Where Are All the Emotionally Available, Mentally Healthy Men?

I’m a 42 year old single mom who is very attractive (I look about 7 years younger), fun, has a great smile and laugh (and does both a LOT), emotionally stable, and not looking to race to the altar. And I definitely fit the definition of a “cool chick” – and my guy friends will confirm:-).”

Unfortunately, the pool of men that I’m dating from (early to mid 40s, usually divorced) are pretty messed up. A number of them want younger women (never mind that I look much younger) – didn’t anyone tell these guys that women hit their sexual prime over 40:-)?
I’m besieged by the 50+ set even though our lives are completely different (like my kids are young and theirs are grown and they don’t want anymore). A number of gentlemen I’ve met shouldn’t have been dating at all because they are still grieving. And the most surprising phenomenon that I’ve witnessed in this pool of men is that being a pretty, happy, vivacious “cool chick” is a big negative strike against me. I’m amazed at how many of them fall for the psycho Bs and drama queens.

My last (short-term – I can’t find one healthy enough to become long term!) boyfriend told me I was the first mentally healthy woman he dated in 3 years. But although I had everything he wanted in a woman, he didn’t feel any “chemistry” for me – so he went back to a younger woman who had serious enough issues that she lost custody of her kids. And he is not the only guy I’ve encountered like this. Another date, who didn’t feel chemistry with me but we became friends, I’ve watched him fall for all the women who don’t want to give him the time of day. He gets his butt kicked time and again and then cries on my shoulder.

I’ve tried all the big dating websites and I go out a lot (that is another weird phenomenon – men my age sit home on the weekends and don’t go out and do anything so I never meet anyone by just going out and having fun). So Evan where can I find the emotionally available mentally healthy men who will appreciate a woman like me? Thanks!!!!!

Joan

A very honest letter, Joan, which is particularly timely, given yesterday’s thematically similar posting. I anticipate that you speak for a lot of readers out there – quality woman who are frustrated at their ability to meet quality men. I can tell, from your tone, that you’re speaking your truth, based on your experience, and I would never attempt to negate it. However, I would like to expand on your truth. Maybe put it into a different perspective.

If we take everything you wrote at simply face value, you’re pretty close to the perfect woman. Young for your age, emotionally stable, cool, etc. This is good news. Now, by your estimation, there are no men out there who are either a) interested or b) qualified for a long-term relationship. Let’s analyze both of those things. And let’s delve into the assertion that “being a pretty, happy, vivacious ‘cool chick’ is a big negative strike against you. Because that’s simply untrue.

What is true is that your options are unfairly limited. This is a dilemma that faces any woman on the far side of 35. Your value goes up – your self-awareness, your experience, your wisdom, your sex drive, your income – and yet, to men, your value goes down. And the main reasons it goes down are because he wants to have kids or because he’s still a slave to the Maxim aesthetic. One reason that women rarely want to consider (and I’m not necessarily applying this to you, Joan), is that with their experience comes a darker lining. Moxie hit it on the head in yesterday’s post that successful, intelligent woman can often be anxious, self-righteous, negative, and entitled. These are not the adjectives women use to describe themselves; these are the adjectives that men often use to describe you based on their own dating experiences.

A relevant aside: Last year, it dawned on me that for every “crazy girl” dating story I had, there was a woman on the other end who was telling her own version of the story, except that in her version, she’s the heroine and I’m the bad guy. We all have myopia when it comes to dating. It’s much easier to find fault in others than it is to find it in ourselves. Studies have shown that people in couples overestimate what they bring to relationships – their generosity, their emotional availability – because they are exclusively inside their own heads. We remember our good deeds more than others’ good deeds. We don’t keep track of how many times our partner kept his/her mouth shut for the sake of harmony. But our partner does. Each of us thinks we’re the martyr.

