If a woman's untiring search for Mr. Right has proved fruitless and if she is over 30, the latest advice to stop looking and hook up with Mr. Second Best, or even a Mr. Right Now!
Lori Gottlieb, a 40-year-old single mother and author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr Good Enough, recommends that women would be happier in the long run if they considered the option of Mr Not Bad rather than relying on finding the perfect man.
"Women are loth to admit it in this day and age, but ask any soul-baring 40-year-old single heterosexual woman what she most longs for in life, and she probably won't tell you it's a better career or a smaller waistline or a bigger apartment. Most likely, she'll say that what she really wants is a husband (and, by extension, a child)," the Guardian quoted Gottlieb as saying.
The writer continued: "We're conditioned to crave that Big Love. It's painful how pervasive the fantasy is that The One is out there. We grew up idealising marriage, but if we'd had a more realistic understanding of its cold, hard benefits, we might have done things differently. So we walked away from uninspiring relationships that might have made us happy."
Gottlieb added: "When we're holding out for romantic love, we have the fantasy that this level of passionate intensity will make us happier. But marrying Mr Good Enough might be equally viable, especially if you're looking for a reliable life companion.
"What makes for a good marriage isn't necessarily what makes for a good romantic relationship. Marriage isn't a passion-fest; it's a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane and often boring non-profit business. And I mean this in a good way."
Fellow author Elizabeth Gilbert, in her new book, Committed: A Sceptic Makes Peace with Marriage, claimed marriage was not the magical answer for women.
She said: "We marry most often because we are in love and we think it will make us happy. Yet married women are more likely to suffer from depression than are single women. Married women are not as successful in their careers as single women."
She added: "The fact is women generally lose in the exchange of vows."