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There is no desirable single men over 30
August 7, 2014 7:08 AM   Subscribe

Unfortunately my dating pool has narrowed so much that there is nobody left to date.

I meet men that I like all the time. They are funny, smart, cute and I would date them in a heartbeat. They are also very much taken...either married or in super serious relationships. I am always dissapointed and keep thinking "really?? you are taken too??"

Now I know that there are single men over 30 left. They are all over dating sites which I have tried without much luck. I had many dates where I felt ZERO connection. It seems that these men fall into 2 categories:

1. Commitment phobes. They are single for a reason and that's not going to change soon. These men can be charming but they are after quick sex or FWB arrangement at most.

2. Guys that have been rejected all their lives. There is usually a reason why. And as much as I emphatise, I can't date them out of pity. I am turned off by the very thing every other women before me was.

Now how come I am single at this age? Well, I have dealt with a serious health problem in my 20s that largely left me out of the dating game. When there was plenty available and desirable men, I was in no condition to date. My health situation resolved and I have a good career now. But I also find that it's all a bit too late and there is nobody desirable left.

I have made peace with staying single. But it's really frustrating when I meet yet another man that I click with only to find out that he is in a serious multi-year relationship. Like they all are.

What should I do?
posted by sabina_r to Human Relations (40 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you tried singles' meetups? When I was single, I found the guys in the meetups I went to were a lot more grounded than the guys I found on dating sites. Also, the pressure was lower, because there was an activity to do.
posted by xingcat at 7:10 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


It is not very typical for people who want to be in long term committed relationships to not be in one in their 30s. So I think you're going to have a harder time because of that, sure.

I do know some, though. A lot of my friends were just sort of late bloomers in that regard, or disinterested, and many of them did not get married until their early to mid-30s. Some are still unmarried. This may be more common in some places - like maybe large urban areas.

You did kind of leave off a category that I wonder if you're dismissing out of hand, though - divorced people.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:12 AM on August 7 [14 favorites]


I am 44. Of all the dating relationships I've had (and I do mean full-on dating, like "we see each other on a consistent basis"), five of them were guys I met after turning 30. So there are desirable single guys over 30. And I met all but one of them on personals sites. And they were good, good guys - one is one of my best friends today, and one is the current Object D'Schmoop.

Quality single guys over 30 won't be as easy to find, but they are out there. So what you should do is...hang in there.

Although I agree with RustyBrooks about considering whether you're automatically ruling out divorced guys or widowers. If you are, consider rethinking that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:18 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


there is nobody desirable left

Well, you're left, right? So you can extrapolate from that there are indeed others out there.

Have you tried working on your friends? There's nothing weird about wanting to find somebody to date. Tell everybody you know: "I am looking for a person to date." Ask if they know anybody suitable. Ask for an introduction. It will have the nice side effect of having them at least partially pre-vetted, so to speak. Presumably you don't have jerks for friends and your friends of friends are not jerks either. Also, the nice already-partnered guys you meet probably have nice friends, some of whom will be single. Keep your friend networks large and pleasant!
posted by kmennie at 7:30 AM on August 7 [13 favorites]


Is it imperative they be over 30?

I ask this as someone who had never dated younger—until I met the guy with whom I'll soon be cohabitating.

I'm 33, he's 28. He's mostly more mature* and grounded than I am. More mature than some 37 year olds I've dated.



*Except that one night of karaoke and Red Bull. Heh!
posted by functionequalsform at 7:33 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Yeah, good point. One of my friends is, imo, a very dateable guy in his mid 30s. Very nice, funny, good job, very dependable, etc. I stayed out of his personal business for a long time but it came up one day and he basically said "yeah, by all means, if you know someone, send them my way"

I didn't know that many women that he could date - for me it's mostly the opposite of your case, I know several qualifying guys but all the women I know are married. This probably isn't a coincidence, most of my friends are dudes and so most of the women I hang out with are friends of my wife's.

So your male/married friends might be a good resource to check out - they're the most likely ones to know unmarried men.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:34 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


+1 for dating divorced guys. I'd take a divorced guy in his 30s over a never-been-married guy in his 40s. Hands down!

