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Lota Ofodile: Is ‘Settling’ a Part of Maturity?



dreamstime_m_10670736When it comes to the kind of person we want in a partner, we all have specific things we hope for, or expect – depending on our personalities, past experiences, and preferences. For certain people, it is about the person’s personality; for example, is he/she kind, ambitious, patient, religious? etc. For others, it might be their physical attributes; we all know the classic “I like them tall, dark and handsome”, which is the case for a number of girls (I won’t even front, myself include), or for the guys: “Ah! She must carry o, because I’m an ass/boob guy”. And for some other people, it might be the financial aspect they are more concerned with—they prefer financially stable partners, someone whose family name carries weight, or at least someone who is on his/her way there, and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t prefer that?

And who is to say which of these is irrelevant, or more important than the other, except of course the parties involved in the relationship? For instance, I am of the opinion that the most important criterion is the person’s personality; and not too long ago, I thought that that should be the case for everybody. But I’ve come to realize that we are truly different. (I’m sure we all know that, of course everybody is different… but I don’t think many of us really get it, because on some level, we still hope and expect people to share our views and opinions; I guess it’s just in our nature or something).

The point is, people will have certain expectations and hopes for their dream partner, and certain factors will be more important than others to certain people, based on a number of things… which is completely fine, just as long as it is a personal choice/decision.

Various conversations I’ve had with several adults in recent times about the subject of relationships and marriage, actually inspired this article. When I talk with youngins like myself about the topic, we all express the kinds of things we look for in future partners, and for some reason, the lists are usually longer and a lot more precise than those offered by adults (because clearly, we’ve thought these things through, and are wiser than the experienced adults). But then, I will talk to an older uncle, aunt or family friend, and express these same expectations, and I will hear things like: “you young people are so unrealistic” or “don’t worry when you get older, you’ll understand what I’m saying and change your mind”.

I have really tried to figure out why they all seem to have this same kind of response, and I’ve concluded that it’s probably because “you can never really get a hundred percent” and “there is no perfect person out there”, because these are also some of the things they say during such conversations. Of course, I am well aware that no human being is perfect, and I agree that you can’t always get EVERYTHING you hope for in one person, but does that mean that we should settle?

(At this point, I should define what I mean by settling in this particular context, so we are all on the same page)

For me, settling is going into or staying in a relationship with a person, knowing full well that he/she does not fulfill certain criteria that you have personally decided are paramount for your happiness or satisfaction.

In other words, you have a bunch of expectations of a partner, and you’ve prioritized and decided which of them are most important and must be present, and those that aren’t. But then you meet someone that is nice and decent, but doesn’t exactly ‘qualify’ because he/she is lacking in one or more of these ‘must’ criteria, and is not able or willing to compromise, and you still decide to go ahead with the relationship or marriage.

I agree that over time with age, maturity, and experience, some of these criteria change for a lot of people—and rightly so—because we are always growing and rediscovering ourselves. But many people still end up in relationships and marriages with partners that do not meet these ‘must’ criteria—essentially, they settle. And I just wonder if it’s a maturity thing like all these adults claim, or if people are just settling because they are running out of time, for fear of the unknown, or as a result of familial/societal pressure, etc.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if perhaps settling is somehow part of the maturity process, such that with age and maturity, our expectations are just automatically lowered. If that is the case, then are there really no “perfect” people out there? Obviously, nobody is generally perfect, but I still believe that there are people that are perfect for each other. I honestly do not know what the answer is, but I sure hope that it’s not the case. Sometimes I even wonder if it is because we have convinced ourselves so much, and for so long, that we will probably never find our ‘perfect someone’ that a lot of people end up settling.

Obviously, sometimes when you meet a really amazing person that does not exactly meet your ‘must’ criteria, you’re able to reshuffle that list and move things around to accommodate that person, which I think is the case for many people. And if you are lucky enough to meet that someone whom you are willing to make that change for, that person who basically makes you rethink your whole life, then good for you! The person must really be worth it. I just hope (and advise) that the decision is personal, conscious and intentional, so that you don’t end up suffering in silence, or secretly hoping that this person will magically become who you want them to be, or worse, trying to change them to become someone they are not.

Just pray, keep your eyes open, and play your cards right, and hopefully, the right person for you will come along.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Hongqi Zhang (aka Michael Zhang)

Lota Ofodile is a writer and blogger who enjoys having great conversations, listening to, and challenging different opinions. Her family and friends mean the world to her, and she believes that love is the greatest gift of all. She is a self-acclaimed Nollywood connoisseur, and a lover of God, food, and everything pink! She is passionate about healthcare and entertainment media, and is in pursuit of a career that merges both fields.


