Why People Settle Down: The 3-Step Settling Curve | Girls Chase

Why People Settle Down: The 3-Step Settling Curve

I recently was privy to a conversation between a handful of women in their early- to mid-thirties. They were for the most part quite attractive and confident, and their careers were solid and their paychecks healthy. The conversation went something like this:

Girl 1: I’m someone who thought she’d always be single her entire life and never get married. But I had to take care of my aging mother when my father was in the hospital, and I realized someday that will be me and it might really be nice to have someone around to look after me when I’m like that.

Girl 2: I never thought I’d want to get married either. I’m still not sure if marriage is what I want, but as I get older I think more and more it’d be nice to have a companion.

settle down

Girl 1: Exactly. But I’d never settle! I’d only get married if someone was truly the right match for me.

Girl 3: You should never accept someone who isn’t the right match for you. The right person will come along sooner or later; you just have to have the patience to wait for him.

Girl 2: That’s a beautiful way to put it.

Girl 1: Totally right.

You may hear something like this and think, “For a group of smart, educated, professionally successful women, they sure don’t seem to be able to think or communicate about love in any way that doesn’t rely on romcom tropes and tired clichés.”

And, you’d be right.

However, before you judge these gals silly for the naïveté of their talking points, I’d caution you to be aware that this is a common trap people fall into in societies that abandon educating their youths on life history... and men fall into it every bit as much as women.

Chase AmanteAbout the Author: Chase Amante

Chase woke up one day in 2004 tired of being alone. So, he set to work and read every book he could find, studied every teacher he could meet, and talked to every girl he could talk to to figure out dating. After four years, scads of lays, and many great girlfriends (plus plenty of failures along the way), he launched this website. He will teach you everything he knows about girls in one single program in his Mastery Package.


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Damesils's picture

During the past year, I have been going around shouting to friends,family members and even a few teachers that I will NEVER get married. Guess they saw me just like the 5 year old in the example you've given Chase. God I feel so stupid right now...

N's picture

Churning out quality content (and getting other great writers on board) for YEARS is a mark of a highly driven, quality person. I'm a young buck; you, and every other writer on this website have imparted so much knowledge to me. My life turned a 180 in the last year. I hope you achieve all your goals this year, and in all the years ahead. Here's to living life to the fullest. Thanks for everything, mate.

stef's picture

nice article Chase, thank you, very introspective!

Curious's picture

nice one chase....
curious, if ass and boobs turn men on, makes them horny, and staring,
what turns women on in the same way?
ass? muscles??

Alex Taylor's picture

Curious, I don't think just having a nice ass and pecs and six pack abs will do the job you have to actually put all that to use by going in a conversation with a woman conveying that you're a sexual man with sexy non-verbals and build sexual tension and sure a body does help.

Chase Amante's picture


As Alex notes... adventure, excitement, intrigue, and good conversation.

Men are visual. Women, aural.

Men's looks are for getting in the door; other than a handful of high testosterone women, looks are not enough to turn her on. For that, you need words, movements, environment, and charm.


Aiden's picture

Hey Chase and everyone else,

Great article and very well written. Can say that I have been through all three stages and wholeheartedly agree that growing up in a country town got me to Stage 3 quickly. After getting separating and divorced 3 years ago and having two kids from that I dropped back to Stage 1. Recently crept back into Stage 2 and realised myself what was happening and kicked my arse back into Stage 1 as I will be moving to a major city to kick the exploration process, and the fun, into full gear. You've been a major contributor to my journey - thank you.

Anonym's picture

Hi Chase,

cool article, I would like to ask you a few questions:

1) In the article about effort aversion you wrote that a man must be very hungry to overcome all those obstacles and effort aversion. Some guys have naturally high sex drive which motivates them to persist and do everything necessary to succeed. But what if you do not have it? How to become more hungry for success with women (or something else) and increase your frustration tolerance?

In the article about approach anxiety the author wrote that it was necessary to fear something else more than approaching women (f.e. living alone sexless life). But what if someone accepts the idea of alone alone sexless life in some extent (as a possible way how to spend his life) and does not find it scary (at the moment at least not as much as approaching a woman), although at the same time he still wants to be with a woman? So he - at the moment - does not find anything else scarier than approaching women?

