Why do you think some people are perpetually single?

While true, there is sadly a (not totally unearned, lets be honest) unspoken assumption that if a person is single for too long, then there is something wrong or undesirable about them. And a lot of the time there is (although lots of people who have issues and failings end up in relationships too).

I am married, long time, have 3 kids, 4 grandkids. In-laws and all manner of excess family, I cherish my alone time. I love it so much, one of my sisters bought a book for me called ’ combating loneliness’ I donated it after reading the first page. Being alone does not necessarily make you lonely. Plus pets never leave you alone and I have a few of those. If you are lonely I feel bad for you, if you are alone by design, good for you.

I fall into the perpetually single category.

For the points raised by the OP

  • I am self-sufficient to the point that some men find it intimidating. I own my own home, kick ass at my career, and drive a truck that is probably bigger than their own
  • I am able and willing to carry on conversations on a wide range of topics, from the best puns, to cloud computing to dog training to politics. However, I also expect that the other half of the equation be able to do the same. Not necessarily the same topics, but the breadth.

For points either raised above or not.

  • At this point, I’ve established my life. I like my life. For me to be in a relationship, I’d have to like this person and his role in my life more than I like my current life. I’ve not met anyone recently that meets this criteria.
  • I work from home and my hobbies are dominated by women and/or gay men. My only chance to meet guys is via online dating. Better than having nothing, but not necessarily filled with the kind of guys I generally have enjoyed dating. In fact my two exes (I’m still friends with them) are astounded/appalled that I am online and struggle to believe that any ‘normal’ guy is on there.
  • I am tall and solidly built. According to my unscientific studies, more than 2/3 of guys are shorter than me. I don’t mind an inch or two shorter. But many guys mind if I am taller than them.
  • The last few requests for 2nd dates that I’ve received have been from guys that I have zero interest in after a 30-60 minute first meeting. This seems to be a pattern in my life.
  • I have quite a few animals. All I have to do is say “I have 2 dogs, 2 cats and a horse” and many guys check out immediately assuming that I am one of those “my pets are my fur-kids” people. Or that I only have this many pets as a substitute for having children.
  • I am old enough now that this isn’t as much of an issue, but the fact that I did not want kids was a deal breaker for more than a few guys.

There is also a big chunk of people out there who just don’t have the chance to meet and greet prospective partners. Nice guys, financially stable, satisfactory social skills, just not getting out very much or don’t know where to start.

Some of them have transport diffiuclties, most of them are in jobs where they don’t meet many people, or whatever.

You probably didn’t think of these people because you don’t meet people like this as often as you meet people in the two groups mentioned in the original post…

**Why do you think some people are perpetually single? **

Some people are smarter than others.

I say do what pleases you most. If you are lonely/ homely/ poor or whatever, that should not be a hindrance. My long dead Granny used to say “there is someone out there for everyone, even you”. We had an older bachelor at church, he finally found and dated and married a nice lady at 63 years old. We are all very happy that he is happy. Though I had many talks with him over the years, and I have to say I thought he seemed happy by himself. He was a serial volunteer like me, so his life was full. But I guess when you meet that person it changes everything. He still volunteers and his wife has turned out to a big help at our church. So there you go, happy ending!

I have friends who are perpetually single that are otherwise attractive and have careers of their own but:

  1. In the case of my woman friend, she is socially awkward. When meeting someone new, she asks lots of questions but offers no information about herself other than the most cursory data and always in as few words as possible. She seems frustrated that she can’t meet someone, and has asked my advice on numerous occasions. To me, her problem is that she is way too picky for her age and when she does find someone she likes, her questions sound more like an interrogation than interest. Furthermore, because she doesn’t have a lot of sexual experience, when she starts to get intimate with a guy, it is slow and awkward. Guys who are her age are very experienced sexually and are often divorced with kids. As such, they seem to forgo a lot of the courting that goes with many traditional relationships, which she doesn’t like. On top of that, because of her age, and a bit of desperation, she often gets way to serious and starts talking about marriage way too quickly, which scares off many a potential mate.

  2. In the case of my guy friend, he is divorced with a grown kid. He is very nerdy so he wants a nerdy woman, but also being a bit older, he isn’t finding attractive nerdy women who are interested in him. He also seems to have trust issues having been very badly financially burned in his divorce.

I have tried repeatedly to set both of them up (including setting them up with each other), but I have had no success. Both of them would really like to be in relationships, but neither seems to be able to hold one together.

When I was interested in looking, I realized that most of the guys in my age range (late 30s to early 40s, at the time), were off dating 20-somethings. The longer I stayed single, the less I felt like compromising or settling. I enjoy my own company and I’ve never felt the least bit desperate for attention.

So, I’ve been completely single for at least 7-8 years now, and I really don’t see it changing. For the record, I’m not a basement dwelling cave beast; I’m attractive, independent, and hilarious, but I’m also completely uninterested in settling just to have someone in my life.

