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. 141

    I had to look up MRA.I have not studied any of their “rights” that they are espousing so therefore I cannot make a serious comment about MRA. The other term that I also saw while researching MRA was MGTOW(Men Going Their Own Way).This would describe me better but,again I have not researched it at any length to make a realistic comment on the subject.I just know there is ALOT of single men out there that are avoiding women for whatever their reasons may be.This is not from reading blogs on the internet but,from  personal  observations made everyday from watching friends,peers and business associates.My reasons for being over 40 and single were stated above in my previous post….and I stand by those reasons!
                         I am not a blogger.In fact,the only reason that I came to this site is because I read Evan’s book.A receptionist at our office had a copy and I borrowed it and read it.I must say that it was a good read.This is the reason that I came to this blog and did some reading as the receptionist referred me to it after I read the book.I would also like to comment on Evan’s book and blog.The book was “spot-on”….Evan knows his stuff I will guarantee you that! …..and also his advice that he gives to questions on this blog asked by women are again…”spot -on”.So as a dating coach and author I would advise any single woman that is looking for a relationship to take Evan’s advice about men and relationships seriously……..he knows what he is talking about! I assure you!.The problem that I see here is not with Evan or his advice but,with the ladies!….”You are listening to Evan….but you are not hearing Evan”.Does that make sense? Thanks!
    Sorry sweetheart….I never wrote the book! A friend of mine gave me a copy to read.I was so impressed with it that I ordered 100 copies to give away to friends.I must say that my  friends  have also ordered  multiple copies to give    away to their friends.I have had nothing but “Thank You’s” for giving men this book.I would suggest that you read the book also…as it will give you a different perspective on why so many single men are AVOIDING women!Thanks.

  2. 142

    not really, since he didn’t meet the right woman to get married too. i am a straight man that had been married myself at one time before she cheated on me, and i was a very caring and loving husband that was very committed to her. we were together for 15 years before this happened to me, and i even thought that i had met the love of my life to have a family with. today it is very hard for me as well to meet a good woman again since many of them have become so very nasty to start a conversation with, and will even curse at me. i did not do anything wrong to cause this to happen to me, since the women of today are certainly much different than they were years ago. very hard to meet a real good honest woman today, especially one that doesn’t cheat. i did get married when i was 33 years old myself, and a man in his 4o’s will be even harder since it is a very good idea to be very cautious. years ago, it was much easier meeting a good woman with the help of families and friends that would introduce you to the one that they think would be right for you. and most of the times it did work out. today you have much more women making very good money, and many of them don’t need a man in their life since many of the women now have very high paying jobs. it certainly does make it much harder for us good serious men that would want a love life again, especially a man in his 40’s that is seriously looking to finally settle down.

  3. 143
    Bill T

    Some of the comments on here really irk me; I’m in my early 40s and have not been married.   For much of my life, I’ve lived in a fairly small city with a lot of out-migration of young people, and not much of a “dating” scene.   It’s brutally hard to meet people here, and it’s not just me saying that, I’ve heard newcomers say it too.   Moving hasn’t really been an option (for several reasons)
    Unless you are a fabulous guy, you generally don’t have a chance to date several people and find the right one around here…. many just grab what they can find and hang on tight.   Not a great way to ensure a healthy relationship.
    I’m not-great-but-OK looking (5’9″ and slim build), have my own house and a good job, and consider myself a very low-maintenance “giver” type person.   And I’m SANE, which I’m finding is an increasingly valuable trait.   I’m considered brainy-ish and polite, which seems to have been a net detriment in my life.
    I don’t crave, or even like, stereotypical “dumb blondes” – despite what people might assume from a +40 single – and I’m no player.

  4. 144

    Paul #142- I sure hope you start telling yourself a different story soon. Posting the same narrative in thread after thread under different names is not getting you any closer to meeting the women you’d like to meet.

  5. 145

    I know several guys in their thirties who have never married or made a serious commitment to anyone (guys in their 40s are outside of my age group so I can’t comment) and there are reasons that have to do with the guy for all of them.   They are all uncommittable, afraid of intimacy, overly independent or selfish to some degree.
    I wouldn’t write them off though.   I’d just say proceed slowly and with caution, and don’t give your heart away too soon or at all before there is a solid commitment. I do believe with guys like this they have to arrive at it in their own time and in their own way, and there’s no forcing it or rushing it.   But I would definitely be cautious and guarded.

  6. 146

    Most of the good looking men don’t have to commit/marry, what for??….there is no shortage of generous women for them…

  7. 147

    Most of the good looking men don’t have to commit/marry, what for??….there is no shortage of generous women for them…
    Well, one would assume that at least some of them are interested in having a family. At least, I know some very handsome married men who are happy as hell with their wives and children.

