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. 151
    donna

    I’ve married and divorced two men who were exactly my age.  My second husband was 49 when I met him and dated children. He said that girls in their twenties think that sex is a relationship. That is easy, seamless. But he married me. Easy turned out to be what he wanted and within a year he cheated on me with a child. He told me that it was an ego thing, A child begging him for change made him feel like a man. When he needed to talk about feelings, it was me, not her that he talked to. Fragile egos are not up to my standards and I did not want him back.
    My first husband dates children and makes no pretense why he does so. He has a child with one of his girlfriends and although he loves his child, has no desire to be with the mother. He has different women (I do mean plural) every week for all the freaky sex he wants. He would, however remarry me in a minute.
    The 42 year old mom, whose question started this post, is absolutely correct. There is nothing wrong with her and most older men would tell he that. Men choose young girls because they don’t have to make a choice. They can have everything their way. Grown women cost.
    Men understand equity. They know that the world does not revolve around them and they also know that the woman are not pieces of meat. In the end, they settle for women who have drive, spunk, class, standards, and a backbone. When they make a choice, they chose an equal, someone who is in the same phase of life they are in, a woman who understands them and one who can become their best friend.
    I have a lot of male friends and they always choose a woman their age for a serious relationship. The ones who date young girls are so damaged older women don’t want them. Sadly, young girls only want their money.
    Rather than teach older women to compromise their values, it might be better to encourage young women to raise their standards. Perhaps they have the attention of older men, but they don’t have the man.When you walk in a room, there are men looking at the twenty years old girls and there are men looking for stunning older women. Be what you want to attract.
    I am 53 and while I agree that quality men are hard to find, they are out there. An older women in good shape and in control of her life has plenty of choices among men who are in good shape and in control of their lives. Look for a man who married young and divorced after ten or more years. They know how to commit.
     A young man in his early thirties surprised me with a comment he made a few days ago. He said men don’t want a woman every man has had. Apparently old fashioned morality is not quite dead. Easy… has plenty of good times… In my opinion it is better to be hard to get, but worth the effort.
     

  2. 152
    judy

    Try and find us 141 – I’m not cynical, bitter and I can no longer bear children.
    How does a 60 year old woman sound to you? (I’m young spirited, pretty, slim, longish hair, bright and have some money)
    Hey!
    Quote And I really am loathe to generalize, but if some of these posts are indicative of the thought processes and attitudes of average “older” single women, then I’ll stick to dating women in their 20s.
    Would you girls want to date a stick-in-the-mud older guy, who is cold, stoic, emotionally distant, and devoid of passion and excitement unquote

     

  3. 153
    judy

    Sorry bis to comment 152 – I clicked too soon
     
    What makes you think that age is the concern anyway?
    I perfectly understand that a guy of your age would not want to go out with a woman of 60 – but it doesn’t necessarily follow that a girl in her 20s will be warm, open, and emotionally available.
    :o)

  4. 154
    JoJoe

     
    I’ve been dating again after a long sabbatical.  I’m older and mature and would like an older mature man.  But they seem to be no fun or stuck in routine or looking STILL for that perfect “IMAGE”. 
    But my big problem is their sex drives… oh so slow or impotent.  Once a night, come on.  And then there is activity time, they can’t seem to walk a mile or ski or ride a bike or climb a hill or much of anything.  They are so lazy or just want to watch sports or drink beer.  Others in 1/2 good health want to watch movies, take a drive, cook a meal.  Sooooo borrriiing.
    So I gravitate to the guys 20 years younger than me.  Ya, talk about fun, and girls wanna have fun.  Whoo. sex drives that match mine, YES!
    They can run, they can dance, they don’t give a shit about dinner, they can eat anything.  They don’t fall asleep when they drink, they laugh and laugh large.  They have goals, dreams, no bagage.  They are in the NOW the music, the techno.  They don’t want babies and neither do I.
    They are creative, excited about life, daring, interesting.  Some are into their studies and can discuss many topics without sounding like a Mr. Know it all.  They’re Greaaaaaaatttttttttttt.
    I still think young, live young. I live hard.  I expect hard!
    Young girls with older men, for what?  money?  go for it girls, love what you’re doing for me.
    And besides, most relationships are going to end.  So might as well have fun getting to that end.  
    What the hell happened to men after 40?  What the hell is going on in their lives?  So damned bitter, so much crap, and their “crazy” ex wives.  Own it dudes!  
    And to those men who say, they don’t want a women who’s had other men. Yet, they’re off to the races trying to score as many as they can get.  Sure, that makes sense.
    Nor do we want to continue this Whore-Madonna complex, BS.  Get lost with your boxes and your need for control.  Get lost.  I love my life.