2) Have you ever studied the attachment theory (Bowlby, Ainsworth atc.)? The theory distinguishes four attachment types that are developer mostly in childhood and strongly influence later adult relationships. Having certain type of attachment determinates many struggles that you may (or may not) experience in the field of intimate relationships. It might be an interesting article topic.

3) What do you think of Mark Manson and his work?

4) Are there some special tips for picking up women in the venue where both of you are naked (like sauna or nude beach)?

Thank you


Chase Amante's picture


Up your testosterone or discover your purpose.

If there's nothing about failure with women that scares you more than approaching, that method won't work for you then. I'd suggest you check out my article on the subject for some alternate strategy:

I am familiar with attachment theory, yeah. The difficulty with spinning it into an article series is that it's difficult for me to give specific advice to, say, someone with an anxious attachment style or an avoidant one, so I'd end up doing some combination of research rehash and top-of-my-head speculation, which I'd rather not do.

I think it's an interesting subject, but it'd be tough to write helpfully on without spending time with guys, diagnosing their attachment styles, and learning what works for whom and what doesn't.

Mark's a good guy, though I'm sad to say I haven't kept up with him lately. He has a very poetic, high-minded sense to his writing.

As far as picking up places where you're both nude, I haven't spent time on any fully nude beaches or cross-sex nude saunas, but I've picked up on topless beaches and I've gone skinny dipping with girls, and the advice I'd give you is don't spend all your time staring at her chest... but don't be afraid to blatantly check her out in the middle of conversation and make it clear you're inspecting the goods, either. She didn't take her top off to have men ignore her, after all.


anony mouse's picture

Technically speaking you've got to update year count the bottom of the page.
Why the heck in article I see "2013" and in main page "2015".
Do something with it, dude. It wouldn't be very resource consuming to take it from the clock on every page load, or at least storing it in text file which is updated by yearly run automatic cron job.

Chase Amante's picture

Anony Mouse-

Ah, good call. Both are fixed - little PHP did the trick. Won't be out of date anymore! Thanks for pointing out.


Alex Taylor's picture

Hi Chase, nice article but to question you with something totally off the subject.
Ok,I met this girl about last year and our first two conversations were great, our second with me getting to build some sexual tension in a bus. Now I dropped totally off of radar for a month and she chased me pretty hard but she always was in something when I would see her or too far away in the bus.Now this year fter not seeing her for the full christmas given that I didn't have a phone when I first met her and never got her number,we return and meet up with each other and she was still showing signs of interest now I must say I wasn't that interested in her since I had two FWB and a no-string attached relationship but somehow with her smiles and persona she captivated me in away that no woman has yet. So this is where I stand now, some guy, who has a little bit of social proof and game and also has a girlfriend comes in and grabs her,I never knew about this until the day I actually reapproached her and she was closed off and then open and our conversations from there on would have been downhill which I think I made myself needy a little and now we totally Ignore each other but she still give me these looks of wistfulness.However, getting back to the guy. I never competed with him for her, to note and also If i had alot of interest eith her from the start I don't think this guy would have won because when she was interested in me, she waved this guy off very easily so that's it and I caan't come up with something to get her back,so I am wondering if I should drop it and continue my mission?Thanks for any help would really appreciate it.

Chase Amante's picture


Whenever the question is, "Should I drop her and forge ahead?" the answer always is, "Yes." (if the answer wasn't "yes", you wouldn't even have the question!)

If you need help, give these a look:


Alex Taylor's picture

Thanks chase I already moved on, this whole Girlschase.com has just been inspirational to me not only in just girls but helped me to improve in all other departments thanks!

D's picture

I've been reading your posts for years as it's quite rare to find quality content like this. This website changed my life.