Remember that having a partner often makes people more confident - so of course they're chatty, charming and you click. Because they're not trying to impress you! Would you like this guy if he was single and not getting laid regularly? It would certainly change the dynamic of the interaction. Maybe that would change the attraction for you.

Do you have a thing for confidence? Like "strong man" confidence? Some people are immediately turned off niceness/nervousness because they immediately equate it with weakness. So if that's you, then explore it a little.

Are YOU a commitment phobe? I find commitment phobes attract commitment phobes, no matter how much one party says how badly they want someone, when someone available shows up they find a reason to dismiss them out of hand. So examine that if it rings true for you at all.

The askmefi chorus is typically anti-workplace dating but I met my quality guy at work. You just can't "date around" at work; if you meet someone that feels like it's going to be something real, then go for it.

I really believe there's lots of people to date. Just don't look for immediate connections or sparks or whatever. Look for someone kinda cute, and decent. Then watch them over time and see the quality of their character. Dating in your 30s can be different; things develop a little differently, everyone is a little wiser for their 20s, and timing is a Bitch!

Just keep putting yourself out there and be open to different kinds of people. It'll happen. I met my guy in my 30s.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:36 AM on August 7 [8 favorites]


Were you involved in any support groups for your illness ? Perhaps people who were also ill and have recovered have had the same issue.
posted by Mistress at 7:47 AM on August 7


I didn't meet Husbunny in person until I was 37. He was about a year out of his last relationship. It's all about timing. We were friends on-line before they broke up, and it just happened that when he was ready, I was there and it worked out.

I suggest that you go out and live a fabulous single life. Hang with friends, do volunteer work in groups, take classes. Meet people. The more people you meet, the more opportunities you'll have to date. Your friends may offer to set you up with newly single folks they know. Keep an open mind.

If you keep looking where you've already looked, then yes, you'll see a depletion of options, but look in new places and you may find exactly the right person for you.

Also, relax your standards. Consider folks who are divorced, or have kids or who are otherwise not what you would normally date. Don't settle, but don't rule people out without giving them a chance.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:51 AM on August 7 [9 favorites]


Like functionequalsform, I'd like to ask do they have to be over 30? There is a 15 year age difference between my and my much younger husband, we have been together (friendship to marriage) for 10 years now, he was in 20's when we met.

You are at the awkward age, guys are still in their first marriage. In a few years you'll start getting the divorced guys coming back on the dating scene, so the other option is to look a little older at divorcees. People get divorced for a lot of reasons so it doesn't mean he's a reject or has anything wrong with him, just that he wasn't right for the person he divorced.

If your dating pool gets too small, look outside your pool. There are many pools out there, if you keep fishing in the same one you'll catch the same fish. Go try some new hobbies, meet some new people, make new friends with these guys in relationships, if they are so great their friends are probably nice too get them to introduce you.
posted by wwax at 8:02 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


You may blame it on health issues, but the fact is that you are single too, and there is a reason for that. Maybe it's time to sit down and figure out why are are either 1.) initially attracted to these "undesirable" men in the first place or 2.) why you aren't attractive to the men you deem "desirable". What is it about your demeanor or profile that leads to these sort of men approaching you, or what is it about their demeanor or profile that initially attracted you?

I know many women well into their thirties (and forties and fifties) who have no trouble in their happy and active dating lives, and I know many guys in their thirties who are great. It is patently absurd to blame your lack of success as a single thirty-something on other single-thirty-somethings. The problem is right there in front of your computer screen, you just need to figure out what your deal is and readjust your sights a little.
posted by Willie0248 at 8:16 AM on August 7 [17 favorites]


As a single guy at 30 surrounded by lots of wonderful people in wonderful relationships, I can understand your frustration, but you need to #1 relax and let go of that frustration because while I totally get where it's coming from, it does you no favors #2 get a new hobby, volunteer somewhere, go to a singles meetup, etc.

