Following a link from LAF, I found this article. The author, a 40-year-old woman who ended up having a child on her own because the clock was ticking and there wasn't a potential husband around, warns us to be realistic in our romantic pursuits and "settle for less".
Yet I disagree with this definition. I believe you can be realistic - and not settle for less, but have the best you deserve. You just need to define what is truly important in the long run. Looking for Mr. Perfect isn't included in "the best", in my humble opinion. None of us is flawless, so why do we expect the perfect man, the perfect romance?
When my husband and I were getting to know each other, and started talking about marriage, he confessed to me how tired he is of women who expect to be swept off their feet on the first date. They want a masculine hero, but also someone gentle and sensitive who would understand them without even having to talk. Someone with just the right background, education, and looks. If "chemistry" doesn't hit like a lightning, they won't give a second chance.
On my first date with my beloved husband, I didn't feel any blinding attraction. It didn't happen on the second date either. Only after a few times of seeing each other I started noticing how special he is, and gradually found myself more and more attracted to him. When I accepted his proposal, I didn't love him the way I do now - but something in my heart told me I'm going to fall in love.
I knew I'm marrying a hard-working man with a heart of gold; I knew our goals were compatible (we both wanted an observant Orthodox Jewish home, a traditional family, and a simple life), and our personalities almost frighteningly alike. Not that my husband isn't handsome and charming and interesting - he is all that and more - only those weren't the crucial factors in our decision to marry.
My point is that you shouldn't settle for less and marry someone who obviously isn't right for you. Never, under any circumstances, I would suggest marrying a man who deceives you, treats you badly, or is totally incompatible with your life goals (for example, he doesn't want children while you do). Only I'm afraid that dreams of a dazzling romance with Mr. Perfect might leave an entire generation of women unmarried for much, much longer than necessary. Let's admit it: if you are realistic when you are young, chances are high that you will marry a good, hard-working, and decent-looking man. The older you get, the narrower the dating pool becomes. When you hit 35 and are still single, you just might marry someone - anyone - simply because the desire for marriage and children becomes so overwhelming.
Not that it's impossible to marry later in life and be very, very happy. For some, that's the Lord's plan, and there have been older singles throughout history - only in our generation, their number has increased dramatically. Generally speaking, I believe it is better to spend our most productive years investing in what will truly matter in years to come - a home, a marriage, a family. It isn't "settling". It's having the best.