I’m Too Unique To Find A Husband, So Please Tell Me I Don’t Have To Change


Hi there, I came across your blog seeking advice. I searched the archives and haven’t found my particular situation. I’m going to be 31 in a month, and my biological clock is ticking. Jeez, I really hate writing that, but it’s true. Problem is, I only seem to attract younger guys who don’t want to have children. I tend to hang with a lot of artists and musicians, all in the early stages of their careers. Your articles (and my mother) say that based on my wants, I need to aim for older, more established guys. In the past I’ve never been able to picture myself with this type of man… You might as well ask me to date a martian! Now I think I may be ready for it…but my fear is that we won’t have a connection, and he’ll be condescending, treat me like a kid, or just an ego-boosting piece of ass. Or what if I DO meet a fantastic, fun, family-ready guy, would he even be interested in ME?

I’ve always been a bit of a scrappy tomboy. I hate jewelry, nail polish and high heels. I’m perpetually converse-clad and bed-headed. I haven’t owned a TV in 7 years because TV drives me crazy, and for 6 years (but not currently) I didn’t own a car. I have an insatiable music appetite and was an arty-punk in college–living in San Francisco, getting tattoos and joining a ragtag street bicycle “gang” of mostly guys. I had a boyfriend during most of my 20’s who was in a touring band, and we broke up when it became obvious I wasn’t his priority. Three years ago I left SF for LA as some of my friends grew up and moved to the ‘burbs and others descended into neverneverland. I found a new group of friends in LA and we have blast–karaoke parties, midnight bike rides, ultimate Frisbee and goofy croquet tournaments.

Wow, writing this I must sound like some sort of teenage street urchin, but there IS more to me. I am incredibly responsible, a college graduate and professional, and I haven’t been without a job since I was 15. I work as a graphic designer for a corporation, have a 401k and a rather hefty savings account. I’ve provided for myself independently since college and have lived by myself for the past 6 years. I travel extensively, I volunteer at an animal shelter once a week, and am involved in causes. I’m cultured and well read. I am attractive, incredibly active and fit–my body’s tighter than my 25-year-old sister’s–and I don’t eat junk.

I’m not one of the girls who is desperate for a fantasy-dream-princess wedding, if a wedding at all. I just want to fall in love with a terrific lover and companion who wants to be a partner in raising children. So, how do I get there?

Do I have to completely change how I am? Change my friends? Take up golf?!? I hope the answer is “no” to all of these questions, but I know SOMETHING has to change.



Dear C,

I really appreciate the self-awareness in your email. In the years that I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve discovered that the less self-aware the question, the more powerful the answer — basically because I can tell the reader something she doesn’t already know. In your case, it seems you’ve thought this through considerably, and it’s harder for me to say something illuminating. But I’m sure gonna try.

I’d like you to consider a few clients that I’ve had over the years:

By restricting their tastes to a narrow slice of people, they exclude a vast majority of the eligible dating population.

  • A Jewish man who wore dreadlocks and wanted to marry someone Jewish
  • A man with a 170 IQ who needed a woman who could discuss his career in physics.
  • A woman who had 4 dogs who wanted a man who loved animals as she did.
  • A woman who was 50lbs overweight and wanted a traditionally attractive, fit man.
  • An Asian man who would only date white women.
  • A fiftyish woman who would only date cool, stylish, hip men with great taste in music.
  • A wealthy older man who would only date women 20 years younger with no kids who’d be willing to relocate.
  • A 57-year-old woman who refused to date any man older than she.

It doesn’t take a dating coach to identify that all of these intelligent, well-meaning, relationship-oriented folks might struggle to find suitable partners.

And it would be no judgment against any of them to suggest that by restricting their tastes to a narrow slice of people, they exclude a vast majority of the eligible dating population.

To parse this even further, I think we need to distinguish between two things: changing who you are vs. changing what you’re looking for.

Both are of equal importance and value when it comes to dating.

The more restrictions you put on, the harder it is to find a partner.

The woman who is 50lbs overweight and determines that she is comfortable and happy at that weight is well within her rights to draw that conclusion. She must also understand that if she’s looking for a mate, over 90% of the men adhere to the modern Western standard of beauty as seen in Maxim, Playboy or Vivid. This isn’t news, by any stretch of the imagination, but the ramifications aren’t always clear. They should be.

