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


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.

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.

Click here to learn the 5 Massive Mistakes You’re Making In Your Love Life – And How to Turn Them Around Instantly!

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  1. 81

    @Diana #73

    Thanks and no insult taken! Actually lately I’ve been channeling more job/economic stress into other things including online posts as I am genuinely over…well let’s say coping very well from my movie like misadventure in love. I am still the chivalrous, but now more cynical knight that my mom originally raised who tries to do the right thing and sometimes gets screwed over for it.

    Not to pile more on, but there was another time/life suckage factor that slowed me and my sister both down. Our mother almost died and got frontal lobe brain damage at a “family” baseball event by a intoxicated cousin when I was 17 and she was 19. We both managed the business for about a couple of years to some degree while she rehabilitated.

    She took back “full control” when I was about 19 and went away to school and we eventually found out our mother still had “issues” and what used to be minor quirks were magnified to “Rain man” level behavior when she had episodes.(actually my mother literally grabbed the wheel of my car on the way back from the movie “Rain man” and we were lucky to not go into a huge ditch) My sister found out that essentially no one was really at the “wheel” when she came to help with the books and found the whole business ready to implode from neglect and with cash disappearing with bills not being paid.

    We agreed to save our mother from herself…took power of attorney, fixed up the finances, etc….got it back in good shape and was going to roll it into a trust…when our Uncle jumped in and financially supported our mother suing us for control of the stuff we just wanted to save for her. After winning twice in court…we realized that in the end this fight would just drain the stuff we tried to save and gave up.

    I ended up paying off most of the 5 figure lawyer bills myself. My mother lost her entire injury lawsuit because of the stuff she invented to beat our power of attorney control. The business eventually imploded later, my mom went broke…I got a last minute call with 24-48 hours before they seized the house I gathered all my guy friends and packed up as much stuff as we could, and I paid to have it in storage for about a year, then moved it twice, got her into public housing and she is now living a life more in line with her capabilities that is mostly paid for by disability and saved most of her stuff and got to sell lots of it for money. I got nothing but pain and grief mostly for doing all of that as well from her, but brain damage warps your view of reality.(no excuse for my uncle who was not available when the inevitable tower down fell completely)

    So lets just say I lost a lot of good dating or soul mate hunting time while trying to be a good man/person and do the right thing and I have lots of “character” now, but fortunately a good sense of humor too. I am looking more seriously now. I started the online thing a couple of years ago when I got my place, but since the economic downturn started early here…I didn’t spend as much time on it as I would have liked or possibly should have. I actually read Evan’s online dating book, but misplaced it and came to get some refreshers before I sent out a few amusing openers to some potentials…only to find this article telling me how in 3 years I’m cooked and Evan not being the bright, insightful and usually a tad more honest expert he normally is. Then again he said most of his clients were women and I read his related topic that has obvious cross-overs on this one here:

    …as well as the other linked one, which made me suspect he is pretty careful not to bite the hand that feeds him, which is a shame as he would do a better service by being more honest rather than supporting comforting myths that won’t lead to happiness or self-realization and just provide easy things to blame or more artificial constraints between women and happiness with a good man.

    He does say or imply one thing well even if he dances around it a bit. One of the bigger mindset issues is far too many women confuse “settling” with “compromising” and “style” vs. “substance”. A non-compromiser using style or surface attributes as her main initial guide or filter will continually be disappointed with the “quality” of the guy based on her pre-screening and selection criteria and also that whole two-way give and take thing.

    I hope to somehow find my “very compatible, but not perfect” woman out there and just hope that I can get through her filter and twitchy “red-flag” detector, but this type of blog does not fill me full of hope. I am really funny in real life, but hoped the online dating thing would allow me to expand my reach to find really good personality, intelligence, politics, etc. fits…along with the cute/sexy thing.

    Every statistical study I have read that has been well done has that the odds are not near as good as they should be for someone in my situation. I cautiously hope for the best, but remain the cynical idealist or perhaps realist who knows that he alone can’t fix societal myths influencing his chances of getting an even shot with a compatible woman of value…but I’m looking for my damn outlier, cause hell knows that I know I am one to some degree.

    Here are two studies everyone snipping at each other in here should actually read front-to-back and then come back to throw down their 2-cents. Not sure why everyone else is ignoring my relevant points, but these days most people have attention spans slightly beyond hummingbird levels…my ideal mate must be intelligent, deep thinker, with an attention span and both open minded and critical thinking. Smarter than me would be ideal, but in the ballpark would do just fine.

    What Makes You Click? Mate Preferences and Matching Outcomes in Online Dating

    State of Our Unions 2002: Why Men Won’t Commit

  2. 82

    Let me put it a different way:

    I think margaritas are the bomb. I love to sit outside in the warm weather, eating Mexican food and having a margarita or two. I know hundreds of people who also like to do this. I’m sure around the world, there are millions.

