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.

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.

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  1. 181

    I don’t see it as a red flag or anything wrong with it, maybe they just haven’t found the right woman yet, we all can’t settle for less, everyone should deserve better

  2. 182


    …I agree with you… 

  3. 183

    I know this article might be older but thought I’d add something to it for people to read. I am nearly forty years old now, a male and have never been married. I’m not a player – that’s pretty hard to be when you’re so introverted.  I was always shy but came out of it in my twenties.  Unfortunately I chose the wrong things to combat my shyness and depression.  I partied a lot and after the partying was over I was alone and addicted to pretty much everything.  I made a promise to myself that I would not drag anyone else down with me and avoided relationships, even after I met someone that I loved very much.  I didn’t fight for her and let her go, even encouraged it in a round about way because it wouldn’t have been fair to put her through living with me at that time.

    So years later I’m clean, sober but still not quite there yet.  I’m not even close to where I need to be to feel comfortable sharing my life with someone.  Once I’ve gotten rid of some of this baggage then maybe but I’m not looking.  If it happens then it happens but I will have to be straight up with any woman right off the bat which is only fair and it probably also means there will be no second date but that’s okay.  I’d rather be honest than to  hurt someone later on down the road  So what I’m saying is there are a lot of reasons men and women may be single at forty.  Some good and some not so good. 
    On another subject (sorry I’m not trying to hijack the post) wouldn’t you like to know that the person you’re dating has been an addict or alcoholic or had problems in their past whether it’s a criminal record, depression, etc?  When’s the right time to tell someone?  Right away? First date, second date, etc.  I just choose to be honest from the beginning because it just feels like the right thing to do. 

    1. 183.1

      ..a seeing a dating coach makes a big difference…

  4. 184

    I turned 40 this year but have never been married. I lived in many countries, tried to start my business. I have fallen in love several times in my 30s but it didn’t work out. I am a good looking, athletic guy but I was too sensitive and not as persistent as the other guy and the other guy usually white so half their battle was won. I found the lady would go for a guy who is less sensitive usually simply because they persisted. Many times the lady would come around once they got to know me and be interested in me but often by then I was not interested because I felt they were superficial (as in I am not white).  I met a great lady (27  yrs) three months ago but she is moving overseas (just had her farewell a few days ago). She has invited me there but that is a jump I am not yet ready to do. I met another beautiful 22yr old when out dancing and she doesn’t seem to put off by my age but I am taking it slow. We hit it off instantly. She is going traveling soon but we plan to catch up when she is back. One good thing about being 40 is that I know what I like more than ever. I have come to accept that most girls prefer white guys (regardless of what they may say) and that is just how the world is. The rare exceptions are worth the wait. I grow older but I still pass for 25 and I am patient.

  5. 185

    This man is dating you long distance. That makes it more difficult for him to meet you, but easier to date and talk. Why is this guy over 40 not dating locally?

  6. 186

    In making stereotypes of behavior based off posts here, do keep in mind that those with a point to make — for good or ill — are the ones most likely to post online in comment threads. The anecdotal material here is hardly representative of men and women as a whole.

    Myself, I’m a 34-year old unmarried man with no relationship experience, but I attribute that to health issues in my latter tens/early twenties followed immediately after by becoming the caretaker of first my mother (after a series of heart attacks followed later by a fatal stroke) and since my more-elderly father (who turns 80 in a few weeks, has been having parts replaced methodically over the past decade and hasn’t driven in nearly twenty years). Returning home unfortunately meant coming to a place which didn’t have any opportunities for the esoteric degrees I had earned and meant that I had to restart my graduate work in a different field. I’ve been working multiple part-time jobs and attending night classes sporadically over the past decade to allow me to care for my father as he deteriorates (as my married brothers have opted out of the caretaker role), leaving me no time to date, nor the social or financial capital for it. This is a situation that may well continue until I’m forty: in fact, I hope that it does, since the alternative is his death.

    From my discussions online, I’m not alone in such responsibilities keeping me from marriage. Certainly, I’m much younger than most caretakers, due to the later ages of my parents at my birth and the sudden situation of my mother’s unexpected health crisis, but this is something that other men are dealing with too. The irony that I’ve spent my youth for their elder years isn’t lost on me — much less that this likely means that no one will thus be there to care for me when I’m in the same situation that they’ve been in…

  7. 187

    I think it is wrong to assume that just because somebody is unmarried at 40, there is something wrong with them.

