The REAL Reason You’re Still Single

There are two big problems in dating.

1) You don’t want the people who want you.
2) The people you want don’t want you in return.

Now, take a look at those two problems; which one do you think you can change?

Most of us take the futile route of trying to change the second one – “How do I MAKE him like me?” “I’m exactly what he’s looking for!” “He doesn’t know what’s good for him.” But, as we’ve established a few hundred times on this blog, you can’t change anyone else’s thinking.

What you can change is YOU.

To be fair, it’s possible to “make” someone like you by becoming a more desirable catch – there’s no doubt that a man who earns more money, gains more confidence, and gets more experience will have a more positive dating life. But he’s not actually CHANGING women. He’s only changing himself.

But increasing your dating options can be a risky proposition, at best. Men can’t always make more money. Women can’t always lose weight. And as easy as it is to talk about gaining confidence and experience, most folks would rather sit on the sidelines and complain that the people you want don’t want you in return.

This is a waste of time.

In fact, the easiest remedy for an ailing love life is to want the people who want you.

In fact, the easiest remedy for an ailing love life is to want the people who want you.

It is anathema to suggest this, of course. Any conversation about opening up to more potential prospects leads us down the slippery slope to settling. And as the furor about Lori Gottlieb’s Marry Him proved, nothing pisses women off more than the suggestion that they may be somewhat responsible for being single.

But, to be crystal clear, it’s not just women.

There are tons of 38-year-old male Ivy-League educated lawyers who just can’t find a single woman good enough for him. These guys, who are, like me, probably 7’s in looks and 9’s in intelligence, just can’t help but to go for women who are 9’s in looks, but 5’s in emotional intelligence/compatibility.

One of the things that I’ve often thought is that none of these men would marry someone like my wife, even though my wife is – objectively – just about the coolest woman on the planet. They’d have the same objections I did: a little too old, not a Harvard grad, blahblahblah.

The reason I’m bringing this up is that I made a CHOICE to find an amazing partner and create an amazing life – and all I had to do was give up that IMAGE that I’d had of dating a woman who was Just. Like. Me.

If you’re single, and never find anybody “good enough,” chances are that you do the exact same thing.

Today, I’m calling you out.

Because if you’ve been dating this way for 5, 10 or 20 years, there’s something that you’re not seeing.

And that something is this:

If a 42-year-old man says that he’s ONLY attracted to 9’s and 10’s who are in their late 20’s, that’s fabulous. But if NONE of the 9’s and 10’s he covets are interested in him in return, it only makes sense that this man needs to recalibrate his dating options. 6’s and 7’s are readily interested in him, but he doesn’t find them attractive enough. Without knowing this man, I think it would be clear that he’s overestimating himself. If he can get only 6s and 7’s in looks, he’s probably a 6 or a 7 in looks himself. Therefore, if he ever wants to get married, it would probably make sense to start appreciating the 6s and 7’s and choose the one that he’s most attracted to, who shares the same values and can be his best friend for life.

I’d think it would be hard to argue with that logic.

So should it be any more controversial if we flip the genders around?

If you think you “deserve” a certain kind of partner … and yet you’ve NEVER gotten him, you need to start considering another kind of partner.

If the 38-year-old woman MBA who owns her own condo, runs marathons, and can complete the Sunday New York Times crossword only likes 9’s and 10’s… but those same men always a) prefer younger women or b) ultimately break her heart because they’re egotistical, selfish narcissists who only want younger women and aren’t ready to settle down… should she keep holding out for them? Wouldn’t it make much more sense to marry one of the devoted 7’s who think she’s the bee’s knees?

Apparently not.

Because that would be settling.

And settling is bad.

Therefore, all of these amazing men and women remain single indefinitely. Because They. Will. Not. Settle.

They would rather tilt at windmills, trying to acquire a partner who DOESN’T want them, instead of realizing that the BEST partner for them is the one who WANTS them and VALUES them and thinks THEY are a catch.

And the culprit in all this? Our unrealistic expectations – of how we see ourselves – and of what we expect of our partners.

If you price a candy bar at $100 and there are no buyers, you need to lower the price of the candy bar.

If you think you “deserve” a certain kind of partner – not just someone who is rich, hot, and brilliant, but a rich, hot, brilliant partner who STICKS AROUND – and yet you’ve NEVER gotten him, you need to start considering another kind of partner.

The key is in letting go of the image you’ve been holding onto. Because real relationships aren’t about credentials; they’re about connection. And I truly believe there are thousands of people you can potentially be happy with… if only you didn’t have such a rigid idea of what it looked like.

