Reachers and Settlers

By Lindy Earl

Are there reachers and settlers in every relationship?  If you haven’t heard of this yet, let me quickly share.  Have you ever seen a couple where, physically speaking, they are unequal?  One is just far more attractive than the other?  The attractive one is the settler and the other is the reacher.

Reachers and Settlers are not limited to looks.  One may be more educated, more friendly, more understanding, more outgoing, while the other . . . isn’t.  I’m talking about the couples where you meet them and ask, “How did they end up together?”

Now, it is possible that there is a trade off in the relationship.  One may be more physically attractive, so it seems that they are the settler, but they may desire someone who is intellectually brilliant, thus they are the reacher in the brains department.  It’s a trade off.

I know of one story where a man of short stature wanted to have tall children, because he didn’t want his kids to deal with the challenges of being short. So he sought a tall woman to marry. He found her, 5’10” to his 5’4”. People probably looked at them and thought, “How did they end up together?”

My question is, what happens after the couple has lived like this for a while?  I can’t count the number of people who I personally know who ended up divorced.  When asked, sometimes there is a confession that they knew from the beginning that they were not evenly matched. I guess that unevenness creates a hollowness. 

Does that hollowness lead to comparisons? Is the settler going to ask, “Why am I with this lesser person?  That’s judgmental, I know, but is that what is happening?

I have also seen settler/reacher relationships lead to cheating.  Oh my!  It’s like the settler decided that since they were with someone less attractive, that they, as someone who settled, deserved to cheat. It’s completely false, but I’ve seen it.

I have tried online dating apps and, while I acknowledge that there are scammers and shallow people out there, I am not against them. Once a gentleman sent me a message of hello. That was all.  I viewed his profile and did not see us as a match so did not respond. He contacted me again to say that I probably thought that he wasn’t good enough for me. How sad.

Now, the first question is whether you should respond to a person when they contact you. I have been told, by gentlemen, that it is better to just ignore them, because when they see that you responded they are happy, until they open it to receive a rejection.  So I tend to not respond to a single approach, especially if it’s just a single word, like hello.

If somebody continues to contact me then I will, as I did with this gentleman, explain that I do not see us as a match. There could be multiple reasons – age, distance, interests, education. For whatever reason, I do not see wasting their time when I don’t expect it to work. At my age I’m not into meeting ‘n greeting everyone. I’m looking for a potential mate for a committed relationship.

I have to wonder with that particular gentleman who suggested that he wasn’t good enough, has the guy tended to be a reacher or a settler? He said he appreciated it when I explained that I didn’t think he wasn’t good enough for me, but that I just didn’t see us as a match. He liked my honesty. But if his approach to women, if somebody is not interested, is to think that he’s not good enough, that’s going to destroy his self-esteem, then his confidence.

Why can’t a relationship be two people who just fit together? Why are we judging couples whom we don’t even know, deciding whether or not they fit? If they are together, then they think they fit, and what else matters? Maybe they are a perfect fit in all the ways that matter, and we, as bystanders, just can’t see?

So, let’s stop looking at other couples and wondering what they were thinking.  Let’s be happy for happy couples who have found their Significant Other as we continue to look for our own.  Don’t worry about being the reacher or the settler.  Find happiness within yourself, and if somebody comes along with whom you can share your happiness, then do it! No reachers or settlers, just two happy equals.

            Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant.  Contact her at or find her on Face Book and join the group,  Single Again: From Devastation to Dating, on FB.