    Take this person, who could be a man or a woman.
    1. went to college and had the normal college life of dating, bf/gf, and times of being too busy for a love life.
    2. graduated from college, working hard to find a job. Not focused on a love life yet.
    3. found a job, but there is much to learn and the stress is through the roof. Too tired to make a real effort, so relationships fail before they even launch.
    4. now settled into a good job, and now in late 20s. Date several people looking for the one.
    5. find a good person and start into a relationship. This stretches from late 20s to early 30s.
    6. the relationship fails, so a period of mourning, and concentrating on self starts.
    7. now in mid 30s, a search begins anew. It takes a few years of dating, but you find somebody to enter into a relationship.
    8. it lasts a few years, and now you are very early 40s, and now you find out this person has a deal breaker flaw they were hiding, or you catch them cheating. Relationship ends, so now you single, and over 40.

    I think the only real flaw would be that the person may not have made finding the right person, a big enough priority.

    1. 187.1

      This is the perfect answer to all this debate.  It’s the story of my life and while I have my share of baggage like everybody else,  I believe I’m not damaged goods or incapable of intimacy or whatever other nonsensical theories are carelessly and callously tossed around like awful accusations.  Some people just haven’t found that so called special someone yet and it’s just how it is until he or she does.

  8. 188
    Really True

    Well at 60 years old now divorced again, and Not my fault at all since my first wife Cheated on me and wanted out of the Marriage. Second wife was and still is Bi Polar which was a nightmare for me since she put herself in debt with the Credit Cards, and caused me Bankruptcy too. She would always try to start an argument with me, and the slightest thing that i would say wrong which she would jump down my throat. When i finally left her, she was 55 thousand in debt again. Her daughter was Autistic too which i certainly had my hands full as you can see, but i was very protective of her since many other children would make fun of her. Now single and Alone again makes it very hard at my age trying to meet a good woman to settle down with since many of the women that i meet are Very Stuck Up nowadays, and play very hard to get. At my age now i am certainly Not into the games that these women are playing today, and they really need to Grow Up.

  9. 189

    I would have thought having been seperated would be worse than never having married. 

  10. 190

    I am 42 years old, never married, only 4 relationships my whole life,, lost my virginity at the age of 34.. All not my choice.. I got my first kiss at the age of 21.. Girls always rejected me, still do.. Some things we can not control. I never thought that by now I would never be married, and not have kids. was never my choice. Dont know if it was God’s will,, or the Devils work.
    All through out my 20s and 30s I asked hundreds of females out, all rejected me. Can not change what is meant to be… Hope to hear from you ladies out there.

    1. 190.1


      I think seeing a dating coach can help out with your situation…

  11. 191

    I dated a man who was over 45 never married no kids. He was not going to settle down anytime soon so i got rid of him and he is still single. I found out that he was seeing numerous women and also having a few FWB to boot. Been there done that will never go back

    1. 191.1

      Sounds like this guy’s got the life!

  12. 192

    Really? 5 Hour long telephone conversations and emails nearly as long? And you mean to tell me this question has never come up? Or to put that another way, have you ever asked him why he is still single? Do you believe him, is that the real issue? It seems to me when women ask such a question – is this a red flag – they already think it is. The problem is are you correct. But this is no different than any other chance you take with any other person you date. There are any number of reasons a guy – or girl – might be single at 40 and over and they are not all negative. I would have to say there might be an increasing likelihood of it being negative but until you ask and find out you will never know for sure.

  13. 193

    Steve, just had to add great post that #28. Lets not forget the ol’ “He must be gay” assumption as to why they are single. They have nothing to go on but that he is single. How that equals gay I have yet to figure out but it appears to make women feel better about themselves.
    All I can say is, thanks for the insult – that really makes me want to get to know you- NOT! 

  14. 194

    I have started seeing a 47 year old man who has never been married. He has everything going for him and a fantastic life! I love that he doesn’t need a woman. I’m 49, divorced, and am more concerned about the needy people on their 3rd marriage, or people who.need someone to take care of them. Or like my ex husband, who define being a man as be being in control of a woman. The new guy probably has some attachment issues, but so do I. Its a spectrum anyway, whether needy or avoidant. I love that he doesn’t need a woman to cook, clean, control, or depend on for social or cultural support. He is perfectly competent.

  15. 195
    diet cola

    Well, as a 48-year-old who has never dated or had sex, because of terminal shyness, social anxiety and complete disbelief I have anything to offer or that people should be interested, after reading the comments here I guess I might as well just slit my throat.

  16. 196

    Guys are finally wising up and realizing marriage is a bad deal. Take the redpill and don’t look back.

  17. 197

    I am 46 going on 47 I was diagnosed last year with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

    I have never had a girlfreind I  have tried but nothing has worked I hope to try and change this through theropy.

  18. 198

    Hi. My comment is a guy never married in his 40s may be date able to some women. For example one woman wrote she is seeing one gentleman and neither of them Are that interested in marriage. I am a divorced 36 year old woman with no kids who is really looking for marriage and children. The reason I am divorced is because my husband threw me out after he got his Greencard otherwise I would still be married. I am not interested in ltrs that go nowhere.