Last night, I was coaching a favorite client, Katie, who is part of Love U.

Katie is 58 and never married. Of course. She never wanted to settle.

After rebranding her on, she’s getting a ton of attention and is being chased down by two men simultaneously.

Tom is the brainy, charismatic one who talks about himself incessantly, sends template emails, and hasn’t followed up in a week.

Bill is a fun guy, makes her laugh, is a great kisser, and has followed up for four dates in two weeks.

Katie wanted to know how to make Tom like her and how to get rid of Bill. When we dug deeper, I learned that she was embarrassed at the thought of introducing her friends to Bob because he wasn’t as “sophisticated” as her other tony Connecticut friends.

I asked Katie, point-blank: Are you attracted to Bill? “Yes”

Real relationships aren’t about credentials; they’re about connection.

Do you have fun around Bill? “Oh, yes!”

Is he consistently good to you? “Absolutely. He’s crazy about me.”

So why are you trying so hard to run away? Because of what your friends think? Because Bill’s not what you’ve pictured in your head for 58 YEARS?

“Yeah, kind of.”

I’m delighted to report that Katie is going out with Bill again. And I wouldn’t be surprised if she “settled” her way into an amazing relationship.

By thinking you’re “better” than everyone who wants you, you’re eliminating the greatest source of love around – the person who wants you! And you may be surprised to find that you can be EXTREMELY happy with someone who doesn’t meet your preconceived image of your ideal mate.

I certainly have been.

Did you find this post thought-provoking? Challenging? Insightful? Then be sure to check out my eBook, “Why He Disappeared – the Smart, Strong, Successful Woman’s Guide to Understanding Men and Keeping the Right One Hooked Forever“.

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  1. 151

    Well most of the women out there nowadays like sleeping with different men, and just can’t stay with only one.  Many women don’t know how to commit anymore, and then they wonder why they’re still single.

  2. 152

    I was searching  on the internet for some quotes or advices to clarify why on earth am still on this ever ending quest for a man and am single. I  had given everything in me to impress  and loved the  man of my dreams, or so i thought. We dated for 4 years and then just like that he dumped me. The  thing is I had invested my whole heart in him and now I  am miserable, while I was so full of myself trying to be the perfect girl for him, even several times I fought for the relationship, meaning, accepting that he cheats on me with other girls, begging him not to leave me for another girl. I tired out my heart to keep what I  though was real with the so called my “perfect man”.  Some times when  in the presence of someone or our ideal person of our  dreams, we tend to get so caught up in impressing them and fighting for an unhealthy relationship never realizing we are fooling our self. Again it pays to lower our standards. Better to be impressed by someone we love than trying to impress a man whose an ass. Thanks to this site next time around, my standards are lowered, Just only sad that, how long will it take for me to eventually meet that special perfect someone ??

    1. 152.1

      I have honestly never understood women who beg men to stay with them.  What makes you want someone who doesn’t want you?

      How are you lowering your standards?  Do you mean dating someone who isn’t as tall , isn’t as handsome, isn’t as rich?  If the man you dated had those qualities but made you unhappy, cheated on you, and eventually left you, what was the value of those characteristics in the first place?

      I hope what you really mean is that you are going to raise your standards and look for a man with character and who will treat you well.   

  3. 153

    I disagree with the whole article. Maybe there are some who are batting out of their league, but I am not one of them. I really don’t think I am being that picky at all and I STILL can’t find anyone even remotely NORMAL to have a relationship with. I am average looking, not overweight, have a good job (but not rich) and nice friends and family. I have considered your ideas before and am looking at guys who’d be in the 5 to 7 range in all areas. NO LUCK whatsoever! I really don’t want to resort to those in the 0-3 range eg. boring, overweight bogans or weirdos with no social skills or life experience! Help! I am not being unrealistic here…

  4. 154

    I hate the ranking view. I love my boyfriend very much and he may not be a 10 for a lot of people but he is for me! I won’t go for a guy wfor a guy who isn’t interested but also not for a guy that i find less than a then for me. If a man has charisma and there is a click he immediatly raises to a ten, because what makes someone beauty is their personality that shines trough their appearance. I like nerdy man who are charming and have intense eyes. Tall doesn’t matter and if he has all that and can make me crazy, all the rest seems to fit.

  5. 155

    I think you just sold divorce. Yea settle now and take a hit so you wont be lonely a couple years down the line yall may love each other or always look down on the other person feeling you did them a favor cuz YOU settled while you both resent one another and eventually break up. I agree if you want something you cant change them you can change yourself but dont drop your standards make yourself more desirable to what you want. Attractiveness is relative. 