  5. 155
    Jackie Gordon

    JoJoe,

    That was the perfect end response to a long string of boring depressed ones. GET IT GiRL!!!!! LOVE IT! You make me proud!

  6. 156
    monalisa

    for that 70% ‘i don’t bother myself by seeking for financial stabled men bcz all the men who proposed me are rich people. my problem is that I cant find a man who is sexually as I want. you can live with someone who has  less money but you cant sleep with men who don’t stimulate you.

  7. 157
    Liza

    Can’t resist sharing insight in the hope of bolstering a bit of optimism.  Here are some suggestions gleaned from personal experience:
    1) There are creeps and gems in both genders, at every age.  Dating is more fun if you already have a life you love and view it as part of the adventure, and not a mission. 
    2) As an accomplished, independent woman myself, I seem to have a better experience with men who have bright, strong mothers.  These men appear better equipped to interact with our kind. 
    3) Some successes in life don’t correlate directly with effort.  I suspect dating is one of them.  The less compelled I am, the more popular I seem to be.  Perhaps this brings out the “easy and fun” attributes the men seem to find attractive.
    Best of luck to all and I  hope this helps. 
     
     

  8. 158
    Jill

    I just spent two hours reading through all of these comments. I have never been married, nor do I have children by my own choice. Where is the real true love? Why in the world does it have to be broken down into business and youth?  Marriage – business..Older chasing the youth. Is it rare for me to think romance still exists for both sexes of all ages? The whole comment section has saddened me. 
     

    1. 158.1
      neil

      Speaking as a man I feel sorry for women, they’ve been sold a pup and many don’t realize it. From little girls they are told they are princesses and only expect to marry the “full package” whatever that might be?. Those guys are in high demand. So what’s in modern marriage for men?…..ermm..nothing……you work long hours to pay the mortgage so you don’t see your family anyways, you have hardly any rights to your kids you have should divorce strike, and your missus could just up and leave you on a whim..because she has fallen out of love with you.
      Women try to date up- into a small pool of wealthy good looking men. Guys date down into a much wider pool of women, plus there are more choices for guys. Date around, or just opt out – its selfish sure, but lifes a damn site easier. I love feminism…..women can now work long hours, bring up the kids, pay the bills, do it all as a singleton (empowered)……..i can just stay single and go fishing , and society’s ok with that….cool…..

  9. 159
    tamara

    @Verbosity #11:
    “Regarding money, demands and compromises…my opinion is that men should never, ever commingle money (or loan, or borrow from, etc) with a woman. Why would a woman care how much a man made unless she thought she would benefit from it in some way? By not commingling money (even if married), a potential area of conflict is solved. Further, since women can do the same jobs and earn the same (actually more than) as men for the same work, they should not care one bit what a man makes.”
     
    Lol men who try following that principle will find that many of the women they consider desirable will not put up with that. Speaking as a very (conventionally at least) attractive woman in my mid-20s with many options, I certainly wouldn’t. And men shouldn’t be surprised by that.
    When I was in my early 20s and just dating casually, I went out with some very successful guys but I also was dated some younger guys with more average incomes. Money didn’t matter that much anyway, at that age. But now seeing the way so many guys talk about women losing value as they age, I realise the smart thing to do is to marry a man I love who is Also financially well-to-do when i’m at ‘high value’ in my 20s or early 30s. If he divorces me in the future, I’ll still have quite alot of financial security and will have less need for another partner.
     
