Is There Something Wrong With a Man in His 40s Who Has Never Been Married Before?

Is Thee Something Wrong With a Man in His 40s Who Has Never Been Married Before

I’m currently speaking with a guy from Yahoo personals, he’s 42 and still single, never been engaged… This is a big red flag right? We have been talking for the past month and a half via the phone, I’m in Minneapolis, and he’s in Chicago. We have great long conversations, many that last 5 hours long, he’s commented how great our conversations are. He’s attractive too. How do I know if he’s just another “nice-player”? They are slick today. It seems many are online with no intention of getting serious… I just told him that it’s wild we have great chemistry but we could meet in person and realize that we are not physically each other’s type. To me, as naive as I am, I’d like to think he is not a “player” trying to work me over because we have these long conversations with a lot of depth to them. Our emails were very long to begin with too. Please give me some perspective and advice on this situation.
 Kate

Dear Kate,

You’ve got four different questions going on here.

There is “How do I know if it’s worth it to try a long distance relationship?”

There is “I don’t want to be the victim of a nice-player in a long distance relationship.”

There is “I’m falling for a guy that I’ve never met but have talked to on the phone for 6 weeks”.

Is there something wrong with a man in his 40’s that has never been married? My answer is predictable: Yes… and No.

If you read the above links, your dreams will be summarily dashed – not because he’s necessarily a player, but because the odds of ANY relationship working are slim, the odds of an ONLINE relationship working are slimmer, and the odds of a LONG-DISTANCE online relationship are the slimmest – especially when you haven’t even, um, y’know, MET yet.

That said, the part of your question which really intrigues me is the “red flag” question:

Is there something wrong with a man in his 40’s that has never been married?

My answer is predictable: Yes… and No.

This is where I would make an argument that stereotypes exist for a reason. The unhealthy part of stereotyping is not necessarily the stereotype itself, but the assumption that ALL people in the category fit the stereotype.

Thus, if you have preconceived notions about gorgeous people, rich people, short people, gay people, Irish people, etc – those notions probably came from SOMEWHERE. They’re not pure fabrications.

Jewish people like playing Twister on the lawn is a fabrication.

Jewish people are often highly educated and highly neurotic is not.

Are we together on this one? Good.

So there’s the stereotype of the forty-something bachelor – and it’s a valid one. He’s a player. He’s a Peter Pan. He’s a commitmentphobe. He’s too picky. He’s emotionally unavailable. He’s a heartbreaker. He’s unrealistic.

All of those things are likely contributing factors as to why a man might be 42 and never married.

So now you’re faced with this very real dilemma – is this man a victim of circumstance, or is he the common denominator in all of his relationship failures?

But what if he was living with a woman for seven years who didn’t believe in traditional marriage? What if he was in a three-year relationship with a woman who cheated on him? What if he was once ready to propose and she ended up breaking his heart? What if he spent five years in a dead-end relationship and has had difficulty getting back out there? What if – god forbid – he made a bunch of bad dating decisions and just hasn’t met “the one”? (Hey, all of us want to think that about ourselves – let’s just say for argument’s sake that it’s true!)

So now you’re faced with this very real dilemma – is this man a victim of circumstance, or is he the common denominator in all of his relationship failures?

And I think it would be very easy, and coldly logical, to say BOTH.

This doesn’t mean you should enter into a relationship with a forty-something bachelor with the expectation of failure.

It does, however, mean that he didn’t become a forty-something bachelor by making great decisions in love.

Click here to learn the 5 Massive Mistakes You’re Making In Your Love Life – And How to Turn Them Around Instantly!

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Comments:

  1. 61
    Steve

    @VR, #18

    Personally I would not date a guy over 40 who hasn’t been married, that is a long time not to legally commit not even a youthful, silly marriage? Major Red Flags, imho.

    I cringe when I think of how obtuse and irresponsible I was at the age of 18. Yet, even at that age I would have taken marriage as a serious and major commitment. I wouldn’t have taken it as “youthful, silly” thing to do.

    If I was as quick to judge your comment as you are to judge men who simply belong to a particular demographic I would question your judgment.

  2. 62
    Steve

    @Cilla post #32

    I understand where you are coming from about people who are set in their ways as far as living arrangements go. I’ve had housemates like that…..of all ages.

    Since I’ve lived in many shared living situations I’ve had all of the downsides of dealing with housemates and none of the upsides of being married. I’ve learned to play nice with others in that situation and be flexible. I don’t think I am the only over 40 single person who learned those lessons.

    BTW, I’m currently in a relationship with a man who is also divorced. We are both divorced because our spouses cheated on us. Does that make US the defective ones? I don’t think so

    Why not?