It only has to happen once. That thought helps me out when I'm binging on Mad Men solo or the third or fifth wheel on some excursion.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:33 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


I've been single for years and I don't want to be in a LTR, but I wouldn't mind dating around a little bit, so I feel you, sister. In my experience, the most populous group of men we can't date isn't married men or "undesirables," it's men our age who refuse to date women our age. 37-year-old dudes whose 'looking for' OKCupid age bracket spans from the fresh-faced bloom of 18 to the withered, decrepit heights of 25, I'm looking at you.

It's super-easy to 'click' with men who are already in relationships, usually because they have no skin in the game: They're already spoken for, so they don't feel the need to alter their behavior in any specific way in order to woo you (or anyone). Alternately, they're already spoken for but their ego needs a boost, so they still want other women to be attracted to them as long as they can come up just shy of crossing any 'official' bounds of impropriety. This approach means they'll be very flirty and forward, and maybe even temporarily stow their wedding ring in a back pocket, but once they note that they seem to have captivated you at least a little bit, they'll pull the ripcord and head home to their wife or girlfriend after they've managed to have their masculinity affirmed by your Non-Wife/Girlfriend energy. So that might help to explain why those men stick out to you so much -- they're either trying to hook but not reel you in or they're not trying at all.

What are your hobbies? What do you spend most of your time doing outside of your job? What do you want to learn how to do? If you're not part of any sort of social club or group gathering related to one or all of those things, join up and get to chatting. I've met foxy single dudes at work-related functions (all of which I have to travel hundreds of miles to attend, bummer) so don't discount strictly professional organizations, either. Cast a wide net and see what comes up.

My main piece of advice would be to keep inching ever-closer to the life you want for yourself and see what kind of people that way of life tends to attract, because those are the sort of people you'll want to spend time with anyway. Try to set up little victories for yourself every day, so you're inspired to keep it moving. Build out your internal blueprints insofar as you are able. Be confident and outspoken when it comes to discussing your hopes, abilities, and desires. Minimize your hangouts with PDA-centric couples if that sort of thing is depressing or distracting for you. And for the love of all that is unholy, if you're romantically digging on a guy, ask if he has a wife or girlfriend right away so you don't wind up disappointed, casting pearls after swine.

Good luck!
posted by divined by radio at 8:43 AM on August 7 [15 favorites]


I was you, only I was in my late 20s when I started getting pissy about this. It sucks and I feel for you.

This probably isn't going to be helpful advice to you but... just wait it out a bit. You're entering the age bracket where people's first marriages start to disintegrate. I started dating my husband when I was 29 and he was 37 and newly divorced. (We were co-workers for years before we started dating, and frankly his divorce was a long time coming.) We're married now, happy as hell, I'm a step mother to his awesome son, and everything is great. There is an 8 year age difference between us, but it works and works well. (So don't limit yourself too much based upon age.)

So really. Just let people get their first marriages/serious relationships run their course, and then you'll see the dating pool quickly expand.

In the mean time, go take on some activities that interest you. Don't join activities because you think you'll meet someone, or that it will make you more dateable, etc. Just go do things that you genuinely love. Embrace all your dorky bits that you think make you look uncool and undateable. Me, I started hand quilting, going to bed at 9pm, stopped going out to bars (I realized that the only reason I did it was to meet men, and I never really enjoyed it that much), and started a book club. My single life was frankly fucking sweet and happy. Don't make your time single a "God is it over yet". Make the most of it. (I highly recommend the early bedtime.)
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:02 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


I'll add a few more categories of Single Guy in his 30's to your list:

3. Shy kid who didn't blossom socially until later in life (that's my fella, right there. We met on OK Cupid. Turns out he was a patron at the library where I worked. We're getting married next month. We're in our late 30's.)

4. Man who was busy with other stuff in his 20's: guy who was finishing med school or getting his PhD; guy working in a place that was not conducive to dating (overseas, oil platform, south pole, ashram, whatever); guy who was caring for a sick relative; guy who was seriously working on his book and worked best at night and slept every day; etc. Not everyone follows the same societal timeline.

5. Widowers and divorcees, as mentioned above.

I guess I'd suggest just getting the word out there - friends of friends, etc. Look for fun dating, try not to obsess about finding THE ONE right now. And OK Cupid worked for me, but it's not for everyone.
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:06 AM on August 7 [13 favorites]


Where do you live? Some cities are harder than others.
posted by the jam at 9:07 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


What's the old phrase? "Can't change the world, you can only change yourself."

