Why You Choose The Wrong Partner (Again and Again)

Why you choose the wrong partner again and again

Since this has already been shared 46,000 times, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve seen it on your Facebook newsfeed before. I have, and it remains a great read.

It does in one blog post what I’ve done in about 1000 of them – explain to you how to make healthier relationship choices using common sense, reason, and long-term thinking. The author’s basic thesis is this: “Picking a life partner is fully in your control, so it’s critical to make yourself entirely clear on how big a deal the decision really is and to thoroughly analyze the most important factors in making it…So given that this is by far the most important thing in life to get right, how is it possible that so many good, smart, otherwise-logical people end up choosing a life partnership that leaves them dissatisfied and unhappy?”

People tend to be bad at knowing what they want from a relationship.

Yup. We think it’s all about common interests, but it’s really about how well you can make decisions as a team for 40 years. I’ll bet you’re not thinking about that when you’re reading an online dating profile or hooking up after a second date.

What does your life look like when you’ve run out of old stories to tell and new sex positions to try?

Society encourages us to stay uneducated and let romance be our guide.

Disney. Women’s magazines. Eat, Pray, Love. You name it: all of them feed into the fantasy element of love, and spend precious little time on the reality of marriage: what does your life look like when you’ve run out of old stories to tell and new sex positions to try?

Society places a stigma on  intelligently expanding our search for potential partners.

Never settle. That’s what they tell you. But I’ll be the first to tell you that settling and compromising are the exact same thing. The only difference is how you feel about it afterwards. Those who compromised into lasting love are thrilled. The question is what you’re compromising on. Height, weight, age, income, education, religion, common interests: compromise! Kindness, character, commitment, communication, no compromise!

Society rushes us

Statistically, you’re far more likely to remain married if you choose your partner after the age of 30 than before the age of 25. You’ll be wiser, more experienced, more realistic, more financially secure, and so on. Who among us is not a better person than we were five years ago? So start taking your love life seriously at 30, get married at 35, and you’ll still have time to have the two kids you wanted. The common alternative: marry a guy when you’re 24, have kids at 26, and get divorced at 31.

Click here to read the whole piece and let me know what resonates most with you.


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  1. 1


    I see these numbers a lot in your post.   “if you choose your partner after the age of 30 than before the age of 25.  ” But what about people who start dating around 25 or so, then spend a few years figuring it out, and are married in their late 20s, take a few years to be married and then have the two kids? Not everyone wants to have two children at 35+. I’m not arguing with you, I just think you’re leaving out this  critical  window of 25-30 where a lot of people are getting married. Do you have any info  on that age group to offer?

    Thanks and love your blog!

    1. 1.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I don’t know the answer to that question, JJ, so I only have to rely on anecdote. The lowest divorce rates (around 20%) are for people who are college educated and get married over the age of 30. The highest are for people who get married under the age of 25. These days, 50% of children born to people between 20-30 are born out of wedlock. So what I see is an overall trend that the longer you wait (within biological reason), the better chance you have of having the experience, wisdom, self-awareness, humility and financial resources to make long-term life decisions. Hell, one’s brain doesn’t even fully form until 25-26, you know? So I’m not saying “dump your boyfriend if you’re 27 and in love”. I am saying that if you don’t think you’ll have SUBSTANTIALLY more life knowledge at 34 than you do at 27, you aren’t really paying attention. Listen, everyone thinks they’re always ready. TEENAGERS swear they’re in love and are going to get married, etc, etc. It’s a willfull arrogance that you can handle everything in life. All I know is if I got married at 31, I’d probably be divorced by now. My wife and her two best friends were married in their mid-late-20’s, divorced by their early thirties, and remarried in the same month at age 38-39. Again, this is anecdotal, but I am a great believer in slow and steady winning the race, instead of making decisions (marriage and children) based on intense feelings and fear.

      1. 1.1.1

        I am saying that if you don’t think you’ll have SUBSTANTIALLY more life knowledge at 34 than you do at 27, you aren’t really paying attention. Listen, everyone thinks they’re always ready. TEENAGERS swear they’re in love and are going to get married, etc, etc. It’s a willfull arrogance that you can handle everything in life. All I know is if I got married at 31, I’d probably be divorced by now. My wife and her two best friends were married in their mid-late-20’s, divorced by their early thirties, and remarried in the same month at age 38-39. Again, this is anecdotal, but I am a great believer in slow and steady winning the race, instead of making decisions (marriage and children) based on intense feelings and fear.

          This 1000%. Anecdotally, most of my friends got married at about 28-29. Most of them settled on someone so they could get married and have a kid before 30. Most of them have fundamentally flawed relationships. They fight mean and nasty, they cheat or are cheated on, they deal with substance issues etc. But they are married with 1-3 children so that’s all that counts, right? I will be married at 34, likely have my child (only child by 36) My fiance will be 43 by the time we have our child. We don’t fight, at all. We listen to one another, appreciate one another, we’ve made huge decisions together, dealt with things that have made us uncomfortable. More importantly, we both reached a point of emotional maturity through years of focused growth before we even met one another. Which is why I no longer envy the women I knew who got married at 28 and are just dealing with the consequences now, 5 years later.

        1. JJ

          Not arguing but it is possible to be 25 to 27 and
          a) fight nicely (Respect communication and kindness are key)  
          b) appreciate each other
          c) make huge decisions together   
          d) deal with things that make us uncomfortable

          just a thought.  

        2. Julia

          JJ you didn’t get my very obvious point that settling on someone because you are terrified of being single and childless at 30 doesn’t lead to awesome marriages. These people behave like that NOW in their thirties because they made horrible decisions based on fear.

      2. 1.1.2
        Madhurima Bardhan

        This was helpful… Agreed.. what’s the rush for! After all we are choosing our life partners not competing in some race! And we have a long way to go in this life.. we will find our partner on the way with whom the journey would no longer seem tedious 🙂

        1. JoeK

          Yes, those things are POSSIBLE. It’s also possible that you’ll the very first person you date is your soulmate, and no one else would ever make you as happy as them.
          But, is it *likely*?
          And what Evan is pointing out is the stats say “No, it’s NOT likely”.
          So yea, there will be anomalies – the outliers. They exist in any statistical group. The key about such stats is to see what *usually* happens, not what *can* happen, and to adjust what you do based on what’s most commonly occurring.

  2. 2

    Evan, I enjoy your blog, and agree with most everything you say most of the time. But I disagree with some items on your compromise/don’t compromise list. If you are a woman who is 5’11”, it is reasonable to want a tall-ish husband. If you are a 40 year old guy who wants kids, you might want a woman who is 5-7 years younger, so age would matter to you. If you are an artist or musician (etc) of modest means, you might like a partner who has a good income, that’s not unreasonable. If you are highly educated or devoutly religious person, you may not partner well with someone who has far less education or who is an atheist. Kindness, character, commitment and communication are all important, and shouldn’t be compromised on. But depending on one’s other characteristics I don’t think it is unreasonable to look for a partner with some of the qualities you put on the compromise list.

    1. 2.1
      Evan Marc Katz


      This is a math equation, more than dating advice.