    In my experience never married guys in their 40s are not As serious about marriage because they have never been committed before, so likely I won’t have success with one of them.

  19. 199

    I am such a mess right now.  I’m a 42 y/o gay black male and lately, most importantly, since my moms death I have been obsessed with love and romance and I feel like I deserve a boyfriend.  Then I have dated a couple of guys and I have been a total asshole to them at the slightest imperfection.  I have a big chip on my shoulder and have even found myself hitting on my straight guy friends.  When they don’t respond I dismiss them.  Who do I think I am.  I know were not suppose to look for love but I don’t want to be an old maid.  Please help  I’m still living with my dad but I haven’t been seeing my therapist

  20. 200

    I love the internet for the vast amount of information.  American women do stereotype men automatically more so then men do to women.  Let’s face it, American women all have an agenda.  I totally agree with Steve, obviously I am not the only one who feels this way.  There are more men out there who have been trying to find the right one such as I.  Sadly, I think I am going to have to renounce my US citizenship and move to another country that is separated from the status quo attitude.  I have been told all my life that it will happen for me, I know now that it is all bull$hit and it won’t as long as I am living in the US.  I have dated numerous times but I seem to attract either the psychos or the ones who are desperate.

    I am NOT looking for a slave which is what every woman here automatically thinks when I say the things I do.  I am looking to actually fall in love and have a woman fall in love with me.  And if it means getting rid of my US citizenship so that I will have what I desire, so be it.  Being a US citizen is actually a curse, not a blessing.


    1. 200.1


      When dating/marriage becomes 100 percent risk and zero percent benefit, there isn’t much point in the so-called pursuit, is there?


  21. 201

    I suppose some men just don’t want the responsibility of a wife, which might mean the responsibility of a family.   I have known several men who never married.  Now, I don’t pretend to know everything about them, but for the most part, they seem pretty decent to me.   I’d just hate to be the unlucky female who happened to fall in love with one of them.  All these guys seem to have been close to their Moms.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.   But take a chance on love with them?  I  don’t know.  After so many years as a single person, you tend to get set in your ways.

    1. 201.1


      I readily admit that I never wanted the responsibility of a family. That said, isn’t it better to never have that responsibility than to get married, have kids, and then decide after the fact that this wasn’t for you?

  22. 202

    I honestly don’t understand why a single man in his 40s should be “stigmatized.”  A lot of MARRIED men in their 40s leave their wives and children for other women – especially much younger females.  So is the implication that the married men committing infidelity in their 40s are NOT to be stigmatized and the stigma should go to the single guy in his 40s?  That doesn’t make sense.


    I am in my mid 40s and studied public health with a focus on prevention.  I learned how to maintain proper health and exercise as a lifestyle.  I can still run a half marathon well under 2 hours and play campus basketball at the student rec center with college students.  I still have all my dark hair and do not have a receding hairline.  I have been told I look about 10 to 12 years younger than I actually am – a guy in his mid 40s who looks like an athletic 30-something guy.

    The way I see it, I am not a married man in his 40s who is leaving his wife for a much younger women.  I go the gym and still deal with a lot of flirting from college women.  So I shouldn’t be stigmatized for being a single guy in his 40s meeting much younger women in the first place!!!!.  It’s better than getting married around 1995, waiting about 20 years, then dumping the aging wife for a young woman.


    Put the stigma on the married men leaving their wives for younger women.  I know for a fact the middle-aged women don’t like it.  Ever see “First Wives Club.”  I’m meeting the younger women in the first place because I still can.  I like to go to the gym and workout like in that film “Vision Quest” when I was a teen and still get the flirting behavior from the college women.  And then it’s great to run the full-court fast breaks.  To hell with aging too quickly.

  23. 203

    Dating someone over 40 who has never married is not a big deal, unless you want it to be.   One thing is for certain, there is RISK involved in forming or sustaining a relationship.  If you’re not amendable to a degree of risk, stay single regardless of your age.  One more thing, at least they’re not contributing to the high divorce rate in our country.  Seems to me, more US citizens need to wait until their 40 to marry….



  24. 204

    I believe I have been a man’s step-n- stone. Start life’s relationship or wife until they can go on to a relationship they started behind my.  Back, I have had five husband’s and all of them have started a relationship with me until that other woman. Got divorced or broke up with there mate. So I was just a stepping stone. Until she became available to him.

  25. 205

    Uhmm. I find myself being a successful single male, never married, without children and in my 40’s. I’m Robert and I live in North Dakota. I do think that some stereotypes hold merit….as this one might. I, however, would like to share my story. I have never cheated in any relationship.. My thoughts are be a responsible adult and be honest with yourself and your significant other.