  1. Me oh...

    November 25, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I found a list of qualities I wanted in a guy which I wrote as an early 20-something year old. In it I wanted, among other things, a guy who didnt drink and wasnt catholic. I also wanted a guy who would do things like make me breakfast in bed.
    Fast forward ten years later and I am married to a Catholic man (who encourages me to worship as I please) who is a drinker (a responsible one too) and will probably never wake up before me, how much more make me breakfast in bed. Going by that list, I have failed to secure the partner I desired but considering that I got a guy who is supremely kind and generous and patient and emotionally stable, I think I didnt do too badly.
    I think it is evidence of some level of maturity to be able to revise these lists we have in light of reality.

    • The Real Oma

      November 25, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      “…got a guy who is supremely kind and generous and patient and emotionally stable”
      Yeah, we Catholics are kinda like *wink* *wink*
      Don’t come for me ooo, i am just joking and well basking in my Catholicism, i mean i was miffed when i read the first paragraph about not wanting a Catholic, so you can imagine how pleasantly surprised i am to learn she ended up marrying one and that the brother is ‘representing well’ :))

  2. Salewa

    November 25, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Regarding settling, if your criteria is linked to superficial traits like height, skin colour, profession, weight, physical looks, then growing up will make you realise in the grand scheme of things, those things aren’t important. That’s not settling, that’s just growing up. Settling comes into play when you are willing to give up on things that are really important to you to have someone in your life or make someone else happy at your own expense.

    Personally, i think everyone should decide or have fundamental criteria you should not budge on, if those criteria are part of who you are as a person or your beliefs and you should not be so willing to change for someone else. Matters of faith is one for example. Not willing to engage in premarital sex.. If your boyfriend or girlfriend convinces you to partake in what you strongly decided on before you met them, settling in that instance isn’t maturity but foolishness.

    Violence in a relationship is another. He or she could be a fantastic person but the day they raise their hands and hit you, staying with such a person is settling and that’s not mature but dumb.

    Financial capability and responsibility is very important. If you know you can’t cope with a man or woman that doesn’t have money and not looking like they can hustle for more, while you are also hustling seriously (very important that you are not a leech and want a partner with money). If you like settle. It is the day you see your mate in a range rover, that your seemingly good enough spouse will start to look inadequate to you and suddenly wahala will start. The poor man or woman will now be wondering what the heck, what changed, you always knew i wasn’t like this, why has it now become an issue that i have a civil service job and i am content with it. Story of my life. I left him to marry a fellow civil servant. I had bigger goals and expectations of my life and was hustling towards it. He was happy where he was, waiting for salary that sometimes never came. Not willing to study more or try a hand at business.. Nothing wrong with that, not everyone is a hustler, but wrong for me and i knew it.

    A lot of problems in marriage comes from settling and missed expectations. It is rosy at first, you tell yourself those qualities aren’t important joooor, or the worse one, you are grateful you have someone. Manage him or her like that. There is no perfect person. Lies from the pit of hell. There is no perfect person, but there is a perfect person for you. Let’s learn to know the difference.

    It is until you meet someone who reminds you of what you gave up or not willing to wait for. Ask those who cheat emotionally, not the quick jump in the sack cheats. The ones who may not even kiss the other woman or man but their connection or bond is so strong, it has nothing to do with sex. Ask them why this other person now fills the gap your spouse or partner doesn’t. Deep down, you know they settled. Why do you think a man or woman will cheat or divorce their spouse, and go on to marry those they cheated with or someone else and have fantastic marriages second time around. You will be wondering when the proverbial “karma” is going to hit such a couple and decades later, karma maybe forgot their address. Nah. They only just found the person who was perfect for them. I know quite a number of successful second marriages, that i tell myself, i’ll wait and not settle. Ignore those who are saying you are getting older. Ask them how happy they are in their marriages. Misery loves company.

    Settling is like activating a bomb to set off in the future. That bomb will explode in your face sometime and you would wish you didn’t press that button. Phew, epistle over. hahahaha.

    • rash

      November 25, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      you could not have explained it better.

    • salewas friend

      November 27, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      Salewa please i hope you have a book to your credit…. or at least you are some sort of a counsellor. you’ve said it all

  3. EE

    November 25, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    I used to think I’d marry Michelle Pffeifer or Charlize Theron or Taylor Swift or after watching the Undercovers, Guguletha Mbatha-Raw.

    Clearly, the opinions of “youngins” should be ignored.

    My list is short, my kind of beautiful, post-grad, good job. I believe the fixation on compatible personalities and “love” is from too much of the Romance genre and drinking Corporate kool-aid.

