Why Does Everyone Else Seem to Settle Down But I Can’t?

Why Does Everyone Else Seem To Settle Down But I Can't

I’ve been following your blogs and newsletters off and on for a few years. I can see I could be your typical client. I’m 38, professional with a lot of blessings in life except my love life. By saying that, you will probably understand the person I’m looking for needs to be loving, responsible and desperate for love and family life.

I just got out of a 2-year relationship. It’s a very classic story, everything was great and we were well connected in many ways except that he couldn’t move forward to next level – starting a family. During the 2-year relationship, I was waiting for him for 10 months while he was in South Africa taking care of his ill father. I was there for him through the most difficult time of his life. He never committed to me. After all this, he said he still couldn’t bring himself to propose to me or start a family. I can hear your answer already 🙂

But it’s hard. He’s back and I moved out, not far from him. I have to admit that I still hold out some hope. He said he’s going to a counselor. He said marriage is such a huge decision and he’s afraid that he will make a mistake. He was never near to marriage to anyone before.

I’m a strong and independent woman, but when it comes to relationship and love, I have to admit I’m very vulnerable. Evan, I have been single for over a decade! When I met my ex-boyfriend, I thought this is it. I’ve been on numerous relationship programs and I like your advice best, and that you do understand women. I don’t understand why I’m single and I don’t understand why everyone else seems to settle down with someone and I can’t find the one. Thank you, Lotus

Dear Lotus,

Sorry to hear about your ex-boyfriend, his father, and your breakup. Sounds like a rough go for everyone involved. Please take a little bit of solace in the idea that you can only do the best you can do. And since you can’t change the past, the very least you can do is stop beating yourself up for the past.

Everyone has made mistakes. Everyone has gotten hurt.

Everyone has invested in the wrong relationships.

There’s nothing unusual about it. So take a deep breath and realize that you’re in a large pool of frustrated single people, okay? It’s not just you.

But if you’re going to learn anything here today, it’s not by absolving yourself of all responsibility. It’s about taking stock of how you got here and what you can do differently in the future.

All I have to go on is what little information you provided to me.

The only thing you can control is how much time you invest in low-percentage dead-end relationships…Cut such men loose fast and find a guy who is really into the marriage and kids thing.

You were in a two-year relationship with a man. One of those years he was in another country, taking care of his sick father.

This man has never been close to marriage with anyone.

This man is afraid of making a colossal mistake.

This man couldn’t see himself proposing to you or starting a family.

You are still living near him.

You are still pining for him.

You are still holding out hope that he will suddenly become a man who doesn’t have issues, who wants marriage and kids, and who wants them with you.

In other words, you’re willingly deluding yourself and wasting your late 30’s on a man who, for all of his charms, is quite obviously not going to be your future husband.

And you want to know why everyone else seems to settle down except you?

First of all, it’s not everyone else. There are plenty of 38-year-old single women, or I’d be out of business.

Second of all, 45% of the women who got married in their 20’s are going to be divorced because they married out of passion, fear, inertia or were simply too young. Don’t envy them.

But the only thing you can control is how much time you invest in low-percentage dead-end relationships. I have 100 questions sitting in front of me and probably 75% of them are just like yours — lovely women wasting time on fundamentally flawed, emotionally unavailable men, all out of “love.”

Want to get married in the next few years?

Cut such men loose fast and find a guy who is really into the marriage and kids thing.

Dating the wrong men over and over can take a toll on your confidence. Soon, you lose faith in your own decision-making, all while you’re watching your friends get happily married.

If you find that you’re starting to feel bad about yourself because you don’t have a ring on your finger, stay tuned tomorrow for a video that will instantly help you calm down when you find yourself comparing your life to your friends.

Sign up below to be notified when the video is posted on the blog.

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  1. 1
    From The Ground Up Coaching

    You are not everyone else. You, are you.   Most likely you are not settling down because you are devoting too much time and energy on men that are not willing, or able to give you what you want. There’s a part of this that is serving you. You need to REALLY look at the “why” of what you want and make sure it is in complete alignment with how you feel. Hugs.