The more restrictions you put on, the harder it is to find a partner.

That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact.

If we were to go through all of my clients above, what percentage of people are open to dating them? Let’s just do an approximation:

The percent of Jewish women who want a man with dreadlocks = the percentage of women who understand quantum physics = the percentage of men who want to have four dogs = the percentage of men who want obese women = the percentage of white women who prefer Asian men online = the percentage of fiftysomething men who are as cool as Bono = the percentage of 37-year-old women who don’t have kids, want kids and are willing to relocate = the percentage of 54-year-old men who want to date older women.

In other words, it’s slim pickings for everyone who has very definite ideas about who their partner should be. It’s not until you let go of those ideas that you find true happiness.

So how does this pertain to you, C?

Well, let’s do a little math exercise and consider:

a)         How many young male artists and musicians at the early stages of their careers make for good bets as husbands and fathers?

b)       How many men who make for good bets as husbands and fathers want to date a scrappy, tattooed tomboy who hates dressing in a feminine manner?

I think you’ll find that the first number hovers at less than 10% of musicians/artists and the second one can’t be much higher…

So if there are 10,000 men in a dating pool…

And 10% of them are creative types…that’s 1000 men.

Among that 1000, let’s say 10% of those young artists are successful and financially stable. That’s 100 men.

Among that 100, let’s say 10% of them are emotionally available and ready for marriage despite their shaky careers. That’s 10 men.

Among that 10, we haven’t even factored in whether they’re tall, cute, smart, funny, sane, cool, or have drinking/drugs/anger management problems…

The point is that you are perfectly valid in saying “this is who I am, this is what I want.”

But if you won’t change who you are, nor compromise what you’re looking for, it seems readily apparent that the pool of interested eligible men is, to say the least, small.

It sounds like you’re a grown-up, C, who likes hanging out with people who aren’t grown ups. That’s going to come back to bite you.

So I’m going to make a recommendation to you — one that might surprise a woman as smart and open-minded as you.

Stop judging everyone who is not a struggling artist with a bicycle and an iMac as being “wrong” for you.

Let go of the picture you had of your ideal guy and start experimenting with a new way of viewing dating.

Men who like football can be creative.

Men who watch television can be interesting.

Men with conventional careers can have karaoke parties.

Thus, your preconceptions are the big thing getting in the way of your own success. The idea that you need to have a person who is your clone, but male, is a fallacy.

You just need a guy who loves you and wants the same things in life. And your odds increase dramatically if you both open up to more men and appeal to more men.

I told the dreadlocks guy to cut his hair.

I told the older woman that there were older men who were in shape, too.

I told the physicist to get off his high horse and appreciate the virtues of smart, if not brilliant, women.

And I’m going to tell you to let go of the picture you had of your ideal guy and start experimenting with a new way of viewing dating.

Maybe it means dating on Nerve.com to find some urban hipsters. Maybe it means dating a divorced guy with a kid because he knows the importance of family. Maybe it means retiring the Converse when you’re on a date and leaving them for Saturday afternoons.

But you have enough going for you that I’m confident that you will find your prince.

Just make sure he picks you up in a car instead of on a bike, okay?

If you struggle with the same issues as today’s letter-writer, please https://www.evanmarckatz.com/coaching/ to learn how I can help you separate what you should and should not compromise on in a partner. I promise, you will never have to SETTLE on a relationship again…

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  1. 1
    Karl Sakas

    Great article, Evan. I’m not in your target demographic — I’m 28 and male — but your relationship advice is very helpful for understanding where women are coming from.

  2. 2
    E. Foley

    Great article, Evan. I find the “Too Unique” factor happens a lot with my all-geek clientele.
    They are wonderful, date-able, responsible guys with solid careers, but women will write them off because they play Dungeons & Dragons or still read comic books or what have you. It’s sad.
    And you’re right on about people having problems identifying their target market for matches.   I had a 30-something Asian virgin who lived with his parents and only got out of the house to go to work who wanted to date smokin’ hot blonde party girls. Oof. It wasn’t until I convinced him to start writing different women that he started seeing results.