  6. 156

    Reasons why a man might pass me up:
    1. Intense facial expressions
    2. Intense personality
    3. Unlearned on how to “present” myself
    4. Unlearned on how to properly interact with opposite sex
    5. Very opinionated
    6. Awkward
    7.(and this is the big one)inconsistent
    8. Not big on small talk
    9. Not very good with relating to people my age
    10. I am a Christian who practices my Christian values
    11. I love onions and for some reason I always eat them at the wrong time(but I carry a toothbrush, breath drops and gum that seem to conveniently disappear when I am approached)
    12 . I think my rank in the appearance department can go anywhere from a 5 to an 8.5…and usually an 8.5 happens only on special occasions.
    13. I am too weird for some, but not weird enough for others.
    14. (A guy can’t tell this by glancing at me) I am temperamental(although some how I know many women with that flaw who have found and kept a partner)
    15. I am very emotional and can withdraw.
    16. My teeth
    17. I am unable to blend in with the “boys”
    18.  My brothers say I come off as mean
    19. Self -conscious
    20. Aside from a small smile a do NOT flirt.

    That being said, according to every dating advice website I have gone to I am single because I am not fun or approachable.

    1. 156.1

      Ok I feel better now. I’m not the only “undateable” one out there 🙂

      1. 156.1.1

        Nahh, we’re all undateable.  Dateable people are just illusions.

  7. 157

    My problem is I’m quite petite, 42 years old, and only seem to get hit on by financially unstable younger men.  I want someone stable who would make a good husband.  I get hit on by men as young as 22 on dating sites.  I’m not hung up on looks.  I just want someone stable.  I don’t have children, because none of the men who have ever expressed interest in me have ever been financially stable enough to provide for them.  I’m seriously willing to settle on age, looks, etc.  I just don’t want someone unemployed or who is satisfied with minimum wage.  What do I do if I only attract poor men?  It makes me feel like they know they don’t have what it takes to get a really hot woman so settle for me.  I was married for a year once, to a poor man who was younger, and all we did was fight over money and it led to our divorce.  I just can’t lower my standard about this if it means the possibility of having to lower my own standards about my lifestyle or go without basic necessities.  I don’t expect to get someone super rich, just someone who can help to provide a reasonable, modest standard of living.  A guy with a car and a $50k job who is ten years older, bald and overweight would be ok.  Men like that just don’t pick me though.

  8. 158

    I agree with some of this – I tend to be attracted to guys who aren’t interested in me, and am not into those who are. BUT – almost all the guys who have liked me I was not compatible with. This had less to do with looks/money/success and more to do with not having shared interests. Most of the guys who have pursued me are the “geeky gamer” type while I am more artsy. Did I find them physically attractive? Not really. But the bigger problem was we had nothing to talk about. I’m not holding out for Brad Pitt- realistically I’m probably about a 6 in looks (decent figure, plain face). But, I need a man I can talk to!!

  9. 159

    I can somewhat relate to this post.  I’m 33 also and single.  However, Evan, I feel like I do get the consistent player type guy who is trying to game me and other women and just play for sex.  Now, i’m a very conservative person in dress and manner.  I seem to attract the 8-9’s in looks but honestly not in career, ethics, or intention.  The guys who may be 6-7’s just don’t seem interested in me and never ask me out. Some of these 6-7’s I even have crushes on! I’m also a shy person.  I don’t go out often but some friends think it should be easy for me to find someone.  When I do get out I can easily converse with guys.  Why are the 6-7’s guys who may be more devoted (maybe) not seem interested at all?  Why are only the 8-9’s interested when I don’t want them. 

  10. 160

    I wish my problem was not liking the men who like me. I am very open to men who show interest in me (there have been only 4 in my life), and have been dumped by all of them. I know that there’s something wrong that I’m doing, but I don’t know what it is. Is there such a thing as too open? At 40, I dated a man for almost a year, who was twice divorced, less successful, less athletic, less smart, and I loved him anyway.

    The relationship that was completely on his timeline, up until the day he quit talking to me after 9 months, after introducing each other to family, and planning to spend vacation, Christmas, and the next 40 years together. I saw all the things you are supposed to see in a man who is committed, but it wasn’t true.

  11. 161
    Jenn D.

    So what you’re saying is… I should continue to hold out for the partner of my dreams (that 9 or 10 that is out-of-my-league), because, based on your article, they will eventually settle for someone like me rather than be single forever?

    Good try, kid. A+ for effort.