    I’ve heard many people say that spouses are inspired to cheat by not getting something at home. I think that reasoning is wrong ethically, but sometimes it does help partially explain things.

    Maybe you let your appearances go. Maybe you worked all of the time and ignored your spouse. Maybe you gave up on your life.

    Feel insulted? Do you feel like telling me that I don’t know anything about you, your life or the situation with your ex?
    Do you feel unfairly labeled?

    You are absolutely right.

    That is what us defective over 40 never marrieds are getting from comments like yours.

  3. 63
    Steve

    @Curly Girl;

    You are rightfully railing against people who prejudge single never married women, yet you along with DTG are posting prejudgment after prejudgment in a number of comments on this thread.

  4. 64
    Michael

    But it is easy to suspect a 40 year old never married man to be one, had he been in more than one dead-end long term relationship.
    And if he never had a relationship at all ?

  5. 65
    Curly Girl

    Steve: You seem to think that I’m saying all over-40 unmarried guys fall into the categories of “prejudgement” that you say Downtown was mentioning. Not so! But I do recognize the truth in what DTG is saying generally.

    There are some guys over 40 who are weird in a very specific, icky way. One such guy is the aging player, who believes he should be with someone younger and hotter and who treats women his own age with contempt. He probably always treated women with contempt, but he when he was younger it was women his own age and he was probably cute. This type of bad male behavior does not age well.

    Then there is the guy who describes all ex girlfriends or the ex wife as “crazy” or “psycho” or, my personal favorite, “bipolar.” After awhile with one of these guys you begin to see why he always has this impression of women–because he’s a crazymaking person. This type of bad behavior (in both genders) is also always there, but it is the sheer number of “crazy” people in this person’s past, built up over many years, that is the tip-off.

    The set-in-his-ways guy. I actually never went out with a guy like this. But I would say he was probably always controlling; at first it might be quirky and even charming, but after a couple of decades of that it just comes off as boring and unimaginative and insufferable.

    And here are some generalizations for unmarried over-35 women that I’ve heard (yes, the weirdness age drops for women!):

    Middle-aged New Age woman who’s into all kinds of esoterica and is waiting for a soulmate. Usually some kind of creative person (actress, painter, jewelry maker) who does massage therapy on the side and is always broke and into worshipping her “feelings.”

    Dried-up, angry manhater into her career with no soft edges to her life and no relationships at all. Never gives the guy the time of day, needs to argue and compete with him. Doomed to die alone unless she forges some great commitment to a cat.

    And so it goes. If you visit Italy and notice that the train departures never match the posted times, you might draw the conclusion that trains in Italy are always late. And you might go back to the US and say that the trains in Italy are always late. So people make generalizations. And they start to alter their behavior based on the general assumptions they are making, which may be a good call or may be a bad call. Generalizations are often spot on. And sometimes a bad call actually elicits the very behavior we profess to despise in others. If you only date guys, you might attribute these behaviors in a general way to guys. And vice versa if you only date women.

    We’re all crazy.

  6. 66
    downtowngal

    CG, LOL!!!

    …now please exuse me as I spend quality time w my cat because I have no friends to discuss why I’m sexually frustrated as men are all evil…..

  7. 67
    Steve

    #65 and #66

    Blech. No thank you.

  8. 68
    James

    I am going to chime in on the Steve/Cilla argument, Evan’s comments who according to his info is 36 and thus considered a million times younger than me at 37 to the new female invented paradigm of the molding male. Yes it’s new as if you actually talk to your mothers, grandmothers or actually crack a book you will find that it used to be…just 20 years ago that a “Eligible Bachelor” was mostly a male > 30 years old, never married, financially stable, who initially focused on his career and then after also getting his own shit together and becoming a centered person on his own went to look for the woman to actually marry for the rest of his life, not just under a decade to prove that they like keeping lawyers employed. Look it up people it’s true.

    Some of us men (mostly Gen-X) were told this pattern by…our mothers who pretty much followed the selection path of marrying a guy who generally met this criteria and/or she got divorced and also made you very sketchy about marriage as a disposable commodity. That is a generational thing as my parents had an awful divorce that my mother initiated not long after no fault kicked in, but besides that awful situation (that my single 39 year old sister didn’t like) it taught a true lesson that our once, twice three times in the past two decades divorcees may not have learned.

