In the Q&A following a conference presentation the other evening, I received an interesting question from a 37-year-old man who asked, “It seems that the women I encounter sign off on never-married men who are on the plus side of 35. Do you find that social stigmas and stereotypes surrounding bachelors still persist and, if so, are they on the rise?”
I am glad this question was raised because many singles grapple with the age issue despite evidence that 1) fewer people are getting married, 2) they are doing so at a later age and 3) many are parenting children without taking vows. In fact, unmarried American adults have been a majority as of 2006.
While much of the focus still tends to be on women, men are starting to make headlines. In fact, the average age of first time marriages among American males is now 28, which is up five full years since 1997. In some states, like Texas, those numbers are higher still: 33.5 years for men and 31.1 for women in 2007, according to the Texas Department of Public Health.
Why the delay? For one thing, single men are increasingly embracing their independence and are becoming entrenched in their communities through group sports, volunteer activities and networking events. Research indicates that more single men are putting marriage plans on pause because they are holding out for the ideal “’til death do us part” relationship. Indeed, according to a survey by Zoosk, 66 percent of men responded that they have not yet met their soul mate and are waiting for the right one to come along. And whether we women agree with this one or not, social psychologists Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Vohs make a very interesting, albeit controversial, claim that the rise in men’s “market value” is directly proportional to the resources they accrue with age i.e. financial security, emotional maturity etc.
There may have been a time when women were concerned that a never-married single man in mid-life may have commitment issues, but age is becoming less of a barometer. If we sum up our research, how men are measured by the women they meet depends on (1) where they live, (2) how they live and (3) how evolved you are as an individual. Do keep in mind that as a result of these societal shifts, the bar has been elevated and even though a man’s single status may still come into question the “times they are a changing” as women increasingly are not factoring out men at the prime age of 37-years-old.
Ultimately, the important thing to remember is that the right relationship comes at a different time for everyone, regardless of age. The good news is that men are comfortable admitting that they want and are willing to wait for the right marriage partner to come along, and so are women.
I think You’re “Hot” Sherry!! and the woman of my dreams.. Really… I’ve had dreams of meeting someone who looks like you, and you probably think I’m crazy to say that…but its true!!
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Sherri yes you are extremely hot but I have found that the hotter a woman looks, the pickier they are!
I’m of the camp who prefer men over 35 who have never been married vs. those who have had multiple divorces, numerous children, and lots of baggage they don’t know how to carry.
There is something to be said for going against the status quo, knowing who you are, what makes you happy, making deliberate choices (vs. marching with the lemmings) and not getting married just for the sake of getting married. As long as you’re mature, responsible, and a good person, what difference does it make whether you’ve been married by age 35?
Thank you for reading and taking the time to post your comments:) I do appreciate the kind compliments…
Part of the problem with plus 37 year old single men is that they seek relationships with 23 – 28 year old females. They don’t appreciate
the maturity or wholesomeness of older women ages 31 – 37.
I would have to disagree with you Flowerpower. I am a decent looking guy in my mid forties and have approached attractive ladies aged 31 – 37 and they are no dfferent to attractive ladies aged 23-28 or 37 to 40’s. The more attractive the lady is regardless of these 3 age groups, the pickier they are. I think these ladies in these age groups should take a long, hard look at themselves and be less picky. What are these ladies really looking for? An adonis?
Eve I am in my mid forties and I have never been married with no children. If attractive women won’t give you a go in the first place, like David’s comment above, how can one possibly have experience in relationships, let alone marriage and children, if attractive women won’t give you a go in the first place? I am decent looking with a steady job and good communication skills and these women that David wrote about, are extremely selective!
Eve, it would be great if I were divorced and in my late forties to early fifties with children, so that we could be together as Adam and Eve!
i wasted two months on a well known dating website looking for ladies betwen 35-45. im 39. guess what i got told multiple times i was too old by older women… unbelievable!
ps.im quite normal looking and have had a 10 year relationship, so im not some weird looking bloke
I am sorry to necro this post by commenting 5 years later.
I am 37, currently single, never married, no kids. Perhaps women look at me this way when evaluating me on the surface but it is a very shallow way of looking at things.
Men who are 35+ never married and of course now single and looking have had experiences before they came of this age. We didn’t just magically wake up one day at age 35 with a poof and think to ourselves, hey, lets get into a relationship.
Perhaps some think that way but I doubt the vast majority do.
Myself I have been in one 8+ year relationship, was engaged. The woman walked away to try out “meaningless relationships”. I had a string of other maybes who due to mental issues or baggage it didn’t work out. Before that I thought I had met my soulmate, my first true love – she left me to move away so she could have a secret affair with her best friend’s boyfriend. I got together and stepfathered a woman’s child and tried to make that one work for 4 years. She was a hoarder who slid into doing nothing with her life but sleep on the couch all day so I was hesitant to commit. Looking for a ring on her finger and more kids, she left.
I’m currently dating a girl whom I would love to marry but she is hesitant to commit until she feels more stable so she continues multi-dating in the meantime, despite having very strong feelings for me.
So at my age single, never married, with no kids, it is as much as or more the women in my life’s fault that I find myself in this predicament. Of course I did enter a relationship with those particular women in the first place. However with several of them I would have committed.
Women must realize that they too have to show they have something to offer other than their bodies and willingness to marry. With marriage & child support laws so skewed in favor of women, todays men realize what a major undertaking a legal marriage and fathering is. So those guys at 35+ are really good catches – we’re not about to bounce off irresponsibly popping out kids and putting a ring on the finger of some random woman just because she falls in love with us and is interested.
I take no offense to your article just foot for thought and thought that you might find it an interesting topic to weave into future articles on this topic.
I am 24yrs old, was in a relationship for 1.5yrs with a 35yrs old man.
we broke up coz he simply wanted to be alone or single i guess…
i was head over hills with him..wanted to grow old with him but guess it wasn’t meant to be..
am still young and believe it was the best thing to leave the relationship..
he was selfish and all about him, which its totally normal. but felt that it was selfish coz i was involved emotionally and devoted and felt like he has wasted my time. but one thing i respect was that he was honest. and a good partner,he took care of me and still cared.. but we didn’t end things the right way. i was not mature, i went out with my cousin and got drunk then went to his place and damaged his things which i felt guilty, i apologized and ask for his forgiveness but hope one day he does.
i love him but i know its over and need to respect that..and all he has done for me..but i guess its normal to be 34/35 and still single and you live your life the way you want it..
Tank u kris for your contribution,u have really talked out of experience and I think we shhare the same exerience and age because I will be 37 by June. Men within this age have tasted life and really know what they want! They are the type that can really make good homes and really pay attention to whom they finally end up with. They really wait for soulmates not just whoever comes around them but its a pity that most ladies don’t such men because of what they think rather than being submissive! That is why it is important to seek the face of God in everything because a God-fearing woman and man can make a happy home since every good and enlasting thing comes from God!!! I appreciate u d writer!
In response to Kris,
I’m sorry for all of those mishaps but maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
The last girl you said you were dating, did she decide to commit? I’m curious because I have been in a similar situation.
So it looks like I still have 2 years to find someone before I turn 35.
If I don’t find someone in 2 years, I won’t ever marry. Not going to go through all this judgement. Plus, I don’t want anyone to be settling for me at that point.