If you're looking for a quality partner, you've got to be a quality partner yourself. While you're hunting, make sure you've got your personal ducks in a row - good eating habits, regular exercise, presenting well (dressing, hair, style)... etc.

You mention your salary but I don't think that's among the qualities that men are looking for in a mate. Vice versa, sure. What other things do you bring to the table?

Dating can be a frustrating experience. Hang in there.
posted by Setec Astronomy at 9:13 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


I agree with Willie0248. Your thesis—"All single men over 30 are commitment phobes or losers"—is nonsense that many AskMe respondents would be addressing rather differently if the genders here were reversed. The truth is, unsurprisingly, that the broad data set of "single men over 30" includes myriad personalities and experiences, and if you are finding yourself repeatedly and exclusively encountering two rather narrow categories then there is a selection problem occurring. That's a problem with your method, not the data set itself.

One of the more common questions on AskMe is from people who are in their twenties, thirties, even forties and have never been in a long-term relationship, asking what's wrong and how to start. There are probably a couple hundred such threads at this point. And at root that's your question, too, except that you've framed it as an external problem. It isn't. The proof—to the extent anybody needs proof that "single men over 30" is not a group comprised of two personality disorders, because wtf—is that many of your peers date and marry in exactly the same circumstance.

You aren't unique or alone. That's the undercurrent of your question, ultimately: loneliness of circumstance. Lots of people find themselves lonely and inexperienced at your age, both with and without complicating factors like health problems. It's a common problem that is commonly solved, usually through patience and a reframing of strategy. What those people can do, you can also do. Good luck.
posted by cribcage at 9:33 AM on August 7 [18 favorites]


If the dating pool is really limited in your area, you could move. I meet great single guys in their thirties, ready for relationships, in San Francisco all the time.
posted by three_red_balloons at 9:35 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


It seems that these men fall into 2 categories:

1. Commitment phobes. They are single for a reason and that's not going to change soon. These men can be charming but they are after quick sex or FWB arrangement at most.

2. Guys that have been rejected all their lives....I am turned off by the very thing every other women before me was.


The problem isn't with the single men out there, but your preconceptions. You had health problems in your twenties that kept you from dating. How'd you like to have those assumptions hung on you?
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:04 AM on August 7 [11 favorites]


Oh come on guys, I don't know where the OP lives, but this is definitely a Thing in some areas. Of course not EVERY MAN over 30 is damaged/screwed up/unstable/bad news, but it can definitely feel that way when the preponderance of people messaging you on OKCupid either use their first message to complain about their ex, talk about being an unemployed musician in their parent's house, or have absolutely zero social skills. It happens. As said often on here though, it's a numbers game, and chances are eventually you will find the good guy amongst all the chaff (I did). Also the advice to look a little out of age range is good. I'm 31, my boyfriend is 29, I've found most guys in their 20s to be a bit emotionally immature and "young" for me but this one isn't. So give a bit of a closer look to people you might originally rule out.
posted by celtalitha at 10:05 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


I am 49, divorced, with two adult special needs sons who still live with me and are unlikely to exit the picture any time soon. I have been celibate for medical reasons for over nine years. I have a lot of sympathy for your frustrations. This is a problem space I have thought about a whole, whole lot.

I have recently concluded that I basically got my first husband in much the same way Ruthless Bunny got her husbunny and I have been thinking about what it would take to ...increase my luck surface area so as to improve the odds that, at some point, some man I know who is a decent guy and the marrying kind can turn to me for consolation when his LTR happens to end for some reason, whether through break-up or unfortunate demise of a loved one.