    I have a friend who drank one to many margaritas in college. Puked for hours. Horrible hangover the next day. She had one of the worst experiences possible with a margarita.

    It doesn’t matter if margaritas are great to me. It doesn’t matter if statistically speaking, millions of people love margaritas. My friend’s personal experience with margaritas will keep her from ever trying one again.

    Now, imagine that margaritas are single men over 40. See what I’m saying?

  3. 83


    I am with you all the way. Although I am sure there are exceptions, in *general* I have found that men who are not married by their early 40s have one or another dealbreakers which make them not good marriage material.

    I have to admit, that, for the most part, I have avoided these men online. The few times I have gone against my gut, I have been very, very sorry.

    Again, I do acknowledge that there are exceptions, and one cannot make a blanket assumption about all men 40 and over who are never married.

  4. 84

    Let’s say I am over 40 and never been married. Maybe I was focused on my career. I had a few long term relationships, but they were never quite right. Who would want to date anyone that puts so much judgement into some one else’s age. Is it really “better” to have been divorced? Multiple families, not from what I have seen. The question seems incredibly shallow.

  5. 85

    James, some dissertation you wrote. I can also relate to most of it. I, somehow, don’t think that will earn you time in the sack.

  6. 86

    Re. #68

    You may want to look up statistical trends in engineers’ above 40 chances of fathering autistic children. Every day now, scientists bring new proofs on how paternal DNA _is_ affected by aging: there was no sure methodology before, there is now.

  7. 87

    George, you’re absolutely correct. Many women, unfortunately, have had negative experiences with 40+ never-marrieds but we still give it a try. Maybe it’s just a high concentration of guys in that demo who are available on line, but when you only have so much time on your hands you tend to base your selections on past experience. And given the choice these women would rather go w a guy the same age who’s already been married.

    That said, any 40+ never-married guy out there – as with ANY guy – who makes a sincere effort to be in a committed relationship will have a great chance of finding someone. I believe in defying stereotypes (I am one myself, btw) and don’t adhere to negative hype.

  8. 88

    Another good point George #84 brought up: Mulitple families.

    Given a choice between a never married guy, or one with more than one ex, and more than one family to support (and be in be involved with)….which looks better?

  9. 89
    Karl R

    Selena said: (#70)
    “I’ve discovered it’s best not to refer to an ex as ‘crazy’ because saying so is a reflection upon yourself.”

    I’d say that’s even more true when a person claims all of their exes were crazy, psycho, or horrible in some fashion. If someone is blaming their partner for everything that goes wrong in a relationship, then it doesn’t make me terribly optimistic about their conflict resolution skills.

    Maybe I’ve just been incredibly fortunate. None of my ex-girlfriends were horrible people, and I’ve remained good friends with several. But this strikes me as a situation where I’ve largely made my own luck. I’m not attracted to the kind of person who requires a restraining order after the breakup.

  10. 90
    Fleur de Beton

    a man’s chances of marrying after at and after 40 decrease drastically.
    men have many oppurtunities to get involved with women at many points in their life, there are always women out there looking. of course this doesn’t go for every man, but if he is a decent person,  is even average looking    and is socially adept.  chances are he has had his chances to date.

    i have dated a few of these 40 something peter pans type, the ones you string you along for a year or so and then tell you ” you just weren’t the one”   ( even though they treated you like they were. My ex was 40, when i met him he was 39.  I am now 31.   Our meeting was made possible by a online dating site, now he is   a good man overall, steady worker, educated, he had good taste, but he was socially awkward. he did not believe in phone calls, he didnt want ot have sex for fear of impregnating me, he was fine with only meeting on the weekends, ( and no he wasn’;t married) despite all of this we had chemistry  got along, i was busy  and seeing someone  so infrequently it takes a while to put the dots  together.  

    however,  i got him to open up a bit on the phone thing, when we were together, the company was nice, his parents and friends liked me… he even told me he hoped i was the last person he dated. we went on a vacation, we had our good time, a   year of no sex, and generally no phone calls.

    in the end he was clueless, he had no idea what the hell he wanted and he emailed me and asked me to call him at 8 oclock ( every phone call had to be scheduled by email) and then dumped me.

    These are the type of men that are 40 something and single, there are others who are nice and just havent met the right woman or have been so busy focusing on a career, but im willing to bet there are more of them who have been running from the right woman all along. They are unwilling to carve out a space for yo u in their lives, t hey   often do not want to commit, but they claim to like you and value your presence.