  3. 3

    I’m nearly 30, and most of my friends are already there.   We’re college educated, have jobs, travel extensively, and enjoy the arts.   We’re also interested in finding a mate (if we haven’t found one already).   And all of us would probably think that karaoke parties, ultimate frisbee games, midnight bike rides, and goofy croquet tournaments would be a blast.
    None of us, however, hang out with bicycle street gangs with disheveled hair while wearing our converses .   And if this is a huge aspect of your life (compared to the other activities that you mention in your letter) then it’s unlikely that any of my friends would be interested in someone of that type.   I suspect questions might arise regarding the person’s maturity, or why they’re trying to hold on so strongly to youthful pursuits.
    I’m not trying to say that you should be trying to go out with my friends   and that something’s wrong with you if you don’t meet what they’re interested in.   What I am saying though is that there are definitely people out there who are very similar to you in most respects, and that are looking for a lot of the same stuff as you.   But your street bicycle gang is going to be a serious issue for most of the fun, responsible, family-minded guys you’d like to marry.

  4. 4

    I’d put it this way – it sounds like she has an adventurous life, but she’s not being very adventurous in who she is willing to date.   If you think about it, broadening her horizons is actually more true to “who she really is” than her current restrictiveness and playing it safe is.

    When I was dating on Match, I went out with guys ranging from 2 years younger (I was 24 so they couldn’t get too much younger, ha!) to over 20 years older.   I dated white guys, black guys, hispanic guys, Asian guys.   Accountants, scientists, writers, salesmen.   Parents, childfree guys.   Disabled guys, competitive athletes.   Atheists, Jewish guys, Catholic guys.   A millionaire who offered to fly me to another city on his private plane because he knew the cutest breakfast place there.   Grad students who had to split the check at Taco Bell.   I seriously thought about dating a girl I knew (and her parents were rooting for me, though I think they like her current SO and their beautiful son much better)!

    Seriously, 31 is young – I get that there’s a sense of urgency because the clock is ticking, but has she considered just having her own child?   There is a finite window to have your own biological child if you are a woman, and if that is important to her maybe that takes precedence.   And maybe raising a child on her own for awhile (it sounds like she has the financial resources to do so) will reprioritize her a little bit.

  5. 5

    The writer shares that while in the past, she wasn’t able to picture herself with an older, more established man, she is now beginning to feel that she may be ready for it. I think her biggest concern isn’t whether she should expand her horizons, but how reaching out to another type of man may create a perception and treatment of her that she’s not comfortable with.
    This is where it gets tricky. How much of herself should she change? What does she change? The problem, too, is that people are very quick to judge a book by its cover when they have no clue what lies beneath. Her qualities and values that might interest this type of man may never be known because of her appearance, especially in OLD where photos do 99% of the initial talking. Real life may not be much better. The same can be said about her viewing what looks like a typical business man who, underneath the weight of his corporate suit, is a free-spirited, Harley riding, creative artist who jams to karaoke and wears an earring when not on the job. Then again, he might see her photo and think, “Finally! A girl who will really get who I am.” You never know. 🙂
    So what is she to do? If she starts wearing high heels purely for the sake of a man, she may feel resentful, and a total fake; a vibe the man will likely pick up on. What happens when they’ve been together a while and she wants to put her stilettos away?
    Above all, she has to stay true to herself or she’ll be miserable which doesn’t make for a good partner. She needs to search through her repertoire and determine what she is willing and not willing to change about herself, and go from there.
    p.s. TV drives me crazy, too! I wouldn’t own one, if not for my kids. It feels like harried interference, intruding on my creative and beautiful mind. 🙂

  6. 6

    I don’t see the problem as finding a man as much as it is not being  ready yet to be a parent.   Some of those quirky things will work okay, but many by necessity will have to go – strapping in the screaming baby for a midnight bike ride being an obvious one.

    I think you should give more thought to that C. How badly do you want children? Enough to make some major changes in your lifestyle? If you’re willing to do that to be a good mom, then is it really such a big deal to do it to find a good dad?