I have basically concluded that I need more friends who are honest-to-god friends and not men I am scheming to get my hooks into. My ex-husband was my best friend and part of a circle of friends we shared, many of whom were male (I was a girl gamer). So I am working on just making more friends. If one of those relationships turns into romance someday, Awesome! Bonus! Spectacular! If not, I still have more friends.
posted by Michele in California at 11:20 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


I don't know, OKCupid is like this vast landscape of PEOPLE. If you live in a small town, just pick the nearest urban area you'd be willing to drive to and you've got this whole enormous aquarium of people to pick from. I am 31 and I don't think my experiences jive with yours. I've met a lot of nice, cool people and not a lot of total duds. I haven't met the person who has been the exact right fit yet, but I'm pretty sure I've met the man of SOMEONE's dreams multiple times. I'm of average attractiveness. I don't meet a lot of sleaze balls because I am a great filterer and the internet is huge.

So here is my advice - Make a deal with yourself to devote 5 minutes per day sifting through profiles for someone interesting and cool who has the qualities you want. If you are a woman, totally be proactive in this process because you get to message the people you want to date and doing so does not make you overly forward or slutty. It doesn't mean you have to behind the wheel pushing the entire process forward, but seriously, message the people you like, wait for them to ask you for dates because usually they will, it will change your life.

Have an incredibly exacting filter. Here is mine: 1. Does this person seem to know themselves/ is willing to offer up something genuine about their passions and personality? No time for "loves life, just likes to chill." That's just me. 2. Are there ANY red flags? For me this includes a ton of stuff, including answering "no" to "do you like your life?" Hinting at wanting a FWB arrangement, liking the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, saying that you hate drama. Just any slightest whiff of weirdness or offness. Know thy red flags and learn to read between the lines. Because OKCupid is infinite, don't feel bad about saying, "Whelp, I think I'll pass on this one!" 3. I ask myself, what is the likelihood that this person might murder me and throw me under a bridge? For a lot of the people you come across on OKCupid, the likelihood seems to be maybe like 3-4% chance. Like highly unlikely but there might be a little SOMETHING that's weird or off. Like maybe he's smiling in none of his photos or looks a little like the undead from that zombie movie, or you don't know WHY he has a sticker collection. My personal rule is I have to be like 99.8% sure. For the rest of the .2% I just try to stay in well lit areas and be sensible.
posted by mermily at 11:39 AM on August 7 [8 favorites]


Anecdotally, when I was a younger man in my early-mid 20s I tended to date older women (29-36) and was always incredibly frustrated by deeply ingrained habits and opinions. It appeared to me, at the time, that these women had unknowingly structured their lives around mitigating lonliness and those structures prevented me from really having any kind of real impact on their lives.

They weren't, for example, interested in getting to know my friends because they had a rich social life of their own. They had lots of time consuming hobbies and obligations that prevented me from spending a lot of time with them. That kind of thing.

Succintly - they had already figured out a lot of stuff about life as a single person and had no real desire to figure out life in pairs.

I'm 33 now and struggle against it. I'm married now - I met my wife at a bar I went to by myself while living in San Francisco in a shitty, tiny room with all my possessions in a backpack. She isn't the type of person I would have imaged myself with at all, but there it is.

I credit that success to breaking out of my mold and embracing uncomfortable, unfamiliar experiences.

That'd be my best advice - the person you're going to be with will come out of nowhere when you least expect it - throw away what you think you know and embrace the unknown.
posted by misterdaniel at 12:02 PM on August 7 [11 favorites]


Oh man. I have been in your shoes, and you're not crazy. Most of the guys that are single after thirty, never married, are a red hot mess.

However, I want to point out that of the commitment-phobes, some of them aren't really commitment-phobes - they just haven't met anyone they wanted to commit to. My husband was much like this, and honestly, so was I. I swore after my first marriage that no man ever was getting a ring on my finger, that the most I would ever commit to was separate apartments in the same building or two halves of a duplex.

I, obviously, changed my mind.
posted by corb at 12:06 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


There is no desirable single men over 30

Completely absurd and not true. It's this type of thinking that will prevent you from being open to finding the right person for you. The types of men you're currently meeting are not what you're looking for, but that doesn't mean there are no desirable men out there. It sounds like you're making some quick, absolute judgments about who's available and why, and you're pigeon-holing guys that are in the exact same boat you're in.

It's super easy to spot a guy, at any age, that's just looking for a casual relationship. But your other bucket, "guys who have been rejected all their lives" how are you defining that? Because they're still single?

