Unwillingly single? Why?

The topic on the morning radio program yesterday was dating as a middle-aged person. Tips, advice, etc. A 47-year old woman called to say she was attractive, successful, active, etc. but still was never married. Being single obviously bothered her and she said she had done all the tips for dating offered on the show (take up a hobby, learn to use email, IM, etc., join clubs, etc).

She was clearly searching for a mate but had not yet found one. She seemed a bit baffled by it.

As a middle-aged man (just turned 43) I wasn’t having much trouble dating over the past year. In fact, I’m engaged to be married now. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, finding someone to go out with was pretty straight-forward. On the other hand, I’m successfully employed, not crazy, not living with my mother, and I’m in a city of three-million people. That numbers alone worked in my favor, I’m sure.

I mentioned this radio woman to my GF and she said perhaps this woman worked in a all-female workplace. She mentioned a couple other potential barriers to meeting men, too. Perhaps she looks like Larry King; the limits of radio don’t offer any rebuttal to her claim that she was attractive.

So, to you who are unwillingly single, do you think there’s a reason for it? Are you picky? Are you the only 25-year old living in a town of octogenarians? Do you have habits or phobias or desired traits or something that limit successful dating?

What’s your reason, if you have one, for your singleness and have you made deliberate attempts to change that and increase your chances of finding a mate?

Unwillingly single here.

There were many reasons for this; I had many strikes against me. My raw appearance wasn’t that bad, if you ignore the English teeth and the glasses, but attractiveness is far more than looks; it is also behaviour. And what behaviour I had.

I had not-great social skills. This covers a number of things.

I sometimes have trouble recognising and remembering the combination of face, name, mannerism, voice, etc, that identifies a person. It is very easy for me to not recognise someone. So, of course, someone would come up and say Hi and I’d have absolutely no idea who it was. (This still happens.)

My body language: both my own and my perception of others’. I came late to this knowledge. I’m sure it put people off me when I was younger. I did not know whether people were interested in me; I could not express my interest well, and more than once I thought someone was mocking me when they were actually honestly interested in me.

My social behavour. For a long time I just didn’t understand why social rituals such as small talk and thank-you cards are important. They let you indicate that you show interest in other people, that you think of other people and your effect on them. I just didn’t understand that, at a deep level. Even now, these behaviours don’t come naturally; I have to make a deliberate act of will to participate. But at least I’m aware of them.

I had no confidence. Because of various things that happened to me as I grew up, I did not believe that I was worth anything, and so even when I did get to a point where someone was interested in me, and I knew it, I sabotaged myself and chickened out.

Fear. Again, because of the things that happened to me as I grew up. I was deathly afraid of conflict and argument and intense emotion, and would not let myself get close to anyone. Not that I thought of it that way at the time. Later events in my family only reinforced that, and only recently have I gotten past that as well.

Essentially I had to consciously learn all the social stuff that most people pick up as a matter of course in their youth. Now, of course, I am middle-aged, and there aren’t the oppurtunities there were when I was twenty-five.

A few more thoughts.

I’m in a lot better shape than I was, in many ways. I am, however, not in great physical shape. Therefore I am going to the gym a lot and losing flab and getting in better, more presentable shape. I’m buying better clothes. I’ve paid off my debts. I’m learning languages. I’m planning to get my teeth repaired. I’m thinking about laser eye surgery and orthodontics and voice training. In other words, I’m trying to make the best of what advantages I do have.

“I’m number two. I try harder.”

Ugliness, basically. People will tell you they don’t care so much about looks when it comes to dating but people lie.

Shy, fat, socially awkward. Picky as well, which many people don’t think I have the right to be; I apparently should fall madly in love with someone in gratitude that they don’t find me to be a hideous troll. I’m working on my problems, though. Still going to be picky, but that isn’t really a problem.

Ditto everything Sunspace said*.

The few girlfriends I’ve had all made the first move, in an obvious and unmistakable manner. Subtlety just doesn’t work on me.

It also doesn’t help that I met my perfect woman way back when I was 22, and we dated for a year and a half. But being 22 and stupid (and often drunk), I began to take her for granted, and she went looking elsewhere. And, well, once you’ve met your perfect woman and screwed it up, there’s just not much will to try again.

ETA: Ditto everything he said in his first post. He added the second while I was typing the above.

Well, I’ve been told more than a few times that I’m very good-looking, but that’s not enough. For men, anyway.

Few social skills, little confidence, and depression that just doesn’t quit make for an unholy trifecta which ensures that I don’t often make it to a second date.

