Great expectations? Maybe.
February 18, 2014 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Single. Male. 30. Only child. Hetero. I don't feel the need to get married and/or my expectations of my ideal future spouse are keeping me that way? Too smart and objective for my own good? Normal or am I destined to be forever alone?

That and/or might be key since I don't really know.

I am an only child and I came to the US (originally from India) for my schooling at the impressionable age of 18. Beyond a couple years outside the country, I call both the US and India home.

The only relationship I ever had was when I fell for my then best friend (female) when both she and I moved here to the states. That lasted me for a total of 8 years on and off but things didn't end well (involved her getting engaged to a friend of mine, calling that engagement off, and finally getting married to someone else). That ended in 2010. We did talk about getting married but that obviously didn't work out.

My parents did try to set me up (arranged marriage kinda deal) but that didn't work because she had bipolar disorder, and I realized that it was not something I was ready to put up with. Given that experience I decided I had had enough and put everything else on hold as I got back into school.

I didn't date either in undergrad or grad school (2010-2012,MBA) though I did have a crush on a girl during my MBA.

Now given my experiences of
1) having lived in the US
2) past relationship and
3) my own changing belief system

I am just not into the whole arranged marriage thing (even tho my parents were set up that way). I am, according to indian standards, and even the median US age for marriage, past the ideal age.

Most of my friends are married or in committed relationships (both my american and indian friends). Yet I don't feel that need or urge. I've checked out and am on a few dating sites (match, okcupid etc) but feel like that is a lot of work. I haven't gone out on any dates from either of those sources but then again I tell myself that I won't find anyone that I'd like. On the other hand, I feel like the longer I wait to get into any sort of relationship, the more picky I am getting about what I want in my spouse.

Am I being rational or should I lower my expectations of who'd say yes to me? I have no religious or race requirements ( in my parents words "we'd be happy with who ever keeps you happy"), though I am slightly more inclined towards white and indian women (in that order). But I have ton of other requirements of she being smarter than me, being liberal, having a STEM masters or higher degree, being non religious etc etc. Most of this has come about from me learning how to think, make better decisions and just being objective about what is generally the most important decision in one's life. (I blame the recent craze for books on psychology of judgement and decision making - thank you Mr Kahneman and Mr. Ariely!)

Oh - I get along better with my female friends than I do with my male friends and the closest friends I've always had were girls. I feel like I am generally much more open and comfortable with them than I am with my guy friends. My inner circle of friends during my MBA were 3 married women. Sometimes that makes me question my own sexuality.

Tell me I am not cuckoo. Or tell me that I need to get my head checked and lower my expectations or be forever alone. Do I just not want to get married ?

Sorry if this is long and convoluted :(
posted by rippersid to Human Relations (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Marriage, like having kids, is really only something you should do if you really want to do it. It sounds like you aren't really into it but are going through the motions because you feel like you're supposed to.

Don't do that.

Being single is fine, even forever. If at some point you meet the right person in future, you'll know it and you can tie the knot then. In the mean time, live your life as you are! Enjoy it! But don't look for someone and get married out of a sense of obligation. That would not be fair to yourself nor to your would-be spouse.
posted by alms at 8:01 PM on February 18, 2014

I am not being forced or pushed into marriage by my parents and that I am confident. I am not really forcing myself into anything either. But what I am struggling to understand is whether it is normal to not want to get married. I for one feel like I haven't accomplished much with my life to warrant being married in the first place.

Also, if it helps I am an INTJ.
posted by rippersid at 8:08 PM on February 18, 2014

The idea that there is only one way to happiness and personal fulfillment, and that way necessarily involves marriage and children, and that this applies to everyone -- well, this is all bullshit. There are many ways to a satisfying, fulfilling, meaningful life. Yours may or may not involve marriage (or any sort of long-term partnership). Yours may or may not involve becoming a parent. That's totally okay, and anyone who tries to insist otherwise has some unexamined baggage they're trying to load off on you.