    The real reasons for divorce as in my mothers case is usually a combination of:
    1) People who are not emotionally whole on their own and get into a co-dependent relationship that implodes.
    2) People still trying to figure out who they are and by the time they do they realize the other person doesn’t match.
    3) People who try to manage or change the other person to fit their ideal mold and it implodes at some point.
    4) People who marry “at the right time” to a person who on the surface seems “a good match” according to society and spend the next 1-10 years to figure out that the surface crap didn’t matter and they at the personality level they had little or nothing in common…except maybe demographics.
    5) People who decide that the idea of being married and having kids can make them happy enough to pretend…and then it implodes.
    6) People who bullshit themselves and others as to who they really are and eventually can’t keep it up.
    7) People who continually date and marry people like the above and never think their choices have something to do with it.
    8) Secret masochists who like complaining about bad relationships more than being in a good relationship. (This is the “all men are” or “all women are” people.)
    9) Young people that don’t even let the relationship develop enough to get past early crush/infatuation/hormones.
    10) Lazy and picky people who cannot accept normal human flaws and refuse to work at any relationship themselves, but often try to delegate that responsibility to the other person who is always wrong, and they are always right.
    11) Like daters who are never alone…Marriage becomes a bus-stop until a ride to a better destination comes along.
    12) Those who treat it totally frivolously and some who game the divorce system like an ATM and may still have all 11 reasons above, but always run to the lawyer to get their pound of flesh and it is rarely men(see courts stats all Divorces…70% women initiate).
    13) Someone has major emotional issues that they hide really, really well…until after married…explosion then implosion.

    Does this mean I’m saying this is you as a Divorcee? No. Unlike missile launches it only takes one person fitting any of the above 13 reasons I just rattled off to cause divorce or just as easily any relationship failure. These are strange times where it also takes longer to get established, education costs and loans are far higher and the starting pay is less in real dollars as it has been declining since 1972, which the value of all dollars has reduced via inflation worldwide. (unless you are in the AIG group…then money is free!)

    Many of us tried to avoid the mistakes of our parents, esp. if we went through a bad divorce as children, had to pay some or a lot of our way, but still wanted to be in the ideal stable and formerly eligibly bachelor position to be ready to start a family in every way without a bunch of practice marriages. Men especially saw the financial cost of bad selection or being duped by our friends and wanted to do it right the first time and thus “picky”.

    As Steve said and my sister and I both researched heavily (and shame on you Evan for not bringing up data)…every single well done study says that the chances or odds for a successful marriage is always greater if it is the first time for both and handicapped for each divorce either partner does, but apparently after 3 divorces most can get remarried, but men at that stage are far more likely to marry the last time than women. (like he said…the data is out there). It was actually the number one dominant factor against or for marriage success and there was also data showing that getting married for the first time over 30 increased chances of a lasting marriage. Lots more data if you want to look it up, but most of it is the opposite of the myths mentioned and Evan echoed at least statistically spread by suspicious Divorcees who wonder why we didn’t dive into the murky water.

    Establishing career is likely the best answer to the not-messed up man and in some cases it takes more time. They wanted to have time for the family so figured work like mad as a single and then you are stable for a family. Used to make sense before women became so paranoid and picky themselves. Online dating studies show that for the most part women are far more picky and unrealistic than men and in this case she’s going 100s or 1000s of miles to find Mr. Perfect (who rarely exists) instead of Mr. Normal and okay closer to home.

    Evan’s own advice says that one of the #1 mistakes women make online is using it to limit their options by allowing their demographic shopping go nuts (>6ft, > $100K, Blue Eyes, Blond Hair, Can’t be balding at all, etc.) instead of using it to expand their options, email and chat with more men locally as a pre-screening process to coffee dates to see if you actually click with more than his personal resume. The saddest and worst thing is most female lists these days are so far from what would make them happy it’s scary…seen my sister revise hers for more than a decade…she dated players/jerks/pretty-boys for almost 20 years before she figured out her list sucked.

    So is there an objective scientifically validated reason why men have or might have such a bias on women’s age? Yes. At 27 years old on average all women’s fertility starts to decline and chances of all types of birth issues (defect, miscarriages, etc) goes up exponentially. The raw numbers were never in dispute…a bunch of medical associations were trying to get the word out about such a simple fact and NOW shut them down. Do men have the same problem? Nope. Not generally and not on average and not to the degrees the myth makers would have you believe. I read most of the good studies and if the measure is the absolute probability in birth or birth defects of the baby itself or chances to conceive…the maternal age swamps any effect of the paternal age which only starts to show a significant effect after 55 years old. I checked for myself as I considered freezing some stuff of mine just in case. Men’s health is far more important and can change the quality of their sperm as we regenerate it daily. Women carry around the same eggs since birth and they age and are mostly unaffected by the woman’s general health.

    So for a man in good or at least better than average shape of 35, 30, 45 or even 50 with everything else perfect with the exception of a story to explain which if it doesn’t come up by you in the first 3 dates then you are a moron is WHY didn’t he get married, what’s he been up to and where he sees himself in 5-10 years…and if he’s married with kids then. For the better communicating sex women somehow forget basic communication or honest sharing when your are ready before getting serious?!? Forget about our age…grow the F up if you can’t talk!