      If you are a 5’11” woman who wants a man over 6 feet, you have cut off 85% of the male population. Want him to be 6’2″ so you can wear heels? You’ve cut off 96% of the population. So, yes, you can absolutely choose a tall-ish man who makes you feel more feminine. It’s just that your dating pool has shrunk massively, over a quality that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with whether he’s a good husband. (Unless I missed the study that tall men are better husbands. Wait, here’s the study that short men are better husbands: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119233/short-men-do-more-housework-earn-more-divorce-less)

      If you are a 40 year old guy who wants kids, you might like a woman who is 5-7 years younger, sure. Such men are absolutely reasonable about not dating 45-year-old women for example. This is a biological issue, not an emotional issue (like height or money, for example). You can marry a 5’9″ guy and have a great life. A man can’t have kids with an infertile woman. At the same time, we can’t be black and white about it. A man doesn’t HAVE to ONLY date women less than 35. I met my wife when she was 37. Married her at 39. Had kids at 41 and 43. If we couldn’t do it naturally, we’d have tried IVF, and if that didn’t work, probably adoption. Point is that people box themselves in – holding out for their ideal partners, and miss out on all sorts of amazing people on the margins. I’m thrilled I gave a chance to my older, divorced, Catholic wife and I’m quite sure she’s thrilled to give a chance to her liberal, Jewish, atheist, former-player husband.

      I’m not telling someone who goes to church every week to marry an atheist. I’m telling you that if you make everything a dealbreaker, you’ll never have a deal. People who can let go of these perceived (and often irrelevant) must haves, have a much better chance of finding love. I’m confident that you can see my logic.

      1. 2.1.1

        Evan, you really need “like” buttons, a la Facebook!

        I know this is likely an old post, and an old article, but I have a question for you: How does a height mismatched couple deal with the social backlash? (I think you know what I mean)

        The question above may be out of the scope of this site. So, I’ll make another comment, for which I’d like your opinion:

        I believe that most women want a man who they can present to their girlfriends and female family, and receive kudos, in return.   I truly believe that’s a major factor in how many women, especially younger than 30, pick their men.

  3. 3

    Evan – I just want to say I love that you are consistent in your message.   It’s so helpful for us who are still on the journey to “finding the one”.   I know – thanks to you – that I should NEVER compromise in kindness, compassion, consistency, communication…   All the other stuff, I know that I can (even though I still may not want to sometimes – lol).   Thanks for your awseome posts!

  4. 4

    Ironically, the article really reinforces that I did/am doing everything right. Got married at 32 (didn’t want kids);our relationship met all the criteria that is described here as a good, healthy marriage. My ex actually was not someone most would think suitable for me. Like Evan, a former player, a retired Dean 28 years my senior. Not as active as I but still kept healthy. We were both heavily involved in sustainability, social and environmental
    justice, did stuff together and apart. Unfortunately, fallout from my research forced me to take a job somewhere he didn’t want to be.
    Since then, though alone and hating it, I’ve done most things right: choosing not to choose when your only options are bad ones. Avoiding the financially and personally irresponsible, taking risks but bailing as soon as red flags begin to show. I’ve made a coupla mistakes: being approached twice by guys who seem to be extremely well suited to me (attracted to them/educated/well read/fellow athletes or outdoors people/strong environmental ethic and took good care of themselves) but had hidden relationships that I didn’t find out about for months-over a year.
    Devastating. One guy works with me and its sheer hell but true, my bad. I truly wish Evan, that there was a cut and dried guide for sussing these out from day 1. Otherwise one operates on the info given. It was heartening to see the article applauds a very analytical approach to mate selection which I ve always done and I liked the examples of bad mates. The dude I recently cut loose very much was “Mr. Main Event”. Caught a lot of crap from colleagues and friends for cutting ties with him. Lots of “he was good for you, you’re too picky”. However, when you call someone from the hospital after spending days seeing the last of your family thru their passing and he makes it all about him, tis time to bail.   Again, a good mate compliments ones life and a bad one gives you a huge sense of relief when they’re gone. At 54, I may well die alone, especially if I cannot find a job elsewhere and soon, but at least I won’t be saddled with someone who cannot or will not reciprocate with live, caring, or trust. Thanks for the article dude, you made my day.

  5. 5
    Holly CJ

    I agree with everything Evan says in this article except the last part.

    Starting to seriously look for love and marriage at 30 is really counterproductive. Women should start seriously looking around 25 to 26. It is facetious to say that you will still have time to have the two kids at 35….its almost like rolling the dice. Just because women like Evan’s wife were able to have children in their late 30s does not mean that it may not be a heartbreaking process.

    I am 32 and I am already nervous about my ability to have children since I have irregular menses after going off the pill….all my friends are also hitting 30 and some have started researching egg freezing and ivf. I have friends that have been trying for one yea. To encourage women to follow this timeline of starting looking at 30 and having kids at 35 is doing them a disservice. I’ve been at brunches with doctors who told me stories about women where they had never asked their mothers when they went into perimenopause…apparently her mom did at 38. that means at 38, this woman was unlikely to conceive. Check this book out:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Big-Lie-Motherhood-Biological/dp/1616148454 or this community blog for older single women.  http://gateway-women.com/the-childless-menopause/ –
      “if women were to know how old their mothers were when they ‘completed’ their menopause (one year after last period) and then took 10 years off that age, that was probably the age of their last viable egg.”

    The reality is also that men prefer younger women. Just check the okcupid daya trends. There is no way my 33 year old successful doctor husband will pick a 32 year old me now when his single friends are now all swamped with beautiful mid to late 20s women. It also took me 2 years to get him to be accustomed to the idea of marrying me.  

    When you’re in your mid 20s you should have a good idea of what being an adult is like and start considering picking a partner. Then take time to find someone loving and suitable and marry him and start trying for babies 29 to 31. That’s enough time to forge a marriage where you’re less likely to separate. Or you may end up like my good friend who had a phone conversation with me the other day telling me she is now 30 and she has nothing stable in her life except for her work, and making bad decisions with regards to men due to growing desperation. Or my 32 year old best friend who has been trying to make babies for a year and failing. Or my 30 year old friend who is starting to look into freezing her eggs.

    I’m almost suspicious that since Evan’s client base is the late 30 early 40 year olds. old desperately seeking a partner after exhausting alternative options that his timeline is to eventually further increase his supply of clients. If you look in your mid to late 20s you give yourself more time.

    1. 5.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Of COURSE you have more time and options at age 29 than you do at age 39. That’s what Lori Gottlieb’s “Marry Him” is all about. At the same time, there isn’t one 34-year-old on the planet who thinks she was as wise at age 29. My point is not “run away from relationships in your 20’s,” but rather, “Don’t despair if you’re 34 and single. You’re less likely to make a bad decision with your life than the 29-year-old version of you.”

      1. 5.1.1

        My girlfriend have twins at 47 years old, they are her first children with her second husband,   I have my only child at 35 years old, I would never have a child in my 20s.
        I love your advices Evan, you are amazing.

        1. Holly CJ

          Your Friend had TWINS at 47? yeah…probably ivf. 47…probably donar eggs too as eggs at that age are not viable. That is exactly the lengths she had to go to to conceive…thousands of dollars, drugs and ovarian stimulation. which most people are trying to avoid. . You on the hand managed to conceive right on 35, which is the borderline age. So nothing you have said refutes my assertion.

    2. 5.2

      And yet, it worked for me.

      PS I think you are putting far too many of your friends problems on the fact that they are over 30. And your 32 year old friend who is having a hard time conceiving would likely have had just as hard a time at 27. I know several women who were doing IVF and other treatments in their 20s. My best friend was doing fertility treatments at 25. You can’t blame infertility (or trouble conceiving) on being over 30.  

  6. 6
    Holly CJ

    Urgheed. I know that people were going to chime in with stories about how “it worked for me”. Just because you’re a positive statistic does not mean that IN GENERAL, it is going to be harder for women over 35 to have babies. I know many women that got pregnant in their late 30s…but it does not mean IN GENERAL it is the right thing to do. What you are, is not the norm.