    I have had 3 long term relationships one for 3 years, one for 1 year and finally one  for 7 years. Which brought me nearly to my 30’s. I lived overseas for a few years in Holland for work and dated while I was there. I moved back specifically to “settle down” even though I was never much of a playboy. I had always had this plan ….. I wanted to be successful before father warned me not to get married too young… he said things like “First, you must learn who you are”.

    I knew I wanted to wait til I was in my 30’s, financially/emotional stable and responsible enough to be able to care for and support my wife and child/children.

    I saw so many people have children and struggle as young adults… I think it was the thing to do in our early 20’s. That might have scared me into taking the safe road.. the first 2 serious relationships weren’t going to lead to marriage… not because of the women.. because I  wasn’t ready. The 3rd woman could have and probably would  have led to marriage.. if both our parents and the woman didn’t keep pushing me towards it… I ran out of defiance and pressure. Again, I wasn’t ready.

    Fast forward to 2008 when I moved back to the states. I am ready to meet a great woman and am ready for a serious relationship. I find myself getting hit pretty hard financially … ok  to the extreme. In 2010 I move to North Dakota to work in the energy sector. I struggled for a couple years to build myself up in a new career. 2014! I made it.. I decided to take the plunge and open my own business.  In June of 2014 O&G starts its decline…a decline of nearly 80%.. I’m still here plugging away at 80-90 hours a week. WHY?

    For her.. I haven’t met her yet… and I probably won’t meet her where I am. I understand this.. I have gone on a few dates here in Boomtown, USA. 2 showed up drunk and turned out to be huge drinkers.. I’m not a big drinker. I tell them that I am a superintendent and just pass on their invitations… why lead them on and get into a situation where I know there is no future.  I might be the picky guy..?  but I can tell you … just because I can sleep around doesn’t make it right or make me a ladies man. I don’t want a lot of women.. just one.. the perfect one…. perfect for me.. with funny shaped ears and a crooked smile… those things I miss greatly about relationships.. those things make them special.. just for me.)

    I’m doing what I do in N.D. so I won’t have to later. I will be selling the company at some point and moving to …. wherever we decide.

    41 , employed, single, normal, well traveled guy that wants to have things in order.. so I can be the best husband.


  26. 206

    Well, I am a 40 year old personal trainer and retired social worker. I have had a string of bad relationships with wonderful women, which ended because they were seeking something greater than me. There is nothing wrong with me being 40 and single, I wish women would stop having preconceived ideas and assumptions before dating me. Because of this I stopped dating altogether, I’m left encouraging myself.

  27. 207

    I am quite a handsome African man with so much going for me. It is the same here as it is in America, women of today think in extremely childish ways, that if you’ve never married, you can’t marry. That’s like saying if you’ve never ridden a bike, you can’t ride, are they prophets now? How do women even purport to know whether a man in his 40s is responsible? As if we can’t love our kids. Why are they thinking they are God and trying to predict the future as if they are more important than us? Then let them go and be thrown away by the players they like, leave us with our strippers and whores.

  28. 208

    Good comments and article. Why is it we over analyse such things, instead of just enjoying life for what it is……

    It does not matter in reality (except the Internet) a persons history or age. What is important in my humble opinion, is right now and the immediate moment in time.

    Someone much wiser than me (83 years old) once made a comment, “If I buy an older car, I want low mileage, good service history and no previous accidents”. These traits actually have more value…….







  29. 209

    I’m going on 42, in great shape earn good money love my career and have a large circle of friends many of whom are women.  I have not married yet because I do not believe in divorce and I have not met her yet.  I have been in love severa times and it was amazing, but for one reason or another we were not right for each other.  My parents are still married and very much in love.

    you cannot claim all guys are players if they haven’t been married.  Singles outnumber married people in the US for the first time in our history and there are more singles over 40 than ever before.  also men unlike women may want to provide and wait to feel capable of supporting a family.  This article is itself a stereotype.  Even the GOOD reasons she lists for unmarried 40s are stereotypes.  Take it with a grain of salt.

  30. 210

    I also don’t believe all over 40 yrs old man have problem, but some definitely do.

    For example, this guy I know is 40 and he’s never been married. I know him for little less than a year and now I can see what his problem is. He always likes to talk about the money. Without me asking him, he told me how much he makes and blah blah blah… Who cares? He did this when I met him for the second time (I’m not dating him). He might have tried to impress me but dude, you are doing it in the wrong way. Some women might be impressed by how much you make but not all of us. Obviously he loves to work overtime as he gets richer doing that. But my question is what do you do with all that money? He just annoys me.

    And another reason why I think he is still single is that he seems like a really selfish guy. I’ve met so many people in my life and he is definitely one of those people who are in selfish side. He doesn’t try to meet my convenience and he twist my arm to get him to do things with him. Are you a kid? I only know him through some business relationship but he annoys me so much. Good thing is that this business relationship will end soon and I will not need to see this guy or talk to him again.

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