Hi Neely,

I’m kind of exhausted with dating. I feel like Kristin Davis’ character Charlotte in Sex and the City when she said, “I’ve been dating since I was 15. Where is he already? I’m exhausted.” I’m a 33-year-old woman. I own my own condo and have a great job. I have great friends and take amazing vacations. But I want to settle down and meet someone. I want to have kids and a family. I can feel my biological clock ticking practically every day. I don’t want to settle for someone just to have children and get married – I could never be happy with someone I didn’t really love. I’d rather be alone than settle. But I still can’t help but feel panicked and scared at the thought of being by myself forever, while all my friends start to pair up, have kids, and move to the burbs. Do you have any helpful advice for me?

Scared to settle, Cambridge

Submit your dating/relationship questions to [email protected]. And don’t forget to check out my website: neelysteinberg.com.


  • 23 seconds: You’re not alone!
  • 35 seconds: I am dishing out some tough love: I know you’re exhausted, but you’ve got to suck it up if you want to get what you want!
  • 1:00: Let’s talk about the word ‘settle.’ Nobody wants to feel they are settling for someone. We want it all in the 21st century!
  • 1:34: Look at a city like Manhattan. People take a lot longer to settle down there. The city is filled with so many beautiful, successful men and women, and everyone is looking for the next best thing, to find someone better. It’s the paradox of choice.
  • 1:45: Years later, when they’re still single they realize they probably turned away some really great people for an illusion.
  • 1:56: Perfect and ideal doesn’t exist.
  • 2:03: If you found someone with whom you’re compatible and want a long-term relationship, there isn’t anybody better out there for you.
  • 2:19: Settling isn’t about failure or mediocrity. Let’s change the way you think about the word settling.
  • 2:30: Think of 5 fundamental qualities in a mate that you can’t live without and throw out the rest of your list.
  • 3:26: I’m not advocating settling for someone you can’t stand to be around, but I just want you to think about readjusting your definition of settling, especially if you’re ready to settle down and want biological children. Think about what is really important to you and don’t lose sight of that.

About The Author

Neely Steinberg is a Blast correspondent. Follow her on Twitter @NeelySteinberg She answers your dating/relationship questions in her Blast video advice column MP4 Love.

4 Responses

  1. Chiara

    (couldn’t watch, got a baby sleeping) 🙂

    While I definitely agree that general ideals and perfection don’t exist for the masses, I think they do for the individual. Settling happens when there is something lacking within the individual, keeping him/her from risking being alone.. Opting for a shitty relationship over an ideal one.

    Wait for prince charming to rescue you on a white horse? No. But I don’t think anyone should be okay ‘settling’ for mr.mediocre or mr.you-won’t-find-any-better, either.

    Great topic!

  2. According to Jewels

    I couldn’t agree more. Unreasonable wish lists about a partner are not for grown ups. I don’t consider it settling at all. In any relationship there is compromise and nobody is perfect.

    I do have another point to make about looking for a partner in your 30’s. I think it gets harder to find a mate the older you get because you tend to be stuck in your ways. You want somebody to share your time/space/life with but you’ve created this busy, fulfilling, and full life without one and sometimes there is a fear that I won’t be able to fit a guy into it. I honestly have anxiety about giving up my “me time”. I know, logically that this won’t be an issue with the right guy…but until I find him it remains a pretty big fear of mine.

  3. Angie

    I agree that dating can be exhausting… whew… but it is just like hunting for a job… if you don’t put forth the effort, you won’t get the job… duh. I used to be the one who was always saying I wasn’t going to “settle” and was waiting for the “perfect” man to come and sweep me off my feet. That was until I realized that there is no such thing, that I am not perfect(so why am I expecting a man to be), and that love and relationships are not all about what someone else can do for me! It is far more beautiful when you grow with someone in a relationship where each gives and each takes, grace is abundant, and forgiveness is second-nature.

    I think it’s just a simple switch in the mindset about dating and “settling down” that is needed. Once you start to see love and relationships as an enhancement to life and not being responsible for your happiness, you’ll see that there are many compatible mates for you. You just have to simply decide.


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