  12. 162

    Many women nowadays are very picky when it comes to having a relationship, and there are many of us good men looking for a good woman to settle down with.  What doesn’t make sense to me is that they will go out with the creepiest men that i have ever seen in my life which is very sad.  I guess it is all about money for them, and many men ugly or not will always be taken advantage by these type of women which is very sad.

  13. 163

    This post had me in tears. Why? Because even though I know that I have to let go of that image, even though I know I’m probably a 7 or 6, it’s so hard. It’s hard to go for the guy who wants me when I’m just not attracted to that guy. The thing is, while I can never get the guy I want to date me, I do get his attention and time and affection…but in the strictly friends way. Which leads to me questioning why I’m not good enough to date. Are these 8s and 9s looking for 9s and 10s?

    I don’t want to change who I am. It’s taken me too long to accept what I have, but I don’t know how to stop wanting the strong physical attraction I have to guys out of my league. Help! 

  14. 164

    But what if no one ever likes you? Not being self-deprecating: I don’t get any male interest at 40, but I didn’t get much interest from 0-40 either. I have tried dating all kinds of men of varying heights, accomplishment, and earning potential, divorced, with kids, disabled, single, foreign, unemployed – you name it, trying to be open to anyone who liked me.
    Still never married, and single after a year-long relationship that I thought would work out (with a divorced dad of one, who was disabled). He, like all of them, broke up with me.

  15. 165

    According to this logic I am not a 10, not even a 9, questioning an 8, and if I think too hard, I may start seeing negative signs… 

    there is some truth to this

    I say 40 percent is luck, 10 it’s convenience allowing for time to form an attachment, and the rest it’s this

    Who can prove me wrong?

  16. 166

    No her boyfriend died 

  17. 167

    Soooooo… I am a little older.. and a little wiser.. and back to square one this year <> 2o15 <> I will be thirty! My lovelife has always been a mess.. but I take full-responsibility because it was me that wasted so much time with guys that did not value me like I should be valued. My <> looks standard I will give in to bc I realized it’s not that important; however, work ethic and values MUST align. I am a very hard worker and I expect the same from my partner. work <> play balance. I will say my ex-husband was very attractive, but after spending 5 years with him, his personality sucked, called me a “dumb bitch”, and he mooched off of me and my family, would not work and it drove me nuts!! Happily free, I reconnected with a guy I went to school with that isn’t the hottest guy, but I thought our work ethic, play ethic, and values matched.. connected like I never felt before BUT he choose to pull back from me bc he cannot give me what I want.. he says “emotionally screwed up individual” (which I call bullshit but still move on).. if there is one thing that I have learned from my 20’s is never waste time on someone that doesn’t want you. I am attractive (ppl say beautiful, but I think it’s inner beauty combined with pretty) and very charming.. hard working and driven.. likes to have rowdy fun, but still responsible with a stand-out personality. Now I am a single mom focused on my career, hobbies, and kids. I want someone that thinks I hung the flipping MooN, wants to build our “castle” on a strong foundation, and to be my protector. We must be crazy about each other. Hop on board or jump <> ur choice <> perception is reality

  18. 168
    kim c

    Goldie, you rock that is all

  19. 169
    Jim morrison

    The thing is, if you’re aren’t physically attracted to someone, that is not something that can be manufactured. It just can’t. It’s either there or it isn’t… I personally don’t need or want a 9 but I do want a girl that is thin and young and attractive.

  20. 170

    For me I’d rather just return to Asia where I could have a much larger selection of women than here in the States. My options here are so limiting it’s easier to just remain single forever.

  21. 171

    Just wanted to say I really Liked your article.
    I saw it for what it was.. and I learnt that perhaps I should be a bit more open in terms of meeting a Lady. As long as important boxes are ticked the others don’t matter as much.

  22. 172

    I agree that the message seems to be that we should settle. I do think that we should be more open- minded. Maybe your Mr. Right is not the hot guy you had hoped for but he’s someone that has a great personality, is a great person and is just not the image of the person you had in your head. However, I don’t think you should settle for someone who is less than what you want. You still have to be attracted to him, his qualities etc. I know a lot of people who are married but they are miserable, or are settling and staying in the relationship for the wrong reasons. I think you are better off being single than settling for someone that ultimately you won’t be happy with.

    1. 172.1

      I think people are unhappy in marriage because they use the wrong metrics to determine if the other person is the right person.

      We are very affectionate, but settle for a great guy who is not, then wonder why the relationship feels cold after a few years.