    It may have been difficult for these women in their 20s, but there’s no arguing with biological facts that it will be even harder in their late 30s.   (and actually my friend had conceived in her late 20s…but for reasons..enough said). Why the hell is apple and facebook offering egg freezing to their younger employees then.

    You can’t argue with the numerous statistics out there. So you were part of the 10% of women who conceived naturally in their late 30s..woohoo).

    Maybe Evan meant to encourage the women in their 30s… of course its not too late for you. Don’t give up hope! But the tone of the article read like most marriages in their late 20s will have a likelihood of breaking up vs if you got married mid 30s. Add in the numerous anecdotes of women who divorced in their 30s and then remarried “wisely” late 30s, I reread it and it still seems to me like the article was arguing for what in human history is now a relatively very late marriage. I don’t think in 2 years I will have been much wiser, what I was wise about when I was 27 was assessing my life, taking a hard look at what I wanted and then taking steps to achieve it, and recognizing my then guy I was dating was a gem and I was not going to give it up. We need to stop the infantalization of young adults.

    I really encourage women to check out the gateway woman blog..its a group of older women grappling with the fact they may never have kids and supporting each other in their community that actually share what they wish they could have done better and understanding the facts about their fertility.

    Anyway I’m done with this conversation because its really not my problem, I’m married and if I’m lucky and its not too late I am going to have children. I just wanted people to be aware of this because Evan is a popular dating guru who reaches a large group of women and for the younger crowd reading this blog you need to be aware. Of course you don’t desperately pick someone because you are afraid of being infertile, but you need to take that seriously into consideration.

    “According to the  Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine, a woman in her 20s has a 20-25% chance of conceiving naturally per menstrual cycle. In her early 30s, the chance of pregnancy is 15% per cycle. After 35, the odds of pregnancy without medical intervention are at 10%. After 40, that number falls to 5%, and women over 45 have a 1% chance of conception.”  

    1. 6.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I don’t have the study handy, but you’re missing one really important statistic that I’ve cited here before:

      Yes, 40 year old women have a 5% chance of getting pregnant in any given month, but over the course of a year, a 38-year-old woman has an 80% chance of getting pregnant. That drops to 40-50% at age 40. But instead of inciting panic among 25-29 year olds, it’s important to give them the broader picture as well.

      I don’t believe for one second that the odds of pregnancy are 10% after age 35. Sounds like something a fertility center might say to get women to pay them money in a panic, when they can try naturally for a calendar year and succeed 4/5ths of the time.

    2. 6.2

      For a 32 year old women who doesn’t seem to be worrying about having children, you seem remarkably concerned about older woman who might be infertile. Do you have ulterior motives being here? I mean, I am 33 and it hasn’t even crossed my mind to search for support groups for older women who will likely not have children…

      1. 6.3.1
        Holly CJ

        Strawman argument. Of course egg freezing is not a solution…and works only for a small percentage.   Thats why faced with the lower success rate, it is critical for the younger woman to consider fertility if she wants children when she still has the option. For the late 30s woman facing the prospect of infertility egg freezing may be her last hope. That’s why people freeze their eggs…they go the natural route first and if it does not work they try options. Its not whether you have a better chance of pregnancy natural or via ivf at 38, its that at 38 the probability you will meet problems increase. Seeing how everything is trending to later childbearing, that’s why facebook and apple are encouraging younger women to freeze their eggs.  
        The ideal timeline to avoid this is to try to have your family by 35, which involves a usually lengthy dating process and then a few years after marriage, so ideally someone should try to be serious about marriage in her late 20s. These are all probabilities of course, there are exceptions and if it all works out for whoever more power to them.

        Anyway I think I’ve made my point sufficiently clear. It will be up to people to read through each counter point for both sides, do their research and come to their own conclusions. At the end of the day we all pick choices that impact our lives differently.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          I have acknowledged that it’s easier to have kids in any given month when you’re 28 than when you’re 38.

          I pointed out that you have nearly equal odds of having a child at age 38 as you do at age 28 over the course of the year (something like 81% vs. 85%)

          You haven’t acknowledged the statistical basis for my claims that people in their 30’s are more equipped to make long-term life decisions – despite the anecdotal and statistical evidence. In other words, you’re getting on my case for telling my story of having kids in my 40’s (because it’s anomalous) and yet you think you’re a representative sample of twentysomethings. You’re not. Half of you will be divorced in ten years – statistically.

          Here’s one source that echoes a similar idea:

          Here’s an ancient (1987) article that posits the same thing: http://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/12/style/divorce-at-a-young-age-the-troubled-20-s.html

          I know these are cherry picked, so if you can show me some research that indicates that marriages in the 20’s are, in fact, on the whole, stronger than marriages in the 30’s, I’m completely open to admitting that I was incorrect on this subject.

      2. 6.3.2

        Correct.   Frozen blasts are more likely to lead to live births than are frozen embryos which in turn have much better rates than frozen eggs.  

  7. 7
    Holly CJ

    Oh please, that is totally not an valid argument to discredit me.. I happen to be a type A planner. I’m 32 and also planning for retirement..does that surprise you? Tons of young people don’t plan for retirement. Last year of my own accord I went for a lab testing of my AMH hormone to see whether I had time to wait before getting pregnant.

    Why should I be reading Evan’s blog? I’m not in the dating market..I’m just interested in different various things. I read a ton of various blogs on various topics. I also read okcupid blogs, a bunch of financial and technology blogs. and I track reddit. I chanced across the gateway women website while reading about trying to get pregnant and also from another website called thebitterbabe.com when I was perusing women’s blogs. Frankly, I was scared by the level of grief that those women had to grapple with coming to terms with their childlessness. I also learned a ton of infertility statistics on that website. Like it or not, when you’re 35 in the ward you’re considered a “greater risk” pregnancy.

    What I have learnt is to sift out the useful information from misguided information. All in all, Evan’s dating advice is very useful. I have applied   his advice in getting my boyfriend to commit and I refer friends to his blog. E.g. give him some space and be easy to be with. However, his advice to start seriously looking for love and marriage at 30 is very wrong. And the concept that late 20s women are not mature/wise enough to pick their partners is rather insulting…not everyone is a party girl.

    1. 7.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Holly, appreciate you defending yourself and for being a reader, but please refrain from telling me my advice is “very wrong”. If there is a 20% divorce rate for college educated people over 30, wouldn’t it stand to reason that there may be a correlation between your age, experience, wisdom, and decision-making skills? Once again, I didn’t tell people NOT to date seriously in their 20’s, but rather that they will be absolutely fine if they don’t find someone in their 20’s, and, in fact, less likely to make a bad decision. The fact that YOU are uncommonly mature is wonderful, but I’d much rather prevent a bunch of 28-year-olds from marrying the next guy they fall in love with simply because she hears her clock ticking prematurely.

      To sum up, just because YOU don’t like my advice or agree with my advice does not make it “very wrong,” and that’s exactly the attitude that I fight vigorously on this blog. You can ignore my advice, ask questions about my advice, or not pass it along to your friends, but it is certainly well-considered and based on more than my own personal feelings.