    So what’s my dark secret?

    Short version:
    1) Everything I said above was true about divorce of my parents was true and it was awful for about a decade after for us kids caught between two twits who probably never should have got married. I respect marriage to much to want a disposable one and I do not want one to implode and also mess with my future kids lives as the children always suffer the sins of the parents. One time for life with a whole person who has her shit together.

    2) Bachelor stuff I said was true and money stuff too and if I lived in the 70s or even 80s at my current age…no one would care. But this is a post-feminist era that still tells myths that don’t stand up to science or biology and you wonder why there are 40+ women heading to the sperm banks…no good men…it ain’t us.

    3) I had some bad luck and fell in love with and dated a girl who fit 13) above. Lucky we didn’t get married as she turned into literally the women from Fatal Attraction, except I had no bunny to boil. She took drugs, alcohol, both, tried to commit suicide and would call me up after we broke up for “attention” and I’d rush her to the hospital. She stalked me…called me from hundreds of numbers by living in a 1000 girl dorm and going from room to room and call block only covers 20 numbers. She broke into my house on drugs and drunk and was violent. When did this all happen? It was supposed to be my 4th and final year in engineering…I flunked out…had to claw my way back into a local university where my Dad had some pull…they forced me to repeat so much crap with a new engineering degree it took me another 3-years to graduate and I got a job immediately that I still have (well I’ve moved up some).

    Do you know what the Jews say (Hi Evan), “Never again!” I vowed that I would never take the chance of having a woman almost destroy my life because I cared too much and had no where to run. So I determined to stabilize my life and myself so that I was 100% bedrock top to bottom. Paid off all my student loans in full. Bought and own my own car. Bought my first home(condo) with a huge down payment by living back at home to save cash. Kept my job in a bad area/industry (Detroit/Auto) and worked like a dog to be respected with awards and a stellar resume so that I can walk or find new stuff if needed.

    I dated a bit on and off, but nothing serious and much like the monks I contemplated my past, myself and not only came to terms, but I’m so centered now that no one can knock me off my life balance…at work or personally. So I’m now looking like my 40 something com padre Steve against the backdrop of some of the most superficial women ever who will either date guys just on their pure looks, or other demographic reasons, blindly sleep with all the bar players and get bitter against all men as well as filtering more and more in the wrong direction (as I have seen in my sister).

    Men generally haven’t changed. Women have. They’ve lost the knowledge their mothers had in many cases, listen to crap from the mags and Opra-h. Create consensus on how men are with other women…rarely talking to an actual man about men. They stopped trying to know us and stopped trying to understand and accept us (at least statistically…see Bill Maher’s making women nod bit) and the Mars/Venus thing is true. What’s worse is women have forgotten who they are and what attributes in men would really make them happy if they can accept us as being real men. The world has become so anti-male it is hard to tell anymore of the true nature of men is known by any women at all, well beyond psychologists who see the gap themselves.

    Women who actually start meeting guys with a wider net for coffee dates over bars can quickly separate the players and the 40+ single men who either have issues or have legit shit that happened to them that made them decide to wait a bit. Ask them about their life, their hopes, their dreams, their history their future and share yours honestly and organically and not like an interview and you will know very quickly. If you can’t do this yourself…maybe you aren’t ready or centered enough to get back out there and need some “me” time!

  9. 69
    Lance

    What’s wrong with Irish guys?

    Here’s my advice: just ask the guy why he hasn’t been married at age 42, converse about it, and then make a call on whether the reasons are good enough for you. Also, Kate, what’s your age and have you been married before? Are you a divorced single parent? To me, that’s a red flag. Go with your gut on this one.

    Lance´s last blog post…Away We Go

  10. 70
    Selena

    CG #65

    Your post made me smile. I was involved with a man for a time who claimed his ex-wife “slowly went crazy”. As months rolled by I could see why. HE was a bit crazy himself and was making me crazy being with him. Lasted longer than it should have.

    Since I’ve been reading relationship websites, I’ve discovered it’s best not to refer to an ex as “crazy” because saying so is a reflection upon yourself. Why did you stay with a crazy person ?- defective. Or it shows bitterness, or a denial in your part of the destruction of the relationship – again, defective.

    Also the point Steve made about cheating: are you not in some small way at fault if your partner cheated on you? I mean, at the very least, you CHOSE that cheating partner didn’t you? – defective.