    I mean that made sense in the 20th century for your spouse to be your everything, in the 21st, there simply isn’t time. Ideally y’all should be focused on trying to escape the grind of being middle-class, 9-5, networking, you know, the whole 9 yards and that’s before kids come in.

    Accept your husband being your best friend is creepy, stay tight with your friends, keep in touch with family, agree on how to share your earnings, create a healthy eco-system to thrive in, reducing possible flash-points.

    Way I view it, you two get hitched, you respect each other, it’ll work out. As long as you both agree to respect each other’s ambitions and address your conflicts as adults, with the dirty laundry private, you’ll be fine.

    Ehn, what do I know, I happen to find the constant obsession with relationships unhealthy, though I find the angst funny.


    • A Real Nigerian

      November 25, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      Must you write note for every small thing?

    • EE

      November 26, 2016 at 9:58 am

      @ARN I’m cutting back sef. ‘This isn’t my final form.’

      @Missappleberry: Thanks I guess.

      @Where Is Elessaris Elendil? Right here.

    • Missappleberry

      November 25, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      I sometimes find your write up difficult to understand and with too much grammar but I still do admire your style of writing lol

    • Where Is Elessaris Elendil?

      November 26, 2016 at 8:56 am

      Are you Elessaris Elendil?

  4. Peng Ting

    November 25, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I won’t say my checklist has reduced but it is now a lot more specific. I no longer use umbrella terms like “God fearing”. I don’t want your fear of God to be the only thing that would force you to treat me right. You have to be genuinely kind hearted. Another cliché term is “intelligent”. Book smart is always better when mixed with street smart. Also, you need to be able to apply logic to real life problems. Not every time spiritual attack, this and that. Another umbrella term I am more specific about now is “good looking”. It is important to me that a man finds me as aesthetically pleasing as I think he is. If I have small breasts but you like DD and above, bye bye and see ya. E go be.
    Lastly, is “successful”. Are your spending habits sustainable? Will you support me to be successful too? How many people are you financially responsible for, now that we are not married? How many streams of income do you have? I don’t care about the car you drive, how wealthy your family is or even where you work. You can get sacked anytime. Accidents happen. You might lose your inheritance.
    I have looked at my checklists recently and I don’t think I will be settling when I see the one.

    • spanish

      November 28, 2016 at 9:16 am

      i laugh in spanish
      Many of you are not in real life

  5. TeeS

    November 25, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Why is being best friends with your significant other creepy ???

    • Peng Ting

      November 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Over dependence maybe. It’s easy to fall into that hole without even knowing. Though some people are fine with it but I don’t think it’s healthy.

  6. Samantha jagga

    November 25, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    I was 28,everyone was rushing me down the aisle like i was clocking forty. So i settled for someone i never really wanted because all he had to offer me was marriage & i felt if I allowed 30 to meet me single! It was over for me oh. To cut long story short the whole tin packed up some months to the wedding because we were not compatible and could agree on anything including were we would live! Sigh…Fast forward two years later i am engaged to be married to the man of my dreams (if only i had waited would have saved myself the stress from the other guy)…btw he is tall, dark and handsome and all I want in a husband..moral is..DONT SETTLE!

  7. Samantha jagga

    November 25, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Sorry I meant we couldn’t agree on anything!

  8. iyke

    November 25, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Lol … It’s obvious women have 2 camps : the men they really want (and throw themselves at, especially in the earlier 20s) and the men they settle for in their 30s and 40s…lol
    Back to the topic, I wouldn’t use the word ‘Settling’ in this case. Yes, I may have my lists of requirements that I seek in a partner. However, I am smart enough to know that finding a good partner does sometimes require re-evaluating my ‘requirements’ and asking myself what is really important to me and what is less important. This does not mean that I am settling, since I am still being true to what I want.
    Regardless of whether she meets the Nigeria socially prescribed standards like ….tall, yellow, dark, busty, big ass, and beautiful…. it’s really more about finding that amazing woman who is irresistible anywhere …. Sexually, emotionally, intellectually attractive ,a solid support system and can make /raise babies with me.
    You may have your own requirements and that’s ok!

    • tunmi

      November 25, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      Good points. Buy don’t lump women together. Also, the advise goes for men as well

  9. hadiza

    November 25, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I want my partner blonde, tall, cute, sexy, big boobed and damn straight gorgeous. I won’t settle for less

    • LemmeRant

      November 25, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      This explains a lot

    • Anoni

      November 26, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      I tell u!

    • spanish

      November 28, 2016 at 9:19 am

      come do your lesbianism for naija here
      your prison term would be longer than the years you have spent on earth

  10. LemmeRant

    November 25, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Everybody settles at the end of the day.
    Just have to get off your high-horse and decide on what matters most.

    Na hollywood and disney cause all this wahala.

