I mean... when do you know if you're settling?
This topic of conversation nearly made me get run over by a party bus, but that’s the end of the story…Let me start at the beginning.
I have herds of single, gorgeous and fun female friends. We message each other at 11 pm with chocolate cravings, we share screenshots of our tinder dates and we listen to a play by play re-enactments of that "awful-work-meeting-with-Accounts". We drink wine, we make dinner and we discuss the meaning of life on dimly lit apartment balconies.
Our lives are big, busy and beautiful in their own way.
One of my friends texted me, I hadn’t seen her in a long time, “Hey, will you be at Tim’s birthday thing on Saturday?”
“Yup,” I responded. Insert thumbs up emoji- “Miss ya. See you there.”
Get me in the right mood, with the right people and I love a good party. Get me when I’m tired or over it and I’m a human Eeyore. That Saturday I was wearing my black lacey top and I may even have washed my hair (don’t count on this) but I wasn’t feeling the birthday party.
I arrived late, ordered a whiskey, stole a seat from the bar and sat down next to my friend Rachel. Another woman arrived and sat down next to Rachel. Soon they were caught up in a conversation with about female engineers.
I tried to pay attention, it didn’t last long- I know nothing about engineering (nothing). It didn't help that I was hungry and they were taking forever to bring the steak. I twisted on my seat, “hi, I’m Fran,” I introduced myself to the guy next to me.
“I’m Trevor, we met last year.”
Trevor ignored me for the rest of the night and even though I tried to have fun, when Rachel said she was going, I wished Happy Birthday and hurriedly left.
“Why is it so hard to find someone decent?” She asked as we left the bar- the conversation inside had left the both of us feeling flat.
“I dunno,” I replied. “We’re niche. We’re travelled, we have careers we love, we know what we want AND we’re genuine. There’s not a lot of that out there.”
“Mmmmm, I guess. Where did you park? Let me drop you at your car.” It’s Cape Town. I had parked outside a liquor store and I quickly accepted her offer.
“What’s happening in your dating life?” I asked Rachel as I climbed into her car. Rachel has loads of sex appeal. Guys love her.
“I’m dating this guy…He’s nice. He’s a good guy. I think we could have a good life together, but…I’m not sure. I mean, when do you know if you’re settling?
By this point, we had reached my car. A double decker party bus pulled up behind us and hooted twice. I’m convinced the entry fee was 5 Tequila's; people were hanging over the railings.
The problem was, I couldn’t get out of Rachel’s car. Not now. Not when she had just asked me a question like “how do you know when you are settling?”
“Is settling even a real thing?” I responded. “Isn’t it kind of…arrogent?”
“No Fran. It’s real. Those girls in the suburbs settle.”
I thought it for a second. A mental image of suburban women talking about diapers, serving their husbands steamed broccoli and ironing shirts came into my mind. I shuddered.
“Ok, people do settle,” I agreed.
The party bus hooted again.
“Write a blog post on it,” Rachel said and pushed me out the car. “You have to get out now!”
I scrambled out the door, pulled the belt from my coat from under the seatbelt and as I exited the party bus nearly ran me over.
When do we know if we are settling?
Women used to marry whoever had a job and lived in a 30 km radius. Now, we have choices and we don’t always know what to do with them.
Now, being single isn’t sitting at home learning needlework. Being single means nights out on town, dinner parties, hours reading books, new shoes, #girlboss and overseas trips at a moment’s notice.
The question used to be "when will a boy want me?" Now, the question is "do I want this boy?"
I’m notoriously independent. I don’t understand domino dating and I do think people settle in relationships because they are scared of being alone, addicted to attention or don’t believe they deserve better.
Ending a relationship, or electing to remain single, isn’t the easy choice- even with a career, friends and dinner parties. It requires strength and tenacity to say, “I’m sorry, but this isn’t clicking for me,” when you don’t know if you’ll meet someone else.
Equally, I believe the people we meet will rarely look like the water colour paintings in our minds and we need to be okay with that.
I can’t tell you if you’re settling- this requires a serious look at what you want in this area of your life, input from those who care about you and an assessment of the relationship.
I will say this, if dating someone feels like going to a party you don’t feel up to it and waiting for the steak to arrive then maybe you need to ask yourself some questions.
As for me, I guess, I’ll remain independent, writing blog posts and avoiding being run over by the odd tequila powered party bus until further notice.
PS. If you haven't read my ebook "Little Known Lessons from My Dating Life", you can download it here.
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