The Atlantic Monthly had an interesting story on why women should settle for "Mr. Good Enough." Eugene Volokh had some insightful comments. I am sympathetic to the idea of modest expectations but I don’t favor cheerleading for settling. More precisely I worry about The Paradox of the Underrated (is Shawn Marion still underrated? Nope, and by the way Phoenix had nothing to lose from that deal). If this article talks you into the prospect of settling, settling will start to seem pretty good to you. If your expectations were too high in the first place you’ll keep your old set of unrealistic expectations (personalities and pathologies don’t change so quickly) and simply apply them to a new option, namely a marriage to a dullard. "Settling" works best when you are stuck on a desert island and you do not expect so much from your surrender to the inevitable. The AM article would do more good if it tried to convince people how terrible settling would be. You just have to plant the idea in people’s minds, as they’ll make their own decisions anyway.
In other words, "have modest expectations — it will be great for you!!!" can’t really be winning advice.