Why Does Everyone Else Seem to Settle Down But I Can’t?

I’ve been following your blogs and newsletters off and on for a few years. I can see I could be your typical client. I’m 38, professional with a lot of blessings in life except my love life. By saying that, you will probably understand the person I’m looking for needs to be loving, responsible and desperate for love and family life.

I just got out of a 2-year relationship. It’s a very classic story, everything was great and we were well connected in many ways except that he couldn’t move forward to next level – starting a family. During the 2-year relationship, I was waiting for him for 10 months while he was in South Africa taking care of his ill father. I was there for him through the most difficult time of his life. He never committed to me. After all this, he said he still couldn’t bring himself to propose to me or start a family. I can hear your answer already :)

But it’s hard. He’s back and I moved out, not far from him. I have to admit that I still hold out some hope. He said he’s going to a counselor. He said marriage is such a huge decision and he’s afraid that he will make a mistake. He was never near to marriage to anyone before.

I’m a strong and independent woman, but when it comes to relationship and love, I have to admit I’m very vulnerable. Evan, I have been single for over a decade! When I met my ex-boyfriend, I thought this is it. I’ve been on numerous relationship programs and I like your advice best, and that you do understand women. I don’t understand why I’m single and I don’t understand why everyone else seems to settle down with someone and I can’t find the one. Thank you, Lotus

Dear Lotus,

Sorry to hear about your ex-boyfriend, his father, and your breakup. Sounds like a rough go for everyone involved. Please take a little bit of solace in the idea that you can only do the best you can do. And since you can’t change the past, the very least you can do is stop beating yourself up for the past.

Everyone has made mistakes. Everyone has gotten hurt.

Everyone has invested in the wrong relationships.

There’s nothing unusual about it. So take a deep breath and realize that you’re in a large pool of frustrated single people, okay? It’s not just you.

But if you’re going to learn anything here today, it’s not by absolving yourself of all responsibility. It’s about taking stock of how you got here and what you can do differently in the future.

All I have to go on is what little information you provided to me.

The only thing you can control is how much time you invest in low-percentage dead-end relationships…Cut such men loose fast and find a guy who is really into the marriage and kids thing.

You were in a two-year relationship with a man. One of those years he was in another country, taking care of his sick father.

This man has never been close to marriage with anyone.

This man is afraid of making a colossal mistake.

This man couldn’t see himself proposing to you or starting a family.

You are still living near him.

You are still pining for him.

You are still holding out hope that he will suddenly become a man who doesn’t have issues, who wants marriage and kids, and who wants them with you.

In other words, you’re willingly deluding yourself and wasting your late 30’s on a man who, for all of his charms, is quite obviously not going to be your future husband.

And you want to know why everyone else seems to settle down except you?

First of all, it’s not everyone else. There are plenty of 38-year-old single women, or I’d be out of business.

Second of all, 45% of the women who got married in their 20’s are going to be divorced because they married out of passion, fear, inertia or were simply too young. Don’t envy them.

But the only thing you can control is how much time you invest in low-percentage dead-end relationships. I have 100 questions sitting in front of me and probably 75% of them are just like yours – lovely women wasting time on fundamentally flawed, emotionally unavailable men, all out of “love.”

Want to get married in the next few years?

Cut such men loose fast and find a guy who is really into the marriage and kids thing.

Dating the wrong men over and over can take a toll on your confidence. Soon, you lose faith in your own decision-making, all while you’re watching your friends get happily married.

If you find that you’re starting to feel bad about yourself because you don’t have a ring on your finger, stay tuned tomorrow for a video that will instantly help you calm down when you find yourself comparing your life to your friends.

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  1. 1
    From The Ground Up Coaching

    You are not everyone else. You, are you.  Most likely you are not settling down because you are devoting too much time and energy on men that are not willing, or able to give you what you want. There’s a part of this that is serving you. You need to REALLY look at the “why” of what you want and make sure it is in complete alignment with how you feel. Hugs.

  2. 2

    u nailed it! especially the bit on friends who married in their 20’s most facing divorce. Just had a man begging court to ask his wife to reconcile after abandoning her and 4 kids since 2010. Court said sorry obvious both parties married young but wife has cut her losses and can no longer sustain untenable situation of lack of love and respect.
    you’re stI’ll attached “moved close; holding out hope”! You need to release him, say, – I forgive and release you to the Holy Spirit,” if he’s yours the universe will magically make it happen. But the universe can’t sustain such a relationship wherein u r already starting to feel resentful I.e invested so much!  

