Erin's Reviews > Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough

Marry Him by Lori Gottlieb
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's review
Mar 03, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: soc-sci
Read from February 11 to March 03, 2013

A few years ago I was forwarded an article in the Atlantic Monthly entitled "Marry Him!" (exclamation point included) that argued we should "settle" for Mr. Good Enough because while he may not be perfect, no one is (including ourselves, gasp!) and while we're waiting for our one true prince to come, we might have passed up perfectly good candidates because they didn't fit out ideal man.

The article (and it's fascinating comments) is still up:

Lori Gottlieb, probably inspired by the amount of excitement and controversy this article produced, wrote a book by the same title a few years later, and for the last few years as I've made my way through the Charlotte dating scene, I've been meaning to read it. Finally, I made it a priority. And you know what? I loved it. Even though it was fairly repetitive, with the theme of the book being "Be More Realistic in Love, You Idiot" repeated throughout the book, I thought it was well-structured, informative, relatively well-researched, and relatable. Gottlieb, a 41-year old never married single mom (sperm donor), decided to really investigate why she was still single and what single women in their 30's (and early 40s) should do about it. Are we too picky? Are we waiting for something that might never happen? The title alone horrified my mother, who is still happily married after 50 years to my father and married him for love ("when I thought he was absolutely perfect, hahaha!") right after college graduation. But I'm going to be 35 this year, and things are definitely different in the dating scene. This book definitely spoke to me. But instead of being anti-man or anti-romance, it's actually the complete opposite--Gottlieb argues that by passing up (or off) men who might not fit our idea of the perfect guy (slightly dorky, balding, maybe a little paunchy, not necessarily interested in our interests) we are giving up a perfectly good life partner, a chance for deep, comforting, romantic love--just slightly less EXCITING than what we think love should be. She's not encouraging ignoring your gut when thinking about first impressions (and searching for that spark), but maybe your gut is sometimes...misguided?? Or just plain wrong? Or possibly ignoring a perfectly good partner right in front of you? Or being kind of an a-hole by ignoring every potential man that comes your way because they're not good enough for your incredibly high standards?

I'll be completely honest and say the book made me look back through my past men and wonder if I made the right choices (dating them in the first place or breaking up with them...unless they broke up with me first.) The bottom line is that I don't regret not being with any of them still (we broke up for good reasons), but I DO regret spending lots of time with people who so clearly didn't want the same things I wanted, or blinded me with traits that weren't good in the long term (and in fact were barely good in the moment). The next person I'm with has to want the same things I do, or otherwise, what's the point? I definitely don't think I'm as picky as some of the women interviewed in the book, but I've really clarified my needs versus my wants, and that's not something I really thought that much about in the past. Definitely a thought-provoking read, in a highly readable way.

All my single friends should read this. Seriously. Seriously!
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