  8. 8
    Holly CJ

    Statistics on divorce and marriage indeed can be cherry picked. I don’t think age is a clear indicator of wisdom leading to less divorce. In fact……most recently I had to counsel a 60 year old woman who was still making terrible choices when it came to love. Everyone knows a baby boomer parent or relative that has been divorced 3 to 4 times regardless of age. You’re also almost a decade than me…and marriage patterns have since changed, with divorce peaking in the 1970s and 80s.. So marriage data is in fact nebulous. in fact, less and less millennials are marrying at all.
    Cherry picking, here are some studies showing how for a college educated woman (most of your reader demographic), marriage after 25 is less likely to result in divorce.
    So with the exact study that you referenced by Paul Amato: http://web.archive.org/web/20161205192716/http://www.twoofus.org:80/educational-content/articles/too-young-to-get-married-see-what-the-experts-say/index.aspx

    He goes on to say in that exact study:”Once people enter their early to mid-twenties, the risk of divorce is attenuated [reduced]. Indeed, people who postpone marriage until their thirties face a dwindling supply of potential partners — a situation that may increase the likelihood of forming unions with partners who are not good marriage material. In other words, marrying “too late” may increase the risk of having a troubled relationship.”
    2012 State of the Union Report: http://www.stateofourunions.org/2012/social_indicators.php#divorce – “marring over 25 years of age results in decrease in divorce of 24%). So mid 20s is perfectly okay. Divorce has also leveled off over the years after peaking in 1970s and 1980s.
    A Quote from Bradford Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project:
    “The data generally suggest that marrying in mid-twenties brings you to a low-divorce plateau, and that waiting beyond that doesn’t help your divorce risk. Moreover, couples who wait much longer than this are less likely to be happy in their marriages (but still enjoy high levels of marital stability). So mid twenties is the sweet spot—on average.”
    However the research on fertility when you are under the age of 35 versus you are 38 is definitely NOT 81% vs. 85%. In fact, as it is procedure to inform women with pregnancies over 35 they are high risk and require more monitoring, I’m surprised Evan is not aware when his wife got pregnant. http://www.babycenter.in/a6155/your-age-and-fertility
    This has been clearly well researched. Overall, women over age 35 face more difficulty in child bearing. They may eventually get children, but it may be a more heartbreaking process to get there. The most optimistic article I could find about age and fertility said:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/how-long-can-you-wait-to-have-a-baby/309374/2/ “Steiner told me. “Women in their early 30s can think about years, but in their late 30s, they need to be thinking about months.” That’s also why many experts advise that women older than 35 should see a fertility specialist if they haven’t conceived after six months–particularly if it’s been six months of sex during fertile times.”
    So between the possibility that mid twenties adults should be treated like children and their likelihood of divorce increases (which is questionable why a working adult through graduate school and college and a few years in the workforce should be deemed not mature enough) and the real fact that the probability of fertility declines after 35, young women in their 20s reading this blog should consider this.
    If you are 28, you date a great boy (e.g. kindness, love, the important stuff) for 2 years, you marry at 30, you have 5 years to get your 2.5 kids by 35. Not that you should despair if you are past 30, many women in their 30s still achieve marriage and children. But saying 38 is the right age and the ideal timeline starts at 30 is rolling the dice when it comes to fertility   and you should go into that knowing.

    1. 8.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Holly, I just took the time to read what you posted. You are willfully (intentionally?) misreading the study to make your point.

      The conclusion of all of these studies is that “The decline in divorce apparently represents a slight increase in marital stability. Two probable reasons for this are an increase in the age at which people marry for the first time, and that marriage is progressively becoming the preserve of the well-educated. Both of these factors are associated with greater marital stability.”

      You tried to make it as if people who marry at 25 are more likely to have stable marriages than people who marry at 35. This is not true. What the study says is that people who marry at 25 get divorced less than people who marry at 21. Which is predictable and completely consistent with what I said.

      Let’s at least come to terms with something and leave this alone:

      You wrote: “But saying 38 is the right age and the ideal timeline starts at 30 is rolling the dice when it comes to fertility and you should go into that knowing.”

      I’m ONLY saying the same thing that you are – with more nuance and understanding of your position.

      The way you bravely acknowledged that lots of women have children in their 30’s, I’ve bravely acknowledged that lots of women get married in their 20’s. I’m cautioning those twentysomething women from making a youthful mistake because she isn’t wise/experienced enough to know what a healthy relationship looks like. You’re cautioning other women not to wait too long. We’re both right. I’m just the only one who understands your point of view; you’ve given no indication that you even perceive that 34-year-olds know a good amount more about life than 27-year-olds.

      It’s okay. You’ll figure it out when you’re older.

      1. 8.1.1
        Holly CJ

        Your last statement is very condescending and rude. I was going to let this go, but the irony of telling someone in their 30s I’ll figure out when I am your   age. My peers are doing amazing things, some partners or masters of the universe at this “tender age”, some tech start up founders, some are healing people with their medical knowledge, their “maturity” is not in question. Granted that some 25 year olds are immature, but there is a path to adulthood and maybe this should be a wakeup call for them.

        I am not twisting any research. I am not even saying marriages at 25 are more stable/better than at 35. Of course people get wiser when they age…maybe. However delaying marriage till your mid 30s does not decrease your divorce risk significantly. You may be slightly wiser in your 30s, but then the odds are also stacked against you in finding a suitable partner.

        The studies show   if you are waiting till a suitable age to decrease divorce risk, if you marry in your mid to late 20s there is no significant decline in divorce between mid 20s to mid 30s. However there is clear research that fertility rachets down at 35, and you have to balance that if you want a family.

        At the end of the day, young readers like JJ who want love, family and career (if we even can have it all??) should consider the source of information and the intent.
        I have included a successful start up entrepreneur who has gone through being a mother herself why to consider looking for love seriously earlier:  

        I have also included an eminent psychiatrist working with young people and millenials and her views on the matter:  http://www.ted.com/talks/meg_jay_why_30_is_not_the_new_20/transcript?language=en

        vs. a dating guru whose bread and butter is helping women in their late 30s and early 40s find love. That’s what keeps the lights on for him. He may be an expert in what attract men and get them to commit..and really if I were in that age demographic I would be a buyer of his services he knows what he is talking about in that arena, but take the age timeline he espouses with a pinch of salt.


        1. JJ

          For the record I am 26 (almost 27) with a great career and boyfriend! Really enjoying this thread. 🙂

  9. 9

    I am 35 and single. No boyfriend yet and want kids. I have a friend who was 42 when she had another child. Her first child now is like 18 or something. I’d like to think that if I want children, I can have them. I like to think that I’ve got super ovaries. I’ve had lots of people who try to scare me that it’s too late but I hope it’s possible.

  10. 10
    Dina Strange

    Probably one of the best posts i’ve read on here, including the articles Evan posted.

  11. 11

    From a male’s perspective I agree with what a poster said above. It’s not just about the ability to get pregnant. There’s another ability that changes over time. This is the ability to attract a man.   Men find women at age 25-28 far more attractive than women at age 33-35. This might not sound like a big difference in age but for men the difference between 5’10” and 6’0″ in height might not seem like a big difference. For many women it is.  

    (The truth is men find women 22-25 even more attractive but few women want to commit to marriage these days at the ages.)  

    If a woman spends years 25 to 28 dating for sheer fun and pleasure, she might find her options closing by her early thirties.   She can still get pregnant and she can still attract many men but she might not be able to attract the men that she wants. She can waste years more of her life realizing what society did not tell her.  

    1. 11.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’re right. And yet both men and women are foolish for discriminating based on a few inches of height and a few years in age.

    2. 11.2

      I think you need to clarify how old you are before making a general statement like that. Not that I don’t find younger women attractive.  But as  I get older the women I find attractive get older as well.