You're not cuckoo and you don't need to get your head checked. (Our culture, on the other hand...)
posted by scody at 8:08 PM on February 18, 2014 [14 favorites]

It is totally normal to not want to be married right now - you are ONLY 30. Don't let yourself be fooled by the fact that other people around you are already married or close to it. The most un-normal thing you can do is force yourself into something you don't want because you think you "should" do it.
posted by joan_holloway at 8:10 PM on February 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Don't stress. If it's not something you want, it's not. If you are happy with your life and the relationships and friendships you do have, and don't want to be in a romantic relationship, so what? I wouldn't close yourself off from one if it happens either, but you shouldn't force yourself to do something you don't actually want to do.

Plenty of people have no desire to get married or be in a relationship and have happy, fulfilling lives. That's just how they're wired. You might be too, or it might be something that changes.

I do, however, find it interesting that you say race doesn't matter to you and then quote your parents on the subject. Probably not a bad idea to separate your ideas and thoughts on the matter from your parents' (perhaps unvoiced) desires.
posted by Athanassiel at 8:11 PM on February 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's fine if you decide that you want to be single for now/for the next few years/forever, but how much dating have you actually done? It sounds like you've only ever really dated one person. You basically dismiss internet dating because you don't think you'd find anyone, but how do you know without trying? (If your standards are "female liberal atheist scientist", you'd find enough people on OKCupid in any major city.) I wouldn't give up on the entire prospect of relationships without at least giving it a shot.
posted by UncleBoomee at 8:26 PM on February 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Dude, you've only had one relationship. Jumping from that to marriage is like jumping straight in the deep end after being in the kiddy pool, kinda.

Try dating? Go out to bars? Make an online profile? Ask to be set up on blind dates? Dating does not equal marriage, or heck, even friendship, or anything, really. You can just talk to some ladies and then never see them again and get a feeling if you like them or not, no pressure. If you're seriously interested in questioning your sexuality, you can try pursuing that too. (If you're just worried that you might not actually be straight because you've been single for too long, nah, don't worry, you're probably just psyching yourself out.)

Median U.S. age for marriage is bullshit. It's the median age, not the ideal age, there are plenty of marriages on both sides.

I think you're being fairly rational in having some standards (chick who left you for another guy and unstable chick are both fairly solid, valid judgement calls on your part, IMO) but you could also probably loosen up a little for some first dates that don't really have to mean anything.

If I were you I'd stay open to women of different races, but preferring agnostics/atheists is fine, and also maybe relax expectations a tiiiny bit (like "smart" rather than "smarter than me" and "socially liberalish and not an asshole" rather than "well-read marxist" kind of thing). I'd drop the STEM degree requirement; your odds just won't be that good.

Pretty much every guy I've ever known has gotten along well with female friends; I don't think that's a sign of sexuality or anything. Women in general tend to make pretty nurturing friends and introduce people around to social circles, in my experience. Not liking male friends might be kind of limiting to you, though.

I think, personally, because you're asking this question, part of you probably does want to get married.

Good luck!
posted by quincunx at 8:30 PM on February 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

You're not cuckoo and you don't need to get your head checked on the basis that you feel ambivalent about marriage at the age of thirty (or 40 or 80). No biggie.

You might want to rethink this, though, if you do decide marriage might be nice:

I have ton of other requirements of she being smarter than me, being liberal, having a STEM masters or higher degree, being non religious etc etc.

Of course, you are entitled to have whatever requirements you want. But be prepared for the fact that women smarter than you with a STEM Masters or PhD* might be looking for someone smarter than you.

(*Really? You won't date someone who has a non-STEM qualification? Seems bizarrely specific, to be honest, and it's this kind of thing that's going to significantly narrow your dating pool, probably cutting out some outstanding women.)
posted by Salamander at 8:31 PM on February 18, 2014 [9 favorites]

Your expectations of potential partners appear to be out of whack. Look for a partner that is kind, warm, and caring. These traits are much more integral to a happy marriage than simply having a high level STEM degree.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 8:37 PM on February 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Wait... Did you as an aside mention that you at times question your sexuality?

