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"I Married Her Because She Was Pretty Enough And I Liked Being Around Her," And 20 Other Stories From People Who Married Their "Last Resort" Person

"I married someone I considered kind of a settle at first. I hadn't had a relationship in over a year and met a woman at a bar and thought, She's pretty enough and I like being around her. The thing is, we grew together, and I have a very successful and happy marriage despite her not initially knocking my socks off. At no point in our relationship was it so bad I didn't want to be in the relationship anymore."

While most people can't even fathom the idea of marrying an "option" as opposed to "The One," turns out for some people, that ends up being the case.

Recently, Reddit user u/adambier1587 asked the people of r/AskReddit: "People who married their 'better than nothing' option, how’s your marriage going?" Well, here's what those who 'settled' had to share:

1. "A coworker got married to their 'better than nothing' person six or seven years ago. It was one of those things where both people settled since they were getting older, and I guess they figured they'd give it a shot. They went from single to married in eight months. Apparently as time went on, it only got better for them. They both started actively trying to better themselves (seeing therapists, picking up healthy solo hobbies, etc.) and learned how to best communicate with each other over that time. They're both in their early 50s now, and they act like a happy younger couple whenever we're at work events. It's kinda cool to see."


2. "We were married for 10 years, got two kids out of it, and some of the happiest years of my life. We both pretty much settled for each other. Eventually, we both concluded that we just weren't right for each other and cut it off, but I don't have any regrets about it. Without her, I definitely would have been someone who was forever alone. I definitely would agree with the 'better to have loved and lost' saying."


3. "I married someone I considered kind of a settle at first. I hadn't had a relationship in over a year and met a woman at a bar and thought, She's pretty enough and I like being around her. The thing is, we grew together, and I have a very successful and happy marriage despite her not initially knocking my socks off. At no point in our relationship was it so bad I didn't want to be in the relationship anymore."


4. "Mine did not go great. She went from 'We might have kids in a few years' to 'I don’t want kids ever.' I wanted kids."


5. "So my marriage is not 'better than nothing,' but I was also never obsessed with my wife the way I have been obsessed with a new person before. Part of the reason I was willing to marry her was because we communicated well, worked with each other to improve each other's lives, and we generally enjoy many of the same things while still retaining who we are individually. The biggest thing is that we both felt physically and emotionally safe with each other. I am now obsessed. I love my wife more than I have ever loved anyone."


6. "I think I am the 'better than nothing' spouse. About a month ago, I found out. It was devastating. For 17 years she settled for me despite not truly loving me. Life was hard, but we had each other — or so I thought. The moment we talked about how bad things got, she asked for a divorce, and I lost my best friend and the sole person who I felt I trusted enough to talk to. I move out tomorrow to rebuild my life."


7. "I married my 'better than nothing' option in my 30s. We both understood what we had waited for, and committed ourselves fully to the marriage. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had married my 'preferred option,' and I realize that the love I feel from the person I married is so much better than the 'preferred option' would have been. I could never convince the 'preferred option' to date me, whereas the woman I'm married to now found me easy to love. In other words, my romantic self is an idiot, and my 'better than nothing' was actually better than everything."


8. "I have a friend who is in this situation, and he was advised not too. His wife too. It’s like watching the movie The War of the Roses, but in live version. It’s so exciting! You never know how the next fight will start and how they will try to blame it on each other. They stay together 'because of the kids.'"


9. "My husband and I got together as single parents. When you do that, you're choosing as much for the kids as you are for you. You actually don't know what kind of couple you are on your own. And when the kids grew up, after over a decade together, we had to figure that out for the first time."

"It started out good for maybe the first 4–5 years, then went really rocky in the kids' teens. Turns out as they needed us less, and we really didn't have enough common ground in a lot of ways — in particular, I had emotional and emotional-labor needs that weren't being met. We discussed divorce several times, but at our peak crisis point, we decided to work on it because one of our kids had just had a bereavement (death of the other parent). And honestly, it still wasn't working that well and maybe still would have ended in divorce, but then I had a terrible work situation that lasted a year, and he really stepped up. That was the turning point. I was able to let go of my resentments about all the times I'd carried us, because at some point he'd done enough that I didn't feel baited-and-switched anymore.

Then the kids grew up, and we had to learn to be a couple on our own together. That took time, but we'd sort of grown and changed into a better match by then. We're really solid now, and have been for probably the last five years or so. But it's been a team endeavor to get it that way and keep it there. It's not something that just happens."


10. "I pursued a woman relentlessly in my younger, much more insecure years. She eventually married me, but I remember her using a line like: 'You've been here for me through everything; guess you're the best I can hope for.' I was too inexperienced at the time to know any better, and thought I was doing what a man should do to prove his commitment to a woman."