Variations of this aphorism are out there all the place, but it’s just not true; it simply isn’t. There are some people for whom there just is not someone. For starters, the gender imbalance issue - most places in the world are not an even 50-50 balance of men and women. It’s not possible for everyone who wants a mate to get a mate. (China, for instance, as mentioned above. A smaller reverse version was that I used to attend a college in New York in which there was twice as many women as men.)

And some people just have it hard. Someone who is severely disfigured by burns, for instance, might never find someone who wants to marry him or her.

Lastly, even if there is someone out there who is ideal for “you,” that by no means means that you’ll ever actually meet him or her. What if he or she lives in Argentina or Italy or Singapore or some other location on Earth far from you, and your chances of running into him or her are lower than those of winning the Powerball?

It sounds bad, but in a country of 1.4 billion people, it’s basically a rounding error. In this case, quite literally as the population of China is actually closer to 1.37 billion people.
At 45, I only really know a handful of people around my age who are still perpetually single:

A college friend who as far as I can tell, just likes being single. He’s had girlfriends, but I think he just prefers doing his own thing. And it’s not like he’s a dummy or a loser or anything. He has an MBA from London School of Economics and is into the whole Silicon Valley startup scene doing some kind of business development.

My cousin, who just likes living the “single New York artist hipster trust fund kid” lifestyle.

An older uncle who is a bit of a flakey artist type. In 45 years, I can remember him coming around with a girlfriend maybe once or twice. But I think he’s just sort of ambivalent about relationships (not to mention career) and rather do his own thing.

I think the reason people are single varies a lot. Although from my experience people who are single tend to want to be in a relationship, it is not always the case. It is more of an issue of supply and demand.

For example, for some reason I don’t find most women attractive physically at all. Maybe 1 out of 20 or 40. And the women I find attractive are not necessarily what other men would find attractive either (not masculine though, I am clearly straight). This isn’t a choice that I made, it has always been the case since puberty. I can rarely even find new porn because nearly all of it is full of non attractive women. That is a huge limitation because the people that find me attractive are not going to usually be attractive to me.

That was me. I was lucky to meet someone who took the initiative and that I clicked with. Unfortunately, both our sons are having to work on overcoming the social anxiety that crippled me when it came to finding romance. Hopefully they’re getting help soon enough that they’ll have an easier time of it than I did.

IME, the people i know (mostly guys but not all) who are perpetually single are people who have no trouble attracting partners or obtaining sex. So I think the comment about the reasons being varied is apt. Some people just enjoy that strange more than commitment.

I’m in the perpetually single camp. I’m unemployed at the moment, which probably doesn’t help, although I’m self-sufficient in that I’m living off of savings and inheritance. But I’ve been just as single when I was employed, so I don’t think that’s it.

In the two very short relationships I’ve been in, the women were very engaging and I enjoyed hearing about their interests and families, so I don’t think that’s it, either.

So what is the answer? I’ve been trying to figure that out for a long time. I’ve recently started reading Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and it’s much more informative than I expected from someone who’s primarily a comedian. But there’s very little in it that I really connect with, so far. I feel like I want what everyone else wants, but the descriptions of how other people go about finding it are almost totally alien to me.

Yeah, any given day, week, or month on my own is tolerable, even nice. But stretch it out for a couple decades and it gets very, very lonely.

A lot of good feedback here. There are a few comments to which I have follow-up questions or comments, listed below.

Great point. I’m pretty sure you’re right.

So are you saying that you would only consider another Jehovah’s Witness as a life partner? Because otherwise, I’m not following your logic. I’ve come across plenty of men who do not expect their wife to subjugate herself to him.


What do you mean? What sort of problems outside their own control do you think people who cannot maintain long-term relationships have?

I was thinking about this concept recently. Given the high divorce rates, if you wait long enough, wouldn’t some of the “good” men or women be single again?

:nodding: I probably would’ve come up with a similar list in thinking of the people I know who are still single.

I didn’t get married until I was in my early 40s. I spent the bulk of my 20s and 30s working overnights, so the only people I knew were my coworkers. I learned the hard way that having a relationship with one or more (not at the same time, mind you) can be a minefield. Learned my lesson and didn’t even try to broach the topic until I met my now-husband who definitely wasn’t a coworker.

When I was much younger I was a shy, socially awkward person whose first real relationship with a female only started when I was 27, and even after that I’ve only really had one long-term (about ten years) partner. That ended about 1998 or so, and I’ve been single ever since. I have several female friends, but at age 63 I’ve become pretty comfortable being on my own, and feel like the trade-offs to make a live-in relationship work are no longer worth the hassle.

One, somewhat sad thing that I think of from time to time is that for various reasons the branch of our family that includes me and my siblings will die off without any inheritors, but at this point there’s nothing to be done about that.

Nobody has mentioned one of the obvious reasons - Aspergers / autism spectrum.

My wife has a friend who’s perpetually single, and it’s really quite obvious why; she’s irritating as hell. Even my wife can’t stand her for longer than three hours.

I am one of these people, and there isn’t a big obvious answer why. I am not unattractive. I have a good job and my own place, etc. I have various interests and play a sport at a high level. I have friends. No major mental problems.

I just haven’t met the right person yet. I think it’s that simple really.