      But I have to laugh at the 5’10” vs 6′ thing. I’ve gone on dates where women have actually asked me how tall I am. They will be in high heels. I’d still be quite a bit taller than them. Clearly they have no clue how tall I am but a number I give them will either reassure them or give them second thoughts? I’m literally standing in front of them. You’d think I’m either tall enough or not.

      1. 11.2.1

        I agree with both of your points. Many men still want peers and women who won’t date under 6′ are severely limiting themselves. Men can be awesome at 5’5 and 6’4 and any height in between.

      2. 11.2.2

        You are SO right! I always wonder about this, when a woman ask me this… while I’m looking DOWN at her! Does it matter as long as I’m taller that you!

        1. twinkle

          @Adrian: Lol I know what u mean. To be fair, sometimes women ask because they wonder if the guy told them the truth in his OL dating profile. This man (the only guy I met online so far) says he’s 5 feet 10 in his profile, but I’m 5 feet 4 and when I wear heels he’s barely taller than me. My heels are 3 inches max, so I suspect he’s more like 5 feet 8 instead of 5 feet 10.

          I’m slightly annoyed if he lied about 2 inches (I think lying about more than 1 inch is quite a lot, lol ). But he’s terrific in other ways so I decided not to ask him about it. I think as long as a man is at least my height when I wear heels, I’m very happy.

    3. 11.3

      There is obviously some truth to this. If you are in your thirties you will have less men to choose from, such as men in their twenties and some men your own age. I can only post personal experience. When I dated from 30-32 I had no lack of options. Certainly enough attention that I could go out with 4-8 men a month and they were high quality men in their thirties. Compared to dating from 25-28 when I went out with 4-8 men a year. Now I changed my strategy but I certainly don’t think women aged 30-35 need to worry about lack of options. Even if some men won’t date women that age, plenty do.

    4. 11.4

      @Allen: “Men find women at age 25-28 far more attractive than women at age 33-35. This might not sound like a big difference in age but for men the difference between 5’10” and 6’0”³ in height might not seem like a big difference. For many women it is. ”

      I actually agree a lot if u’re talking about women 25-28 vs 33-35, without the use of cosmetics, creams or even dermatology. Same for guys who are 5 feet 10 vs 6 feet tall,   if the shorter guy (5 feet 10 is tall anyway, i dont get this height obsession) knows how to dress better to look taller, has better posture, or has certain types of bone structure or fat distribution which makes him look lankier than he is. It   isn’t an even playing field these days among women of a particular age group or men of a particular height. For those willing to put in the effort or money, looking 5 years younger or 2 inches taller is nothing. (And I say that as a young woman who doesn’t bother, but I see people who do bother and it makes a heck of a difference).

    5. 11.5

      Actually there are social psychology studies done and it’s been proven that if you are successful, a woman perceives you as taller, even though you may not be. Yes tall is important for most women, but it’s perception. I guess it’s proving the idea that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Frankly I think a woman in her late 20s can look older and be perceived as old, even though she is young. I am 35 as mentioned and most people think I’m 26-28. I am very youthful looking and playful

    6. 11.6

      Allen I have to disagree with what you said about men wanting younger women. I   think it’s less about age and more about a woman’s: looks, body and skin. I’ve seen guys chose a hot 38 year old over a average looking 25 year old. Most men want someone they can talk to, someone who understands their problems, it’s kind of hard to do that with the “sexy and hot” 23 year old whose parents still take care of everything for her.

      I can’t remember which post it was on this site, but the subject in the comments section was about dating the average looking women vs the hot one. When men chose the average looking women with a great personality, who treats him right, he doesn’t consider that settling. When a men -at least the men I know- choses the sexy little 23 year old, sure he loves the fact that all his friends are envious of his girl, but at the end of the night, he comes to his friends to seek comfort and support.. He is the one who has settled. I’m not saying a young girl can’t do this, I’m just saying she will have more empathy than sympathy because she lacks the life experiences.

      Though, what drives me crazy is the 35-40 who “LOOKS” 35-40, but because a few people were nice and lied saying she looks younger (I admit I’ve also done this, never thought I would create a monster, just wanted to make a woman’s day), she gets a air of superiority about her looks. No one likes a braggart.

      1. 11.6.1


        I have to agree. I know for a FACT that I am much hotter looks wise at 36 than I was at 26.   My body filled out a little although I am still thin, and I know what looks good on me etc.   I think as long as you take care of yourself, it doesn’t matter.


        1. Julia

          Stacy, some of us are really better looking in our thirties. Especially the women who held onto a little baby fat in their cheeks. As round faced women, are now just getting our cheekbones in our thirties and the extra plump we had in our face has kept our skin smooth. I still don’t have forehead lines at 33.

  12. 12

    All of us have stories of friends & family who got pregnant naturally at an advanced age OR were heart-broken by infertility.     All of us can quote statistics to support our own points of view, too.   I’m not sure these back-and-forths help clarify the issue at hand.
    What Evan suggests is that we balance what we know about fertility (that it generally wanes with age, especially for women) with what we know about divorce rates (they generally fall with age at time of marriage).   He challenges the prevailing thinking we see on many other blogs: that finding your mate in your 20s is best.   We can nit-pick about 33 being better than 39 or 29.5 being better than 39.5.     Those are minor details.
    At the end of the day, we need to focus more on the big picture.   Keep in mind how lousy marriages and divorces are terrible for the adults involved, and ~ perhaps even more so ~ for the blameless children caught in the crossfire; don’t we owe it to ourselves and the next generation to get marriage right the first time or not get married at all?     I liked these points made in the linked article, and I think we’d have a much happier world if we were to heed them:
    In our world, the major rule is to get married before you’re too old–and “too old” varies from 25 — 35, depending on where you live. The rule should be “whatever you do, don’t marry the wrong person.”


    For a woman who wants to have biological children with her husband, she has one very real limitation in play, which is the need to pick the right life partner by forty, give or take. This is just a shitty fact and makes an already hard process one notch more stressful.  Still, if it were me, I’d rather adopt children with the right life partner than have biological children with the wrong one.

    1. 12.1

      Indeed Henriette, I would rather forgo having a child then being stuck in a bad marriage. I also don’t believe women in their early-mid thirties really need to make that choice.

    2. 12.2

      “What Evan suggests is that we balance what we know about fertility (that it generally wanes with age, especially for women) with what we know about divorce rates (they generally fall with age at time of marriage). “
      Brilliantly put, H! I wish I could post a graphic here – maybe Evan can come up something. Plotted on a graph, these two factors would have a crossover point (say age on the x axis and divorce rate/fertility on the Y). For those wishing to be married and have children, their target age is the crossover point of the two plots. Or that’s the point at which both factors influence a marriage’s success equally.
      Since the two factors likely have a different rate of change, we could easily see how the change through time (age) and better grasp when/how to approach each one.
      Interesting stuff…

  13. 13
    Holly CJ

    The main factor why Evan’s assertion why women should start to seriously look in their 30s: you will lower your rate of divorce because you are so much wiser at choosing a partner.
    Insetad, consider why women should look in their mid to late 20s: It takes time to date and you give yourself time to get married, and plan for your family by 35, avoiding costly probabilities of overcoming infertility. The real limitation at play is really not 40.
    Of course you should pick your partner wisely. most people in their 20s rather have it all, the husband, the kids, the great career. In the vagaries of life you may not get everything but why not take steps to optimize it while you can.
    The statistics of being stuck in a bad marriage if you start being serious about romance as a person in your mid 20s is overblown. I have cited 3 sources, including the exact study Evan used for his own argument, that shows that once after 25, the risk that a college educated couple divorces go down and there’s no additional benefit to waiting in their 30s. It is also questionable that from 25 to 28 you can vote, do a number of things, but somehow not wise enough to pick a partner?
    I love Penelope Trunk’s advice. Here’s a blog post she writes about actually getting serious about love in the mid 20s so by early 30s they are in position to start a family

    I’m speaking to women like JJ in their 20s, who had an innocent question about the mid 20s crowd and how she wanted 2.5 kids and was told she would be wiser looking in her 30s. not an early 30s Julia who is secure with her boyfriend and is   okay with having one child.

