The Two People In A Relationship: The Settler And The Reacher

by John Picciuto

Every relationship has what “How I Met Your Mother” has dubbed a settler and a reacher. In other words, one person in the relationship settles for the other, who is involved in a relationship with someone out of his or her league, the settler. Now, I’m sure you have all heard of this phenomenon before, but I’d like to elaborate a bit on my feelings about this dating pattern.

In every dating environment, whether it be casual, exclusive, or hell, even an engagement, one partner is the settler and the other is the reacher. A quintessential example of this is a very attractive woman, with an extremely unattractive guy that likely happens to be a very sweet dude. Now, the good-looking girl is clearly the settler because she certainly, at least looks wise, could do much better than her current boyfriend. However, - and this is important - he already knows he is reaching with her, so he’s constantly showering her with love through compliments, gifts, general lovey stuff, and attention.

The moral of the story is that this can be applied to every single type of romantic relationship. My second example is of two people who are hooking up. It’s rather low-key, casual fun. But, the two actually genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Now if, say, for a second here, the girl is slightly more into the guy than he is into her, she is always anxious to hear from him. What ends up happening is she thoroughly entrenches herself as the reacher.

It's obviously very well within chance that she is the better looking person, but if she establishes the “want” more so than the guy in the situation, she is going to be the one always reaching for him in the context of their relationship.

The important thing when dating is to know when to push and when to relax. Hell, I can admit that I overly text, Facebook message, call, and all that sh*t. I want to talk to the person I’m with because it’s new and exciting, which, unfortunately from time to time, establishes me as the reacher. The most important thing in dating is to play it cool.

A girl says to a guy, “Hey, I’m going out with the girls tonight, so I won’t be answering my phone.” Men believe this is bullsh*t. You’re going out with your girlfriends to meet guys, and we should, in turn, go out and meet girls. Now dating is clearly complicated. Obviously if things are progressing slowly, you can do a number of different things from confronting the person, to just flat out giving up.

Here’s what I do:

When I'm in a new relationship, or when I first start dating a girl, I like to establish right off the bat that I’m not looking for anything serious. This way, best case scenario is, I can come off as genuinely sweet and caring when I express how “surprised” I am that it’s going so well and how amazing she is, etc.

Many men make the mistake of seeming overly involved right away. What this does is push them into the relationship way to fast, and likely blows the shot at something good before it even has a chance to develop. When starting something new, it’s key to not establish a role in the relationship until you are ready to commit to it.

Listen closely to the most contradictory advice I will ever give about relationships: Strive to be the settler. Know that you are the one that is being pursued and wanted more so than you want the other person. The contradiction lies in the fact that I don’t think people should ever settle. Wait until you find someone that truly blows your mind and makes everything in your life better. When you enjoy even sitting in a quiet room with someone, saying absolutely nothing, that is when you know you've found the right person.

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