Millennial Voices

The Reacher And The Settler – A Toxic Idea In Relationships

“Whoa, she could do better.”

How often have you walked past a couple and thought that? Deny it all you want, even the best of us do this. We’re human and like it or not, we judge. We judge people from the way they dress, the way they act and, of course, the person they’re dating.

The Reacher And The Settler

Often, in relationships, you’ll find one person has reached (the “reacher”), while the other has settled (the “settler”). Put simply, the reacher is the one who’s dating up and out of his/her league, and the settler is the one who’s dating down, and who’s settled for less.

Some famous examples? Beyonce and Jay-Z.

For a long time, Victoria’s Secret Angel Adriana Lima was married to this guy:

And remember how upset the Internet got when rumors started circulating that Chris Evans – Captain America himself – was dating this girl? That’s Jenny Slate. She’s hilarious, you should check her out.

Most of us think of the reacher and the settler in terms of looks and physical appearance, but delve deeper and you’ll realize that this idea can be applied to virtually any other facet of an individual: character, wealth, achievements, etc.

Does this mean every couple is doomed to be composed of a reacher and a settler?

The Reacher And The Settler – A Toxic Idea

I’ve had my fair share of failed relationships and looking back, it was probably precisely this toxic mentality that caused my relationships to end. There’s always the one person who’s reaching, trying to be like or be better than the other and eventually, it comes to a point when both parties get sick of it; the constant comparisons permeate every interaction within the course of the relationship so that eventually, love becomes the casualty.

I have friends who strongly believe in this idea, and that you should strive for the position of power – be the settler instead of the reacher. Be the more achieved, more interesting, more everything partner. Be the one that’s more desired. But I don’t. I believe love isn’t a competition and you love someone not to prove anything to anyone, but because you love them. Otherwise, you’re going to be dating your way through a bunch of girls (or guys) who just aren’t right for you.  

I believe we should choose the love we truly want, regardless of how it looks from the outside, regardless of what people say or will say. Real love is when both people see and treat each other as equals. Why be in a relationship where you don’t get the respect, appreciation and love you deserve? 

At the end of the day, and as idealistic as it may sound, love should be unconditional. It shouldn’t only be given when you’ve done a certain number of things to earn it; it shouldn’t be hard work, much less one-sided hard work. Love should feel like coming home, where you’re free to be exactly who you are, say exactly what you think, and feel exactly as you feel.

And most importantly, love should flow in both directions. You should get just as much as you give, not because it’s fair and not because you’re keeping count, but because you’re with someone who loves you enough to know that that’s exactly what you deserve.

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