  11. Huh

    November 25, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Must you comment on any small thing.

  12. Bossy

    November 25, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Must you comment on any small thing?

  13. Wasiu

    November 25, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    I wanted a partner who is funny, kind, sexy, good cook and caring etc. Found her, dated and got married. Life is sweet.

    Now, she is still very funny and caring and kind, but the others and the etcs are out the window. Am I still happy? Hell yeah.

    I do the cooking now (thanks to dooney’s kitchen) and the sex, non-existent. Do I complain? Hell no, I eat my cooking happily and jerk off the urges and have a sound sleep.

    Do I wanna pack it in? Hell no, don’t believe in divorce.

    There are more pressing issues in life than some silly qualities u want in a partner, like as if those qualities will always satisfy u.

    • 'Molara

      November 26, 2016 at 1:15 am

      Bros, I don’t envy you oh. The sex is non-existent ke…
      The Lord is your strength.
      Nobody should even try this kind of “non-existent sex” kind of marriage with me after all this locking up.

  14. Missnk

    November 25, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    All I wanted was a man who was the opposite of what my father is. I got a exactly that and the only thing they have in common, is their height (they are both quite tall). God thank you!

    • memebaby

      November 26, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      I pray for the same too.. a man opposite of my dad….

  15. 'Molara

    November 26, 2016 at 1:12 am

    Mehn! Every time, I’m about to settle I sharply remind myself that divorce is not an option for me, I can wait biko.
    Sometimes, you find a man who loves God, has an ok job and all that razmataz but there is no spark or you can’t even imagine being physically involved with the guy or every time you think of giving the guy a try, fear grips your heart….
    I choose to be happy, I cannot come and settle all in the name of “my mates are getting married” syndrome.
    Be patient enough to wait for the one that’s perfect for you.

  16. HighlyFavoured

    November 26, 2016 at 1:42 am

    Trust me there is no hard and fast rule to this issue. I guess I can be grouped as a ‘settler’, but hearing my experience may put things in proper perspective. I come from a deep Christian background. And so when during my 2nd year at varsity I met this cute (every inch a tdh) power dresser brother at my campus fellowship we became instant friends (and my secret crush, lol). Being a ‘yuppy’ fashion forward sister myself, a brother who was born again yet could sport a Jean and sneakers, and who was romantic, flowers, walks in d park et al, became my ideal. So u can imagine my joy when brother asked me out in my final year. We dated thru law Sch and NYSC. We both later got jobs which were decent enough, so I naturally expected we’d begin to discuss marriage. But whenever I raised d subject he’ll rant about how I wanted to marry just because abc was getting married and how I was pressuring him. Pressuring u keh? after how many years? Marriage became a sour topic. I prayed and cried several nights. Fast-forward to 2years after, brother wasn’t still sure whether he wanted to go left or right. I was tired. Then came along another brother, who I didn’t quite feel d sparks with. He was kind, gentle, loving and cute enough but a suit and tie kinda Church guy (lolz again). He was on my case. My dear after weighing all my options, I borrowed myself brain and moved on. We’ve been married now for 5years with 2 simply adorable kids to d glory of God. My hubby and I are crazy about each other. And guess what? Bro. TDH is still gallivanting about town doing Fine Boy! U can call me a settled settler. Lol

    • Bee

      November 26, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      You are not a settler. You are smart and the reality of life happened. I’m happy u r happy.

    • memebaby

      November 26, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      you didn’t settle.. as long as you and hubby are doing great.. uncle hot dresser will be very alright

  17. Loki

    November 26, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Personally, I think it depends on what you call settling. The truth is, as you grow up, certain things that used to matter to you before start to take the back burner after you’ve observed life a little. I’ve known ladies who started out life wanting a born again tongue talking brother. After living a little bit and seeing and hearing about really bad situations with so called church brothers, they just wanted someone who was kind and decent. (You’ll be amazed how many Pastor’s wives are deeply unhappy). For the guys, I barely know any who ended up marrying their “spec”. After growing up a bit, they just wanted someone who would give them peace. Thats why you see some couples and wonder why some hunky adonis is with a Plain Jane. They’ve grown up to realise that no matter how hot a woman is, you can’t put a price on peace of mind. What people want in a partner in their twenties is hardly ever what they want in their thirties. Thats why people think women “settle” as they grow older. While some do, for many, its just a case of growing up and realising that tall, dark, handsome, dresses well, drives a nice car, lives on the island and speaks in a British accent has ABSOLUTELY no direct relevance on the quality of a committed relationship.

    • "changing moniker"

      November 27, 2016 at 9:44 pm

      Written with sense…WWS! !!!
      That’s the new approval lingo for good comments

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