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February 5, 2010

Marry him? Settle? Good Enough?  I don’t think so Lori Gottlieb

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/marry_him_settle_good_enough_i_dont_think_so_lori_gottlieb_20100205/

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Danielle Berrin, of the Hollywood Jew Blog, here at JewishJournal.com, just did an interview with author and essayist Lori Gottlieb.  Ms. Gottlieb suggested that the best thing single women can do for themselves is “settle”.  I would like to say to Ms. Gottlieb:  You have lost your mind.

Let’s begin with the obvious:  why should we take advice about getting married from a never married single woman in her 40’s, who is dying to get married?  Danielle writes that the closest Lori ever got to marriage, was with a two month relationship with a guy named Sheldon, who moved away from her.  Not exactly an inspiring love story.

Ms. Gottlieb wrote a book called “Marry Him!  The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough”, which, for the record, I have not read.  If you are interested in reading it, I’m sure you can find it at Borders on the discount table or perhaps in the science fiction section.

You can read the entire Hollywood Jew interview by Danielle at www.jewishjournal.com/hollywoodjew.  Let’s review a few of the items that I find interesting, and by interesting of course I mean ridiculous.

Ms. Gottlieb says she is not asking women to stop looking for Mr. Right, but to change their perception of who Mr. Right is.  She says women don’t understand that what will make us happy when we are married, is different than what makes us happy when we are dating.

That could not be farther from the truth.  What I want now as a single woman, is exactly what I will want when I’m married.  Her view sounds like that of a girl in her 20’s with no experience, not that of a mature, sophisticated woman in her 40’s.  She is doing a disservice to women, particularly to those who are so lonely they will believe anything in terms of finding love.

Ms. Gottlieb says that true love needs time to develop, and when we don’t have butterflies on the first date, we give up.  It annoys me when one person thinks they can speak on behalf of all people.  I am single, hoping to get married, and his woman does not know me or speak for me, and I do not agree with her.

Why is she asking women to do anything?  She is not even willing to take her own advice, or she would be married right now to Mr. Good Enough.  Settling should never be an option.  I believe compromising is required in a relationship, but there is a huge difference between compromising and settling, and she clearly suggests that we settle.  I don’t think so.

I am clear on what I want in my partner.  I want now, what I wanted when I was young.  My marriage did not end because I decided I wanted something else, like she suggests.  My marriage ended because we were faced with a series of stressful situations that we could not overcome.  We did not change who we were or what we wanted in a partner.

How exactly is Ms. Gottlieb qualified to explain why people get divorced?  She has never been married, or divorced, so how is it she knows what she is talking about? I don’t know her, or her book.  My opinion is based on her interview with the Jewish Journal, and I think she is way off.

When discussing marriage, Ms. Gottlieb says that women today are looking for a more egalitarian marriage when it comes to gender roles.  I don’t agree.  Women can be career minded, focused and determined, and still want a traditional marriage, with male and female roles clearly defined.

I am a perfect example of that.  I have a career, am successful at what I do, provide for my son, and myself, but still want a traditional marriage.  That does not make me a weak woman.  I am not unsophisticated just because I want to take care of my husband and keep a nice home.

Granted I’ve been married and have a child, so maybe I would feel differently if I were this age and had no child, or had never been married, but I just don’t think that is the case.  Perhaps if I were desperate, like Ms. Gottlieb, I would be more open to settling.

If I listened to her babble, I would be married to a man I am not 100% attracted to, who’s not Jewish, and does not have all the things I am looking for because I settled.  I feel bad for young women who will read her book and think this approach is the way to go.

Love can be grand and real from the very beginning and time makes it deeper. We must look at all the love in our lives, not just that of a romantic partner.  I love my son more everyday.  It is not because it has developed over time like she suggests.  The love of a romantic relationship is like any other love, and can be there from the beginning.  It can grow, but will not magically appear over time because we settled for someone and really, really want it to.

If I follow her suggestions, I should meet someone I like, stick with it, and wait for love to develop over time.  Why don’t I just go to a matchmaker and have a marriage arranged for me?  Perhaps a mail order husband? Should I teach my son to just find a girl, any girl, and make her the woman of his dreams?  I feel sad that this is her take on love.  It is a dark view, which is a real shame.

The saddest thing is that one day Ms. Gottlieb will meet someone, the right one, and feel the sparks of love from the beginning.  He will dump her because he does not want to be Mr. Good Enough.  Whoever she marries now, will be labeled the guy who she settled for.  How is she going to talk her way out of that one?

I am able to love others because I love myself.  I am a better mother, daughter, and friend because I like who I am and make no excuses.  I will be a great girlfriend and wife because I believe in love, not because I am willing to settle for someone less than I deserve, and try to make love develop over time.  How would a man feel if I told him he was just good enough?

I wish Ms. Gottlieb the best with her search for love.  She said that Mr. Good Enough is the man of her dreams.  You must love yourself before others can love you Lori.  You seem defeated to me, so my advice would be to not settle, but rather dream bigger, and always keep the faith.

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