    If you have had previous relationships that ended for any reason, obviously SOMETHING didn’t work out to your liking, otherwise you would still be with that person. So why should never married people be considered defective in some way, regardless of their relationship history? Maybe they have successfully avoided the crazies, and the cheaters? Maybe they caught on to the crazies and the cheaters BEFORE they married them? ( I did! I did!)

    Or maybe you are right Curly Girl…we’re all crazy. Yeah.

  11. 71
    Cilla

    @ Selena

    I still think (and I know I’ll get flamed here, as Lance says) that, if the commentary here is any reflection of the dating world at large, there is big difference between unmarried women and unmarried men. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. And I’m sure, as a woman, I’m biased.

    Many of the women posting here either seem to have ducked unhealthy relationships or are just comfortable being single. The men seem to have also skirted some bad partnerships, but seem more traumatized by them (surprising). They also come across to me as a little bitter about women and given to long lists (full of statistics and scientific information) of why they’re still single.

    Guys, you doth protest too much, methinks. Some of the comments here pique my intuition about the “icky” component mentioned by previous posters.

  12. 72
    Ava

    #70 Serena, I agree.

    Crazy people have serious relationships with other crazy people. Unless perhaps he was very young, any time a man tells me how horrible/crazy/miserable his ex was, I get suspicious.

  13. 73
    Diana

    To James, this isn’t intended to sound like pity, but I am sorry she hurt you so deeply, and your parents, too. My impression is that your resulting pain and anger pushed you to excel even more, pushing you to become the man you admire today. I hope you find the kind of woman you are searching for, assuming you are. They are not all as you describe.

  14. 74
    Cilla

    @ Ava

    I agree, if a man says every relationship he has been in has been with a “crazy” person, I’d say “You spot it, you got it,” meaning he’s likely the “crazy” one and induces “crazy-making” behavior (sometimes referred to as “gaslighting” from the old movie with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman.

    However, I just can’t get behind your contention that “crazy people have relationships with other crazy people,” assuming that “crazy” means mentally ill, unstable, bipolar, depressed, etc., and that one needs to be “crazy” to be involved with a “crazy” person. There are plenty of “normal” people in relationships with “crazy” people.

    There are whole support networks for family and friends of people with mental illness, just as there are for people who must deal with alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. You wouldn’t say “alcoholics have serious relationships with other alcoholics” as blanket rule, would you? In fact, more often than not, addicts and people with mental illness (sometimes they overlap) seek out “normal” partners who function as enablers or foils for their behavior. Two disordered people in a relationship is usually the recipe for rapid self-destruction. It happens, but the Kurt Cobain/Courtney Love type of combination is the exception, not the rule. And look what it did to him.

  15. 75
    Karl R

    Cilla said: (#71)
    “I still think [...] there is big difference between unmarried women and unmarried men. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. And I’m sure, as a woman, I’m biased.”

    I’d agree that you’re biased, and it also sounds like a self-serving bias.

    “They also come across to me as a little bitter about women and given to long lists (full of statistics and scientific information) of why they’re still single.”

    A few of the guys do sound bitter about women. (And some of the women sound bitter about men. Welcome to this blog.) Does Steve sound bitter? Do I?

    I use statistics because they’re more accurate than anecdotes. I can find a single anecdote or a few anecdotes to support almost any claim at all, including ones I know are dead wrong.

    And if I gave a single reason why I was still single, would that sound remotely reasonable?

    Even if the reason was “the man is defective”, that wouldn’t prevent a man from getting married. I know a schizophrenic who has been married twice, and he’s dating again. (He’s rather creepy even when he’s on his meds.)

    Unless you get to know someone personally (and possibly rather well), you won’t know why he or she is still single. The same is true for knowing why someone is divorced.

    “Guys, you doth protest too much, methinks.”

    Is that any different from any other group on this blog who feel that they’re unfairly biased against? (Short men, older women, blacks & hispanic women, asian men, etc.)

    “(and I know I’ll get flamed here, as Lance says)”

    If you really want to get flamed, go suggest that older women are bitter and ‘doth protest too much’ about being overlooked in online dating.

  16. 76
    Ava

    @ Cilla #74

    Sorry for tossing off the sweeping generalization. Of course, you’re right. I guess what I’m saying is that sane people don’t knowingly embark on, or stay in, serious relationships with those who are actively “crazy” and not seeking, or having sought, treatment.

  17. 77
    Helen

    Cilla: I know plenty of men in their 40s who are contentedly single, not “crazy” or desperate. They are usually very happy with their jobs and outside activities. Maybe it’s not safe to generalize about single men or women of any age.

    Karl R: definitely agree that statistics are far superior to anecdotes! It’s annoying when someone offers up an anecdote and seems to think that it proves the general case. (You’re totally my kind of guy, but I’m already taken.)