So am I saying that you, Joan, are anxious and negative? Not at all. What I am saying is that you’re only seeing things from your own perspective. Which is limited. If you’ve gone out with a handful of guys who ended up with drama queens, that brings up a very obvious question: why would any man prefer a drama queen over you? If you think it’s because men like drama, I’ll have to respectfully disagree. I wrote about this in Why You’re Still Single. Once a man reaches a certain age, he prefers easy relationships. When we’re younger, we may tolerate craziness, just because we’re lonely or desperate for sex. But as we mature and value ourselves, we tend to court what makes sense for us in the long term. I’m not suggesting that the drama queens make sense to your ex’s, per se. I am challenging you to consider why he’d choose them over you at all. We’re largely rational beings. There has to be some reason, right?

I was on a plane two days ago and found myself seated next to an attractive and wealthy 59-year-old man. We got to talking and I learned that, not surprisingly, he had a predilection for younger women. In addition to the obvious physical attraction reasons, this man emphasized that it was so much EASIER to go out with a younger woman who has not yet been scarred by life. Someone who is up for anything. Someone who doesn’t judge. Someone who doesn’t tell you how to act. Keep in mind if you’re reading this that a younger woman doesn’t have to be a sycophant or a brainless chimp (although some insecure men are just fine with that). But for the men you’re interested in, the younger woman just has to be open and fun and easy to get along with. This is one of the things that women often ignore when they question the tastes of men. Every time I hear a woman saying that she “intimidates” men, this is what comes to mind. First of all, you don’t want to be with a man who is intimidated by you. Second of all, the greater likelihood is that not that he’s intimidated, but that he doesn’t want to be challenged by you on every little matter. This doesn’t mean he wants you to “dumb it down.” It means he wants you to “take it easy.”

That said, men ARE impossibly shallow. I struggle with it in my coaching every day. Clients who tell me, as they show me their lists of hot, underaged favorites, “I can’t help what I’m attracted to”. Yeah. There’s not much we can do about that. It’s why the 50+ set is interested in you. Just know that there ARE men out there who are looking for peers. My 60-year-old Mom married a 60-year-old guy. I’ve had single parent clients find the love of their lives on Match.com, JDate and Nerve. It happens all the time.

But one thing I’ve learned from years of dating and dating coaching, is that there’s nothing to learn when placing the blame squarely on everybody else. I hear your pain in your email, Joan. It’s frustrating out there. I completely agree. But I assume your question was not simply looking for validation: “You’re perfect. Men suck. Don’t change.” A question seeks an answer. And if you’re not arriving at the answers yourself, it’s useful to get another perspective. In this case, a male perspective.

Listen, if you’re dating online with a great profile, great photos, healthy flirting technique and a long-term subsecription, great. If you’re going out and doing things you love and putting yourself in the position to meet like-minded men, great. If you’re still finding that there isn’t one quality man in the world who wants a quality woman like you, I have to question something. There are quality men out there – even if they’re few and far between. Most of them want to date someone younger – because they can. But if you are all the things you say you are, I have no doubt that some quality single dad is going to grab you and never let you go.

Just don’t make the mistake in assuming that there are no emotionally available men, that men prefer drama, or that men don’t want “cool” women. Because that type of false thinking doesn’t lead to anything positive.

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Comments:

  1. 61
    Paul

    Goodness Gracious!
    Not one of the women who have responded on here, especially to Verbose and maybe even me, have come back with anything remotely resembling logical reasoning. You gals sound like your about 14 years old! Where have all the emotionally availablle men gone? They are running like heck from all the emotionally immature women like you, that’s where! Get a grip girls! Just because you were stupid enough to be doormats, doesn’t give you license to take it out on everybody and launch verbal attacks just because you don’t agree with their reasoning or opinions! Verbose is right…you simply attack the messanger, which means any argument you might have can’t stand up to scrutiny! No wonder why you’ve had problems. And why is a happily married woman, who respects and admires her husband doing on an advice from a single dating experts blog anyway? Ya, that’s respect alright. Verbose is right, you aren’t going to change behavior…I’m looking for someone who doesn’t need it!

  2. 62
    Julz

    Are we going to get spanked?

    1. 62.1
      faded jade

      Only if you are one of his PAYING coaching clients ;)

  3. 63
    sheseizereason

    Paul:“Just because you were stupid enough to be doormats…”

    Congratulations on your superb point-missing abilities.