  8. 148

    @Clare145       Most of the bright, accomplished people I know spent their 20s dating a variety of folk, furthering their education, travelling and establishing their careers. While you look at a 30-something never-married guy and think “selfish commitment-phobe,”   i look at married 20-somethings and think, “inexperienced future-divorcees.”

  9. 149

    I certainly am not advocating getting married in your 20’s… having been married and divorced in my twenties I speak from experience.
    I was more referring to guys who have never had a truly committed relationship, not necessarily marriage. And I’m certainly not lumping all never-married thirty-somethings into this category… only the ones who have *shown* themselves to be selfish and commitment-phobic, often by their own admission. By the way, they’re also perfectly likeable guys. Just proceed carefully relationship-wise…

  10. 150

    hunter 146,
    If it is like that for you, I’m glad for you 😀
    Where I come from, most of the guys I know do not have women throwing themselves at them.

  11. 151

    Yeah, we’re nothing but uncouth, unkempt,   maladjusted  cavemen. Being that we’re obviously being written off here, why exactly should any guy in this demographic (myself included) have any kind of positive attitude?

  12. 152
    Bill T

    Mickey #151:     Yeah, no kidding eh?   It’s a bit rich to expect every person to be married by 40 – heck, I think someone on this message board said something about being in New York City, and almost everyone younger than 50 seems to be single.   It’s not always a matter of choice – for some people in some circumstances, it can be really, really tough to find a person, let alone the right person.

  13. 153

    I think you guys are missing the point.   The unmarried almost 50 year old men that we’re talking about are set in their ways. They have had plenty of chances to be married. The guy that I dated had had several significant relationships, but couldn’t pull the trigger. We were engaged and sent out invitations and he called me on the phone and ended our relationship. He said he was just ‘wasn’t ready’ for marriage and an “instant family” (I have two children). We’d known each other since high school and reunited. He left me with tons of wedding bills and legal bills to relocate my children to another state. It’s not like he didn’t know that I had children. They are very well-behaved and smart kids too, who grew attached to him. We just never saw him again since the phone call and he didn’t want to talk about it.Meanwhile, he just moved on.   
    When I look back, there were lots of red flags that I ignored. He had a way of doing everything though from making his coffee in the morning to putting away the iron. Everything had to be done his way, or it was “wrong.”   He tried to ‘teach” me his way and would berate me if I didn’t want to learn his “way.” When you live with someone for a length of time, you realize that there are different ways of doing things, not wrong ways. You tend to be more flexible. Guys who have not been married don’t seem to know this. His longest live-in relationship was 8 months. She ended moving out because she said he was impossible to live with. They remained friends and we had to double date with her.   
    That was also very odd.   He also kept all of his friends with benefits and insisted that double-date with us. When we broke up, he turned to them right away for “comfort.”   I realized that this was his way of never getting married. He kept a stable of women who would give him sex and friendship so that when the relationship did go sour, as it always did because he would eventually find something wrong, he would just turn to them and move along.   
    He never wanted to have children, never wanted to pay for another person (he was extremely frugal), thought that men who were married should give their money to their “families” instead of their spouses and children if they died unexpectedly.   When one of his friends died unexpectedly, he couldn’t believe that his friend willed his savings to his widow and small child instead of his family because he said, she’d only known him for 5 years!   They were married and had a baby that she was left with all alone to raise.   That didn’t phase him.
    It’s that kind of selfishness that I am talking about and I think most of the other women are talking about.   This kind of single, almost 50-year old also tends to either live with their mother or have such close family ties that there’s no room for a woman to fit it.   They have their life and they don’t make room for someone else.

    1. 153.1

      You lump all 40+   unmarrieds together.

  14. 154

    If you avoid older men you’re left with the younger men who don’t seem to be rushing to commit either! Understandably, we want to avoid being disappointed (to put it mildly)  but we may be focusing on the wrong things.  It can strike regardless of their age, income, relationship history or education.
    I don’t have the answer to this btw but  I think the ironing etc. is minor compared to the women on rotation.  
    Sounds like a hideous experience.  

  15. 155

    I had an in depth conversation about this phenomenon when I was dating a never married 44 yo man (before I met my fiancé).   This bf behaved very much like Lizzy’s post and I was very confused.   On the one hand he talked about wanting to get married and have kids but never meeting the right person and focusing too much on building his career.   But then it seemed like he had a string of relationships and always managed to find something wrong.   He said the girl initially always seemed “perfect” but then she turned out to have all these flaws.   He would keep all these exes around as potential FWB however.   He was also very set in his ways.   If you did things differently he would lecture you as being wrong rather than accept there were just different ways of doing things.   I began to suspect that it wasn’t just the other women who were “crazy” but that he was difficult to live with.   He had all these ideas of what marriage is like and they all had to do with losing one’s identity, money, and personal space.   I ended up breaking up.   We remained friends.   I think deep down he just wasn’t someone who was suited for marriage and I think he would do himself good if he just came to terms with that instead of dating women and telling them he wanted marriage when he really didn’t.   He agreed with me and said he couldn’t understand why he kept finding fault with women he got serious with but he did.   I asked him if any of his friends (who were all 40 something never married men) would be good for me to date and he looked horrified and said no, they all have issues worse than me!   They’re single for a reason!!
    Well, anyways I’m not saying that never married 40 and up men are defective but that some of them may not really want to get married and give up their ways or personal space deep down but they may not have come to terms with it yet.   Like any venture you have to realize the risks and decide for yourself if he’s worth it.