      We pass over the guy who is a 7 in looks, and snag the guy who is a 9, then are surprised when he runs off with his 25 yo secretary.


      We chase after guys that have great qualities, but not the qualities to make for a great friendship, which is a must, because the exciting qualities lose their luster after a few years.

  23. 173

    After 40 just live life, you made it this far who cares if you are married orsingle, women 40+ are no catch and if you have a few coins to rub together use them all up because time is running out

    1. 173.1

      I just rolled my eyes so hard I saw my brain.

      1. 173.1.1

        me too.

  24. 174

    it’s funny. my last ex was someone (lookswise and agewise) i would never have gone for in the past. but i decided to give him a chance and he was by far the best boyfriend i’ve ever had. now your advice doesn’t work in all cases because we got along wonderfully and both of us still have feelings for the other but it still didn’t work out due to outside circumstances. so no, i’m not single because i refused to settle for less than perfect looks. i’m single because life happens that way sometimes. and not everyone is dealt favorable cards.

  25. 175

    I think, this two statements are too general. There are many problems and issues which concerned this subject. I can say, that i’m try everything; blind dates, speed dates, even dating services like: tinder,  
    And i must say, that every my attempt, has proved it’s value

  26. 176

    I am 37 and single and unlike other women i know why i am and i am working on it. As a first time vistor to Evan’s blog I truly got alot out of what he said. For me you have to get out of your own way in order for someone else to see you. My bad habit has always been the unattainable man, the idea that things will change but really I knew what the rules were from step one. So i am working on it but this article was good because it wasn’t written by a lonely woman but a man who had the same problem took a step back regrouped and found the love he needed.
    i once read that most people love those they think they deserve , not people they need to complete them or fill their heart.  

  27. 177

    yeah is much easier to pick the bunch of people who want you…. but the question is who are those people???…. for my point of view i have no idea who they are… not a clue… nothing…

  28. 178
    Karmic Equation

    Yup. This is the reason why most of my liaisons turn into relationships. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel if you choose from amongst the men who already find you attractive, instead of wasting your time on the ones YOU find attractive but who don’t know you exist unless you initiate contact with them. I’m talking IRL, OLD is different.
    I don’t approach men for this reason. If a man approaches you or otherwise makes conversation with you (exceptions are tourists asking for directions), you assume he’s interested in you and go from there. Be cordial even if you’re not interested. Smile and be warm and friendly and let him lead the conversation if you think he’s cute. Let HIM drive. If at the end of the exchange he doesn’t ask for your number, assume he’s decided he’s NOT interested. Don’t offer it. And don’t be disappointed. Just enjoy the moment and remembering that moment. Odds are though, unless you’re cold or standoffish, he’s going to ask for your number.

  29. 179

    I’d just like to say that although this article does relate to some people, there’s definitely something to be said for someone who settles on every single person who gives her/him the time of day and then realizes a few months down the line that that person isn’t actually who/what they want. That’s a real waste of time.

    1. 179.1
      Karmic Equation

      It depends if someone is a “satisficer” or “optimizer”.

      I’m a satisficer myself. I’m not going to date anyone who doesn’t meet my minimum criteria for attractiveness and niceness to begin with.

      So if that person happens to want a relationship, I’m going to give a relationship a go.

      And sometimes after a few months, people change and show their true colors. Men who were watching their Ps and Qs might stop censoring themselves. Women who are controlling, might relax and become more controlling. And they find they can’t deal with each other’s habits (him swearing, her being controlling)…and they part ways.

      Some things you can’t find out without giving a relationship a chance.

      What IS a waste of time is that if you find something annoying or not likeable about someone within the first 3 dates, and yet you continue to date them to see if you can overlook those unlikable behaviors, THAT is a waste of time.

      If someone annoys you that early on, you’re not going to overcome it 10 dates in.

      If they annoy you, for whatever trivial reasons, next them.

      This is different than if you don’t “feel” chemistry on date 1. Chemistry CAN develop over time. But sad to say, annoyances don’t diminish over time. The opposite happens in fact.

  30. 180
    pisces girl

    Really??! When did the human race get that shallow? It never struck me to look for someone with a fabulous resume or good looks- had to be clean and smell good though:) connection means almost everything in a romantic relationship. Then you work out the logistics of staying together if you can or wait for someone who provides both, connection as well practical common sense. I met my husband when we were both in 11th grade- we had no idea how we’d be ,as adults. He stayed just as cute and went on to make partner prestigious accounting firm. He couldn’t care less that I stayed as impractical and artsy as I was back in school. We still hold hands when we fall asleep at night….

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