Soul Mate? Not Quite.

| 2/15/2008 4:19:56 PM

Tags: ,

Seven-Year-ItchJewish women looking for long-term relationships online using dating sites like JDate and could actually be hurting their dating lifes. An article by Susan Schnur in Lilith (pdf) makes the argument that online dating websites are bad for Jewish women. “For a good number of Jewish wom­en — mostly those in their late thirties and up who have never married — In­ternet dating has proved an embittering experience, making them feel isolated and at fault,” Schnur writes. The sites encourage men and women to be overly picky, to the detriment of long-term relationships. Schnur observes that “Some women become so demoral­ized by their online experiences that they drop out of dating altogether.”

Many of these women should stop holding out for romantic love, settle down, and marry the next guy who’s good enough, according to Lori Gottlieb at the Atlantic. To single women over thirty, Gottlieb writes “If you say you’re not worried, either you’re in denial or you’re lying.” Peppering her argument with pop-culture references, Gotleib contends that women should settle down sooner, even if that means marrying someone they’re not head-over-heels in love with. Gotlieb writes: “My advice is this: Settle! That’s right, Don’t worry about passion or intense connection.” Of course, there are plenty of writers on the internet who take issue with such advice.

Bennett Gordon

2/24/2008 5:58:37 PM

Great points Rhea. If anything, this article sheds light on how little our concept of relationship has evolved. Cultural differences aside, pressures of media have created a highly competitive atmosphere, that, no surprise, makes choosing mates a real nightmare. Unreal expectations are the rule, and online dating is a slow-motion trainwreck. While there is perhaps some benefit to allowing us to let our hair down in an anonymous atmosphere, it also brings into play the most amplified set of expectations imaginable. Our expectations of love, of marriage, of romance, of living together, are all needing serious re-examination. We think it is just our children bearing the brunt of the loss of a civilized society, with ADD, violence etc. But we don't look to the loss of innocence and its cost in our own lives and our partnerships. I'm 48, single, and a serial monogamist. I'm looking for love, attraction, juiciness... yes. But what I won't settle for is a lack of trust or an unwillingness to continue growing as individuals, and together. Sounds simple. Pretty dang'ed elusive so far.

2/24/2008 5:32:33 AM

Relationships all have a measure of luck built in. Just because someone is attractive to you, does not mean you'll be able to live with them; and just because they're wonderful now, does not mean you'll still see them that way next year. I just got married after 15 years of living together and having a 10-year-old daughter. I am reasonable certain that this relationship is working. We both have good qualities and short-comings - perfection was never something I expected to find. In fact - when we met, I was quite happy without a partner and for the first year or so, I was quite willing to break it off when things seemed to indicate incompatibility. I think the idea of marriage as a romantic event should be reserved for those who are willing to do it over and over. For those who want it to last, sexual attraction ought to be one of the criteria, but not the most important one. Rhea

2/22/2008 11:27:32 AM

Interesting article. now I know it's easy to quickly "hate" on this piece and say that settling is too boring or a sure path to misery. But I think what this woman is truly getting at is that these dating sites make it so easy to just write someone off as not good enough, simply because the don't like cats, or some other minor flaw that could actually be worked out over time. The instant information provided by these sites is good in that it cuts to the chase in many cases. But it also could lead someone to ruling out a perfectly good mate for a silly reason. I'm in a very happy relationship, and I wouldn't say that I've "settled" but I've definitely compromised quite a bit on some issues. (for example, geopgraphy...I'm only staying in NYC for my love). But compromise is perfectly healthy and in no way settling. If you think you will find someone that is 100% compatible with you online, and wouldn't think to "Settle for less" then you very likely will be disappointed. I think this article is just saying to give things a chance. You may not find "Mr. Perfect" but you might just find "Mr. Right".

2/22/2008 10:32:02 AM

Hahahaha! Controversial advise is generating LOTS of responses. Some are so locked into one narrow perspective it is funny. But there are really some great insights in there. The biggest lesson of my first marriage was that Finding the right person was easier than Keeping the right person. Why is it so each once married to take things for granted and get lazy, even when one still feels they are in love? This is a big world and really, there are LOTS of ways to do our lives, married or single. The big challenge is to do the WELL. May you have some great romantic surprises coming.

2/22/2008 4:23:07 AM

There is a difference between 'settling' and 'settling down'. We all know there is an ebb and flow to a relationship, but it's a much better ride when you actually are weathering it with someone you actually like and want to be with. It's impossible to handle the hard times with someone you really would rather jettison overboard. I settled in my last relationship. Oh, the misery I cause us both. It would have been far better for everyone if I had just walked away rather than 'people pleasing'. This is an area where being selfish is absolutely the only way to go. This is not about proving a point. Why chose misery?