Lawliet's picture

Hi Chase,

Thanks for the relationship articles, Chase. They have a lot of good advice.
But I'm curious, are you experiencing a temptation to follow the relationship door?
If that is the case, what will happen to GC or the Wise One of Pinnacular seduction?
You still have yet to see the fully improved Lawliet 3000 rocking the socks off the ladies!
Don't give in to the temptation, O' Sensei Amante ;)

Re: Continued story

Remember that girl who I complained about moving with me, leaning in and makes sure I have her number who flakes on texts and phone calls? And then you said to work on social, figuring out calibration and cues first?

I met her again today at the subway. I saw her staring at me now and then from my peripheral vision but didn't manage to catch her. Decided to open her anyway with a SR, see how she responds then telling her to come over to me. And She did.

I thought, this confirms I was right the first time. She does like me. No hesitation in walking over and then sitting next to me. And I know for a fact, if a girl doesn't like you, they can easily say, "I'm comfortable here". Got that a lot of times. Open response. Not any friends she knows on the train or was it crowded, but near empty so I doubt she's pressured to act a certain way. It's real..I think. Well...let's see what happens.

After exchanging names right after (rewarding her with my name)

Me: What's yours?
Her: (Asian name)

Completely caught off guard after exchanging names and telling her in detail how I met last time.

Me: Oh. It's you! Blah blah
Her: Oh did we?
Me: blah blah
Her: you have such good memory. :)
Me: Depends on the person. Usually I'm not, so you're lucky
Her: haha

I knew I shouldn't have done what I did next but I was too curious.

Me: I tried texting you but didn't get a response.
Her: (not uncomfortable, but the thoughtful look of learning new piece of info, the same intrigued I'm trying to apply when girls' being difficult) Oh...sorry about that.

Her: I'm really sorry. Usually my friend contacts me so I didn't know it was you!

Me: Yeah don't worry about it. Let's try to meet up again.

Her: (looks to the side) I actually have a bf.

This would make everything make sense. But I decided to call on it anyway. Nothing to lose. After the procedure from "I have bf article"

Me: How serious?
Her: huh
Her: What do you mean how serious?
Me: (pause)
Her: Like there are levels?
Me: Sort of.
Her: Hahaha
Me: Do you plan to marry him?
Her: uhhh idk. Maybe?
Her: I'm already very old
Me: really?
Her: I'm 25.
Me: Psh (you're kidding)
Her: hahaha

Then I paused, intrigued by the situation but also thinking, what can I make the most out of this

Then I thought. Right, let's call on the bluff anyway.

Me: Well that's cool.
Her: Me with a bf is cool?
Me: Yeah (minor shrug, subtle MSG: as in i don't care)
Me: let's grab a bite anyway. Do you still have my number?
Her: I should. You texted me right?
Me: Yeah (left a stupid pause here)

Her: You come this route often?
Me: Just today. It's strange how we can bump into each other. Might be fate

Might be better if I made it suggestive and have her agree.
"Could this be what they called fate?"

Me: When are you free?
Her: next week. Let's grab that bite!
Me: You still remember that joke?
Her: "bite" hahaha yup!

Now usually if bf is an excuse (from my minuscule exp), they'll backpedal and give another excuse. But she didn't...well she didn't backpedal the bf...

Her: I have a broker exam next week on May 8 so next next week?

Inside my head, flashed "Don't let her off the hook." But what should I say...saying bummer than no texting is different than in person. What about bored look or skeptical. I didn't realize I was just staring at her the whole time and giving a pregnant pause.

Her: I'm serious!

No you're not I thought to myself, still fazed and made a mistake! Clumsy lawliet!

Me: Ok, I'll give you a call
Me: tonight
Her: oh no (waves her hands)
Her: I'll be busy studying

And then it was her stop. We bid goodbyes.

Her: (Looking as if she's come to out of daze) Oh wait, is this my stop?
Me: Yup
Her: Oh see you later!
Me: Have a good day!

As I'm typing this, I realize I should throw ball in her court instead of giving myself more work. So I sent her a text after 4 hours (I had other errands) to let her know it's probably best she contact me once her schedule clears. No wishing Good luck nothing. I like her and I know she likes me but reality, I know she won't come out anyway.

I pretty sure I made mistakes with pausing and at the end. I blame my clumsiness and unexpected turn of events that fazed me! But the rest was improv as it was all surprising for me. Any insight into the situation I might have missed and How Would you have handled it differently?


