Is There Something Wrong With a Man in His 40s Who Has Never Been Married Before?

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I’m currently speaking with a guy from Yahoo personals, he’s 42 and still single, never been engaged… This is a big red flag right? We have been talking for the past month and a half via the phone, I’m in Minneapolis, and he’s in Chicago. We have great long conversations, many that last 5 hours long, he’s commented how great our conversations are. He’s attractive too. How do I know if he’s just another “nice-player”? They are slick today. It seems many are online with no intention of getting serious… I just told him that it’s wild we have great chemistry but we could meet in person and realize that we are not physically each other’s type. To me, as naive as I am, I’d like to think he is not a “player” trying to work me over because we have these long conversations with a lot of depth to them. Our emails were very long to begin with too. Please give me some perspective and advice on this situation.
  Kate

Dear Kate,

You’ve got four different questions going on here.

There is “How do I know if it’s worth it to try a long distance relationship?”

There is “I don’t want to be the victim of a nice-player in a long distance relationship.”

There is “I’m falling for a guy that I’ve never met but have talked to on the phone for 6 weeks”.

Is there something wrong with a man in his 40’s that has never been married? My answer is predictable: Yes… and No.

If you read the above links, your dreams will be summarily dashed – not because he’s necessarily a player, but because the odds of ANY relationship working are slim, the odds of an ONLINE relationship working are slimmer, and the odds of a LONG-DISTANCE online relationship are the slimmest – especially when you haven’t even, um, y’know, MET yet.

That said, the part of your question which really intrigues me is the “red flag” question:

Is there something wrong with a man in his 40’s that has never been married?

My answer is predictable: Yes… and No.

This is where I would make an argument that stereotypes exist for a reason. The unhealthy part of stereotyping is not necessarily the stereotype itself, but the assumption that ALL people in the category fit the stereotype.

Thus, if you have preconceived notions about gorgeous people, rich people, short people, gay people, Irish people, etc – those notions probably came from SOMEWHERE. They’re not pure fabrications.

Jewish people like playing Twister on the lawn is a fabrication.

Jewish people are often highly educated and highly neurotic is not.

Are we together on this one? Good.

So there’s the stereotype of the forty-something bachelor – and it’s a valid one. He’s a player. He’s a Peter Pan. He’s a commitmentphobe. He’s too picky. He’s emotionally unavailable. He’s a heartbreaker. He’s unrealistic.

All of those things are likely contributing factors as to why a man might be 42 and never married.

So now you’re faced with this very real dilemma – is this man a victim of circumstance, or is he the common denominator in all of his relationship failures?

But what if he was living with a woman for seven years who didn’t believe in traditional marriage? What if he was in a three-year relationship with a woman who cheated on him? What if he was once ready to propose and she ended up breaking his heart? What if he spent five years in a dead-end relationship and has had difficulty getting back out there? What if – god forbid – he made a bunch of bad dating decisions and just hasn’t met “the one”? (Hey, all of us want to think that about ourselves – let’s just say for argument’s sake that it’s true!)

So now you’re faced with this very real dilemma – is this man a victim of circumstance, or is he the common denominator in all of his relationship failures?

And I think it would be very easy, and coldly logical, to say BOTH.

This doesn’t mean you should enter into a relationship with a forty-something bachelor with the expectation of failure.

It does, however, mean that he didn’t become a forty-something bachelor by making great decisions in love.

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Comments:

  1. 201
    Becca

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

    1. 201.1
      Mickey

      @Becca:

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

    2. 201.2
      r

      So these men are garbage to you.   I got it.

  2. 202
    realist

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

     

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

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

     

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

  3. 203
    jon

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

     

     

  4. 204
    Mari

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

  5. 205
    Robert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

  6. 206
    otieno

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

  7. 207
    otieno

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

  8. 208
    Jeff

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

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

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

     

     

     

     

     

     

  9. 209
    BLaw74

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

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

  10. 210
    Mia

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

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

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

  11. 211
    Justin

    I’m a single male nearing my 40s and I have never been married. I have never been unfaithful to a girlfriend, not once, yet I have been cheated on numerous times. I was always very shy in Jr High and High School, and I was too afraid to ask the girl who I was absolutely head over heels for if she would date me. I finally met a girl during my senior year of high school, and we immediately fell for each other. We were together for four years, and we got engaged in 2000. We were inseperable and I loved her so much. We never fought, we just seemed to be made for each other. I had a good job at the time, so I supported both of us while she attended school. I travelled on certain weekends for work, but she was my priority.