Could that possibly be the missing piece here?
posted by namesarehard at 8:42 PM on February 18, 2014 [8 favorites]

My inner circle of friends during my MBA were 3 married women. Sometimes that makes me question my own sexuality.

This is kind of a weird thing to have said. Having female friends doesn't make you gay. You sound like a smart guy and I bet you knew that already. Why did you say this?

As for your main questions, I think it might make sense for you to explore what marriage means to you. What parts of it are appealing and which parts sound bad? Companionship? Kids? Commitment? I think if you can isolate the individual parts of marriage that you desire, or the specific traits which are unpleasant, you can be more confident about what you want.

(Side note: For what it's worth, I fit the "requirements" you listed except for race, and met my significant other on OKCupid. But I agree that you might want to think about why your requirements are about superficial things, and don't instead include personality traits like honesty and kindness.)
posted by tinymegalo at 8:46 PM on February 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the comment about questioning your sexuality struck me. I don't know if that is sarcastic, an effort to make subconscious thoughts manifest, or something else entirely. And no one here can answer that question for you.
posted by dfriedman at 8:48 PM on February 18, 2014

My inner circle of friends during my MBA were 3 married women. Sometimes that makes me question my own sexuality.

Why? You might not be a macho manly-type man, but I'm pretty sure that having female friends, even married female friends, doesn't mean you are gay. Wanting to bang their husbands is a better indicator of gayosity.

I think that your requirements are perhaps things that you think you should want rather than things you actually want. I get the liberal and non-religious (because I'm there myself), but a STEM degree? Why does she have to be smarter than you? Wouldn't it be enough that she keep you intellectually challenged? Or perhaps someone who challenges you in other areas? Perhaps you can read and talk philosophy and politics and quantum physics with friends and your gf can educate you in French movies and rock climbing.

You should never lower your standards, IMHO. You should try to figure out if your standards are requirements or preferences. Deal-breakers are deal-breakers. Preferences are merely things that you've discovered in the past work well for you.

(To give you an example: my deal-breakers were female, non-smoker, and monogamous. Anyone who broke those was out, out, out. I preferred someone shorter than me, but then I'm 6'3''. I prefer dark hair and darker skin, but if a 6'5'' Nordic goddess wanted to make a man out of me.... well, it would be impolite to say no, right?)
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:25 PM on February 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

On the one hand: if you don't want it, you don't want it. And if you don't want it, it'd be shitty of you to settle down with someone you feel "meh" about for life. If you're not feeling that OMG TICK TOCK feeling, then don't rush into anything.

On the other hand: you do come from a culture where it is almost mandatory to settle down and get married young, AND you are hitting the age when less marriage-obsessed cultures--and heck, most people at all--start to think you're weird/defective/possibly gay because you're not married. That thinking, I am sorry to say, only gets worse the longer you stay single. (You should have heard my shrink's rant on the people who said shit to or about me in the last week about my lack of husband and babies.) What you are probably feeling right now is that social obligation to get married off and have a family so you can fit in with everyone else, and everyone else knows how to peg you as a human being. They'll know to treat you as an adult then, not some freaky old irresponsible child.

I honestly think you're feeling that pressure more than anything right now.

As for your pickiness: maybe, maybe not. Some people say pickiness works for them and they can find someone who fits everything on their list, other people fall for someone who doesn't fir the qualifications anyway. Yours don't strike me as super impossible to find--basically a liberal female science nerd. I don't know on the "smarter than me" thing exactly. But overall...if you're not feeling it and you are up to not keeling over to the social pressure, then don't try to force yourself into a marriage.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:45 PM on February 18, 2014

I am, according to indian standards, and even the median US age for marriage, past the ideal age.