  18. 78
    Steve

    @Karl, #75

    You can’t reason with a person who has already decided that she wants a particular opinion to be right no matter what. Thanks for trying though. It was refreshing to read your points.

  19. 79
    Selena

    I suspect by the 40’s there are relatively few persons (male or female) who haven’t had at least one serious relationship that ended for whatever reason. I’ve had the opportunity to be married 4 times by age 45. I would also have had to opportunity to be divorced 4 times by the age of 46. Probably the only reason I am not a multiple divorcee is because I lived with each of my partners a number of years. Long enough to decide I didn’t want to make a lifetime commitment to each fellow’s particular brand of “craziness” – instability, choosing work over family, cheating, alcoholism. Does this make me “smart” or a commitmentphobe? Frankly, I think if anything it shows I didn’t take the vow of marriage frivolously. And *I* would presume the same of other never-marrieds over 40.

    As a 48 yr. old spinster (heh heh) I think I’ve had a pretty full life (so far!). It includes a son and two grandsons. I could be bitter, but where’s the fun in that? So am I defective because I never married? Or am I defective because I’ve had relationships that didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped they would? Maybe I’m not defective at all really, but how would you know without getting to know me personally? The point Karl and others have been trying to make on this thread. You will never know WHY people made the choices they did until they feel comfortable opening themselves up to you. But why bother with that when you can dismiss them up front for never having been married. Or having been divorced. Or having loved and lost and gone on to love again. More than once. I prefer to take each individual as they come. I get to hear alot of fascinating stories that way.

    And to Ava #72
    To quote the musician Seal: “You know we’re never gonna survive…Unless…We all get a little bit Craazzzy”

    One of my favorite songs. Obviously. LOL

  20. 80
    Cilla

    @ Helen

    I didn’t say the men were crazy or desperate–I believe you are referring to another poster. I only used the word “crazy” in responding to Ava’s post.

    I’m sure there are plenty of men who are contentedly single.

    @ Steve @ Karl R

    The key word in #75 is “opinion.” Like the other opinions expressed here, it’s not right or wrong–it’s simply my perception. I answered the question posed by the title of the blog from my point of view, as did other posters from theirs. I imagine that if Evan expected everyone to concur on this topic, he wouldn’t have asked about it in the first place. In giving my opinion, I used the phrase “yellow light,” saying it wasn’t an absolute rule, but something that gave me serious pause.

    You are not exactly advancing the cause for the older, unmarried gentleman. You seem very insistent that I should want to date in that category, even though I’ve said I prefer not to. That insistence only serves to reinforce my preconceptions further.

    As Evan wrote in I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book, “… generally a tall woman who says she doesn’t want to date a man who is 5’6″ means it.” It’s no different than a woman who doesn’t want to date a man who is of a certain age and never married. No amount of brow beating with statistics (source? confidence interval?) is likely to change that.

    If you think I’m limiting my dating pool that way, you’re right, I am. As other posters have noted, dating isn’t always about keeping one’s options open–sometimes it’s about narrowing down the field to find the person you’re most compatible with.

  21. 81
    Cilla

    Let me put it a different way:

    I think margaritas are the bomb. I love to sit outside in the warm weather, eating Mexican food and having a margarita or two. I know hundreds of people who also like to do this. I’m sure around the world, there are millions.

    I have a friend who drank one to many margaritas in college. Puked for hours. Horrible hangover the next day. She had one of the worst experiences possible with a margarita.

    It doesn’t matter if margaritas are great to me. It doesn’t matter if statistically speaking, millions of people love margaritas. My friend’s personal experience with margaritas will keep her from ever trying one again.

    Now, imagine that margaritas are single men over 40. See what I’m saying?

  22. 82
    James

    @Diana #73

    Thanks and no insult taken! Actually lately I’ve been channeling more job/economic stress into other things including online posts as I am genuinely over…well let’s say coping very well from my movie like misadventure in love. I am still the chivalrous, but now more cynical knight that my mom originally raised who tries to do the right thing and sometimes gets screwed over for it.

    Not to pile more on, but there was another time/life suckage factor that slowed me and my sister both down. Our mother almost died and got frontal lobe brain damage at a “family” baseball event by a intoxicated cousin when I was 17 and she was 19. We both managed the business for about a couple of years to some degree while she rehabilitated.

    She took back “full control” when I was about 19 and went away to school and we eventually found out our mother still had “issues” and what used to be minor quirks were magnified to “Rain man” level behavior when she had episodes.(actually my mother literally grabbed the wheel of my car on the way back from the movie “Rain man” and we were lucky to not go into a huge ditch) My sister found out that essentially no one was really at the “wheel” when she came to help with the books and found the whole business ready to implode from neglect and with cash disappearing with bills not being paid.