    After being engaged for about nine months, I noticed that she was much less affectionate than she was before. She began to go out to bars and clubs with her friends and spent less time with me. I wanted so badly to have evenings when we could just be together and cuddle on the couch. She became more distant as time went on, and after questioning her about what was wrong, she admitted to me that she had cheated on me with a good friend of mine. I was hurt, but I forgave her and pretended it never happened. Before long, I found out she was cheating on me with at least two other guys. I was crushed. I remember crying myself to sleep when she wasn’t home. I realized that she was not ready for marriage, and she was looking for guys to hook up with.

    I’m a rather short guy (5’6″) and she was slightly taller than me. The truth was that she simply wasn’t attracted to me anymore, and she was looking for tall, athletic guys to hook up with. I never had a height complex until that happened.

    After she made it clear that she no longer wanted to be engaged, we moved out and went our separate ways. I never cut her out of my life though, because I still loved her deep inside. We remained good friends and kept in touch. I helped her out when she needed something, and I was always there for her.

    Five years later, we were still close, and we began seeing each other again. I had gotten myself in incredible shape and she wanted to try again. Just a few months into our renewed relationship, she was in a severe car accident and passed away a few days later. I was in absolute grief and went into a deep depression. I was 26 when this happened. I gradually came out of my grief and tried to start dating again.

    I finally met a wonderful girl who I fell in love with in a couple of months. I really loved her and wanted to have a steady relationship. I thought she loved me too, but when I told her how I felt about her, it scared her away because she just wanted a physical relationship. She said I was an amazing and kind person, but she couldn’t see herself with me in a long term relationship. I undetstood, but I was still in love with her. The pain was nearly unbearable.

    Time progressed, and I dated a few more girls after that. I was always happy with the relationships, but I always got dumped after about three months after being in a relationship. I was always told that I was a truly wonderful, nice guy, but apparantly I lacked something that women were looking for.

    I had a number of girls tell me that my height was an issue, and they just didn’t feel like I was “the one”.

    I just wanted somebody who I could share a loving, affectionate relationship with… Someone who could love as deeply as I could, but the older I got, the fewer prospects I had available.

    I dated a few more girls after that, and in 2007 I fell in love once again with a beautiful, amazing girl with a two year old daughter. She told me she loved me and I was in love with her. Her daughter even began to call me “daddy”. At that point, I knew I loved them both, and I wanted to be with them for years to come. It felt like I had a family and I loved her so, so much. She would always tell me that I was wonderful, and that I was too good for her. I assured her that I was the lucky one, and that I was happier than I’d ever been before. Just a couple months later, she met another man and left me for him almost immediately.

    I was in so much pain. I couldn’t hold myself together, and I literally cried every night for months. I fell into a depression that lasted for years. I didn’t date again for seven years.

    The last girl I dated was in 2014, and she was recently separated from her husband of 15 years. She had four beautiful children and we hit it off pretty quickly. However, once the divorce proceedings began, she told me that we couldn’t see each other any more because she didn’t want to hurt her chances of getting full custody of her children.

    I’m getting close to 40 years old, and I’m still single and live alone. All I ever wanted, as long as I can remember, was to find a love that was mutual and pure. I love to give and receive affection and I’ll do anything for the girl I love. I don’t get into arguments or cause unnecessary drama. I just want a relationship with someone who loves me as much as I love them. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t fall out of love… I love with all my heart, and without that love, I feel a deep void in my life.

    At my age, my relationship options are few and far between. I can barely remember what it feels like to be hugged or kissed. My life feels empty and lonely, but I do my best to have hobbies and goals so I can continue living. I feel like life is very lonely and difficult though… If I only had a few more years to live, I don’t think I would be devistated. I have achieved a lot over the years and I have my material possessions, but they are worth very little compared to finding real, true love that can withstand the good and bad times.