    And in the end.. as much as you put into these relationships, you will find these men do not want what you are offering, because they are incapable of accepting it, on some level they enjoy being alone, and thats the way they want things, to do things when they want, on their terms. If that isn’t what you may be looking for, RUN! I certainly have learned my lesson

    1. 90.1

      I totally agree with what your saying. In fact you almost allways see family and friends actively trying to fix them up and worrying about them winding up alone. A lot of women are scouting around for husbands during their thirties and these men somehow never find any of these choices suitable. What people often times don’t comprehend is that   these bachelors on some level are unable or unwilling to go the distance with any woman. They may be functional in some aspects of their social life but dysfunctional when it comes to romantic love. I think the reason there is alot of opinion is that there are more of them now you instead of the rarity it was in years past. So many of us women have tried to be with someone looking keep this or have seen friends or sisters deal with these bachelors and you see patterns and can’t help but see the potential for heartbreak. But to other well meaning people they’re thinking this poor lonely guy for f only we could find him someone. But for any of us that tried with of these guys we know the score. They usually string you along so they can have sex and have a womanly touch for awhile but when the cover is blown you find they don’t consider anyone but themself. So I agree with some extra caution. Obviously there are never any guarantees but t you have to have a clear level head about trends and patterns in the current culture.   I know my husband would never treat a woman like this as he doesn’t like to hurt someone’s feelings   and says he couldn’t use someone and not consider the woman’s feelings but he says some men don’t care and will call up someone just because they are bored and horny and don’t care that the woman is in love.

  11. 91

    your senario is just like what happen to me a few months ago.The guy propose to me and beg me to get pregnant.I found out after he was married to a woman 15 yrs older than him.he only wanted a long distance relationship so me nor his wife can find out about each other.Thanks to face book i put up pics of him and i ,when we met and tag him in them.Becareful…….ask him to say he is in a relationship with u on facebook if he refused………then u know.

  12. 92

    I agree with you. I think it is a bit easier for a man to find a wife than it is for a woman to find a husband. So to me, if a man has made it to 40+ without ever being married I have to wonder if he is serious about commitment. Of course there are always exceptions.

  13. 93

    I am the woman who found the 40something guy who was never married and thought I’d hit the jackpot. until it turned out he was all the things ”steve” up there was…but also had a WHOLE lot of stuff goin’on that he didn’t tell me. ouch ouch ouch.
    In the end, I took Evans advice, wrote a letter along the lines of his ”your not meeting my needs, i want more” (after 3 months…) According to Evan if he came back he was serious about me…and if he didn’t he wasn’t (duh but i hadn’t really thought of it like that…).
    Sure enough, no surprises, he ran, ran like the wind…and yep that was when all the ”issues” came to light.
    the question is probably more ”is there something wrong with a guy in his 40s who has never sustained a relationship” and in my experience, I’d have to say, well, unfortunately, usually. Yes.

    1. 93.1

      Yes so true. The really believe be g red flag is no prior long term relationships and psychologistswwill attest to this. There are certain stages to life and if someone has opted out f relationships its probably because he doesn’t dint want them. Its totally understandable for a woman looking to share her life with some on to look for someone who wants and needs that too. I would certainly have a discussion about it.. but really I can also see skipping out all together n this type of a guy as I find alot f them lie about it or arse n denial about their status and why they are unattached. They know if they come put and day they don’t ever want anythingserious they risk the woman walking away without having sex with him. Most women are turned off by blatant casual sex and they know this s they keep their true self hidden. This is why women in some cases prefer to avoid these long time bachelors. I don’t blame them and alt f these guys getting pissed off by this judgement are making the case for it by saying they don’t need a woman to love as they have so many options and can snap their fingers and get one anytime as they have all the time in the world.   Doesn’t sound very loveable or humble if you ask me. But really you rarely ever see them change down the line and be with someone. Especially in the later forties.

      1. 93.1.1


        ….”no prior long term r’ships and psychologist will attest to this.”….Of course they will attest to this, yet,  few psychologist will give us a solution…

        1. j

          Yeah there’s no solution but they ‘ll tell you yes its a red flag. You can rarely fix someone who is a voident of love and all its messiness.  

        2. j

          My solution would be to avoid these types like the dam plague!  

  14. 94

    I married a 47 y/o man who was never married before.   Our relationship is nothing like a 2 minutes daily phone call to say “I love you, sweet dreams”.   He works overseas and is used to be alone.   Not me.   It is a problem in my life because I married him to have his company (and love and to live as a married couple).   That’s far from happening. He is also addicted (but not willing to accept) to pornography.   All he neeeds is his privacy to look at his stuff.   I am 8 years younger than him and really feel abandoned.  

  15. 95

    I agree with what Karl R said %100 about there always being *reasons*, that are not necessarily negative indications(ie. red-flags, et al).

    Personally, I was single for most of my life, until I was at a place where I could tweak the determinate variables(in my case, physical attractiveness – and for ‘men’ it never is anything as trivial as merely losing some weight, and shaving body-hair, lol) sufficiently to improve my prospects.

    But, an interesting thing happened after that.