2/21/2008 3:11:43 PM

May as well call it legal prostitution, cause that is what your doing in a loveless relationship. Man! I can't believe anyone would promote such an idea.

2/21/2008 2:36:07 PM

Settle? why does that word cause such reaction? Having been with my partner for over 33 years, there are times when it feels like I "settled" but over the years, the passion ebbs & flows, the arguments increase & decrease but at the end of the day - and I say at the end of my life - I will be with this man because I love him and I chose to be married to him, no matter what. Is it worth it? You bet it is!! So, yes, get married, "settle" down, but don't lose the fun!

2/21/2008 1:41:02 PM

I practiced domestic relations law and mediation for over 20 years, and one thing I noticed was that people who married because they were *hot* for each other ended up with problems after 3 years. If romantic love isn't accompanied by friendship, respect and a deeper, abiding love, the marriage won't last. I say, don't settle, but know what you're looking for: marrying your friend may be a good thing. I'm 18+ years into my second marriage -- my first wife died in 1982 -- and my second wife and I (like my first wife and I) are best friends and our relationship continues to grow and improve. Yes, there are annoyances, negotiations, thinking about someone else besides myself, etc., but that's not a bad thing. Both my marriages have made me less narcissistic and more outward-looking. There's nothing wrong with being single, but please, don't put down marriage or committed relationships just to prove a point. Thanks for listening y'all.

2/21/2008 12:11:29 PM

I have been married for 20 years. It is the worst decision I have ever made and I regret it everyday. If I could unwind it I would do it in a heartbeat. I cannot relax, every tiny choice must be debated and consensus reached before I can do what has meaning for me. Marriage is the greatest engine for developing resentment in existence. Divorce would ruin me financially (no pre-nup)and give the type of person she is, result in an unending spew of poison for the rest of my life. Marriage? You have got to be out of your mind.

2/21/2008 12:05:23 PM

I'm 60, been single again for 16 yrs. Married twice to " Great Catches " and now I'm a two time looser who would just as soon stay single for the rest of my life than settle for the catch of the day. I'm a firm believer in the catch and release policy.

2/21/2008 11:21:57 AM

Wow! It really does depend on perspective and culture. Settling where I live, Seoul, is common and even expected. In that context, it's about the larger community. However, I'm over 30 by quite a few years. I'm neither in denial nor lying. I just had my moment of angst over being single and mad picky. Then I got over it. My relationship status doesn't haunt me. If it did, I would be going mad. I have married friends who are at each other's throats more often than not. THAT is not worth it to me (and, funny, those are the couples that settled or gave in due to pressure that they ought to or should be married.) The happy couples I know seem to have avoided that pressure. For me, it's up to the individual to make the choice. If you settle, fine. But don't whine about it when a few years down the line you want out.

2/21/2008 11:16:32 AM

At age 36 I married someone who was as close as I felt I would find to a good partner. At age 59 I divorced him. I'm glad I was married because I have some wonderful memories and a great son. Would I advise settling? Absolutely not. It's toxic to a marriage.

2/21/2008 11:12:28 AM

There's a lot to be said for and agaisnt arranged marragies. Many of the mothers of those now single women "settled" and many of them worked out just fine. In fact many of these wowmen would not be here if their mothers had not settled ! Romantic love often fades in the face of real world life, jobs rent5 , kids etc., and someone who is only attracted to romantic love will find that either they or their mate willsoon stray to find it again and again, to recaputure the rush that comes with falling in love with romavtic love. To me this is worse than settling into a marriage where love and respect can grow. When this happens, romantic love is replaced by long lasting love and that should be the goal of any marriage.

Ed Livingston_10
2/19/2008 10:07:44 AM

Thanks for picking up on this. I agree, the advice to "settle" is terrible. Marriage or any long-term relationship requires a huge emotional investment, and the notion of devoting so much time and energy and resources to someone you are not head over heels about is ridiculous. Now perhaps it's true that people are too short-sighted and choose surface attributes over more important things like shared values, but that's rather a different problem. Great post. EBL

2/18/2008 5:04:19 PM

that is the worst advice I have ever heard.Im neither in denial or lying when I say that I enjoy being single.Marrying someone just because they are there is the most outrageous thing I have ever heard.Why don't we just start practicing arranged marraiges? ( I know that is not spelled right). Being married is not the key to being happy.If it is then why are so many people getting divorced? If im single,I am truly free to do what I want when I want without any debate. Be free ladies and be happy!

Elizabeth McCullough
2/18/2008 11:11:40 AM

Thanks for the shout-out! And yeah, definitely, I took issue with the practice.

2/18/2008 12:15:00 AM

oh my god! that is crazy! to settle is to die! how can anyone advise that. to live in a loveless and passionless relationship would be absolutly horrible. I personally could not do it, to have sex with a man i was not attracted to mentaly, emotionaly, physicaly or spiritualy would be the same as being raped!