    We agreed to save our mother from herself…took power of attorney, fixed up the finances, etc….got it back in good shape and was going to roll it into a trust…when our Uncle jumped in and financially supported our mother suing us for control of the stuff we just wanted to save for her. After winning twice in court…we realized that in the end this fight would just drain the stuff we tried to save and gave up.

    I ended up paying off most of the 5 figure lawyer bills myself. My mother lost her entire injury lawsuit because of the stuff she invented to beat our power of attorney control. The business eventually imploded later, my mom went broke…I got a last minute call with 24-48 hours before they seized the house I gathered all my guy friends and packed up as much stuff as we could, and I paid to have it in storage for about a year, then moved it twice, got her into public housing and she is now living a life more in line with her capabilities that is mostly paid for by disability and saved most of her stuff and got to sell lots of it for money. I got nothing but pain and grief mostly for doing all of that as well from her, but brain damage warps your view of reality.(no excuse for my uncle who was not available when the inevitable tower down fell completely)

    So lets just say I lost a lot of good dating or soul mate hunting time while trying to be a good man/person and do the right thing and I have lots of “character” now, but fortunately a good sense of humor too. I am looking more seriously now. I started the online thing a couple of years ago when I got my place, but since the economic downturn started early here…I didn’t spend as much time on it as I would have liked or possibly should have. I actually read Evan’s online dating book, but misplaced it and came to get some refreshers before I sent out a few amusing openers to some potentials…only to find this article telling me how in 3 years I’m cooked and Evan not being the bright, insightful and usually a tad more honest expert he normally is. Then again he said most of his clients were women and I read his related topic that has obvious cross-overs on this one here:

    http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/where-are-all-the-cute-successful-funny-interesting-men/

    …as well as the other linked one, which made me suspect he is pretty careful not to bite the hand that feeds him, which is a shame as he would do a better service by being more honest rather than supporting comforting myths that won’t lead to happiness or self-realization and just provide easy things to blame or more artificial constraints between women and happiness with a good man.

    He does say or imply one thing well even if he dances around it a bit. One of the bigger mindset issues is far too many women confuse “settling” with “compromising” and “style” vs. “substance”. A non-compromiser using style or surface attributes as her main initial guide or filter will continually be disappointed with the “quality” of the guy based on her pre-screening and selection criteria and also that whole two-way give and take thing.

    I hope to somehow find my “very compatible, but not perfect” woman out there and just hope that I can get through her filter and twitchy “red-flag” detector, but this type of blog does not fill me full of hope. I am really funny in real life, but hoped the online dating thing would allow me to expand my reach to find really good personality, intelligence, politics, etc. fits…along with the cute/sexy thing.

    Every statistical study I have read that has been well done has that the odds are not near as good as they should be for someone in my situation. I cautiously hope for the best, but remain the cynical idealist or perhaps realist who knows that he alone can’t fix societal myths influencing his chances of getting an even shot with a compatible woman of value…but I’m looking for my damn outlier, cause hell knows that I know I am one to some degree.

    Here are two studies everyone snipping at each other in here should actually read front-to-back and then come back to throw down their 2-cents. Not sure why everyone else is ignoring my relevant points, but these days most people have attention spans slightly beyond hummingbird levels…my ideal mate must be intelligent, deep thinker, with an attention span and both open minded and critical thinking. Smarter than me would be ideal, but in the ballpark would do just fine.

    What Makes You Click? Mate Preferences and Matching Outcomes in Online Dating
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Papers.cfm?abstract_id=895442

    State of Our Unions 2002: Why Men Won’t Commit
    http://marriage.rutgers.edu/Publications/Print/PrintSOOU2002.htm

  23. 83
    Margaret

    Cilla,

    I am with you all the way. Although I am sure there are exceptions, in *general* I have found that men who are not married by their early 40s have one or another dealbreakers which make them not good marriage material.

    I have to admit, that, for the most part, I have avoided these men online. The few times I have gone against my gut, I have been very, very sorry.

    Again, I do acknowledge that there are exceptions, and one cannot make a blanket assumption about all men 40 and over who are never married.

  24. 84
    George

    Let’s say I am over 40 and never been married. Maybe I was focused on my career. I had a few long term relationships, but they were never quite right. Who would want to date anyone that puts so much judgement into some one else’s age. Is it really “better” to have been divorced? Multiple families, not from what I have seen. The question seems incredibly shallow.

  25. 85
    hunter

    James, some dissertation you wrote. I can also relate to most of it. I, somehow, don’t think that will earn you time in the sack.