    1. 13.1

      Your post reminded me of this funny Friends video, where Rachel on her 30th birthday realised she should meet her future husband by now to have a kid by 35 (Ok but that was so as to have 1.5 years to plan the wedding, lol), and so decided to end things with her younger immature model bf.  


      Seriously though, I agree that past 25, many people are ready to make mature decisions about marriage. However the realities of our modern society is that people have SO much occupying their minds and their time, it simply isn’t possible for many women to meet their ideal match by 30, much less marry him by 30. The women on this blog aren’t stupid though, and I think they understand biological realities and will focus on dating and marriage by a certain age, whatever they decide that age to be. (Besides not all women here want children).

      1. 13.1.1
        Holly CJ

        Thanks twinkle. Finally someone that acknowledges people in their mid to late 20s are adults. Even coverage under your parental plan for Obamacare ends at 26.
        I totally think the women on this blog are not stupid. But there is alot of misinformation out there for young woman, even the smart ones. I was one of them. Contrary to the claim that media urges people to become desperate and marry early, there is a trend to treating even later adults like children and Evan’s blog is read by many women in their 20s. There are certain choices you make in your youth that will impact your life and the more knowledge you have the better.
        I never even considered marriage and infertility in my early 20s. I had no clue. Between all the girl power I was doing and “exploring myself”, the thought did not even cross my mind. I graduated from an ivy league and had a prestigious job. I even remember telling my friend smugly…”of course i won’t get married early. When I am older my child will have every advantage in the world because I will be   an older mom and wealthy”. Now I am 32 and staring down the line at possible PCOS.
        However there is still hope for me because I am 32. Now consider if I am doing this when I am 38. The only thing I   did right was take a hard look when I was 27 between all the international power travel   I was doing and say..I want to be married. I want to have kids. I want my husband to be kind and loving and successful. I downshifted my life and ruthlessly sifted through guys till I found the man I wanted. THEN i used Evan’s techniques of following his lead and giving him space till he proposed. So Evan’s techniques work there.
        Between all my successful friends, it is evident which friends have been happier (the ones who found great relationships) and which friends are grappling with increasing uncertainty to the rest of their lives in their 30s, regardless of how successful they have been. 90% of my “successful power” friends are unhappy at their frenetic jobs, me being one of them I almost burned out.   Because Evan gives concrete numbers, I want to let those 20 somethings know it is okay to be intentional in your 20s, especially when you hit 25 onwards in your love life to achieve the results you want.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Of course it’s okay to be intentional in your 20’s. No one has said otherwise – if anything, I’ve told women in their 20’s not to panic because they’re more likely to make smarter decisions and stay married if they want – and they will still be able to have children in their late 30’s as well. Once again, I acknowledged your point; you haven’t acknowledged mine, but only twisted and misrepresented it.

    2. 13.2

      He says a woman should ideally marry at 34. Not start dating at 30.  

    3. 13.3

      Whoops meant to post here. You get where I’m coming from

  14. 14

    I’ve been looking for a partner for marriage since I was 26 and I am 35. The reality is, even if you have the intention to look for your ideal match, you may not find them or maybe it takes longer or less time then you expect. And even doing all the right things may not mean you succeed. Some people have it easier than others when it comes to finding love. Life just isn’t cut and dry. I’ve been laid off 3 times in those years, moved several times and moved an hour away from my family to a big city. lost a car. went back to school. really matured and grown in those years. I think it’s insulting to tell a woman to look early because we all are looking for someone and life is unpredictable. I feel like people think life is how you make it when really it’s not. sometimes things happen that you don’t plan for. life doesn’t always go the way you want it to. intention isn’t enough.

    1. 14.1

      Yes Paula. I started dating seriously at 27. I had two boyfriends by 30. 3 between 30 and 32. It took me 5 years of dating in order to find the man I am marrying. All this concern trolling and fear mongering will only make women fearful and settle for less than idea partners because they are scared that no one will find them attractive and they won’t be able to have a child after 30 or so.

      1. 14.1.1
        Holly CJ

        “He says a woman should ideally marry at 34. Not start dating at 30.”
        No this is what he said:”So start taking your love life seriously at 30, get married at 35, and you’ll still have time to have the two kids you wanted.”
        Your experience in fact supports what I said. Start taking your love life seriously in your mid to late 20s, marry in your early 30s and have your kid ideally by mid 30s. (You said you were going to get one by 36?)
        You started taking your love life seriously when you were 27. If you started when you were 30, according to your timeline, 30 + 3 + 2+ 5 = 40 Good luck trying for even one kid then.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          This is an annoying conversation. I acknowledge your point; you don’t acknowledge mine. So how about we agree to disagree? Thanks, and have a wonderful weekend.

        2. Julia

          So what are those other numbers because I get the 30, the others not so much.  

        3. Julia

          Oh I see, my experience would be the same regardless according to you. Life doesn’t work like that Holly. You can get serious at 34 and meet your husband within months, like commenter Marie. You could get married at 28 and lose your husband in a car accident 2 years later. You are trying to prescribe a timeline to a set of random circumstances. And you’re trying to instill fear in young women. People rarely make sound choices based on fear.

    2. 14.2

      Paula, I don’t think no one is insulting people under 30, I think what Evan is saying… Well I won’t speak for Evan, but what I’ve come to understand from reading the comments of both genders on this blog over the years is -we all think we are smart when we are young, we all think we are looking for love [though we don’t understand what love is] when we are young, and we all want that great person as our partner when we are young, though we haven’t learned how to treat a good person right.  

      Unfortunately what Evan is saying is true; we don’t naturally know how to be good partners, all of us (at least I did) just think that we naturally are, and blamed failed relationships of our youthful past. I wouldn’t have even though like this a 5 years ago -I just turned 30 a few weeks ago-.  

    3. 14.3

      i know what you mean. i’m going back to school too, but i focus on my dating life too. frankly, if a man loved me and has a good job, he will not care if i don’t have a stable job yet. you just need to get out there and be aggressive about dating, like its another career.  

    1. 15.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Yes, the 20’s are important. But you’re in the process of becoming who you are. But few people have their shit together in their 20’s – and all your protests don’t change that. Sorry.

    2. 15.2
      Holly CJ

      Fair enough Evan, We’ll agree to disagree. Have a good weekend everyone.

  15. 16

    Evan, I really like your articles, they are really direct and honest.
    Been reading you for a year and have find the courage to stand my ground and say “bye bye” to some man who only contact me once a month and nothing more.
    I also recommended you to some friends who are stuck in the same situation as many of your female readers. But they refused to listen with the attitude “what can he teach me that I already don’t know”. I took distance from this girls drama also.
    I have other friends of course but this girls have boyfriends/children. I don’t feel lonely but how do I cope from starting from zero. I want my phone to ring again, but this time a want happy bells.