What dating sites do well is provide you with a way of meeting a ridiculous amount of men in a relatively short period of time. To make it work you have to meet a lot of the guys in person, interact, and form your opinion of them afterward. Not every guy you'll meet will be awesome. Some will downright suck. Online dating is the equivalent of walking into a bar and having 300 men in there who are single. You might find two or three in that 100 that could potentially be a match for you. The others are a match for someone else.

Yes, there are plenty of men who are married or paired off in their 30s. There are also plenty of emotionally healthy men who are not, for a variety of reasons, like yours. You're not "too late" and I strongly suggest that to be successful in finding someone, that you approach men on an individual basis instead of bucketing all men over 30 into two categories.
posted by vivzan at 12:39 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


oh I forgot! Try tindr. People actually meet people off that app, and not just for hookups.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:51 PM on August 7


Does the man have to be over 30, as some other commentors have said? A few months ago, before I turned 30, I met an amazing guy who was 24.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 1:36 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Where do you live? Some cities are harder than others.

Agreed. Some locations are demographically a lot more challenging for single women than others. For further reference, see this article.
posted by jazzbaby at 1:43 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Partly it does depend on where you are. If you're living in a small town where everyone gets married right out of school, and you weren't on the market from ages 21-23, yeah, you're going to have a smaller pool of options.

But I'm really not sure what your question is. You lead with "there's nobody left" but 90% of your questions is about these taken dudes that you really click with. If you're hoping someone will say "go after them anyway," you're on the wrong board.

If the only guys you're connecting with are the taken ones, then it usually isn't them--it's you. It's safer to get a crush on someone who's taken because you don't ever have to take the risk.

CAVEAT: if these guys are dudes who are being shady about their status and leading you on, then it's definitely NOT you, it's them. But it's unclear whether that's the case.
posted by like_a_friend at 2:18 PM on August 7


When there was plenty available and desirable men, I was in no condition to date. My health situation resolved and I have a good career now. But I also find that it's all a bit too late and there is nobody desirable left.

Well, on a purely practical basis: just wait. 50% of them will be available again shortly.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:25 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


I entered the single scene at 35 and met some truly wonderful men in their 30's who were available to date. I wasn't in the best place then and ended up keeping many of them as friends instead of dating them. They moved on and many got married. That being said, I was never attracted to anyone who was married or in a relationship and the moment one of my exes moved on, my feelings disappeared. I think your bigger issue may be why you are attracted to unavailable men.
posted by myselfasme at 2:38 PM on August 7


Sabrina_r : Part of the illusion of "all the good men / women are taken" is caused by the fact that the "relationship friendly" aspect of a person may only surface once they're actually in a relationship. So when they're single, they look undateable, but once they're taken, they suddenly look very dateable. Their behaviours change, dress sense changes, priorities in life and things they think about change. People can give the impression they're only interested in a casual relationship, or too busy for a relationship, because they're afraid of appearing too desperate. Sometimes, you don't know until you give it a chance.
posted by xdvesper at 5:03 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Personally, I think it's nuts for most people to get hitched BEFORE they turn 30.*

Unless you're in a small town, there are plenty of fantastic single men in your age range! How many live in the city of your choosing depends on, frankly, how liberal it is. Red states marry faster. Gender demographics matter too, but you can flip those odds by being strategic. (In NYC? The startup space is teaming with lots of educated, cute single guys -- many of whom want a relationship but are too busy to hunt for one. Ask me how I know.)

I get the anxiety about not having found a partner, but life isn't linear and there is no foolproof recipe for success as you define it. Accept this fact and you will be happier. Plus, word on the street is marriage is hard. It's not the antidote to malaise.


*Shiiiit, when I think about how much I evolved as a person between 25 to 30, I shake my head in disbelief. Then I salute a bottle of generic Wellbutrin, but that's a story for another time.
posted by jessca84 at 6:20 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I have a bunch of girlfriends in their 30s dating younger guys. They're really happy, so I highly recommend it.
posted by discopolo at 8:16 PM on August 7


Two and a half words: ethical non-monogamy.
posted by Captain l'escalier at 8:37 PM on August 7


Oh man. I have been in your shoes, and you're not crazy. Most of the guys that are single after thirty, never married, are a red hot mess.

