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Do Men Settle Too?


This week, I was asked to address why men settle on MadameNoire. I’ll admit that there was a lot of positive back and forth between myself and the editor on first clarifying what it means to “settle.” Initially, we didn’t see eye to eye. In all honesty, I’m still not sure we see eye to eye (I re-drafted the original). Such is the nature of writing on subjective subjects. While the editor had hoped I would focus more on why men actually settle, I thought it equally important to address the fact that settling is subjective. In other words, outside observers might believe you “settled,” but if you disagree, then did you really settle? In my opinion, as with beauty, “settling” is in the eye of the beholder.

Further, although I didn’t specifically address this in the post, I believe we often confuse the idealistic purpose of marriage with the reality of marriage. Marriage, in itself, is not a declaration of Love. It can be. It’s possible it should be, but the fact of the matter is it is not. Marriage, in this country, is a legal declaration that entitles one to a number of benefits and protections that have absolutely nothing to do with Love. Contrary to what many would have you believe when arguing about why marriage is the best institution on Earth, Love and marriage are interrelated, but they are not mutually exclusive. Whatever your views on the limits of marriage – whether it is exclusive to men and women or beyond – this is why many seek the legal protections afforded by marriage, which is different than the idea that marriage is the only means of demonstrating your Love for one another.

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Moreover, it seems there is a popular sentiment that there are a number of great women for men to marry – and to choose anything but the best from this vast population of awesome single women may be viewed as settling. I’m not sure I agree or disagree. As I’ve written about before, the same is not true for women’s views on the available population of husband material, which many view as insufficient. I do agree there are a number of great women in the world, but this is not the same as saying there are a number of great potential wives. A good woman does not guarantee she’ll be a good wife, just as a good man doesn’t guarantee he’ll make a good husband. I will expand on that topic another day. For today, below is an excerpt from this week’s post for MadameNoire:

Why Do Men Settle?

At some point in life, in theory, you have to make a choice that you only want to be with your wife in spite of and despite of the fact that there are other women in the world you will be attracted to before you die. To me, commitment is more about honoring vows to one woman and less about constantly reevaluating whether I “settled” to be with her.

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What Qualities Do Men Settle On?

I should clear something up: men don’t search for the same qualities in a potential wife as women search for in a potential husband. In other words, the qualities a woman desires in a potential husband are not the same qualities a man desires in a potential wife. They might even be the exact opposite (e.g. preferring a taller man vs. a shorter woman).

I have my theories on what women look for in a potential husband, but since I’m not a woman and I don’t feel like arguing about how little I know about women (and I assure you it is very little), I’m going to focus on what men look for in a potential wife. I can’t speak for all men, but I can speak for most men, because I am a man, I know men, and unlike when dealing with a woman in which they have an interest, these men have no reason to tell me what they think I want to hear as opposed to simply answering the question.

When I asked around, most men seemed to desire a wife that …read more.

Do you think men settle as often or more often than women? What makes you believe these men settled and why do you think they did so in the first place? Do you feel like you settled in a past or current relationship? What made you feel like you settled or had no choice but to settle?


  1. RP from MN:Brother WIM, you have provided my with the final piece of the puzzle. I have been pondering this issue for a while in regard to an associate of mine. And truth be told, he explained it to me but not with your eloquence. Thank you.

  2. Do you think men settle as often or more often than women? – I agree with what you said in the post, everyone eventually decides that what they have is sufficient/more than sufficient for them. I don't think one settles more than the other. I don't think settling is bad unless you've agreed to commit to someone who is not what you want…flaws and all.

    Do you feel like you settled in a past or current relationship? – Based on my previous answer, yes.

    What made you feel like you settled or had no choice but to settle? I didn't settle in a bad way, as described in my first answer. I settled…like you get settled in a new home. You treat it like you ain't going anywhere any time soon. You get comfy. You relax. You make it…you…or y'all, lol. You let down your anchor, throw caution to the wind and believe that you've made the best decision for your life…that it provides what you need and want (as much as it can reasonably).

    1. Cyn I concur. As long as u have no regrets, then you have not settled. The opinions of others is totally irrelevant.
      Also, due to the fact that not one person on Gods green earth is absolutely completely perfect, without flaws and sin, in our lifetime we all will settle in one way or another, at some point in time.
      Those who don't settle, will probably remain completely single for the rest of their lives.