    I miss being able to show my love to my special girl. I miss the companionship, the affection, and the bond that real love creates. The sad part is that I don’t know if I have ever truly been loved by any girl I’ve been with. Real love lasts forever. I’m growing tired of living a lonely, loveless life.

  12. 212
    Art

    I’m 39 gonna be 40 in the coming year and all I had was a single month relationship throughout my life. At first I felt that I was a cripple trying to run without legs when it comes to attracting girls. I had plenty of female friends yet being friend zoned was a certainty. They all told me I was handsome but of course hearing that and yet not being handsome enough for them told me in my head that was just a pity story for them. I held no apathy towards them..I just accepted that it,s just nature’s way of selection of attraction and I was not meant for selection.
    Years later it turned into a hatred…a growing seed of emptyness where I had a dim view on not just women but the whole game of dating and it gave me a perspective seeing from afar hanging with friends. Seeing how superficial pick ups were, how girls would go out with the “jerk” so to speak. How a single word or gesture in the first seconds of your life will determine if she likes you or not. In the end I felt being judged every second when I was being sincere. My openness towed caring for another was threatened by the very girls that I wanted to share with. Agian..I felt the laws of natural selection playing it’s game.
    Later in the years it came to experience..or the lack of. I was already being generalized as some sort of creep or loser the second I told them i am a virgin in my late twenties. I guess one night it hit me…i didn’t want to be hateful for the rest of my life. I was able to see my lack of skill of talking to girls was creeping into a depression or more accurately I felt I was going through a withdrawal of a addictive drug but without the benefits. I guess I wanted to turn my single status and turned into a weapon against my hatred and unhealthy obsession for finding love that I have seen cripple others in the same situation as me. I wanted revenge and live a positive life and free of the addiction that made me feel so lonely the last decades. Looking back I felt I have gone through an emotional battle accepting the truth. I am not part of the natural selection process..love is blind ..so it will never find me. I felt I let go a poisonous part of my life…i feel free..I do get a little stab in my heart ..a little bit of emotion crawls out and tries to lie to me that I still have a chance of findinging someone…then I remind myself of all the superficial bullshit people who never been in my situation..and here their rose colored fairy tales of how easy it is. Those ignorant empty words give me strength ..no a challenge to stay single. Because there are more of me who are in the same situation..and we are growing. Intimacy is the most foreign concept to me…except knowing that it has no logic to it as all emotions do. It can inspire and also destroy…love dwaldles on both good and evil taking no true accountability but only taking credit for the successes and leaves the room when someone fails at it. The risks are great..that is no mystery to me. We all take risks..for me I feel I’m taking a bigger risk…but I know the reward of self sustained emotinal positive life is a absolution rather throwing for heart to a girl who is fickle with her emotions. (Men of course are are capable of this as well.). When my years of absence of another become more then the years ahead a question grew inside me…but I guess it was always there….”Why is love such a big deal?”. Love is just an emotion..a perk so to speak but not a right..like driving….just because you deserve love does not mean love will come to you and even if you work hard at it it’s not a absolution. If it was Every single person on earth will be paired up and that is a fairy tale believed only by the true naïve. Love is not for everyone..cause not everyone finds it. Because I did not find it should I suffer further looking for it? Should I listen to people who never been in my situation who have the audacity to force false hope upon me?

  13. 213
    Robert

    You know, reading all this “Advice” is really confidence inspiring, NOT.   So Women aren’t supposed to date men over 40, who have never married.   Women want men who can take care of them,   they want the men to be educated, and women want men who own their own home.   So if you don’t make much money, don’t own your own home, and didn’t go to college, or university, that pretty much makes you, “Undateable”, or “Damaged goods”.   Well that’s just great, any of us in this boat, might as well stand in front of an on coming train, and get it over with, because what all this “Information” suggests, that those of us, in this boat, are relegated to a life of singledom, never to love, or be loved by anyone, just because we fall short with finances, and education, and such, that “Experts” deem necessary for a successful relationship.   This is just an observation, of what I’ve read so far, in the area of   “dating for men”.

