So when is “good enough” enough to give up on perfect? Living in a major metropolitan area is a psychological trap for finding a romantic partner. Sure there are plenty of options, but there always appears to be a better option than who you are currently with. As a result, it is hard to make the leap of faith and commit.
The article at this link: http://ideas.ted.com/when-should-you-settle-down/
does an interesting job of attempting to mathematically quantify the problem (using something known as “optimal stopping theory”) to give you the best chance of when you should settle. An interesting approach, although I doubt real humans would have the self-discipline to use a mathematical formula when it comes to love.
The problem is definitely a little different between men and women. Obviously both enjoy love and companionship. However, while women’s options seem to shrink with age, some of the characteristics that make men more attractive tend to increase with age (such as achievement, financial security, social standing, confidence, etc.). So a man might very well be better served just to delay commitment, with the thought that he will achieve higher levels of attractiveness later in life.
But this can be a bit misleading though. Ultimately, you are still alone while waiting. And there is no guarantee you will reach higher levels of attractiveness, or that when you do, you will actually be happier with a so called “attractive partner” than who you could have ended up with if you committed earlier in life. In other words, there is no guarantee that the “perfect partner” you’ve been chasing all your life will actually work out better for you than someone you could have settled for much earlier.