Examining the Reacher vs. Settler Relationship Theory

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[AdSense-A]The recently-departed show How I Met Your Mother, in addition to proving once again that nobody knows how to end a television series without pissing off 90% of the viewership, left a long legacy of awesomeness behind it. Certainly not the least of which is its introduction of the reacher/settler theory to the masses.

What’s that, you who are too lazy to look it up yourself ask? Simple, really — according to the show, in most every relationship, there exists a reacher (somebody who successfully strove for a mate way out of their league) and a settler (the one tired of looking for someone good, and who was willing to mate with the first person who approached them).

You’d be hard-pressed to find a relationship where this rule doesn’t apply, though too many people make the mistake of thinking settlers and reachers only are concerned with looks. Certainly that’s the most obvious example, but the phenomenon can cover many different facets of a relationship: personality, lot in life, contribution to the relationship, etc.

Thus, it’s absolutely possible to be the reacher and the settler at the same time. If, for example, you’re a wealthy business owner and date a part-time fry cook, you’ve settled as far as finding a financial equal goes. However, if said fry cook looks like a model, and you look like Donald Trump (not Donald Trump on a bad day, just Donald Trump in general,) then you’re clearly a reacher, looks-wise.

Want some famous examples? Of course you do! Here are a few celebrity couples, both past and present, who are clear cases of somebody reaching and somebody settling:


Heidi Klum and Seal

Heidi Klum is, last we checked, an incredibly famous supermodel who can have literally anybody she chooses. So who did she choose to spend many, many years of her prime with? Seal, a guy who seems like a really nice dude, and is obviously a talented singer, but who looks like Swamp Thing. Why one of the most beautiful women on the planet decided to settle like this is beyond us, but good on Seal for successfully reaching as long as he did.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z

Second verse, same as the first, only even more so. Beyoncé is almost obscenely gorgeous, not to mention insanely rich, famous, and successful. In addition, her entire shtick is based around not needing a man to be happy. So why, oh why, does she feel that she needs Jay-Z? Mr. Carter is certainly one of the greatest rappers ever, but he’s also one of the ugliest men in music.

And it’s not like Beyoncé’s only rich and famous because of him – she was a huge star long before meeting him. Yet she’s not only settled, she’s clearly proud to have done so, since they have a kid together and all. Good job, Mr. Z. Good job.


Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin


This might be the ultimate in convoluted reacher/settler relationships. Chris Martin of Coldplay clearly reached, looks-wise, when he went for Gwyneth Paltrow. After all, Martin might be the plainest-looking guy in rock. So he reached, and the stupendously beautiful Paltrow settled, right?

Well, Martin ALSO settled, because while he seems like a fairly affable guy who’s perfectly content to make money off of rejected Radiohead demos and go home, Paltrow is far more up her own ass. Her whole GOOP thing paints her as an insufferable snob who’s convinced that she holds all the answers in life and that if anyone has any problems, it’s because they are not as rich and wonderful and beautiful as her.

Martin, in his mindless pursuit of hotness, definitely settled for a way worse person than he deserves. It’s honestly a shock he didn’t consciously uncouple sooner.


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