  3. 3

    Lotus, ask yourself why you want a man who doesn’t want you. He has made it clear that he’s not going to propose marriage, so why are you still hanging around waiting for him to change his mind, he won’t.
    I know you have invested 2 years in this man and spent 1 year being supportive while he was looking after his father but unfortunately he’s not reciprocating your feelings and needs in moving towards a committed relationship that involves marriage. 
    Scrape up some pride and self esteem and let this guy go as the longer you keep chasing him the less chance you have that he will ever change his mind as no one likes to be forced into doing something against their will. I can only suggest giving him some breathing  space and leave him to work out what HE wants, it’s not all about you. 
    Evan is 100% right in saying women don’t get rid of go nowhere guys and relationships quickly enough. He’s also 100% right in saying that a man who is really into you will lock you down within 6-8 weeks. I know this is true because it’s happened to me exactly as Evan says it does with guys who are interested and who do like you lots. 
    Find a man who adores you.

  4. 4

    Can I suggest you read some of Steven Carter & Julia Sokol’s books e.g. He’s Scared, She’s Scared, Getting to Commitment?
    They give great insight into how we play out our own issues with intimacy in the choices we make about relationships. 
    Their writing helped me understand that I played out my own commitment phobia passively – by committing myself emotionally to people who weren’t available to have a real, intimate relationship.  I suspect you might be doing similar.

  5. 5

    Yes, Lotus, there is something wrong with you.  You are the only common denominator of your relationships.  At this late stage in your life, if you still cannot sustain a relationship leading to the commitment that you want, you need to re-evaluate and fix your approach.  Maybe it’s because you pick the wrong men, maybe you continue to hang onto emotionally unavailable men, maybe you are not applying dating knowledge correctly, who knows what it is but the sooner you fix it the closer you will get to your goal. Stop opining, go get a coach, go do some soul searching, forget about this guy and go date better.  Good luck.

  6. 6

    This is my story if you replace the sick father with a PHD.

     In other words, you’re willingly deluding yourself and wasting your late 30’s on a man who, for all of his charms, is quite obviously not going to be your future husband.

    Dating the wrong men over and over can take a toll on your confidence. Soon, you lose faith in your own decision-making, all while you’re watching your friends get happily married.

    Thank you!

  7. 7

    Ive thought that before that women who cling to men that resist going to the next level are subconsciously playing out another version of c ommitement phobia. I think counseling and doing some studying about how you’re feeling inside and your famikt history museum get be beneficial. I think sometimes when we don’t feel guilty d about ourselves we can get stuck desperately wanting a challenging commitment phobe to validate us. Another issue is if we women get carried away with the sex right away we neglect to qualify the person in the first place and then try to fool ourselves after the fact. Men are really good at giving us little crumbs along the way to keep the sex going. But hey she did have the talk so she did 

  8. 8

    Many men and women are very lucky when it comes to having a love life, and many of us are Not.

  9. 9
    Look Seriously

    Many people are very blessed to find Love, and many of us are certainly Not.

  10. 10

    IMO this woman should just become pregnant on her own. That’s what Lori Gottlieb did when her biological clock was running out. She successfully conceived and is now a mother.

    This new decision is called Choice Motherhood and it’s becoming increasingly common. Read on it.

    1. 10.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      And the whole point of Lori’s book was that she would much prefer to have a partner in life, as opposed to being a single mother. Funny that you left that out.

  11. 11

    So, Evan and commenters, the only thing I would criticize about this advice is that it assumes “find[ing] a guy who is really into the marriage and kids thing” is as easy as going to the grocery store and picking up a box of cereal. The writer already said she hadn’t been dating for over a decade before she met this guy. I think her response to the guy and the break-up is the result of fear that there will not be anyone else–a fear, I might add, that is very real for women beginning in their mid- to late thirties. I mean, she already went a decade without anyone. Now we don’t know the reason for it. But i can tell you from my experience of having gone 7 years between boyfriends that when my Mr. NonCommitment came around, I was anxious to make it work, in part because in 7 years a man like him had not come along! Its much easier to find eligible men in your 20’s than in your 30’s and up– this is just the reality for women. I think it is a bit insensitive and unrealistic to just say “move on” like it really is that easy.

    1. 11.1

      Hi. I think the operative word for your entire argument is eligible. I truly believe everyone who is single is because ultimately its a choice to be. We all know someone thar adores us but because they arent your cup of tea we dont consider them.

  12. 12

    so true, DA. I had a similar experience with an ex who decided against commitment after continually reassuring me that things were progressing.  He also went through the illness and death of a parent, and ensuing depress ion, and I supported him through counseling in the wake of that.  That event, in 2008, coincided with the economic collapse which affected me greatly, undermining my confidence and independence So I did not question his assurances as I should have.  There are circumstantial factors that influence how people act in relationships.  Hindsight is always 20-20 and now I’m in this woman’s same boat. 

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