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.

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  1. 101

    Yes and I’m a far bigger loser than B-dawg in past 98. I’m a 41 year old virgin and not by choice.

  2. 102

    It’s refreshing to read opinions from the side of men in this site. I salute Steve and James (thanks for the statistics Karl) for sharing their views on this issue– it is truly something that people need to understand. We are all unique individuals with different experiences— thus, it is not acceptable to be so prejudiced. The statistical data and logic may be used as a guide but it is not the be-all.

    I met my boyfriend now when he was 39 and I was 30. I learned that he was the kind of guy like what Steve and James have mentioned–those who wanted to focused on career, and be prepared enough for marriage. It wasn’t that easy for him too (apparently ) to meet the right woman. He had some previous 1-3 years of relationships before, but he never felt that they were going to that sacred vow stage. And yes, I was busy too with my vocation as a physician (was at my specialty training) that during that time I also had no true relationship to keep. I’ve been with few guys but not one really pushed to end in the promise of marriage. Fortunately he found me (we had a common friend in social media site)– and I thank God that I met the man whom I immediately felt was perfect for me.
    He is now my fiance (marriage plans scheduled at the end of the year) and we really love each other so much.

    There is no “perfect” or “ideal” age or time to marry — no age bracket either for the “right” girl or guy. We can’t really live and try not to live in relationships based on “common idea” or “standard” of society. It’s not healthy to be judgmental too about people you want to be with(or not) — we have to perceive each one as a “potential” good person whom we can cherish and love. Optimism creates the good vibes. I’m sure if you would try to listen more, you’ll also know and feel if there’s something wrong in the picture. Women are blessed with that ‘instinct.’

    I would pray for you guys (Steve, James, etc) that someday you meet your ‘soulmates,’ and that God may bless you to have more blissful years ahead(single or married)!

  3. 103

    I’m a male in my early 40’s, and the main reason I’ve never been married? Money. Women are attracted to me, but 80% I’ve dated are looking for financial support or stability. I’ve never been rich, and my career is difficult for women to gauge what I earn. So they always ask round-about questions to gain insight on my finances. I’ve now reached a point where I have no interest in a relationship. Hearing the same questions makes me nauseous.

  4. 104

    I must be in a mood; sorry.

    I have had guy friends who tell me the same thing; women only care about money and that is why they ask what you do – they are trying to guage how much you make. I ask these questions of people as a why to get to know them better. You could answer with what you do; to have fun. I don’t really care.

  5. 105

    I am 49, have three houses, my boat, travel the world, and I love my job.   A lot of my friends are either divorced and poor, or married and miserable.   One is happy.   I think the more pertinant question is what is the matter with american women.  

    I am currently living in south east asia and will be marrying my love in the next year.   Totally different than any american women I have been with.     Respectful, feminine, and she is not a b**ch.

  6. 106

    Is james Steve/Bill?

  7. 107

    Selena   #106

    James does sound like Steve/Bill   
    Glad he’s found happiness in his fantasy life outside the USA

  8. 108

    @Kathleen #107

    What has me perplexed is why men who think US women are bitches, yadda, yadda –  and women from other countries/cultures are superior -are feeling compelled to comment on a blog that has a huge headline at the top reading: “I am a PERSONAL TRAINER for women WHO WANT TO FALL IN LOVE.

    Why aren’t these men  spending their time visiting those countries selecting a bride?

    Fantasy, fantasy, troll, fantasy.

  9. 109


    I think they may have serious “issues”   Perhaps dont feel successful in their lives and are looking for an outside influence to blame.   They are seeking the only kind of attention they can be assured of which is negative attention
    I am not American. American women and men are awesome but there are damaged individuals in every culture. If they don’t like American women then by all means they have the freedom to move out But…..”no matter where you go… there you are!!!”      
    I have never heard any successful guy I have ever met make any generic negative comments about American women. ( By the way their mothers are most likely American )   

    1. 109.1

      Let me be the first:

      I’m happily married to a wonderful woman. I’m American. Over 40. Successful.

      Most American women do have that attitude to which James alluded. I’ve experienced first-hand the difference between the indoctrination of American women(and men) and women/men from a number of European countries (from working with them). This indoctrination simply desn’t occur “across the pond” like it does here, so women (and men) lack the gender contention that us Americans have (this is a frequent discussion we have – new colleagues are typically surprised at what they see here).