Dude. "Median" is a statistical point of reference, not a synonym for "best", "ideal", or "optimal." You can safely ignore this bit of data.

then again I tell myself that I won't find anyone that I'd like. On the other hand, I feel like the longer I wait to get into any sort of relationship, the more picky I am getting about what I want in my spouse. […] I have ton of other requirements of she being smarter than me, being liberal, having a STEM masters or higher degree, being non religious etc etc.

Mmmmmmm . . . . . it seems like you're on to something here - like you're kind of psyching yourself out ahead of time in assuming you won't find anyone you like and then kind of "proving" it by coming up with a long and detailed list of a whole bunch of specific qualities that Future Wife MUST have or there's no hope of it working out.

But, y'know, what if you meet an amazing woman who's smarter than you and non-religious and liberal and etc etc etc every single one of your other requirements EXCEPT she has a Master's in Literature? Now what? Forget it? No chance? Never work?

Think about it. Maybe you're setting yourself up for failure.

just being objective

Love, generally speaking, is not known for being "objective."

what is generally the most important decision in one's life.

This is arguable - as in, a lot of people would totally agree that it's AN important decision, but mmmmmmaybe not THE MOST important decision.

But the thing about dating & marriage here in America in the 21st century is that we have the ability to gather important information about that important decision - by dating various people and being in a variety of short, medium, or long term relationships. You do somewhat seem to be gathering all of your information "on paper" and then attempting to make a decision, rather than actually getting real world field experience before deciding.

Oh - I get along better with my female friends than I do with my male friends and the closest friends I've always had were girls. I feel like I am generally much more open and comfortable with them than I am with my guy friends. My inner circle of friends during my MBA were 3 married women. Sometimes that makes me question my own sexuality.

Nope. The thing that would make you not 100% hetero would be the desire to have romantic and sexual relationships with other guys. Close friendships with women is not really any kind of indicator of being gay.

It's entirely possible, maybe even likely, that you are more open and comfortable with your women friends because there are a heck of a lot of cultural messages that men are strong and silent and unemotional and women are kind and gentle and non-judgemental and so all of us are to some extent playing the part we've been trained in, and so you're getting something from these friendships that you can't get from your friendships with men.

I mean, if you're really truly questioning your sexuality for reasons besides your friendships with women, then go for it, and more power to you. But in the situation as you've described it? Nah. If anything, I'd think your ability to treat women as actual human beings that you can be close friends would be a mark in your favor with potential girlfriends.

I for one feel like I haven't accomplished much with my life to warrant being married in the first place.

Love and marriage are not prizes you get for accomplishing things, and accomplishing things is not a pre-requisite for falling in love.

Tell me I am not cuckoo.

You are not cuckoo.

whether it is normal to not want to get married.

Sure. Totally normal. Millions of people have led happy, fulfilled lives without being married. Millions more have spent decades in agony because they got married even when they didn't really want to. Millions more have spent decades in bliss because they're married. And all the rest of us just muddle through with ups and downs and everything in between.

Do I just not want to get married ?

Beats the heck out of me. You're the only one who can really answer that question.

In conclusion:

my own changing belief system

Yeah. I think the tense of this - "chang-ING" rather than "chang-ED" - is important here.

It feels to me like you've got some beliefs about relationships and dating and marriage that are kind of a mash-up of your non-American cultural background and mainstream American culture - "ideal age", that you haven't done enough with your life to "warrant" marriage, that having close friendships with women is a sign of homosexuality, "forever alone." But they don't seem to be strongly held beliefs, and they're in flux and unsettled right now.

That, and I think you're (understandably) a bit gun-shy, because your only previous relationship was with someone with bipolar disorder - a serious illness that is in no way her fault, but that was probably quite difficult for you to deal with.

Add all that up, and you're nervous enough about relationships that you've retreated into the idea that finding a certain woman with specific qualities in order to marry her is the only rational way to approach the issue.