JJ's picture

Some people settle down blindly and ignorantly. At the end of the day I'd hate to foolishly or hurriedly tie myself down in my 20's and have kids that young only to have them grow up in a broken home. I strongly believe most people are not in any facet mentally/emotionally stable nor prepared to commit to the irreseversible responsiblity of child rearing before 30 in any place especially, outside third world countries or another planet, Bringing babies into the world seems adorable and child's play to many, but they're in truth unfit to properly raise and provide for children. The parents end up getting tired of each other & they cheat or dump one another leaving the kids to deal with their horny too young parents. Definitely, before they had a chance to explore vast amounts of sexual liberation, partners and relish their youth without the interference of babies. Having an entire schedule & life revolve around offspring 24/7 for the rest of an existence is the most tedious obligation in other words little fun for most of the 20's.. If parents are going to have babies in my opinion they might as well be in their late 30's at the very earliest when they've enjoyed widespread amounts of sex, freedom, travel, fun & have the conviction, maturity and stability level qualified parents require. I can't imagine not becoming tired of being with one dude from age 20 till 80 like seriously, marrying that young is basically, condemining oneself to boredom, discontentment/misery, bitterness,divorce, adultery & a bad ending in general. I don't care if you live in south Dakota, the US is still a developed country not Mongolia in 1875 you don't have to marry and have kids so young. Those negative emotions will only set children up for terrible habits, examples, dysfunctionality and emotional deficiency disorders. Having kids young is putting fun, dreams, goals, freedom, independence and a flexible lifestyle at stake. Well in most cases it's flushing those privileges down the toilet. I support risk taking anywhere except where children are concerned. Both parents and children have everything to loose if the adults settle down at a young age and in a rush. So yeah when I "settle down" I'd like a family of my choosing that I will have the power to form to my lifestyle at around 38 when I can invision being ready and of course with a match that feels like that one missing piece of my 1000 piece puzzle. If I were a man I'd wait longer till my 40's, all I do know is even if a billionaire offered me marriage at 25, I'd turn that down there's no way I'll become a trapped domesticated prisoner for anyone. I don't wish to owe anyone any explanations, accountability or chores in my twenties or even early thirties. Settling down is not a bad decision if the right timing and necessary investment/dedication in not only the searching, getting to know on another, but dealing with each other later on stage are on point and meet the criteria that please both individuals. Anyway, what else besides "settling down" do you call it when you're in that stage in life when you actually covet to start a family of your own, especially when you had an unpleasant and painful childhood and wish to begin anew yet not remain alone any longer. If people in industrialiazed and developed countries settled down/married and had kids older when they usually are wiser the failure rates would decrease a great deal. Of course there are exceptions the toxic selfish wasteful people with what I can only describe as undiagnosed mental disorders that are unworthty of caring for anything living & make inept parents and partners at any age they happen to be.

Chase Amante's picture


Yeah, it’s different for everybody.

I’d suggest most people in urbanized societies are better off waiting until their 30s to have children. It takes a lot longer to reach the satisficing zenith in an environment with abundant mating choices. The exceptions seem to be highly matched partners with low novelty seeking; I’ve seen these partnerships occur between college students and work out really well.

Even then they usually don’t wed until mid-20s and are typically better off waiting until late 20s before having children, simply because that’s how long it takes to be able to afford children.

Another consideration with children in urban societies is the expense and effort. In agrarian societies, children start producing net economic benefits as soon as they hit 4 or 5 years old and can help out on the farm. In complex urban societies, children don’t become financially positive investments until they hit perhaps their 30s, which makes each child a big financial gamble/investment (and is why you see urban families only having 1 or 2 children, whereas agrarian families have 4 to 8). Also part of why urban societies inevitably hit population declines; the society becomes too complex to raise families in and its birth rate falls below replacement levels.

I’ve never particularly liked the term “settle down” (and whenever I’ve had girlfriends use it on me, it sends me into a mild mental panic), but its as apt a term as any for the phenomenon of two people nesting and building a family together.