  4. 64
    verbosity

    Lovely….all variants on the same thing. Attack the messenger and insult him/her. At least sheseziereason is cleverer about it. Also, I would like to respectfully point out that Paul has also engaged in an ad hominem attack above, which I do not condone as respectful discourse. I will not engage in that. Simply, I will continue to discuss the thread’s subject and point out where people’s opinions may or may not have logical flaws (including my own), and to draw attention to instances where people do not discuss the subject, but attack posters instead. Such attacks do nothing to advance or discuss the subject matter.

    I believe Paul is correct in one instance – attacking me, him or other posters without responding to the points he, I or other posters make indicates such attackers have no argument that may withstand scrutiny.

  5. 65
    hunter

    to Paul,

    I believe you wrote, “….have come back with anything remotely resembling logical reasoning”…..I have news for you,.. did you know that the male mind is limited by logic?……..Men bifercate, his thoughts go either to the left or to the right. A female, will go left and right….hhmmhhh, just writing this makes me smile…

  6. 66
    hunter

    to verbosity,

    ….according to research, 2/3 of all females, are looking for financial stability, and “1/3″ for sensual and sexual. Whereas, 2/3 of all men, are looking for sexual and sensual, and, 1/3 for financial gain.

    30% of females looking for sensual, that is a good portion…….

  7. 67
    Paul

    Hunter, the male mind is NOT limited by logic. That’s really kinda limiting to say that. Tell that to a lawyer or computer guy. Men tend to be more logical and women tend to be more emotional, but we need both in this world. As for your other post, women are wired to seek security. Do they look at a potential mates earning potential? They’s be stupid not to be. No woman wants to be romanced by a buffoon, and no woman wants to wake up 20 years later only to realize she married a guy who is going no-where. If it wasn’t for their want for security, we guys would largely be at the same level we were when we were in our early teens. In the book “Millionaire Minds” (same people that did “The Millionaire Next Door), they found that of all the people who achieved wealth, 98% of them were married or had a partner when they achieved their wealth. That means that only 2% did it alone. Behind every good man there is a better women to be sure. A good woman makes a good man a better man.

  8. 68
    Paul

    Also Hunter…marriage counselors did a 20 year study…they asked every couple who came to them to list their top 5 most important relational values…universally, men listed sexual fulfillment as the number one most important value, and universally, sex wasn’t even in womens top 5!

  9. 69
    male or female...

    quoting the Bible is NOT a logical basis to support any argument.

  10. 70
    verbosity

    male or female….

    I respectfully disagree with that assertion. We may or may not agree with much of the Bible’s contents. However, many millions of men and women have successfully lived according to their roles set forth in the Bible for 2 thousand years. That doesn’t mean the roles as set forth in the Bible are illogical. Also, many have been unsuccessful. One cannot ignore this also. I believe that such a blanket dismissal is therefore not applicable. Would you care to explain how it is not logical?

  11. 71
    hunter

    to Paul,

    you are right not all men are limited by logic. The left handed ones, to include, Albert Einstein, Paul Mcartney, Thomas Edison, Ulysses Grant, Robert E. Lee, General Patton, Bill Clinton, etc….are not, because they are said to have the brain of a woman with in the body of a man(testosterone)….See the female mixes her feelings with her thoughts….she can do this because, their brain has a super thick set of blood vessels, connecting the the right side of the brain, to the left, called the “corpus colousom”…..allowing them to process information very fast……

  12. 72
    hunter

    to paul,

    you said, “marriage counselors did”….yes, that is fairly accurate, you said, “universally” and my post was,,”2/3″, that is fairly close…..I agree their also…..

  13. 73
    male or female...

    Nice try with the half-logic there, verbotchity.