But, again, love isn't necessarily rational, and I think you're mature and self-aware enough to . . . . . . not "lower your expectations", but let go of the idea that marriage is necessarily the end goal, and let go of the specific list of requirements you want in a mate, because they're holding you back. Go out there and date people for the pleasure of their company, and because you think they're attractive, and because they make you laugh. Don't worry about marriage, live more in the moment of the few hours of the date. Be open to dating women who don't check the box for every single one of your "requirements", because people can and often will surprise you (in a good way,)

Do that for a while. Then consider whether you want to get married or not.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:06 PM on February 18, 2014 [8 favorites]

Coming from a really traditionalist background, especially when foreign cultures are involved, makes navigating modern American relationships a little bit more complicated. You have lingering ideas about what an adult male is supposed to be that come from your childhood, and those bear little resemblance to your life, so what then? All I can say is... well, you sort of have to just try stuff and get used to the fact that your story is not going to look like that story.

I kind of had the opposite in that I didn't seriously question my sexuality until rather late in the game because I really wanted the husband and big family and to fit in and be normal according largely to the standards of my dad's Mexican side of the family. They seemed so much happier than other people I knew. They were more openly affectionate. They seemed to have the right idea. Problem: I am not actually that person and that life does not actually make me happy. So, I'm still working, in my early 30s, on figuring out what does, but I'll get there. And you will, too, at some point.

Your standards may not be totally workable, but if they turn out not to be? You can figure that out as you go along. I will suggest that your standards suggest that you're more looking for a type than specifics, so maybe start looking like it more that way? Like, if you meet a girl who's a brilliant working software developer but doesn't have her master's, is that actually a dealbreaker? I'm going to guess it probably wouldn't really be. You want a STEM type who's smart and capable--that much doesn't seem weird at all, as types go. But it's totally normal and okay to not know if you want to get married until you find someone you might or might not actually want to be married to.
posted by Sequence at 10:10 PM on February 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your question is interesting. On the one hand, you're asking for validation of your current status--single and not interested in getting married. On the other hand, you're asking a bunch of strangers on the internet about a fundamental component of your life and identity--whether to spend the next several decades as part of a couple or single.

Stepping back from the marriage question, in your shoes I'd set about getting in touch with my desires, dreams, hopes, needs, etc. for the present and the future. It sounds like you might be somewhat disconnected from that. It's hard to change cultures, and it's hard to go against what your parents want or what your peers say is "normal."

At the same time, I think self-discovery mostly comes by doing, not by contemplation and certainly not by reading the latest social psychology research. You will only learn what you need to know about how you are in relationships, what kind of woman you enjoy being with, the pluses and minuses for you about single life versus coupled life by dating, forming relationships of different kinds, having feelings, experiencing love, and having your heart broken. Let the lists of required characteristics, like the expectations of people who are not you, fade in importance as you find things out for yourself.
posted by unreadyhero at 10:31 PM on February 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I suspect your rigorous list of qualifications is more about giving yourself a reason for not being married than an actual list of desirable qualities. It's something I see a lot with particular guys: If you can present yourself as having high standards, that means you're alone by choice because you've just got high standards rather than you're alone because...well, whatever, it's painful to admit you're alone and don't know what you're doing.

It's like those guys that pride themselves on saying terrible/offensive/blunt things as a defense mechanism: It's not that they say mean things to people and drive them away, it's that they're too real, you know? Are you sure you're not just building a defensible position and telling yourself it's because you have high standards? Assuming that's a genuine type, however, why would this person be interested in you? (Maybe they would be, I don't know you, but I see a lot of schlubby guys that demand a Kate Upton type with a Ph.D., and while those exist, why would they want a schlubby guy?). What do you bring to the table?

Now here's the interesting bit: There's mention of what your culture wants and what your parents want and what everyone else thinks but there's very very little about what you actually want and I think that's what you need to figure out. What do you, just you, personally, actually want?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:56 PM on February 18, 2014 [13 favorites]

Maybe it would help to take a step back and try to evaluate what you value in your life, independently of how exactly you might achieve it.

