never Too Late for Love!” It wasn’t too late for me and I was older than Lorie Gottlieb is now when I got married for the first time.


  7. What cracks me up is that lately I have been wondering what annoying habits Angelina bought into when she got Brad. Scratching his ass with a fork in the privacy of their home, for instance? No one is perfect, and Angelina is surely having to realize her man fits that bill. Somehow this makes me feel better.

  8. Ronnie:

    Thanks for mentioning and linking to my site. Cool! Yes, I think — and there’s some data to back it up — that both genders have unrealistic expectations about who they want, as well as who they can attract. There are many treasures who do not come in pristine packages. Unless you’ve had a lot of “work” done, most people in midlife have some wrinkles, less hair and more of a waistline. But there are fabulous people in these less-than-perfect packages. Be willing to look beneath the packaging for the treasure within.


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