    An acceptable premise for a logical discussion must be one which is undeniable by both parties before discussion may proceed. Many “millions of men and women have successfully lived according to their roles set forth” not just by the bible, but in the Koran, the Vedas, the Zendavestas, the Book of Mormon …insert any widespread scripture here… also for thousands of years. And yet each sacred text will conflict in content with another in some way. They can’t all be undeniably true, and the mere fact that some have made the rules of Scripture work for them does not mean the tome is categorically truthful, correct, or so applicable to all that it serves as unquestionable basis in an argument. By your logic, if hedonism or incest were practices by which “millions of men and women have successfully lived” then a book preaching those practices would be equally acceptable as basis for logical discourse.

    However, you’re not so logical anyway, so you don’t really deserve this explanation.

    Stop congratulating yourself that you’ve won an argument just because no one will engage with you. That is a false conclusion.

    There comes a point when a person becomes so tiresome that no one wants to interact with him. You, with your laughable conclusory jumps (as above), abuse of the cut-and-paste, and overpreoccupation with only one logical fallacy – the ad hominem (ad nauseum) – have reached that point.

    And since you’ve demonstrated at least a thin understanding of fallacies, allow me to point out one more falsehood to you: that anyone need pay you any attention at all. No one is obligated to answer you, with or without ceding to your points. The refusal to engage you does not default to the correctness of your assertions.

    People are dismissing you, because your behavior has become ridiculous. It is a well-known strategem that when someone becomes obnoxious or unpleasant in a forum
    such as this, that the most effective response is to ignore that person. If people don’t respect a person, what’s the incentive to persuade him of anything? Or, to put it bluntly, what’s the incentive to talk to someone who’s a known ass-hat?

    We’re here for Evan’s wisdom, not Paul’s bible thumping or your wacky hypotheses which you mistake for well-reasoned conclusions.

    Therefore, know that going forward, people are shunning you not because you’re undeniably right, but because you’ve been odiously unlikeable, and people just aren’t that into you. Hope you are at least smart enough to recognize that the alternative explanation for the silence in response to you (and sanctimonious self-appointed judges like Paul) is that you’re just not worth it.

  14. 75
    verbosity

    male or female,

    I asked you to please explain further, and so you have.

    Perhaps you did not understand my point, either intentionally or unintentionally. I did not say the bible overall was a logical basis for discussion at all. However it is a fact that for 2000 years, many people worldwide have lived according to those roles. Many have done so successfully, many unsuccessfully, which I also noted.

    I don’t care if it’s the bible that set those roles or ET the Extra Terrestrial, or that they are or are not undeniable true. That was not the point at all. The point is that since the writing of those roles, people have lived both successfully and unsuccessfully under those roles (which are undeniable true), whether they are true or not. Therefore, dismissing the fact that people have lived for over two thousand years according to those roles (whether ‘true’ or not) is not fully logical or reasonable. I trust you understand the distinction.

    I have not, and will not, sling mud at other posters, no matter how much they may do so to me. Insofar as the rest of your diatribe is concerned, it is worth no further response.

  15. 76
    verbosity

    to hunter,

    I’m trying to focus on that 30% you mentioned. Gotta sift through the other 70% though. Perhaps add a few percentage points to the 30 along the way… ;-)

  16. 77
    hunter

    to verbosity,

    …I am told that, the “30%”, don’t really advertise,… they are comfortable where they are at,…. so,.. they stay in their own little circles….

  17. 78
    verbosity

    hunter,

    Those circles are more numerous in some areas than in others. C’est la vie…

  18. 79
    hunter

    to verbosity,

    Ha, ha, how funny!…hhhmmmhh, really? Tell me more!…..

  19. 80
    Hadley Paige

    (1) After reading all the posts here I am forced to conclude that the answer to the question “where are all the emotionally available, mentally healthy men?” is… Same location as the non-overbearing, non-demanding, non-bossy, non-cranky, nurturing, kind, supportive, loving, home&children oriented women.

    (2) to Male or Female: I would be very interested to know if the poster is a man or a woman. It helps to understand where someone is coming from when they talk about the perspectives.