  26. 86
    Jura

    Re. #68

    You may want to look up statistical trends in engineers’ above 40 chances of fathering autistic children. Every day now, scientists bring new proofs on how paternal DNA _is_ affected by aging: there was no sure methodology before, there is now.

  27. 87
    downtowngal

    George, you’re absolutely correct. Many women, unfortunately, have had negative experiences with 40+ never-marrieds but we still give it a try. Maybe it’s just a high concentration of guys in that demo who are available on line, but when you only have so much time on your hands you tend to base your selections on past experience. And given the choice these women would rather go w a guy the same age who’s already been married.

    That said, any 40+ never-married guy out there – as with ANY guy – who makes a sincere effort to be in a committed relationship will have a great chance of finding someone. I believe in defying stereotypes (I am one myself, btw) and don’t adhere to negative hype.

  28. 88
    Selena

    Another good point George #84 brought up: Mulitple families.

    Given a choice between a never married guy, or one with more than one ex, and more than one family to support (and be in be involved with)….which looks better?

  29. 89
    Karl R

    Selena said: (#70)
    “I’ve discovered it’s best not to refer to an ex as ‘crazy’ because saying so is a reflection upon yourself.”

    I’d say that’s even more true when a person claims all of their exes were crazy, psycho, or horrible in some fashion. If someone is blaming their partner for everything that goes wrong in a relationship, then it doesn’t make me terribly optimistic about their conflict resolution skills.

    Maybe I’ve just been incredibly fortunate. None of my ex-girlfriends were horrible people, and I’ve remained good friends with several. But this strikes me as a situation where I’ve largely made my own luck. I’m not attracted to the kind of person who requires a restraining order after the breakup.

  30. 90
    Fleur de Beton

    a man’s chances of marrying after at and after 40 decrease drastically.
    men have many oppurtunities to get involved with women at many points in their life, there are always women out there looking. of course this doesn’t go for every man, but if he is a decent person, is even average looking  and is socially adept. chances are he has had his chances to date.

    i have dated a few of these 40 something peter pans type, the ones you string you along for a year or so and then tell you ” you just weren’t the one”  ( even though they treated you like they were. My ex was 40, when i met him he was 39. I am now 31.  Our meeting was made possible by a online dating site, now he is  a good man overall, steady worker, educated, he had good taste, but he was socially awkward. he did not believe in phone calls, he didnt want ot have sex for fear of impregnating me, he was fine with only meeting on the weekends, ( and no he wasn';t married) despite all of this we had chemistry got along, i was busy and seeing someone so infrequently it takes a while to put the dots together. 

    however, i got him to open up a bit on the phone thing, when we were together, the company was nice, his parents and friends liked me… he even told me he hoped i was the last person he dated. we went on a vacation, we had our good time, a  year of no sex, and generally no phone calls.

    in the end he was clueless, he had no idea what the hell he wanted and he emailed me and asked me to call him at 8 oclock ( every phone call had to be scheduled by email) and then dumped me.

    These are the type of men that are 40 something and single, there are others who are nice and just havent met the right woman or have been so busy focusing on a career, but im willing to bet there are more of them who have been running from the right woman all along. They are unwilling to carve out a space for yo u in their lives, t hey  often do not want to commit, but they claim to like you and value your presence.

    And in the end.. as much as you put into these relationships, you will find these men do not want what you are offering, because they are incapable of accepting it, on some level they enjoy being alone, and thats the way they want things, to do things when they want, on their terms. If that isn’t what you may be looking for, RUN! I certainly have learned my lesson

    1. 90.1
      j

      I totally agree with what your saying. In fact you almost allways see family and friends actively trying to fix them up and worrying about them winding up alone. A lot of women are scouting around for husbands during their thirties and these men somehow never find any of these choices suitable. What people often times don’t comprehend is that  these bachelors on some level are unable or unwilling to go the distance with any woman. They may be functional in some aspects of their social life but dysfunctional when it comes to romantic love. I think the reason there is alot of opinion is that there are more of them now you instead of the rarity it was in years past. So many of us women have tried to be with someone looking keep this or have seen friends or sisters deal with these bachelors and you see patterns and can’t help but see the potential for heartbreak. But to other well meaning people they’re thinking this poor lonely guy for f only we could find him someone. But for any of us that tried with of these guys we know the score. They usually string you along so they can have sex and have a womanly touch for awhile but when the cover is blown you find they don’t consider anyone but themself. So I agree with some extra caution. Obviously there are never any guarantees but t you have to have a clear level head about trends and patterns in the current culture.  I know my husband would never treat a woman like this as he doesn’t like to hurt someone’s feelings  and says he couldn’t use someone and not consider the woman’s feelings but he says some men don’t care and will call up someone just because they are bored and horny and don’t care that the woman is in love.

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