  7. 7

    I read your letter and immediately thought you should talk to a friend of mine. Whether it would turn into something more serious than that would be up to you. I’ve been reading Evan’s blog for quite a few years now, even though I’ve been seeing a great guy for over 2 years, but I don’t know how he would handle an exchange of contact info, if you’re interested…

  8. 8

    yes! I hate tv, too! Which puts me in an awkward position when people talk about shows I’ve never heard of.

    I think some other posters have touched on what I’m about to say- but it seems that the most of the things the OP has mentioned are mostly external (Harley, tattoo, Converse, etc.), which is ironic, since she seems to consider herself a ‘rebel’. I’m not knocking her- I think we all do this- I certainly have. I think maybe she needs to figure out what core values she wants in a partner. The good thing about such an exercise is that it helps you to figure out your own core values as well- it certainly has for me. I don’t think many, on a regular basis, necessarily, really think about what their core values are.

    The good thing about disappointing dates is, at least you get closer to knowing what you DON’T want! LOL

  9. 9

    I suggest that you babysit for at least an entire day. Then decide if this is what you really want. Or read the cover story of New York magazine this week. You have a good life.

  10. 10

    I think C attracts younger men  from hanging out with  budding artists and musicians. She  should start spending more time with the animal shelter, involve in causes, etc etc, where there are likely to be men who are more mellow.  This is what she loves to do and not changing herself.  Start mixing with the people…and slowly find yourself appreciating them. Like minded people comes together. If she finds herself having majority of friends who gets 1 part of her but not the other…won’t she feel a bit lonely sometimes? The type of men she wants most likely belong to the other side of her. So, she should try to develop that. 🙂

  11. 11

    Even, as a devoted follower of your blog, I have to admit that I am somewhat offended by what I hope was an unintentional typo (possible fruedian slip?). You list the low percentages available online of very specific types your clients were looking for (ie. the percentage of white women looking for asian men online), except when you got to the woman who was overweight. There  you  wrote “men who are interested in overweight women” as opposed to  traditionally attractive, fit men who are interested in overweight women, which is what your client was limiting herself to trying to find. All your other examples  showed that  your clients were being too picky. The weight example simply  conveyed that overweight women were not desired and therefore automatically are left with  that 10% of people to choose from. I am also 50lbs overweight and date very frequently on match.com. I am very aware that many men will  only date slender women, but that paragraph came across as the overweight client being the only one who was not being picky, but was herself the  only issue.  Maybe I am overanalyzing, but that did stick out to me as more of a personal projection than your normal “reporting the facts”.

  12. 12

    @Selena – very good thought!

    Like Selena said, iIt might be worthwhile to consider what changes you will be willing to make to have a baby in your life.   Who says you can’t be a cool, hip mom?   No one.   But compromise can actually make things fun.   Don’t want to wear high heels?   Maybe flat  sandles with purple nail polish.   Get a haircut designed to allow you to brush and go so you don’t have to spend too much time on it, but still has that edgy look.   And the friends you like to hang out with don’t have to be dumped, but the time you spend with them can be scaled back – for instance, hanging out with them one night (or day) each week instead of several times a week.   Being mature doesn’t mean you have to give up on “you,” just that you recognize a certain need for practicality and work everything together.   You can be feminine and still show the scrappy side of you.

  13. 13


    I’m curious- you seem so bright and unique, and a genuinely independent thinker. And Match…well, a lot of the guys (at least by their profiles) seem to be very run-of-the-mill, ‘going through the motions of life’ kind of people. Didn’t you get burnt out dating all these different men? I mean, your posts tend to show someone who’s emotionally intelligent and a deep thinker- and most of the men I come across are of the “i work hard and play hard” (insert spelling error somewhere) variety. Actually just got favorited by someone called “Cotton Eye Jim.” Nice. I’m just trying to imagine you on a dates with them, and I just can’t do it. ;-p So, what was the mentality you had to adopt to do this?

  14. 14

    @ Honey – 31 isn’t that young if she wants to have her own biological children with a partner. You suggest that she consider having a child on her own, I suggest she read a Lori Gottlieb article about her experience having a child on HER own.    

    But if she really wants biological children with a husband, then she’s smart to get serious now.