  16. 17

    hi Evan, I’ve been reading your blog, and i’m a younger reader. I’d describe myself as intense and driven at my career but also feminine. i really agree with susan patton and penelope trunk’s advice to seek a life partner above anything else. i’m 25 and i’m disappointed that i haven’t found my life partner yet. susan patton was right, you must seek out a good man, especially at a great university when the men there are highly educated. many people tell me the choice of men get fewer and fewer as you grow older, and that is true so i would prioritize finding my life partner   as important as having a good job. i’m not talking about a high powered position, i’m definitely not an alpha woman when it comes to career relationships. when i was single and went online, many men with good character and jobs wanted to date me. i’ve always known to choose a man with a good income (six digits), education, and character over a man’s looks. i’ve asked myself, can i compromise ever on income and education for character? never. i want a life of stability and security, so i make dating and finding the one a priority.  

    1. 17.1

      Why not build your own stable and secure life, instead of relying on a man to provide it for you?

      1. 17.1.1

        Amen Joe, this is like exhibit A of why 25 year olds rarely are ready to get married.

      2. 17.1.2

        It can be done. I’d rather have learned that lesson at 25 rather than 35 with 3 young kids, but by God’s grace we made it.

      3. 17.1.3

        i’m not saying i’m not going to have a stable job. i repeat, i am driven to my career, but i also expect the man to contribute more. we can say that money isn’t everything, but if finance is constantly a struggle, life together will not be happy. i also know it’s to more my benefit too, if a man makes a good contribution, i can have a better life. many couples divorce over finance, because they do not know that good finance is important in a partnership.  

        1. Tom10

          @ lagirl #17.1.3
            “i also expect the man to contribute more… i also know it’s to more my benefit too, if a man makes a good contribution, i can have a better life.”
          1)           Why do you expect the man to contribute more (as opposed to equal/simply being able to support himself?)
          2)           And whereas I certainly see how it’s to your benefit to marry a guy who earns more, how is it to a man’s benefit to marry someone who contributes less? (i.e. what’s in it for him to subsidize you?)

  17. 18

    Tom10, just to play devil’s advocate, I have been under the impression that a man doesn’t care what a woman earns or does for a living (within reason) as long as she is fun, easygoing, and makes him feel great, per the blogs published here. I’m not trying to be snarky or difficult, nor do I advocate that gold digging is a good thing. Should she intentionally seek out a video store clerk or fry cook at McDonald’s as a matter of ethical purity?

    1. 18.1

      @ starthrower68 #18
      “I have been under the impression that a man doesn’t care what a woman earns or does for a living (within reason) as long as she is fun, easygoing, and makes him feel great, per the blogs published here.”
      Good point. Instinctively when evaluating a woman I don’t really consider her income/career myself, but now I’m thinking maybe I should!
      But I also think that men on blogs probably overplay it a bit how little we care about a woman’s income/career. The evidence seems to indicate a clear trend towards assortative mating, so maybe we do care (that pesky fear of divorce again).
      “Should she intentionally seek out a video store clerk or fry cook at McDonald’s as a matter of ethical purity?”
      No she shouldn’t. In fact I think lagirl is absolutely right to try and seek the best possible deal can to secure her future. But maybe she needs to be aware of what reciprocal deal she is offering to attain her goal; as men will spot what she’s looking for a mile away.

      1. 18.1.1

        “But I also think that men on blogs probably overplay it a bit how little we care about a woman’s income/career. The evidence seems to indicate a clear trend towards assortative mating, so maybe we do care (that pesky fear of divorce again).”

        I don’t really buy that. I do think there are other reasons why the trend may move that way. Not because men care that much, but because women do, so that starts the ball rolling in that direction in a big way. Next is the fact that many people simply meet in college, then get married. Then as you move into the work force, you tend to hang out with people with similar backgrounds, such as education. So it simply has to do with who you are exposed to. Men will still be far more likely to marry the beautiful girl who is his waitress, than a woman would be to marry the hot guy who is her waiter. The reason is simple and that is that at the core, men do not see it as a deal breaker if she is not his equal in a professional sense. For women, it is often a deal breaker if the man is not her equal, or better, in the professional realm. At a minimum, he has to be very close behind her, for most women.

        1. Tom10

          @ Jennlee #18.1.1
          “I do think there are other reasons why the trend may move that way. Not because men care that much, but because women do… The reason is simple and that is that at the core, men do not see it as a deal breaker if she is not his equal in a professional sense. For women, it is often a deal breaker if the man is not her equal, or better, in the professional realm. At a minimum, he has to be very close behind her, for most women.”
          This analysis leaves no acknowledgement of a man’s motivation and selection criteria when picking a prospective mate; other than simple opportunity (i.e. a man only marries his professional equal is because he met her in college/work).
          My hypothesis is not that men place an equal emphasis on a woman’s career as a woman will on a man’s; rather that men have a tendency to proclaim that we don’t care about a woman’s career at all, whereas I think the reality actually is;  we do.
          My reasons:
          The greater the income disparity in a couple, the greater the hit there will be on the standard of living for the higher-earning party. I.e. a man who marries a woman who earns significantly less is taking a large hit to his own standard of living when he marries her. It is not in is his interest to do this. Which leads to…
          Most men have a latent fear of the financial consequences of a potential divorce when considering marriage. The greater in the income disparity the greater the hit the higher-earning spouse might take should the marriage falter (in this argument let’s assume it will be the man taking the hit).
          Although I admit that this argument could be countered in the case of a high-earning woman leaving the workforce to raise children. In this situation the man will take a much harder hit as she will be seen as having sacrificed a high-earning career and will need to be suitably recompensed.
          Men often like to take shots at women here for being shallow about status and how we don’t care about it at all; however, I think secretly we do. Whereas I accept men achieve social approval from other men mostly from a woman’s looks; men will achieve social approval from other women (namely his mother and sisters, and rub it in his ex-girlfriend’s faces) from his wife’s career.
          Most men want their children educated to an equal/higher level than themselves. Should anything happen to him (such as death) he might perceive the odds of their education being continued as higher should he marry a professional equal. I.e. a woman with similar educational values will ensure that his children will be highly educated.
          Hey, it’s just my theory (that there’s more to men picking their wives than her looks, personality and where they met).
          I could do some research on it, but I’m too tired 🙁

        2. starthrower68

          First, I realize I poorly worded my response to Tom below and it reads as though I believe myself too good for a blue collar type, when blue collar or a professional that is not, say a high dollar CEO, or whatever working class profession would prolly be more compatible for me because those are my people.

          With regard to Tom10’s explanation to JennLee, values values values.   She might be the highly desired female, but what are her values, beliefs?   If you’re not on the same page before the ring is presented, it’s not wise to propose hoping it will work itself out later.  

        3. Chance

          The dialogue between JennLee and Tom10 reminds me of why I’ve avoided marriage altogether.   Marriage is no different than a life-long, committed LTR – with the exception that you’re mixing finances.   When some is contemplating marriage, he/she should be asking his/herself: “Do I look forward to mixing finances with this person?”.
          It is my understanding that those of us in the United States are much more attached to the institution of marriage than other developed countries.   To our friends in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe, etc.:   is this the case where you live?   Is it much more common for people to simply co-habitate for the rest of their lives?
          At any rate, the reason that all of this relates to the subject at-hand is that there are increasing numbers of young guys (not most, from what I can tell, but the numbers are just increasing) that are avoiding marriage due to the truth that JennLee pointed out in #18.1.1.   A lot of guys can tell if income (a lack thereof) and being less successful in the professional realm is a deal-breaker for women, and many of these guys will avoid these types of women.

        4. JennLee


          “My hypothesis is not that men place an equal emphasis on a woman’s career as a woman will on a man’s; rather that men have a tendency to proclaim that we don’t care about a woman’s career at all, whereas I think the reality actually is; we do.”