      Sad, but true. My experience as an over – 40, happy, succesful American male – women here are saddled with a lot of misinformation.

  10. 110

    Thank you ladies for proving my point.

  11. 111

    Franklin #103
    “Women are attracted to me, but 80% I’ve dated are looking for financial support or stability.”
    The vast majority of men I dated weren’t right for me either. You could always focus on the remaining 20%, you know. Besides, it only takes one.

  12. 112

    i am a straight woman in her early 60’s (yup, you read right–early 60’s), who’s never had a boyfriend, let alone been married, and I’m surviving quite well.   Part of that, I believe is due to the fact that I’ve got a history of innate developmental and communication problems, and because I’ve never been interested in going into a different kind of setting/environment that I’m presently in.   Sure, I’ve had male friends, and even gotten close to romantic relations on occasion,   as well has had crushes on guys, but it never got any further than that.   it’s not so terrible, and, more to the point, it’s better than being in a situation that I would not be comfortable with, or with someone that I don’t especially like, can’t connect with, or don’t find particularly attractive, or who’d pressure me into doing things I can’t or won’t do, or get involved with causes that I feel apathetic or antipathetic towards.

  13. 113

    There is nothing wrong about a man who is 40 and not married. In fact he is a very wise person to not get involved in marriage. I wish I had done that but I was a dumb ass kid . I’m married to a person who I have no interest in or really love. Its been that way for 45 years, I just want her to go away.   

  14. 114

    Another thing to consider, which I have not seen posted, is a possibility of sinister reasons why he never married. Call me paranoid but I worked for the prison system for many years and seen to many inmates that were never married because they were serial sex offenders or killers. Certainly they date but many do not marry because they are not committed to relationships. I know there are many never married 40+ decent men out there and not trying to generalize but there is a good reason why someone should question why someone in this age group has never been married. Remember most serial sex offenders and serial killers come across as a kind person and are great conversationalist, reason why they have gone undetected for so long.

  15. 115

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


    That’s highly insulting. I’m well in my 40’s and I’ve never been married. Why? I never wanted to be married.

    The same way single women over 40 are ont old maids, not every over 40 never married bachelor is gay, living in Mom’s basement, a monk, or a serial killer in waiting.

    I absolutely resent the not-so-subtle implication that there is something automatically wrong with me  because I’m not  married at my age. If you can show me where it says that I or any other man is somehow obligated to get married by a certain age, then I’ll  (to use a Mitt Romney-ism) concede.    

    1. 115.1

      Its not that a never married ‘ve 40 guy is wrong its that he’s wrong for the woman who’s looking fora husband or something real committed. I think the problem is s people not being honest about what they’re looking to achieve. A guy who doesn’t want to marry or be serious is no more wrong than the woman is who wants that. I think when people put on a mask or dont care about hurting or wasting someone’s years are the ones who are wrong and defective.

  16. 116

    …aaaahhh…the few single never married men I have interviewed on this subject,  never learned/were never taught,  how to seduce a woman….

  17. 117

    Mickey 115

    Of course you are not obligated to be married by a certain age but when women are assessing you as a LTR prospect they will wonder WHY (and in depth) you didn’t want to be married. Do you get asked that a lot when dating and how do you answer that to women who have been married over 5 years whom you are seriously interested in?

    I was considering a 45 year old guy a few months ago. He had never been married so I looked up stats on the likelihood of men 45-50 marrying for the first time. It was 0.6%  

    Paul 113 There are many studies on happiness that reveal that men overall are happier and healthier when they are married. Sorry to hear you spent so many years in unhappiness but for the majority according to the studies its to mens advantage more than women!

  18. 118


    For me, the  alleged reward just wasn’t worth the risk and aggravation. Freedom is nice.

  19. 119

    You’re all just rambling here! I can guarantee that this old man had lots of past relationships, even if none of them was serious. Guys can’t resist attractive women.

  20. 120
    Karl R

    Kathleen said:
    “I looked up stats on the likelihood of men 45-50 marrying for the first time. It was 0.6%”

    I’d like to know your source for that “stat”. I compared the 2005 statistics for men (aged 45-49) to the 2010 statistics for the same men (aged 50-54). 10% of the “never married” men got married  for the first time  during those 5 years.

    To put it another way, at least 0.6% of that group of men got married in the next 4 months.

    My numbers come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. I hope you didn’t dump the man just because you believed a less-reputable source.

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