    This is partly why so many pretty young women go for rich guys. Yes it’s partly biological, but it’s partly cos of a fear that they may be discarded when they get older anyway, so they might as well safeguard their financial future. I’m not gonna marry just any well-to-do man who I don’t love, but never would I marry a man I love who isn’t financially secure.
     

  10. 160
    Beth

    Dear Joan, I really do appreciate this letter you wrote.

    It IS frustrating out there to find good quality men in their 40s 50s… but isn’t that true for any age? lol.!!!!!!! I think you have to determine what qualities you’re looking for and stick to that list… and don’t settle! Be true to who you are. Find hobbies and interests that interest you and maybe you’ll find a like-minded man with the same interests.

    I am a 58 year old woman, still attracting younger men. I look in my 40s. I have a date tomorrow with a 41 year old. It’s not about age, it’s about who you are.

    Be happy with you first and then pursue …. kindest regards, Beth

  11. 161
    Red

    I love how all these girl’s assume they’re all “wonderful, sexy, and smart” and it’s the men that have the shortcomings. If you’re really wonderful, sexy, and smart you wouldn’t be mewling on the internet about how unfair the dating game is. You’re likely not as smart as you think and though you might be wonderful, sexy to men will never be Ms. Wrinkles Superiorpants. Especially when there’s a 26-year-old counterpart out there with your same credentials snatching up your perfect man because the light hasn’t quite left her eyes yet. You should probably do some traveling with the time you have left. Let the dumb monkey-men play with their Barbies.

  12. 162
    NewPNW

    One “danger”  in trying tone  more easy going and less demanding is that you can attract the  wrong types of guys i.e. those interested in open relationships, threesomes, etc. Also, I have had some guys expect me to be available according to their schedule and were upset that I actually had a life when I seemed so ” free and easy going” early on.  So, not being true to yourself in an effort to appear more accommodating does not work either.  ( I have done it and the above was who I attracted.) Finding some balance is key and is difficult.

  13. 163
    Braveheart

    As a man of 59 this is a topic dear to my heart, and one I might add spent a great deal of time researching. In recent years women have been the ones leaving marriages in droves and statistics put this as high as 75% in some areas of North America. The main reason listed are not the usual three A’s ( Adultery, Addiction and Abuse), but a sense of unhappiness/falling out of love etc. which in in a sense would be viewed if the shoe were on the male foot as a “Mid Life Crisis”.
    Many Men in this category ( those who have not committed the crimes against marriage listed above and have been divorced) , who used to think their situation was rare or unique to themselves, know this is not the case now. Men are now comparing notes online and are very leary of having long term relationships with women in their 40′s for this reason, after being what’s now termed “Frivorced”.  Women on the verge of menopause are viewed as potential bombs, many of the men in this category have already watched their wives become someone they no longer recognize once they hit their early to mid 40′s.
    Now I know the response to this is probably going to be a chorus of  “Bitter/Mysogynist/Loser” , but it is the simple truth as sizable number  middle aged men post divorce see it. Further making this more difficult for women is that women are generally far pickier than the men and have more unrealistic expectations than men.  One of the largest online dating services “OKCupid” has done many studies on the dynamics of “who choses who”, the latest indicates that the women found 80% of men unattractive, the majority not willing to date someone under 6′ , the men on the other hand found only 20% of the women unattractive and really had no problem dating women of any height.
     

  14. 164
    v

    Hi all

    Wow is all i can say, I read a few pages to this and then stopped. We are all wonderful and unique in our way and our genders are disfferent too. Happiness comes from within and so does sense of peace and being as one. We all have a journey in life and gender role and how we live our lives have rapidly changed we are the generation to feel this shift. Its impacting on men, women and how we live our lives as families in the western world. The next generation will have a better handle on this and the generation down again even better. I feel both genders are struggling within qhat we have created only through thought judgement and expectations. When you realise all source comes from the internal eye energies will shift ie if you dont like what your seeing change yoir own lense. This takes commitment and work , live each day likeita your last, have fun and love freely and be present without ego or expectations. V (single for 3 years having fun loving life ) :-) x

     

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