    I found myself in a position to ignore the same wrinkled, loose skinned, sexually devalued female age-peers(who had never given me the time of day in the past), in favor of younger women(women in their 20’s).

  16. 96

    I’m one of those over 40 (53), never been married. From early on I saw it for the futile game it was, so I sort of adopted a Zen existence and have led quite a happy and contented life.. while watching others go thru the relationship struggles and angst it often brings.

    Relationships often go sour leaving bitterness in it’s wake. That’s why I’ve just chosen to avoid that foolish game, and life is great when there’s no baggage.

  17. 97

    [email protected]

    My current bf told me much the same: That early on he deduced it was a (mainly) losing game (marriage), etc. I, otoh, have had two long-term marriages and had to raise an autistic daughter so to say I’ve been thru the relationship mill is an understatement.

    Still, if I had it to do all over again I would have waited to marry, but probably would marry again. Or at least cohabit for a long time. Yes, it’s a struggle, yes, it requires work (romance), but there is no better way in which to grow spiritually.

    Monks and nuns in their cloistered enclaves are kidding themselves as to the spiritual progress they are making. No amount of prayers and meditation can do what helping others can.

    Also, those who avoid much of life miss the wonderful highs, the joy imo. Just my two cents.

  18. 98

    The short answer to your question is… YES.
    I am a 43-year old male, single/never married. I am a completely worthless, genetically inferior loser.
    We are the males who died young in traditional societies (for good reason.) Modern society allows the inferior to survive to old age in many cases, leading to to such abominations as single/never married men in their 40s.

    1. 98.1

      B-dawg, it sounds like you are saying that you are an unhealthy individual who has lived past what he normally would have expected before modern medicine.     I feel for you.   But you are the exception among the men speaking out here, and your health says nothing about your character.

  19. 99

    It was hard to get through this article based on the original premise of the post. B-dawg picked up on it. It’s this common female perspective of immense scrutiny for men, with little accountability for themselves.

    If a man is still single at age 40, never been married, is there something wrong with him? The general concensus among females I’ve spoken to about this, and also noted from sites such as Huffington Post, is a resounding yes! What is up with HIM?

    I’m a 39 y/o male. Never married.

    My last relationship the woman told me AFTER we’d become intimate that she had an STD.

    Before that, after dating a woman for 2 months, introducing her to my family, and everything going really well, she completely flipped out and said some of the meanest things anyone has ever said to me, that I was a joke, and that she didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I (and my family) were dumbfounded. She’d profusely apologize weeks later, but everyone (yes including myself) were like run!

    Before that, my girlfriend of 6 years. She’d been married before and never wanted to remarry. We started having problems around the 5th year. I kept asking on repeated occasions for us to go to counceling. She refused. The day I was to move out, had packed all of my things, and had given up on her ever wanting to salvage us, she came to me and said she wanted to see counceling.

    What is wrong with a man who’s 40 and never been married huh?

    The difference is a guy when asking this question would say this, “What are the pluses and minuses of dating a woman who’s never married at 40?,” not “is there something wrong with a woman….?” The wording of the question speaks volumes about perception, accountability, humility, and ultimately responsibility.

  20. 100

    Some don’t pick up on the bias I’ve discussed in my post above until given examples.

    Is there something wrong with a man who doesn’t ask for directions? The inference is that there is something wrong with men because we are known not to ask for directions. In reality however, men are taught to be self reliant, and we try to be self reliant as much as possible. It’s a trait that not only do women look for in men, they also poke fun of.

    Is there something wrong with a woman who doesn’t have a regular menstral cycle? The inference is that there is something wrong because most women have at least semi-predictable menstral cycles. In reality some women, like my sister, have very unpredictable menstral cycles. She’s been checked out about this, and while different than many, there’s nothing wrong with her.

    Is there something wrong with a Native American (as I am) who doesn’t like wooden flute music? The inference is that because most Native Americans actually do like wooden flute music that someone who doesn’t like it, there’s something wrong with them. Not at all. A few in my community don’t care for it, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Is there something wrong with a black American who doesn’t like fried chicken? The inference is that there is something wrong because every single black American I’ve become close with has proclaimed their passion for fried chicken. In reality, I’m sure there are black Americans who don’t care for it. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    Is there something wrong cause my young son doesn’t like sports? It’s inferred that there is something wrong with this person’s son, because most young men do like sports. In reality however, some boys and some men simply don’t care for sports, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Finally, is there something wrong with a woman who has never married and is in her 40s? It’s inferred, because most women do marry when they’re younger than 40, that there is something wrong with them if they haven’t by the time they’re 40. In reality, many women are choosing not to marry until later in life, are choosing not to have kids, and are making their mark in many diverse fields now. Good for them. There’s nothing wrong with that, choosing to marry earlier, or later, or choosing not to marry at all.

    I look forward to hearing questions from women about men which aren’t demeaningly worded.

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