  2. 2

    u nailed it! especially the bit on friends who married in their 20’s most facing divorce. Just had a man begging court to ask his wife to reconcile after abandoning her and 4 kids since 2010. Court said sorry obvious both parties married young but wife has cut her losses and can no longer sustain untenable situation of lack of love and respect.
    you’re stI’ll attached “moved close; holding out hope”! You need to release him, say, – I forgive and release you to the Holy Spirit,” if he’s yours the universe will magically make it happen. But the universe can’t sustain such a relationship wherein u r already starting to feel resentful I.e invested so much!   

  3. 3

    Lotus, ask yourself why you want a man who doesn’t want you. He has made it clear that he’s not going to propose marriage, so why are you still hanging around waiting for him to change his mind, he won’t.
    I know you have invested 2 years in this man and spent 1 year being supportive while he was looking after his father but unfortunately he’s not reciprocating your feelings and needs in moving towards a committed relationship that involves marriage.  
    Scrape up some pride and self esteem and let this guy go as the longer you keep chasing him the less chance you have that he will ever change his mind as no one likes to be forced into doing something against their will. I can only suggest giving him some breathing   space and leave him to work out what HE wants, it’s not all about you.  
    Evan is 100% right in saying women don’t get rid of go nowhere guys and relationships quickly enough. He’s also 100% right in saying that a man who is really into you will lock you down within 6-8 weeks. I know this is true because it’s happened to me exactly as Evan says it does with guys who are interested and who do like you lots.  
    Find a man who adores you.

  4. 4

    Can I suggest you read some of Steven Carter & Julia Sokol’s books e.g. He’s Scared, She’s Scared, Getting to Commitment?
    They give great insight into how we play out our own issues with intimacy in the choices we make about relationships.  
    Their writing helped me understand that I played out my own commitment phobia passively – by committing myself emotionally to people who weren’t available to have a real, intimate relationship.   I suspect you might be doing similar.

  5. 5

    Yes, Lotus, there is something wrong with you.   You are the only common denominator of your relationships.   At this late stage in your life, if you still cannot sustain a relationship leading to the commitment that you want, you need to re-evaluate and fix your approach.   Maybe it’s because you pick the wrong men, maybe you continue to hang onto emotionally unavailable men, maybe you are not applying dating knowledge correctly, who knows what it is but the sooner you fix it the closer you will get to your goal. Stop opining, go get a coach, go do some soul searching, forget about this guy and go date better.   Good luck.

  6. 6

    This is my story if you replace the sick father with a PHD.

      In other words, you’re willingly deluding yourself and wasting your late 30’s on a man who, for all of his charms, is quite obviously not going to be your future husband.

    Dating the wrong men over and over can take a toll on your confidence. Soon, you lose faith in your own decision-making, all while you’re watching your friends get happily married.

    Thank you!

  7. 7

    Ive thought that before that women who cling to men that resist going to the next level are subconsciously playing out another version of c ommitement phobia. I think counseling and doing some studying about how you’re feeling inside and your famikt history museum get be beneficial. I think sometimes when we don’t feel guilty d about ourselves we can get stuck desperately wanting a challenging commitment phobe to validate us. Another issue is if we women get carried away with the sex right away we neglect to qualify the person in the first place and then try to fool ourselves after the fact. Men are really good at giving us little crumbs along the way to keep the sex going. But hey she did have the talk so she did  

  8. 8

    Many men and women are very lucky when it comes to having a love life, and many of us are Not.

  9. 9
    Look Seriously

    Many people are very blessed to find Love, and many of us are certainly Not.

  10. 10

    IMO this woman should just become pregnant on her own. That’s what Lori Gottlieb did when her biological clock was running out. She successfully conceived and is now a mother.

    This new decision is called Choice Motherhood and it’s becoming increasingly common. Read on it.

    1. 10.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      And the whole point of Lori’s book was that she would much prefer to have a partner in life, as opposed to being a single mother. Funny that you left that out.

  11. 11

    So, Evan and commenters, the only thing I would criticize about this advice is that it assumes “find[ing] a guy who is really into the marriage and kids thing” is as easy as going to the grocery store and picking up a box of cereal. The writer already said she hadn’t been dating for over a decade before she met this guy. I think her response to the guy and the break-up is the result of fear that there will not be anyone else–a fear, I might add, that is very real for women beginning in their mid- to late thirties. I mean, she already went a decade without anyone. Now we don’t know the reason for it. But i can tell you from my experience of having gone 7 years between boyfriends that when my Mr. NonCommitment came around, I was anxious to make it work, in part because in 7 years a man like him had not come along! Its much easier to find eligible men in your 20’s than in your 30’s and up– this is just the reality for women. I think it is a bit insensitive and unrealistic to just say “move on” like it really is that easy.