  15. 15

    I guess everyone has a dilemma, right? I don’t get why a 31-year-old can’t find other artsy/hipster, early-thirties guys to date who want to settle down. They are out there. I’ve known them. Heck, I’ve known cool guys in their mid-late twenties who were responsible and ready to settle down. There are dating sites out there for every taste: for guys who like big gals, guys who like older women, girls who want sugar daddies, people who are exceptionally bright, people who are of a certain religion, even urban hipster types.  
    C criticizes her SF friends for moving to the ‘burbs and settling down (“neverneverland”), even though – news flash – that’s what people who marry and have kids often do. You don’t have to change who you are, you just have to be sure of what you want. It doesn’t make finding a partner easy, but it does make it easier. If C is truly ready for what she says she wants, then she shouldn’t have a huge problem finding someone.

  16. 16

    @ sayanta, #13 – thanks for the compliments!   I did get burned out sometimes (I think everyone who is single for multiple years in a row does – and I was on a break from Match when I met my current boyfriend/fiance randomly on MySpace).   Education was probably my biggest sticking point – I can’t remember if I went out with anyone who didn’t at least have a Bachelor’s degree, but I doubt it.   I preferred people with at least some graduate school though it wasn’t a hard-and-fast critiera.    

    In the end, my profile said that I was a PhD student and was otherwise reflective of my interests (I tried to only talk up things I was excited about rather than listing a bunch of things I hated or wasn’t interested in).   So I pretty much figured if a guy made it through 3 emails and a phone call and thought I was intriguing enough to meet in person, there was probably *something* about them I would enjoy.   I did spend the majority of my time going on 3 dates or fewer with guys that were totally solid, upright people who just weren’t “for me” in the end for some of the reasons you mention, but I wasn’t on any sort of timeline regarding when I wanted to end up in something serious.   I was just sort of taking it as it came, which worked for me. (In fact, being on a timeline was probably my biggest turnoff.)   The more emotionally intelligent you are, I am finding, the less it matters if someone else is not.   I took a “verbal Aikido” training at work recently and it really blew my mind.

    And of course, I grew up in a semi-rural area where my dad was a construction worker and my mom was a SAHM.   I went to church for awhile (believers don’t bother me unless they’re evangelistic).   I listened to country music *exclusively* from 1995-1999, so I say “Cotton Eye Jim” – Ha!!!

    @ Liz, #14 – I never said she wasn’t smart to get serious about finding a partner now (which seems to be what she is doing, so good on her).   In fact, I also did not say that she SHOULD have her own child.   What I said (or was trying to say) is that she is treating having a husband as a barrier that 100% absolutely MUST be overcome before she can have a child.    As you and others have pointed out (and as I pointed out myself), she is running out of time for everything to pan out  on a  timeline  that will leave her still able to conceive naturally with relative ease.   So  I suggested  she should CONSIDER opening her mind a bit more to some other options.   If she’s not willing to consider other options, perhaps she really doesn’t want kids in the first place and is just using this no-husband thing as a convenient, socially acceptable  excuse.

    I have a friend from grad school who was engaged to her college sweetheart, first guy she ever slept with, etc.   Well, he had an emotional breakdown and left her, and she hasn’t dated ANYONE in the over 5 YEARS since then because for her, there was only one life narrative that was acceptable, it was gone and there was no way to recover it, and she just couldn’t get past that place.   I don’t think limitations like that are making anyone happy in the long run.

  17. 17
    Katarina Phang

    Funny, I have just written a post about this too, about how being open-minded and approaching dating without prejudice really helps.
    With a fresh attitude I find a great pool of interesting guys.   And if you just date to enjoy the company of someone (and make new friends), you’re going to enjoy the experience better as well.   And you’ll be surprised how much better the result is.   Love happens when you least expect it.

  18. 18

    I have pretty much decided that until I get the weight off, there will be no dating for me.

  19. 19

    Honey #16
    “The more emotionally intelligent you are, I am finding, the less it matters if someone else is not.   I took a “verbal Aikido” training at work recently and it really blew my mind.”

    This seems to contradict my own experience, so I’m curious about this. I’ve found that dating someone with some emotional intelligence is pretty important. Recently, I dated someone who I connected with on numerous levels, but he lacked emotional depth, and it caused a lot of problems. And what is “Verbal Aikido”?

  20. 20

    My applause to Katarina Phang   #18….

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