Change 'red hot mess' to 'damaged goods' or 'batshit crazy' and you have the gender-swapped version of this line of bullshit.

Furthermore, in prevailing economic climate since '07/'08 (or earlier, really) plenty of perfectly reasonable people have put off marriage. Someone's actual relationship track record is by far a more worthy consideration than some arbitrary age-gate or marriage checkbox.

For that matter, why is an unsuccessful marriage at an early age supposed to be in the 'plus' column?
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:43 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Two and a half words: ethical non-monogamy.

Not everyone is into that.

To re-direct - OP, can I ask whether you get approached by guys at all? Even if they're dweebs or spodes?

The reason I ask is, I was once complaining that "no guy is interested in me," and a guy (who I wasn't interested in dating) called bullshit on that. I was getting emails from OKC guys, he pointed out - they were lame, but they were still there. And a couple of guys - him included - had expressed interest in starting a little sumpin'-sumpin' with me, but I'd declined. He respected that I had a choice in the matter, mind you, but he didn't feel it was fair to say no one was interested in me, because he knew first hand that was bullshit ("what, I'm no one?").

And that was a reality check for me. It didn't do much on the surface - I went from complaining about "no guys are interested in me" to complaining that "no guys that I would be interested in are interested in me back" - but it was a subtle but big internal shift that "I do have standards that I am not willing to compromise on, though". It didn't do much in terms of increasing the number of dates I got, but it did serve as a reminder that part of the control of that situation always lay with me - "oh, right, the problem isn't that all guys everywhere are ignoring me, the problem is that I am not willing to lower my standards."

The thing was, though, that phrasing the situation that way made me think "wait, that's actually not a problem, to be unwilling to lower standards. That's good, actually." And it felt a bit better, and I felt a bit more in control. Yeah, it didn't help get me a date on a Saturday night, but at least I felt a bit more in control of the situation ("y'know, any time I am willing to just go pick a guy up for a quick fuck I actually could....but, bleah, it's not worth it").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:05 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


They are funny, smart, cute

While these are attractors, they aren't predictors of anyone's capacity to be a true partner. Those are just the qualities that get the foot in the door, so to speak; they aren't the qualities that keep the guy in the room. I wonder if you are over-valuing certain characteristics at the expense of others, and putting too much weight on non-essentials, including charm, a clever facade, and quick chemistry. That would be an understandable rookie mistake -- you mention that you didn't really date in your 20s, so I'm assuming you aren't very experienced quite yet -- but it is one that you probably want to carefully consider.

Your categorization of men into very black-and-white groups is a very big red flag to me. It's a limiting belief that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you aren't careful. I have some women friends -- much longer in the tooth than you -- who trot out similar false beliefs as an excuse for them to avoid having to be really honest with themselves about who they are, what they bring to the dating table, and what they think they are entitled to, esp. re: nice-to-have but non-essential traits in a partner.

It's true that some geographic locations and cultures make finding a partner really difficult, but it's demonstrably untrue that "there are no desirable single men over 30". My experience over the decades is evidence, as is the experience of MANY women older than you who find love at various stages of their later lives.

Remember too that in the online dating world (which is where you have ready access to the widest pool of guys), there are guys jumping back into the scene anew every day. Your snapshot assessment of the options "out there" doesn't reflect the dynamic aspect of online -- your guy might be joining up and logging on right now. The opportunity cost of not staying in the game is very high, while the downside is pretty low (inconvenience, disappointment, etc.).

You might be well-served by a short course of CBT therapy with a skilled pro who can step you thru the process of checking your assumptions against reality. Some of your statements make me think you will get quick results by learning to challenge assumptions that are holding you back.
posted by nacho fries at 12:59 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


I'm in the same boat. Its like once I turned 35, I stopped getting messages on Okcupid. I have an aunt who didn't meet her man until 40, and they got married 8 years later (her first, his second). I assume I'm on that track at the rate I'm going. Better late than never?
posted by hellameangirl at 3:31 PM on August 8


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