When are you most happy? What's really important to you? Is there anything you'd change about your current life? What are your ambitions and why do you want those things - what do you think they will bring you?

If you can get a handle on what your priorities are, you might be able to decide for yourself whether there are any aspects to marriage that are at all important to you, and whether you need a marriage in order to provide those things, or whether you would be happier achieving the same ends in some other way.

There is no rule saying you have to be married if you are happier having some close female platonic friends, occasional casual sex with relative strangers (or no sex!) and enjoying all the privileges that come with living on your own.
posted by emilyw at 2:49 AM on February 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

you need to date a lot of different people and make more friends and get to know yourself better through that process. your values will emerge. if your values mean that you would rather spend your time at home alone rather than with a partner, that's ok, but since you haven't dated a lot and were focusing on school and other things, i think it's important to discern what you prefer by trying stuff you haven't tried before.

the choices are not only "single forever" and "get wifed up for many years/forever." the choices are not only "what do my parents want me to do" and "what does society say will make me happy." there is a range and a spectrum to all of these kinds of things. it's your life, you are the person who has to live it - you can make your own rules about what your social and emotional needs are and how you prefer to meet those needs. it doesn't have to look like what you were told to expect in your youth. but you have to learn what your needs are and how to meet them by doing, and yes, also by making mistakes and having some bad experiences as well.

date! be open to dating! remember not everyone you go out for a drink or dinner with is going to wind up being a girlfriend or wife. hell, most of them you won't even hook up with. that's ok. you can still learn from the experience and have fun. if nothing else you will learn that certain things are not for you.

also, specifically with regard to this: "My inner circle of friends during my MBA were 3 married women. Sometimes that makes me question my own sexuality." Being friends with women more than men, or friends with women to the exclusion of men, cannot make a man gay. Wanting to have sex with other men is what constitutes gayness for a male, as far as I know. Unless you feel a physical/sexual/emotional attraction to men, aside from your friendships with women, I don't think you should worry about or question your sexuality.
posted by zdravo at 4:25 AM on February 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

It is beyond normal to not want to get married, and it's better to be happily single than unhappily married. Start with the easier questions: ask yourself "do I want to date?" and "do I want to be in a committed relationship?" And, when you meet someone you're interested in, "would I enjoy seeing this person every weekend/every day?" and "does this person bring out my best qualities?" and so on.

With that said, do you know which part of your self-description says the most about your potential to be a good partner? It's not the MBA or the previous eight-year relationship or the psychology books you've read. It's that you've had multiple close platonic relationships with women - the very thing that's making you question your sexuality! Far from making you gay, your friendships with women mean that you view them as regular human beings. Many people having trouble finding a partner have come to believe that their preferred gender is, as a whole, mysterious or untrustworthy or just too different to approach as you'd approach a friend. You don't seem to have that notion, and that will help you immensely. You know, if you choose to pursue a relationship in the future.

Incidentally, do you require your friends to have a specific political view or level of education? It's okay if you do; most people have trouble forming close friendships with someone whose views are the opposite of theirs, or who don't have enough overlap in their interests and experiences. But we also often find friends in the most surprising people: the person who wouldn't understand the books you read for fun, but understands you incredibly well, or the person with eyeroll-worthy new-agey beliefs who turns out to be an awesome listener. Your standards for finding a romantic partner should be maybe one step above your standards for friendship, and I'm guessing not all of your friends are smarter than you with advanced STEM degrees.

Another thing: don't confuse being rational or objective with being wise. Humans are not perfectly rational, even the ones who claim to be, and to understand and form lasting relationships with other people, you need to take this into account. If your question could be answered objectively, you wouldn't have needed to ask it here.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:53 AM on February 19, 2014

At this point, you have no compelling reason to marry. Never marry unless you have a compelling reason.