          I am sure there are some men that care a great deal. But the reality is, there are many men who really do not care. More so than those who do. It is bout priorities. The men I have known, for the most part don’t care. By this I mean, just as Evan has stated, men want a woman who looks good to them, and makes them feel good. Given a choice to have a woman who meets that criteria, but is far below him in education, earning power, etc, and a woman who is far more his equal but doesn’t come close to meeting the first two requirements like the first woman, and he will choose the first woman.

          I have no doubt that if a woman meets his needs in the first two requirements, and has much more going for her, he will simply see that as more good reasons to date/marry her.

          If two women meet his needs equally, and one is more his equal in many other areas, then it only makes sense that he would be more interested in the one that he has more in common with. So I would agree that men may take it into account, in that manner, but it is NOT the priority of the majority of men, in my experience.

        5. twinkle

          @Chance: “A lot of guys can tell if income (a lack thereof) and being less successful in the professional realm is a deal-breaker for women, and many of these guys will avoid these types of women.”

          Chance, I slightly disagree here I think men tend to assume that a man being low-income will be a turn-off (although maybe not a dealbreaker) to many women. My impression is that there are many successful guys who assume they will be doing more of the financial providing in a relationship and they’re ok with that.   So if the woman comes across as being extreeemly shallow–wants to buy lots of designer goods and eat at the fanciest places since her date is paying, and doesn’t seem to care about other non-financial considerations in a man–I think men may avoid such women, but I don’t think men avoid women simply for caring about a man’s income.  

          Would u disagree with that?   

        6. Chance

          No, I wouldn’t disagree.   However, I don’t think most men give proper consideration to a situation where the roles are reversed.   For example, let’s say there’s a man who makes $100,000, and his wife/girlfriend makes $50,000.   I don’t believe that many men consider that if those income figures were reversed, many of those women would not be with them.  
          It’s a sobering thought.

        7. Henriette

          @ Chance   “For example, let’s say there’s a man who makes $100,000, and his wife/girlfriend makes $50,000.   I don’t believe that many men consider that if those income figures were reversed, many of those women would not be with them. ”    
          I agree that this SHOULD be a sobering thought but I don’t believe most men care.   In fact, I think many high-earning guys realise this truth and are quite proud of it; I’m so successful that I get the kind of women that lower earning fellows could never score.  
          For guys, professional success is inextricably linked to their personal identity and sense of manhood.   So they feel it’s badge of honour, a mark of their prowess, a reflection of who they are as men, that they are with women who are impressed by their income.  

      2. 18.1.2

        @Chance and Henriette: I guess we have similar views on this, then. Yes it is, or should be, a sobering thought. Many people aren’t that introspective and don’t think about it though. I don’t think many women really think about “If I weren’t pretty, would he like me?”. it’s so widely accepted as ‘the way things are’. Maybe it’s only the more idealistic among us who reflect hard on such questions. As an INFP, I have that unfortunate tendency to think such uncomfortable thoughts. :p

        1. twinkle

          Oops, I think I replied at the wrong spot in 18.1.2. Anyway Henriette, possibly there are guys who are simply resigned to being with women who focus on their financial success. Definitely there are those men who don’t care or are even proud that they attracted women with their financial stability, but I think many guys do care but think they have no other alternatives than to date such women.  


        2. Henriette

          @Twinkle.   Hah.   As an ENFP, I’m right there with you 🙂  
          I do think many a woman is, in fact, flattered to think that she’s so pretty a man who mightn’t have otherwise noticed her is wooing her tirelessly.  
          I am ceaselessly amazed these men and women then seem so shocked ~ SHOCKED, I tell you! ~ when the wives who married them (at least in part) for their money then gouge them financially in the divorce and the husbands who married them (at least in part) for their looks lose interest when she’s old and wrinkly.
          This brings me to one point I don’t really understand in EMK’s writings.   He recommends that women marry men of fine character.   I couldn’t agree more.   But he also recommends that men marry women who make them feel good.   Hmmm.   I’m sure I’m missing something here.   Because there are plenty of dreadful women who can make a man feel good by stroking his ego, hanging on his every word, being impressed by his big salary etc. but would make terrible partners and wouldn’t hesitate to eviscerate him in a divorce court.   Shouldn’t men be looking for wives with good character, too?

        3. Chance

          @twinkle and Henriette
          Sorry for the long delay – just now seeing your comments.
          You pretty much hit the nail on the head in both of your comments, but don’t call us idealistic!   I would assert that we are being pragmatic, and that idealistic folks would be more inclined to stick their head in the sand than to ask such hard questions 🙂  
          I don’t believe I’ve seen EMK recommend that men go after women that make them feel good.   When I’ve seen him mention it, it’s been in the context of helping women understand what draws men to them.   He could have said it, though, but that’s really neither here nor there.   I’ll go ahead and take the liberty of speaking for him and say that I’m 99.9% confident that he would recommend that men look for high-character women as well (shoot me down, Evan, if I’m wrong here).  
          Now, please take notice on this last part:   you certainly don’t have to do those things you listed to make a man feel good.   In fact, many men would find those things to be quite annoying (me, for one).   I would say the best way to make a man feel good is to try to eliminate anything that you do that you feel might make a man feel  bad.   Examples of things that make men (or anyone, for that matter) feel bad include:   constant second guessing-especially as it relates to choices made on early dates, one-upsmanship, calling out all his mistakes, criticizing him in front of others, not showing appreciation for his honest attempts to lead/be chivalrous.   If you don’t do any of these things as it is, then you’re well on your way.
          It’s no secret that most women want men to lead, and that a lot of men don’t really like having to do that all of the time, but they understand that it’s expected.   So, a great way to make a man feel good when on a date is to simply be flexible, appreciative, and be a good follower in general.   I’ll tell you, of all the women I dated, the ones that really set themselves apart were the ones that sent me a text or email the day after (or even later that day/night) letting me know how much they appreciated talking to me and taking them to x, and that they look forward to seeing me again soon.   It’s amazing how many women didn’t do those things, and I’m not counting the ones that weren’t interested.   Sending me that text/email definitely made me more interested in seeing them again.   Of course, there are no guarantees, but it certainly increases your odds.   Anyways, all the best!

  18. 19

    Tom10,   Millionaire Matchmaker has become a guilty pleasure.   I assume the “highly coveted” women are the ones on there, at least as a prototype.   I personally have never sought out the “highly coveted” man.   While I’m sure being attached to such a man has definite perks, it probably also has it’s own set of issues. But mainly, I am not a country club type.   I come from middle class blue collar roots and would totally be a fish out of water as the mate of such a man.   I don’t ever think along the lines of, “well what if one came along and fell in love with you” as that is such a remote possibility it’s not useful to entertain it.   If a woman can get that man, more power to her.   But she should be looking at him as a mate and not a meal ticket. I don’t believe a man has to make as much or more than I do.   But I dated one who made significantly less and never had any money and I assume he did not like my level of self-sufficience.   I never found out why he went plod.

    1. 19.1

      Poof that is.

  19. 20

    Lol if I married the guy I was with at 25 I would he divorced by now.   Fact.   As a 32 year old single mother now, I am a lot more careful and know a lot more about myself than I did even a year ago.   My options are pretty slim in my area so I don’t often date.   I am finding that the men in my age range are newly divorced and are looking to sleep with as many women as possible whereas I’m looking for something with a bit more substance.    I generally look at men who are closer to 40 because they have their lives in order for the most part, though that is not always the case.

    And in general I am not getting messages from men (online) in my age range very often.   Either men in their early 20’s   or men over 40.   Not sure why  

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