  20. 81
    verbosity

    hunter,

    In all seriousness, I discussed this with a buddy of mine. My theory is that in urban areas that have higher ‘intellectual capital’ (higher # of universities per capita, graduate degrees per capita, sophisticated business climate – like Bay Area, for example), you have fewer #’s of women looking at male earnings. This obviously translates into higher #’s who seek compatible personality traits, not monetary ones. I know this is general, untested, and subject to much criticism, but I think it works in theory.

    So, in a place like Phoenix (where I am), you only have 2 universities (yes, I am ignoring NAU). Simply put, there isn’t that much intellectual capital here, comparatively speaking, to a place like SF, Chicago, or Wash, DC.

    Ok… my silly theory aside, it would make sense to focus a search (if you actively search) like a job search. What traits do you desire? Brains, beauty, religion, hobbies? And try to find groups, activities, pursuits, etc., that match that. It’s about increasing probabilities, I think.

    Mu $0.02

  21. 82
    Mattie

    Hello, and greetings – oh, and if it’s not too tardy: happy New Year!

    You all sound to this ancient, Brit bat as if you are bright, lively and interesting people. Yes, I did say “all” … But (you knew there’d be one of those), at the same time I find myself feeling sad that so many of you are angry, disappointed and frustrated. I’m sure you don’t deserve to be. Sadly, the situation is comparable over on this side of the pond, BTW, where Thurber’s hilarious ‘sex war’ is beginning to be enacted for real – looking less like an entertaining diversion and more like a genuine battleground. And there are far too many of those in the world already; we don’t need more of ‘em.

    So I wonder if I might make a few comments from my august position as a complete loser in the game of love. As a divorced woman in her 50s who’s retired from the fray due not so much to lack of interest – on my part or theirs – more because I’m sick of being categorised and treated accordingly. We won’t go into all the gory details (which are, naturally, mind-numbingly tedious): suffice it to say that nobody does anybody else any favours at all by attempting to force them, market research-style, into a rigidly-determined pre-defined box!

    We’re each and every one of us unique. This is love, affection, partnership – romance, even (why not?); it is not sociology – with the honourable exception of Zygmunt Bauman’s ‘Liquid Love’, (which has some scathing things to say about the consumer society’s extension of consumerism to male-female relationships), we are looking at this matter from the point of view of private individuals trying to make sense of what we see and feel.

    So thinking in broad swathes is dangerous – sentences that begin “all/most men/women are” really aren’t helpful. “Some” might just cut it, though. There’s always one … or two … or even three fuckwits around. Watch out for 3, though: if you’ve met 3 in a row (and this is the number where a sequence first becomes apparent), then you might just benefit from taking a Very Close Look at yourself.

    That said, I like Verbosity’s last post re ‘intellectual capital’. I think it’s valid. The old saw about like attracting like really does apply. So, if you are seeking an intelligent, well-informed, well-read and reasonably cultured partner, then you probably need to be in a place where these types abound.

    But do older divorced men want an easy time of it? Well, obviously not all of them. One of my friends, aged 65, whose 28-year marriage (his second) to a delightful and wonderful but often contrary woman 15 years his junior hit the rocks a couple of years ago. Does this charming, calm, kindly and handsome chap he go for a straightforward female even younger than his ex? Nope. The new ladylove is … well, of the same age as former wife and just as complex, awkward and cantankerous! And the old darling has moved into her house, which clearly puts him in a position of relative domestic inferiority (always a recipe for disaster, in my experience), where he remains to this day – perfectly happy.

    It’s a case of what you’re used to, to a great extent. This man (above), as his ex-wife admits “likes difficult women”. Others may not.

    Human beings have a way of resisting theories or theoretical frameworks. Thank God.

    So why not just enjoy being your complicated, demanding, bright and interesting selves – get out there and do exactly as you please, and sooner or later you are bound to attract someone who may not be perfect but who is perfect for you.

    Make a list of what you want/need in a mate by all means – but be prepared to throw it out when he/she hoves into view, confounding all your expectations! Anything you can think of to help you find a partner which feels right to you – from visualisation to joining a choir – DO IT! It might work; it might not – but you’ll enjoy it nonetheless.