I married at 39 and my compelling reason was that I was head over heels in love with Husbunny. He was so perfect for me, and I for him, and we wanted to share our lives and THAT'S why we married.

You know, you have criteria for who you think your ideal mate is, and it's a good start. You say you want your mate to have a masters in STEM, well, what if the person you meet is crazy smart and has an interest in those things, but doesn't have the credential? You know, that you'll be fine with him/her if that's the case.

Just live your life. Hang out with friends, do your hobbies, join a softball team. If and when you meet someone, you'll KNOW and at that point you can re-assess your plan.

If you never meet someone to marry, that's okay too. My sister hasn't married, and she may never marry, and she has a full and complete life with lots of friends.

Only marry someone whom you are compelled to be with for the rest of your life. If you don't feel that way, save yourself the grief.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:31 AM on February 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Some good advice here, but I just wanted to add that I don't think your requirements--as some have described it, a liberal atheist science nerd--are outrageous at all; that seems perfectly reasonable to me. If someone asked me what I looked for in a man, I would use some similar language tailored of course to my own separate set of requirements, and it's not because I'm superficial--it's because things like honesty and kindness sort of go without saying, so I don't think to mention those things. I mean, yeah, the STEM masters is kind of specific, but on the other hand, if you are interested in a relationship with someone who works in that field, well, you sort of have to have higher education in it. Anyway, I've had plenty of successful relationships with my own similar set of criteria as a baseline, so I don't think you're way off base there. Also, be careful about measuring your own relationship expectations against what other people are looking for--I see lots of people say they don't need to have many common interests with their partner, or they don't need this, that, whatever, and they are things that I do need in a partner. That someone else is not looking for those things does not invalidate my (or your) need for them.

But yeah, go on OK Cupid, make a profile, go on a few dates, even with people who don't meet all of your requirements. It's not such a big deal. It might even be fun.

Oh, and it's totally okay if you never, ever want to get married.
posted by tiger tiger at 6:17 AM on February 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well that was a lot of great advice.

I guess my next step should be, as many have said, to test out the waters and figure out what I am really happy doing - whether it is being alone, or with someone. If it comes down to it, to also really question what I need and what I want in my potential spouse (who knows I might be happy with someone who doesn't necessarily love solving differential equations ;) )

Thank you all for the wonderful responses :)
posted by rippersid at 10:00 AM on February 19, 2014

I think it's a bit strange that you don't want to get married but you also have a list of requirements for a potential spouse.

If you want to date, date. You don't have to want to get married one day to date or to be in a relationship--as long as you are honest about what you are looking for. What you are looking for might change once you get out there and start meeting women in the real world. It's easy to get into your own head and build a list of impossible must-haves for a potential partner as a way to convince yourself it's not worth it.

I for one feel like I haven't accomplished much with my life to warrant being married in the first place.

So maybe the issue here is that you still feel a bit like a kid, you can't think about "settling down." But here's the thing, if you feel like you have to be a "real" grownup who has achieved great things to date or have a relationship--well, that's not necessarily true.

But it's also totally okay and sane to not date, and be single. It's okay to want to be in a relationship and never get married.
posted by inertia at 12:33 PM on February 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Two things that jump out at me since most of the important stuff has already been addressed:


My inner circle of friends during my MBA were 3 married women. Sometimes that makes me question my own sexuality.

Do you want to have sex with other men?

If the answer to that is "definitely not", then you are not gay. Seriously, the number of things that cause guys to think they're gay, whether it's liking musicals, having female friends, enjoying hugs, wearing a mesh shirt, loving fashion, whatever, are far more numerous than the one thing that actually makes you gay: wanting to have sex with other men.


Too smart and objective for my own good?

The word objective is a red flag for a lot of people because a large number of people who describe themselves as rational or objective aren't actually rational or objective. They're just insufferable, dismissive assholes who think they're right all the time. In other words, don't be this guy.
posted by Ndwright at 2:19 PM on February 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

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