The age at first marriage actually has been shooting rapidly up – from 24 for men and 20 for women in the 1950s to 29 for men and 27 for women in 2013. Children don’t usually happen until a few years after marriage, too.

Which is not to say any of this is good or bad. Simply what happens in advanced urban societies.


Anonymous's picture

Hey Chase,

Good article. Given your last few articles, Alpha Provider, Why She Cheats, etc. I was wondering if you think it's possible to have a long-term relationship with/marry a girl where she doesn't cheat? From my experience women never completely shut down their options even if they're in a committed relationship. If another guy comes along that's as good as you and strokes her the right way, and you fall into complacency for a bit, she's one excuse away from shagging him. And I can understand why. Put myself in her shoes, why wouldn't I do that? I think you explained this by saying that her subconscious mind will pick the most favorable mating pattern. So if she's a hot girl and she's got a ton of guys hitting on her, a few are going to make her cut, one or two are bound to be appealing to her, and then she's cheated on you. So, is it possible to, first keep a girl long-term, past two years, and second keep her from cheating on you?

My motivation is, I'm probably in stage 2, I have a lot of stuff to do normally, and I don't have the time or the energy to constantly be going out and bringing on a new girlfriend. They come and go fast, you know. It's almost like a hassle to find a new one. I don't like being alone, and I'd like to have a long-term companion. But I can't have my closest companion shagging other dudes whenever her brain says so. It really hurts, like on primal sexual level, and on an emotional level, like my best friend just stabbed me in the back.

I know that you've said that couples that make it past the two year mark either have kids or they're swingers. I think you're right. So, if I want a long-term relationship do you think that having kids would be more likely to keep her from cheating? Should I look for a less sexually experienced girl?

Thanks Chase. I appreciate your time.

Chase Amante's picture


Of course.

I don’t think it’s possible to get to 0% risk of cheating, no matter how exacting you are at screening and how excellently you run your relationships. But you can get the risk down quite a bit. And there are plenty of relationships where the partners never cheat.

You have to think of it in terms of probability. You can never be 100% certain your savings and assets won’t be wiped out in a financial meltdown, but you can diversify your investments and sock them away in different things to reduce your risk as much as possible, and move to a country where the odds of a financial catastrophe are far less likely (e.g., you leave Zimbabwe and move to Switzerland).

If you're worried about cheating, yes, kids will help; the primal urge to find a man to impregnate her goes away when you manage to impregnate her.

That said, the average woman isn't exactly a cheating machine; if you have that in your head, you may have had some bad experiences, or you might be going for the wrong kinds of girls. Or could be you've been spending too much time in the manosphere, just like how people who watch the news all the time think everyone who goes in the ocean gets his leg bitten off by a shark and every year we're all going to die of bird flu / swine flu / ebola / zika / Y2K.

If you want a list of resources you can use to make a relationship as stable and cheating-unlikely as possible, check out this article:

Her Raw Material or Your Relationship Skills: Which Matters More?

In it, I link to all the major Girls Chase articles on 1.) screening for the right girl, and 2.) running your relationship right. That should help you make sure you make the right pick!


Winston's picture

You know the guys that reads your articles yet don't anything about them? Yea that's me, currently 19 years old living with parents from birth to present in a semi-populated town. I've lived practically in my head my whole life with no intimate friends from preschool to the first year of college; just acquaintances/classmates. In fact I got so curious about sex that I lost it to a prostitute just a few months back, and it was the most artificial feeling ever. Now the feeling to settle down and to just find a sweet/beautiful girlfriend really does seem inviting, I can't shake this feeling off. I just wish I had the balls to approach women, or even the balls to go to situations outside my safety zone. Sooner or later, I know someday I will approach women, I can already see the change within me when I started college. But yea, just wanted to share how I feel after reading this article.

Chase Amante's picture


Don’t stress about it too much; that’s pretty normal with scarcity.

Sooner or later you’ll grab your nuts and go say hi to a girl. And eventually you’ll start getting dates. Could be tomorrow, could be some time in the future… maybe you’ve got to feel a little desperation before the resolve sets in. That’s how it worked for me.