    1. 11.1

      Hi. I think the operative word for your entire argument is eligible. I truly believe everyone who is single is because ultimately its a choice to be. We all know someone thar adores us but because they arent your cup of tea we dont consider them.

  12. 12

    so true, DA. I had a similar experience with an ex who decided against commitment after continually reassuring me that things were progressing.   He also went through the illness and death of a parent, and ensuing depress ion, and I supported him through counseling in the wake of that.   That event, in 2008, coincided with the economic collapse which affected me greatly, undermining my confidence  and independence So I did not question his assurances as I should have.   There are circumstantial factors that influence how people act in relationships.   Hindsight is always 20-20 and now I’m in this woman’s same boat.  

  13. 13

    There are more and more women choosing to go single and have careers than put up with bad relationships. I am 38, have dated several men, had 2 serious relationships. Recently, I met a guy I’m very interested but I’m not sure if he feels the same way and quite frankly, I am too busy right now with work to worry too much about what he thinks.

    But a point I’d like to make is why do women beat themselves up so badly about single? I know many guys in their 40s and 50s that are single and no one blinks an eye about it. Why do women feel they need to almost apologise to society for being single?

    If you haven’t met someone who supports you then what is the big deal? You may have other things in life that are just as fulfilling, such as a great career, wonderful friends etc. I think the more you worry about getting a man the more you won’t. My advice is stop worrying about men and start living life and having fun. That’s usually when you’ll attract them anyways.

  14. 14

    *wasting time on fundamentally flawed, emotionally unavailable men, all out of “love.”*


    How dare you insult legions of men with such a sweeping generalizations. Would you dare tell a women who does not want children or married life that she was damaged to the core? If women have the agency to live their lives how they choose, men also have that right. I know countless men who do not want to be married or fathers. They save lives as firefighters. They teach our next generation at your local school. They went overseas and bleed or died protecting this country. What have you done that even comes close to the positive and powerful change single and unchilded men have done for this country? Counsel women about love? Please, these men built and protect this country. We are not damaged because we do not compromised on our core ideals and visions of our future. We pay our taxes. We follow the rule of law. We care for our loved ones when sick or jobless. Shame on you, Evan. What a nasty low of yours.

  15. 15

    This is what happens to many of us Good men out there that keep meeting the wrong women that are total losers to begin with.   And with so many women that have their careers today which makes them very selfish and spoiled which many of them will never go with a man that makes much less money than they do which it is a real shame how women have really changed over the years since most of them are very greedy too.   Most women i would say were never like that at all years ago since the times are totally different now then it use to be. So i certainly will blame the women why i can’t meet a good woman to settle down with, and i am sure many other men will certainly agree with me too.   What makes it so funny is that many women today will complain about us men that have changed since they’re trying to make themselves look so innocent since they’re the ones that are really at fault here.   Trying to start a normal conversation with them is very impossible today since they will be very nasty and walk away which i know friends of mine that had this happened to them as well.

    1. 15.1
      Karmic Equation

      Stop trying to date the 8-10s.  Most 8-10s are entitled because the world, run by mostly men, have treated them as if they were all that, so they started believing they were “all that” and they treat others as if they were “all that”.

      Date the 5-7s.They’re the ones that had to earn everything, especially  boyfriends, by trying to become the nice, kind, nurturers that men supposedly want. But when push comes to shove, they’re mostly overlooked because men “just aren’t attracted” to them, so will offer then sex, but not commitment.

      Oh well, then you made your own bed. Stop blaming women and start blaming the head that’s below the waist for your travails with women.

  16. 16

    To Ian Msg 14…That was very well stated and certainly made me think. Yes, men have the right to do what they want regarding commitment, kids, marriage,etc. But, the guy in question did not tell her that he didn’t want to committ. He should have told her instead of stringing her along. I have no issues with guys telling me upfront what they want or don’t want. And yes, if they want to just date, have sex, FWB, or whatever then that’s their prerogative but when NOT CLEARLY COMMUNICATED, then they are flawed…or emotionally unavailable, too.

    1. 16.1
      Karmic Equation

      Julie, the sad fact is that both men and women chase “chemistry” (aka passion).