  16. 156

    Good point. However before they were 40 and didn’t want to get married, they were 30 and didn’t want to get married. It’s not their age, it’s in them. What’s a girl to do? I guess – don’t date men who have a negative view of marriage or relationships. They are fairly easy to spot (look at this blog!), but by the time you have feelings for them it’s hard to see it.   It IS confusing.
    As for “This bf behaved very much like Lizzy’s post” – yeah, they do have a pattern even though they think they’re so unique. but then don’t we all.

  17. 157

    You make a good point. The women on rotation was a horrible experience, but I also realized that over time, his constant criticism of me would damage my self-esteem.   Coupled with his flirting with any hot thing in front of me, the constant negative critique of whatever I did would take a toll.   I have a Ph.D. so not a stupid woman by any stretch, yet he would make me doubt myself.   
    He also called all of his ex girlfriends “crazy,” and like Marie, I realized that it wasn’t them so much as he was so difficult. He made you feel crazy.   He did that whole “gaslighting” thing where’d he’d do something outrageous and then treat you like it was you who had the problem. For instance, he had a party at his house once and invited his family and “friends.” Turned out all of his “friends”   that he invited were women he’d slept with.   I was so uncomfortable because he flirted with them in front of me. I should have ended things then, but I was so in love with him, I just ignored the red flag.    Another time, I went to a holiday party at his work place. His old girlfriend (he worked with her) saved us a seat with her new guy (who also worked there).   After about 10 minutes, I realized that all of the women sitting at our table were his friends with benefits at work.   Again, I felt so uncomfortable. He left me at the table and went off to talk to more of them.   The old girlfriend, who was now a friend of the family too (they invited her to all family events), told me that he always disappeared and left his dates and that’s one of the reasons she broke up with him.   He was never attentive.   She also told me that he was “odd” and then proceeded to tell me that many of the gay men at work hit on him.   
    Later, I often wondered if his inability to commit had to do with some latent homosexual issues and she was trying to give me a hint.   Was he a guy on the down-low?   I never knew for sure, but he’s the only guy I knew who got super excited about being hit on by a gay guy and even went out to dinner and rode in a limo with a guy at a conference who hit on him.   It was either that or he was a narcissist who loved attention, any attention…from men or women.   
    Hard to say really. He always had walls up.   In sum, whatever the reason he was emotionally unavailable and whatever the case, ended our engagement in the most insensitive ways and left me with the majority of the bills for the huge wedding he wanted. I just wanted a small, intimate wedding, but he insisted on a big wedding so he could invite all of his old girlfriends.   
    The more distance I get from the entire relationship, the clearer I see that he did me a huge favor by ending things.   Now I am very cautious about dating any never-been-married men approaching 50.   

    1. 157.1

      Lizzy, you’re doing   yourself a huge disfavor.     You dated this one guy who sounds like King of the Jerks, and now you’re going to cut yourself off from a major portion of your eligible dating market.     As terrible as that guy was, a big part of the problem was you!   Why did you put up with all of that?   Until you know   how to recognize good men from any age bracket, it would be best to   just concentrate on your children and stay single.

      It wasn’t his age — it was his character! Until you learn to recognize good men and demonstrate self-worth by avoiding all others, you should steer clear of men from all age brackets.

  18. 158

    @Clare #145
    “”They are all uncommittable, afraid of intimacy, overly independent or selfish to some degree””
    I am able to sum up these character traits that you describe in two words……”SELF PRESERVATION”

  19. 159

    “”Who are the men it is possible for you to date? Single never married men or single divorced men. There are no other possibilities.””
    Thank you!…….You just “corrected” all the delusional thinking that is going on here.The “rationalization hamster” is running amok!!!!!  

  20. 160

    I commented a long time ago on this site. Since there’s no dates on any of the posts I have no idea how long ago it was, maybe a year ago. At the time I said a lot of men don’t get married in their 20s or 30s because they just don’t want to and its crazy to think there’s something wrong with a guy that just wanted to enjoy his 20s and 30s without having to worry about commitments. I still believe that. I guess what I would add to this now is that if marriage is your goal there is always someone looking to get married at any age. For men I admit its much easier. Swing a stick and you’ll hit 50 women looking to get married. Lol. But even for women, if you keep yourself in shape and have a good attitude (don’t be a downer)   there are many men out there looking to get married after 40.

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