  14. 214
    r

    Conclusion is unmarried guys over 40 are garbage according to most ladies.

  15. 215
    Davis Love

    Great article and comments. I’m 39 and I don’t think there is anything wrong with me for being a life-long bachelor. It’s taken me this long to beginning feeling who I am as a person. I now realize  that process is a long journey. Despite all the career and travel success I’ve had, I feel utterly worthless as a human being and crippled by anxiety on a daily basis. So, I keep trying to move through this and to see where it leads me.

    I would love to be able to share an intimate relationship with someone, and one day a family. I would love to be able to understand and pursue my desires and passions without deep feelings of fear and shame. I’m just beginning to allow myself to feel and express anger and frustration over this situation. But I am quite aware that I am emotionally unavailable and simply don’t want to disappoint whoever is on the other side of that. I fear replaying my parents’ story. So I tend to avoid the (many) attempts  that women (and male friends) have made to get closer to me over the years.

    In the end, I think what is most important is not whether the guy  has been married  before, but whether he is aware and has started the process to connect with his emotions. Many of us are in denial of who we really are and marriage itself is not a fix for this. It could be that a man in his forties is finally realizing  his personal empowerment. Or it could be that he is just getting more cut off from himself and set in his habits. There may be no good way to tell because of all the walls that people put up around themselves. But, if you are curious, I think the right  man would always appreciate being asked about it in a non-judging way 🙂

  16. 216
    Michelle

    I am a 48 year old widow. Single 6+ years and dating 5 years.   I have had multiple male friends tell me they would never date a widow.   The reason they gave me…. They would always feel like I was comparing them to my late husband. They also said I would always be in love him. I found the very interesting.

    Men find me attractive and I am shopping for one,   so I date quite a bit.   A frequent first date question is “so how long have you been divorced ?”   They look horrified when I tell them I am widowed and fiallow up  with condolences and apologies.   If I was still   grieving I would not be out with them to begin with.

    I hope to find somebody amazing that  treats me with kindness, love and respect just like my late husband did.   That’s having called self esteem not comparison.

    I do my best to stay away from never married men without children. From my own experience I have found them to be somewhat selfish and arrogant.

    I also rarely date widowers, they seek you out when they first start dating… thinking there will be a connection and understanding. Usually the date turns into a grief counseling session. They want to hear your story and share theirs.   Not great material for a fun first date.

    So that leaves divorced men, as the best option. I find the good ones claim they grew apart and successfully co parent. Men that have been cheated on usually have significant issues.   I am shocked how many of these guys there are. Seems women are more likely to be unfaithful these days.

    Now I just need to figure myself out.   I think I could be referred to as a serial dater. My longest relationship since I started dating again has been 6 months and I date a lot.   Being honest with myself I do believe it has little to do with my loss and a lot to do with the quality and being picky.

  17. 217
    R

    Every man I’ve dated over 45 who was never married was for good reason. It usually took 3 months or less to see why.

    I’ve even met a few whose longest relationships were at most 2 years. Not seeing each other but once or twice a week.

    All of these men were looking for the perfect woman that doesn’t exist. Always looking for flaws. Commitment phobes? Selfish Definately. They played the field, a lot. Successful and charming.

    Ill take a divorced man any day over these men who have zero experience with real relationships. Especially after a never married 53 year broke my heart into pieces. A runner love avoidant.

    I had a 15 year relationship and engaged to someone else that became extremely controlling after I moved in.

  18. 218
    Emily Greene

    I don’t agree with all that is said, however, there is NOTHING wrong with a man who has never married and he’s over 40. Rarer still are the men who have never had sex with anyone and are waiting to save themselves for marriage. I would gladly love to meet and date and if it goes well, potentially marry a man like that over a widower or a man who has already married and divorced. The latter are just a huge turn off to me and not worth the time.

  19. 219
    Guest

    MGTOW is the very smart way to go for us men nowadays which will save us a lot of pain, torture, misery, and keep a lot of extra money in our pockets as well.

  20. 220
    Paul

    Lol for many of us good single men trying to meet a good woman that doesn’t sleep around all the time.

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