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“Why do girls “settle” in relationships?”

A male United States age 22-25, anonymous writes:

I’ve never quite understood why some people seem to settle for certain relationships….case in point:

one of my best friends is in a relationship in which her bf was caught almost going across the country to meet up with his ex…he didn’t tell her ahead of time, of course, so she got pissed and it was ‘over’. took his stuff out of her house,etc. well guess what? back together a few days later. and the origin of their relationship is sketchy too, both were on the rebound, met at work, and quickly became ‘together’. confusing to me, someone on the outside who hasn’t ever been in a relationship, but was present from the outset of this situation.


i guess it bothers me just because this girl is one of my closest, best friends, and i know she could do so much better (however cliche that phrase is) then her current bf, who is a nice guy and all, but just seems to be flaky (esp. in light of this recent development of almost sneaking around). another part of it undoubtedly must be how i secretly feel about my friend. we are good, solid friends, but i wouldn’t ever be able to be in a relationship with her, i don’t think, so part of my judgment of the situation must stem from some kind of latent jealousy/desire that comes from my situation as a 23 year old virgin who has never been in a relationship, much less kissed/on a real date/etc. it’s like my own shortcomings in that area are playing a factor. but the underlying question is this: why do girls seem to settle for people that can keep them satisfied for a short-term? is it a kind of weakness caused by a breakup (which is the case here), or something else? either way, it’s a challenging situation for me to try to figure out on my own.


A female reader, mcbirdie United Kingdom +, writes (21 August 2008):

mcbirdie agony auntRelationships are pretty much completely unscrutable from the outside. Trying to understand why someone stays with someone–or why someone doesn’t–is impossible for anyone who isn’t in that relationship because you can never know all the dynamics at play. How they really are when they’re together, what each of them wants in a relationship, what their end goals are…no two relationships look the same or function the same.


The most important thing here, though, is not to understand why your friend is with her boyfriend. She is and that is enough–support her where you can, but it would be a very good idea for you to start putting more focus on your own romantic life. There is no benefit to ruminating on the details of someone else’s relationship, when you could be out there forming your own relationship to scrutinize. Don’t use confusion over your friend’s motivations as a defense against you getting yourself out there.



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