      When the passion fades most men want out, while most women want their men to change to someone they weren’t to begin with.

      Another sad fact is that is that almost all women’s personalities and behaviors change after sex or when they “really like” a guy. That woman, who chases him or demands his constant attention, drives him away. And then the guy, who really liked the cool woman, gets overwhelmed by needs he didn’t sign up for. So he changes his mind, because you changed also.

      The most surefire way to stop the string along is stop changing after sex.

      Work on staying the same cool girl you were before sex…or alternatively, show him your needy self before sex. But only one of those two  ways is effective in keeping the man around until YOU make the decision of whether or not the two of you are compatible.

  17. 17
    Gina Gonzalez

    I haven’t been with another guy for over seven years of single life it’s pretty much my ex boyfriends fault for breaking up with me and because of him I won’t find someone else and I can’t have a handsome man named Carl Marino because he’s married to a more attractive than me woman

    I can’t have any man that I like life is unfair to me it’s disappointing that when I like someone they don’t like me back they are either married not interested or in a relationship or in love with someone better than me 😡

  18. 18

    To Karmic Equation, well for your information which i am Not looking for a woman that is between an 8 and 10 since most of them are very pathetic altogether since they really think that they’re God’s gift to men which they’re Not at all.   Today unfortunately many women have really changed for the worst over these years since they will only want the best and will never settle for less at all since they’re very greedy and selfish now more than ever.   And most women do want a man making mega bucks since they have become so very money hungry as well.   And many of these women now aren’t so nice at all these days since they like to curse at us good men for no reason at all when we will try to start a conversation with a woman that we would really want to meet.   I really had this happen to me already which a friend that i know had the same thing happen to him as well which makes me believe that many of these women today do have very severe mental issues since many of them are certainly gay anyway since there are a lot of women nowadays that really don’t like us straight good men at all the way i see it.   So we really have no reason to blame us men at all since so many of these women now unfortunately are such pathetic low life losers to begin with the way that i see it which does make it very difficult for many of us men looking for love today.   Back in the 50’s and 60’s most women were definitely so much nicer and much easier too meet in those days the way our family members had it.   Now with all these reality shows that they now have on TV these days as well as the media has certainly made it a lot worse too.   And back in the old days which most of their parents did raise their children right and today their children now are so out of control now which really adds to the problem too.

  19. 19

    Ron 18 – I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry at your comments so did both.   “…..many of these women today do have very severe mental issues since many of them are certainly gay anyway…..” or “…..most women do want a man making mega bucks etc…..” or “…..will never settle for less since they’re very greedy and selfish now more than ever”.


    Were women so much nicer in the 50s and 60s than now? Really? Or were we all losers then as well?

    My point is that there are still well educated, attractive women out there who still treat men with respect and don’t need a man for money or sex – there are still women out there who see men as dignified human beings.   Let’s hope that this is mutual.


  20. 20

    To Judy, well you may laugh or cry or both since what i have really said was the real truth of all which you may or most likely not agree with me.   Like i have said with my last comment that at one time i was cursed at by a woman that i really wanted to meet and a friend that i know had the same thing happened to him as well.   And we never did anything wrong in the first place for this to happened to us which it is very sad that many women just don’t like us men at all unfortunately since they do have very severe problems.   The 50’s and 60’s were certainly a lot different than today since most of the women and men in those days did have a lot of respect for one another since finding real love back then made it so much easier than today since most men and women just can’t get along anymore since the times have really changed for the worst of all.   By the way there are a lot of us good innocent men out there that do have a lot of respect for women since we really do know how to be faithful to just only one woman.   I was married at one time myself which i was a very good husband to my ex wife since i had a lot of love and respect for her which i was very committed to her as well which it still wasn’t good enough for her.   Many women unfortunately just can’t be committed to just only one man since they’re the biggest cheaters of them all since many of them are just real pathetic losers to begin with since they really should not get married in the first place if this is their intention to do this and destroy a good man’s life since many of us had this happened to us already.   No wonder why the divorce rate is so high these days which i can certainly see why which makes it very sad as well.   They just had a couple on TV about four months ago that just celebrated their 75th year together which many men and women should learn from that.   So yes as you can see which the times were really different back in those days since most marriages did last like many of our family members did.   If i could go back in time and start all over again which i sure would if i had that chance.

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