Anyway, the scarcity does go away as you start seeing results with girls, particularly once you’ve had those first few early relationships where the puppy love wears off and the newness rubs off of it and you get used to dating and sleeping with girls.

Then you get that freedom for a while.

Until eventually you come back to wanting something more settled.

And at that point you’ll have come full circle.


Atra's picture

I think you are right here (again), as I've seen many start compromising in their 30s, and maybe that isn't a bad thing. Still, I can't help noticing that you seem to think and write about long term raltaionships very differently from what you used to do. I'm wondering if you are in stage 2 yourself now or maybe even in a comitted relatiosnship? Just very curious!

Chase Amante's picture


Hmm. What differences have you noticed?

I think the crux of my articles have remained the same. Compare early 2010’s “What Women Think About Their Husbands” with mid-2014’s “A Failed Relationship is a Failure of Leadership” (the latter is basically a commentary on how not to be the partner of the ‘Woman Scorned’ or ‘Desperate Housewife’ from the former), or late 2010’s “Passive Screening in Relationships” with my recent article “Why You Always Date the Wrong Person” (the latter expands on why some folks get screening wrong).

I think perhaps the biggest difference might be that before I used to try to stay away from discussing anything too much longer term than the early stages of a relationship, because most guys studying dating always did so much grousing about how they were going to be single forever. Even when I first started Girls Chase I was seeing guys dropping out of the game left and right and hearing all these stories about guys I was on mASF with who’d pledged their undying singledom suddenly putting rings on fingers and babies in bellies. And I’d shake my head and go, “Sigh, end of history illusion (well, I did not know the name for it then but I was familiar with the phenomenon),” but keep it to myself.

However, I’ve started seeing guys drift onto here over the years and go through the same cycles, where they go around proclaiming how they’re going to be single forever, bachelors for life, and then one day they disappear and you get in touch with them and find out they’re engaged.

Probably the reason why I write about it now is I feel I’m a delicate enough writer at this point that I can put it into words without guys feeling like I’m the school marm trying to lecture them that this is how it’s got to be. I don’t think I could’ve written about “end of history” in 2010 without being too blunt and making it sound like I was telling guys they HAVE to do this (which I certainly don’t want to do… 5% of men will never marry, for instance, and that’s not an insignificant number… and I would suspect that men like that are overrepresented among readers of a site like this, too. I’m highlighting likely trends, rather than absolute ones).

As for me, I have always had at least one serious/committed girlfriend over the past 10 years. Haven’t actually been officially totally single once since I started picking up. So… yes and no? :)


Mr Harrist's picture

5 years a go, I always said to myself, I don't need marriage! cause it will lose my freedom, and all is I want to make money a lot! and a lot! after a years pass, I make decent money, in my country living standard 2k usd, is a lot! at least not many people make that much money per month! but after a year and now! I just realize, money is not important, its just a piece of paper!
and guess what, now I am panicking! OMG :O , all my friends already have 2 kids! lol

moral story is, if you have something that really good don't throw to the toilet! no matter how good you are! eventually you will think like other people! and you'll care what other ppl said! and you know what when all of your friend already married meanwhile you not! you will think about yourself! "pathetic bastard!" even if you a lot of money ;)

Robinhood's picture

Hey chase! I have a very important exam coming up. Its very difficult to meet girls in exam days and i have to exhibit a lot of self control to focus on study instead of approaching. I go to library for studying and a girl i like is giving me massive iois, eye contact, proximity. I have thought of approaching her but i want to focus on my exam first. What do you think is optimal startegy in this situation? To keep her out of auto rejection, to keep the window from closing and convey that i will get to her after im done with exam. This keeps happening to me. Should i tell her my situation that i wanted to come talk to her earlier but couldnt due to my exam so she knows it was not related to her but my exam? In the meantime what can i do to keep her hooked so she doesnt go cold because im coming across a tease. Returning her iois but not approaching. Thank you.

Chase Amante's picture


What’s wrong with talking to her for 2 minutes, taking her phone number, and saying, “Cool. I’ll text you after finals are over, that work?”


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