"We had good years and bad, but everything in that relationship felt uphill. What she needed from me did not come naturally to me, and what I needed from her did not come naturally to her. We hadn't paid attention to these things during the excitement of dating, but it was painfully obvious even two years into our marriage. We were married for eight years total, having known each other three years prior. After the newness wore off, she often had the attitude that I was there to serve her since she lowered herself for me. It was part of her own insecurity, and we worked through a lot of these early marriage hurdles through marriage counseling. In the end, however, she wanted me to do all the changing. She tried to change a little, but didn't like it. A friend of the family saw the opportunity and started telling her everything she wanted to hear. They had an affair, we split, she spent about seven months figuring out what a fraud he was, we got back together briefly, and eventually mutually decided divorce would be best for everyone. We've been divorced for 22 years now. We may have squeaked by together, but I don't know if we were ever truly happy."


11. "A family member of mine from back in the times when women were extremely dependent on men (like isn’t allowed to work or open a bank account kind of dependent) was married and in a toxic relationship. One day, she met someone else and decided to get married to the other one because it was 'better than staying with [first husband].' However, her second marriage also proved to be a rather toxic one as well. My learning from that is: Don’t get married out of desperation! Get married because it is a choice FOR a marriage, not against loneliness. That can go south big time."


12. "I found out five years into my marriage that I was his 'better than nothing' option. I filed for divorce two weeks later. It was one of MANY issues in the marriage, but finding out that he was telling people he only married me because he feared getting older alone while he was telling me I was 'The One' fucking STUNG."


13. "My parents got married because they were considered old in their church (they were 26 and 24…) and they both wanted kids. My mom told me that it was the practical thing to do! Luckily they hit it off, and though it took a lot of time and work, they are annoyingly in love and have been married for 42 years next month."


14. "My first marriage was my 'better than nothing' marriage because I had extremely low self-esteem and I was afraid I would end up alone otherwise. We got divorced a year and a half later. Now, I'm married to the man of my dreams — it just took me a while to find him. Spoiler alert: Don't settle."


15. "I’ve come to believe that the majority of marriages are out of settling. My first marriage was a shitshow, but I was naive and dumb and pressured into it. We had passion but zero compatibility. I left and was single for a long time until I met my now-husband. During that time, I worked with a happy couple and saw what it was supposed to be like. I looked for different things and told myself I wouldn’t continue dating someone if it wasn’t the way I felt it should be. My marriage now is a completely different thing — easy, happy, relaxed. In five years we’ve never had a fight. We’ve had small disagreements, but they’re squashed quickly. We just like each other and respect each other. If you asked me to name a negative thing about him, I’d be pressed. I feel like I wasn’t truly compatible with anyone I dated in the past, or maybe I just wasn’t ready to seek the right things."


16. "When I was in high school, I dated whoever showed interest in me and was moderately attractive. I'm not unattractive myself, but I was never particularly outgoing and never put myself out there. I was in love with a childhood friend of mine at the time — I took her to prom and everything. It was horribly awkward and very apparent that she wasn't into me in the same way. One day, I met someone else randomly who had actually been in the same prom group as us, and went with one of my friends. We just instantly clicked, and I almost asked her for her number, but I was still hung up on my childhood friend. Anyway, a couple months later, she friended me on Facebook and sent me her number. I figured nothing else was working out for me at the moment, so why not and asked her on a date. We've been together for 10 years now, married for two."


17. "I was the 'better than nothing' for Husband #1. We divorced after dating for eight years and eight years married. I'd never felt so alone. We were glorified roommates. We got along. It was okay. Husband #2 thinks I'm the best thing to happen to him, and he reminds me often. He's the best thing that's ever happened to me. We saved each other. We have stuck together through tough times. It's amazing how different a real marriage is."


18. "I married a woman because I was afraid of dying alone and had severe anxiety and people-pleasing traits from childhood trauma. I should have ended it multiple times throughout the relationship, but didn't because I was basically using taking care of her as a means to give myself purpose. I eventually got help and realized how toxic and codependent the relationship was, how much of me was being buried under a mask, and how badly that was feeding my depression. I pursued divorce."


19. "My mother-in-law was divorced with two very small kids, and then found an old man to marry so he could financially support her and the kids while she supported him physically (he was 20 years older and not in the best health) even though he had four adult kids. It was a marriage of convenience. Anyway, they grew to love each other. He passed away 20 years ago, and she plans to be buried next to him when she passes. It worked out for them."


20. "We had both hit our early 30s and moved into adjoining apartment buildings in a new town. Clocks were ticking. I proposed on the first anniversary of our first date after essentially being told to 'shit or get off the pot.' We managed to have two kids, but by year 15, I was sleeping in the guest room — mostly because she snored and refused to do anything about it, and also because I found her sexually unappealing. We spent 10 years being roommates while raising kids. When they were old enough to be independent, I moved out. I should have done it a decade earlier and saved us all the trouble."


21. And lastly: "My perspective when I was dating my person was more like, 'This person wants to date me and I want to date them. No red flags. We agree on basic life plans. We've been dating for a few years and everything is still cool, so let's get married.' Neither of us were ever the person of our dreams, and we were never head over hills for each other, but 12 years in the marriage has been great."


Did YOU marry your "better than nothing" option? If so, what has your experience been? Tell us in the comments.

Answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.