They had simply gotten too old for the crowd. It surprised us when they reported feelings identical to those of the younger high-school-educated men. The places the professional single men went drew an older crowd. Among the professionals, the youngest women were college graduates and probably at least Professional men-unlike the younger men who had only completed high school-were perfectly at ease in their favorite singles places well into their thirties.
Still, 30 percent of the single men with a postgraduate education said that as they approached thirty, they began to feel they no longer fit into their singles scene. There were two notable exceptions to the age guidelines: men who were balding or heavy. A year-old man who was almost completely bald explained that he had felt uncomfortable in the singles scene after he had approached a young woman in a singles bar and asked if he could buy her a drink. Her response was to tell him, loud enough for everyone in the bar to hear, that it would be a good idea if he went home and kissed his wife and played with his kids.
When he protested, she became sarcastic. He could see he was losing the argument not only with her but with the entire bar. He walked out and never went back. It is not how old they are that makes men uncomfortable, it is how old they feel, or how old others make them feel. An attorney, he told us he had been going to a restaurant for three years on Friday nights.
It was a hangout for attorneys, judges, and others who worked in the court system. Joe explained that the restaurant was usually full, and on Friday nights the bar area was crowded with young singles, while most of those seated at tables were older and married. When he showed up one Friday night, there was a new hostess seating people. Joe was too embarrassed to contradict her, and he realized she was right — he no longer belonged at the bar.
It was a series of small incidents over a period of time that turned them off-usually comments made by one or more young women that made them realize they no longer fit into the place they had frequented for years. One of the focus groups composed of men about to marry said that if a woman wants to know whether a man is ready to get married, she should ask him how much he enjoys the singles scene. Once men reach age 47 to 50 without marrying, the chances they will marry do not disappear, but they drop dramatically. Men who have been married before are open to remarry much later in life.
They have entirely different relationships with women. If a woman in her forties or older who has never been married is dating a man who has never been married, the chance of him marrying is still good. But at that time in her life, most eligible men are either widowed or divorced, and their chances of marrying again are substantially higher than those of men of the same age who have never married. In other words, if a woman meets two men in their late forties, one who has been married and the other a lifelong bachelor, she should choose the one who has been married before.
A stringer is a man who strings women along. He likes having a woman, sleeping with a woman, eating with a woman, possibly sharing his life with a woman without ever making a real commitment. He often tells women, up front, he never intends to marry, so if and when he decides he wants to cut out, she has no reason to complain. If you think you may be involved with a stringer, establish a deadline. Pay no attention to his excuses. In fact, he is likely to tell you anything that will get you to stick around without his needing to make a commitment. The chances a stringer will marry are very slim; he is simply not the marrying kind.
Earlier I mentioned those men who went with one woman for a time, then shortly thereafter went out and married another. This was the pattern, in fact, that initiated our research. So we questioned the couples in which the man had gone with one woman for years and was marrying another.
The women who married these men insisted they commit early in the relationship. We ran across at least fifty men we could identify as stringers. They can be very dangerous. I estimate each one is responsible for at least two women remaining single. They are destructive because they con women into wasting their time during the years when they are most attractive and most likely to get a proposal.
They stay with women, live with women, promise them marriage, and string them on and on indefinitely. There is one surefire way to identify these men-they are usually repeat offenders. If he does not set a firm date, be on your guard. We spoke to men in their forties who were marrying for the first time. Their reason for marrying was different than that of the younger men we interviewed. Many of these older men were eager to marry because their biological clock was running. Men forty-two and older who were about to marry looked forward to having children, and they almost unanimously pictured themselves as fathers of sons.
They want to be young enough when their sons come along to teach them all the things fathers traditionally teach their sons-to ride a bicycle, to fish, to play ball, and so forth. We talked to dozens of men in their late thirties and early forties who had given up on the idea of marrying.
Most lacked one of three things-looks, height, or social skills. They had been rejected so often that they had despaired of ever finding a woman who would love them or even put up with them. Many had been treated cruelly by women. If you signal your own interest, you may find a nice guy who would love to settle down.
Only after being convinced you like him will he be able to summon the courage to ask you for a date. If you can help a man overcome these feelings, you may find a real diamond in the rough.
One thing impressed me: The men who were not married were just as nice, just as intelligent, just as hardworking as the men who were. There is a possible drawback to dating a man aged 40 or older. Many men at that age begin to look at women and marriage as a poor financial investment. Today, many of the women whom these men think are after their money earn far more than they do. Such men are hardly ever going to be the marrying kind. All couples need to discuss money, especially when either partner has assets and responsibilities.
This, of course, affects women as well.
We found that many single men and women in their late thirties and forties were products of divorce. The difference between older children of divorce and other confirmed bachelors is their reason for not being married. Older unmarried men who are products of divorce com-plain about marriage itself. They believe in living together, because in their minds, once people marry, the romance ends. If you talk with them about marriage, they tend to be very open about what they believe.
Often the women had to drag them to the altar. None of this is to suggest that if you meet a man whose parents were divorced, you should immediately cross him off your list. Another crucial factor that influences the chances of a couple marrying is socioeconomic mix. Date men who will fit in with your friends and business associates.
Opposites may attract, but men and women from similar backgrounds marry.
So bear in mind that a man is much more likely to marry you if he is from the same socioeconomic background as you are. Other factors that contribute to the likelihood of a relationship leading to marriage are religious beliefs and political persuasion. Each of these has a relative value. Couples coming out of marriage license bureaus confirmed these findings. A number of them told us that before they met their intended, they had had a serious relationship in which religious differences caused one party to break it off. Your chances of marrying him are much greater than your chances of marrying the other man.
The importance of belief systems cannot be underestimated, and this is also demonstrated in political areas. Of course, there are exceptions. I like giving the gift that even though I know this whole thing is a sham, culturally it means I above-and-beyond love you and want you to share this gift with me. Even if it means we are idiots.
I hope we grow old together and die in each other's arms while we sleep. These answers all come from quora.
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