  3. You can always do better. You can always get a better job and a better car and a better partner. Reality is, you may not be qualiified and/or have enough experience or the right personality type ot do the job you want to do. I wanted to be an actress when I was young. But I don’t know if I could actually do it. I also wanted to be a ballerina, but I wasn’t willin to kill my feet to do it. And you can always get a better car, but you may never have the money to get the car you want. And even if u do get the car you want, new and improved ones come out every few months. And as for a better partner, just like there is always someone worse off than you, there is always someone better off than you too and better looking and there always will be.

    So I completely 100% cosign with Wis. Settling is subjective to the individual. Other people may look at your life and in their opinion you settled. However, if your completely happy then in your mind you have everything you want and you haven’t settled for anything. It’s like the shallow Hal movie. Once Hal’s mind changed and the way in which he saw women, all the fat and ugly women became beautiful to him. How they really were didn’t matter. All that mattered was how he viewed them. Everything we see in life is based on our perception.

    “The eye pimps the brain.” So pretty much everything we see with our eyes is subjective and relative to each individual person and their perception of things.

  4. I've never settled. I think settling is also relateable to your maturity level and your mentality. Like when u make a decision to become a vegan to be in better health and live longer. As we get older we realize more and more whats really important in the grand scheme of things. Whats important to us changes, as it should. Our needs and wants change. We realize that what we need and want are typically 2 vastly different things. What we need becomes more important that what we want, even in a potential mate.

  5. Physical beauty and material things become less important because we realize those are wants, not so much needs. We start to seek that which will sustain us for the long haul, which is what we need.
    To a degree and in some ways I think women can settle more. Men have pointed out that as women get older closer to the end of child-bearing age and start to lose their youth we settle, and I believe there is a lot of truth to this. Women get to the point where they just want a man. A halfway decent man with all his teeth that makes money. Women are the ones who need men for protection and provision, so we're always seeking men when we're single. We know that 1 man who loves us will protect and provide the best for us. Therefore we always seek just one good man. So the theory goes, as women get older our long laundry list of requirements and standards dwindle down to half a page of hope and pray we can get.

  6. Whereas most men don't seem to have such a long list of requirements from the door. Therefore, it can also be argued that since men don't expect much they really aren't settling at all, they are getting everything they want and need. Whereas many women seem to have such a long list of expectations, they may be perpetually setting themselves up to always have to settle, due to their level of high standards and expectations.

  7. When people do not own and claim their sexuality they will settle. If you are uncomfortable with or have shame about sex, what you like or don't like or if you cannot be honest with your partner you will eventually have issues relating thru sex. Many people misunderstand that this glue will bind them together. Sex is a healthy expression and form of communication. It brings up issues of vulnerability in each person; how you move thru this is indispensible

  8. Amongst a few other things, but most of all, men have more basic and simpler needs than women. So in general, men aren't as susceptible to "settling" as women are. Therefore men settling occurs far less than women settling. Men will almost always be in the win.

  9. TBH, settling is not as bad as we make it sound/seem. One just has to ask themselves what DEGREE of settling can you tolerate. For example, my previous lover would have been a MAJOR settle, and so I called quits though I loved him HARD! Just could not live with the idea that I could easily meet a more deserving man that I would be happy with. He, on the other hand, would have been winning MAJORLY, why? because I'm a woman, women are always willing to give. Unfortunately sometimes our efforts, offerings and personal qualities are way too superior for that person's shortcomings.

  10. this article makes me sad, very sad. i do not want my brothers or nephews to "settle" into a comfortable old shoe. I want them to have the top shelf shoe: Jimmy Choo or Manolo Blahnik that fabulous fits like a glove which you walk proudly & secure in. I want them to have it all: love, good credit and who he believes is the most beautiful woman inside and out.

    I am going to continue to support and speak to my male family and let them know who ever they choose should be a treasure and treated as such and not worry about what other think of their choices.

  11. I think the reason most men settle is because the girl loves his dirty drawers. A woman that will give him what he wants, won't nag, and lets him get away with a bunch of stuff, if he's going to settle that's who it'll be with. Usually men settle if the woman is beautiful but other features are lacking: personality,cooking, etc.
    I've settled before and it was on looks, because the girl was so into me I decided to see where it would go. It didn't last, and usually if you settle it doesn't, You'll always think "I can do better." But just like stated above settling is in the eye of the beholder.
    My recent post Stay On Your Job


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