Heh. Too bad you’re in Toronto, Sunspace. I think you’re good-looking, and I have a thing for jacked-up English teeth. :wink:

OK, to be serious now. I wouldn’t call myself “unwillingly single.” I like being unmarried. It would be nice to have a romantic companion, though. In that sense, I’m semi-willingly single. In that it would be nice to find one, but I am not willing to compromise my standards because I am happy in my single state but would be unhappy with the wrong person.

There are a lot of things working against me. My looks are average. Not a real hindrance, but it doesn’t help either. I’m introverted. My hobbies are solitary and not very social. I spend a lot of time at work (where everyone is married) or at school (where everyone is either much younger than me, or much older and married). I live in Iowa, where most people marry right after college. So there are not many single 30 year olds.

Plus, my wants are hard to find in Iowa. Intellectual-ish, atheist/agnostic, not marriage-oriented. Fuggedaboutit.

I dated more when I lived in more cosmopolitan areas of the country. I imagine that I will again someday when I finish school and move. It’s just not that important to me. My life is good as it is.

I don’t mind being single right now, but given the chance I’d like to have a significant other. Why don’t I have one? I dunno. I think it’s more a combination of circumstances than anything else. It’s hard to meet new people now that I’m out of school. Since I work part-time I don’t really have much opportunity to meet with or talk to any of my co-workers - most of whom are much older than me anyway. I tried the online thing for a bit but I didn’t feel comfortable with it. I have quite a few close guyfriends but none I feel particularly attracted to.

Also, there are a lot of attractive women in this city. It’s hard to stand out. :slight_smile:

Damned if I know.
And since, in real life, people don’t usually give you detailed lists of exactly what’s wrong with you to your face, I’m probably unlikely to figure it out.

On bad days, I am sure that it’s because I’m a fat, ugly, unlikeable bitch. But that’s not actually true. I’m average looking. I have friends. I get out of the house and participate in activities that interest me. I am a bit shy - but not ridiculously so…

so, I don’t actually know.

I have wondered if I would change if I knew what to change…and I’m not sure. It might depend on what that change was.

I play chess, roleplaying and computer games. A lot. :eek:

I also went to an all-boys school.

I’m still single…

The “glee” thing may be sending the wrong signals…


If you mean “picky” in a Shallow Hall, only date tall skinny model types, well, it’s certainly ironic that you expect a potential mate to overlook your fat, socially awkward trollness but yet you are unable to look past their flaws. If you mean “picky” as in you want to find someone right for you, that’s fine.

I find that to be the case with a lot of people. They are average at best and yet they have some lofty unobtainable ideal of what a mate should be. No one can ever live up to it or even worse, anyone who does it turned off by their sense of entitlement.

Here’s a simple test. Can you go out to a bar or other public gathering and close on a number? If not, whatever reason why is the reason you are single.

Socially awkward. No coordination. And I simply cannot make people laugh.

When I was young I was too stupid to hook up correctly.

When I was a little older I was too dedicated to furthering my career.

As far as I can tell now, women just do not find me attractive.

“47-year old woman … attractive, successful, active, etc.”

Check for cats and how her house smells. Seriously.

My best friend fits that description. Finally one day she decided to hit the online dating services, met a few guys, then one day Mr. Right showed up at the door, it was instant love and he moved in with his dog and apparently he didn’t mind the cat-centric cluttered pig sty my friend loves to live in. They’re pretty happily married now. She’s very gainfully employed and from all we’ve talked about over the years, she’s a terror in bed. Just gotta find a guy who’s up for it.

I’m very happy for her. Personally, even if I were straight, I’d run screaming from cluttered cat-lady. But, I’ve known her for years and know the real her, and she’s really not as bad as she seems at first glance.

But you’re ridiculously cute! I saw your OKC profile. :winks at Telperien:

I guess you could qualify me as unwillingly single, but I’m not sure why. There are men that I’ve been out with that want very much to continue a relationship with me, but I’m not interested in them for one reason or another. I realized a few years ago that I have a right to be picky. I don’t have to be with someone just because I’m afraid no one else will come along. Some men find me attractive, some don’t. I’d like to find someone to share my life with, but I don’t have to in order to be happy or complete. I could get out more…my job doesn’t have me meeting tons of eligible men. I know there are eligible men out there, I just don’t know where they are.

You say that like we have any choice whom we are attracted to.

Shyness and insecurity, mostly. It’s impossible for me to approach someone I find attractive if I don’t know them and, if I do, it takes me a while to become comfortable with them.

Also pickiness. Two co-workers are interested in me at the moment and though one’s a friend (and the other an ex), it is not reciprocal. Nice girls but no.