    Yes, you’ll probably be disappointed – many times. Learn the lesson, and move on. Your motto in these circumstances should be “next, please!” As Samuel Beckett said “fail. Fail again. Fail better.”

    Give people a chance. A friend of mine (female, lovely, clever, 40s with a vile father and history of rotten relationships with even more rotten men) went out with someone she found initially uninspiring, albeit sweet-natured and kind. By the third date she was beginning to like him; by the fifth, she found she was fancying the pants (?’shorts’) off him! Now, 18 months later she’s happily involved with him in a relationship that entails mutual respect, confidence, a feeling of mutual growth and encouragement – and, yes, love.

    Never ignore your gut reactions, though: they’re there for a good reason – nature’s atavistic way of telling us there’s a dirt gurt sabre-toothed tiger stalking us (in this case, gender is irrelevant: male or female of the species = equally lethal)! These red lights really do mean ‘stop'; they’ve saved so many of us from some hideous mistakes, even from danger, damage or death.

    Listen to your feelings. YOUR feelings – other people’s feelings are theirs, and you are not responsible for them. What are you about? Your needs/wants? If you’ve passed the 40 mark, odds on you’ve become a bit detached from them, being engaged upon progressing a career, raising a family, all that. Now you’ve a chance to listen to your own inner promptings.

    And now I’m off to my virtuous couch, before I talk even worse nonsense to you all!

    Goodnight – and God bless – and, most of all, good luck to you all. The good luck I’m sure you all deserve.

    Mattie xx

  22. 83
    hunter

    to verbosity,

    …you might be right, ’cause, I can think of one man that moved to S.F. bay area and married up, financially,..

  23. 84
    naturegirl

    Thanks Mattie for the words of wisdom!

  24. 85
    legal guy

    verbo-

    I slogged through most of the exchanges here and you have some points, but do you really consider “arbitrary” an ad hominem attack?

    I think of an ad hominem attack as an attack on a person’s character.

    To refer to someone’s rules of discourse as “arbitrary” is simply a critique on the extent to which a person is able to think and reason consistently. This seems clearly fair game by your standards of “respectful” discourse.

  25. 86
    verbosity

    legal guy,

    An ad hominem argument stemming from the Latin (“argument to the man”, “argument against the man”) consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. Paraphrased from Wiki..

    Calling a poster arbitrary is the very definition of an ad hominem argument (or attack), by calling me arbitrary. It does nothing to respond to the substance of any argument or claims I and others advanced. It simply seeks to call me ‘arbitrary’ for pointing out these fallacious argument methods.

    I disagree with your reasoning. I gather from your name you are an attorney, or involved in the law, where discrediting a witness (by their honesty, potential financial gains, biases, etc.) to cast doubt on his/her veracity/truthfulness is par for the course and common. This is not the case, and this is most definitely not a courtroom.

    Further, simply engaging in an ad hominem argument is simply a diversionary tactic to distract and divert the real argument away from its true substance. Sadly, it appears all to many people not only understand and do this, but it also appears all too many people do not understand it is being done and buy into the fallacious method.

  26. 87
    Jessica

    Mattie – excellent post! Very thoughtful and well-thought-out and thought provoking as well : ) I very much appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us. You sound like a nifty, and very sharp lady, with as good a sense of humor as you seem to have a good head on your shoulders. Thank you for sharing.

  27. 88
    jack

    verbosity: ” I gather from your name you are an attorney, or involved in the law, where discrediting a witness (by their honesty, potential financial gains, biases, etc.) to cast doubt on his/her veracity/truthfulness is par for the course and common.”

    Ad hominem attack!

  28. 89
    tony

    verbose –

    dude, you are totally arbitrary, and by that I mean an inconsistent and illogical thinker. plus a hypocrite for personally attacking legal guy’s profession. Judging by the amount of time u spend on this blog, i’ll bet you haven’t had the “fallacious method” performed on u 4 awhile.

    rotflmao.

  29. 90
    Mattie

    Naturegirl and Jessica:

    Greetings, and many thanks for your kind comments (I am blushing!).

    Best to you both, and good luck – it’s a rocky road to love!

    Mattie x

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