Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Is a 40-Year-old Bachelor Capable of Commitment?”

I saw an article the other day about “what his romantic past says about him,” and it echoed some of the concerns I have about the history of the guy I’ve been seeing for a couple of months (let’s call him “Mark”).

If a guy is over 40, never married (though may have come close and been in some multi-year relationships), but seems to have been through many many relationships over the years, what are the chances he’s capable of maintaining a healthy long-term relationship that could lead to marriage? Is it even possible? Has he just not found the right one, or at this point is it likely he never will?

I, of course, don’t know all the details, but Mark is definitely a serial monogamist, possibly hasn’t spent much time being single, and has been with a fair number of women who behaved badly/questionably in various ways. This article suggested a guy with these patterns might have insecurity, fear of being alone, need for excitement, and fear of commitment, which all seems pretty logical to me.

But what if I’m being treated great and the relationship feels right – he wants to spend a lot of time together, but doesn’t come across needy/clingy, plans fun things to do, makes me a priority and makes a genuine effort to figure out what I want/need in order to be happy and provide it for me, seems willing to do work in a relationship, curious about my life and past but not too nosy, not critical or judgmental, doesn’t seem to need or want drama, has stated some things he’s learned and ways he’s more mature now than he used to be.

In short, there are no red flags in the present — only in the past. It’s great but I can’t help fearing it will somehow blow up in my face. My gut feelings about how things are and where they’re going are very, very good, but I feel like patterns in someone’s past shouldn’t be ignored. Anyone been in a similar situation and learned from it, either positive or negative? Is it just a matter of “time will tell?” — Troubled By His Past

What I hear you saying is that you’re concerned that Mark is around 40 and hasn’t been married yet, right? And his apparent serial monogamy seems to be part of your concern, as if it says something about his ability to commit that he’s been able to find women he likes enough to date for multiple years but can’t “pull the trigger,” so to speak. So you’re wondering if you’re going to join the ranks of women whose company he’ll enjoy for a time and then move on from, yes? And to this I ask: what does your dating history say about your ability to commit?

Clearly, you haven’t found a “successful” relationship yet, if you’re defining “successful” as a relationship that doesn’t end at some point. Does that mean you’re unable to have a long-lasting relationship that could potentially lead to marriage? And if you have had a relationship that has led to marriage, you’re clearly no longer married, so does that mean you lack the ability to make a marriage succeed? Should Mark be worried about committing to someone whose track record doesn’t include a successful commitment?

If everyone who entered marriage judged his or her future spouses’ ability to commit based on the success of their previous relationships, then none of us would be feeling too confident about our choices, would we? Every single relationship ends until you find one that doesn’t — and even then, you can’t be 100% sure of its success until one of you dies. And since death legally ends a marriage, that effectively means that every single relationship and every single marriage will end one day. So, it’s kind of silly to judge someone’s ability to commit based on his lack of successful previous relationships.

What you’re really asking, of course, is not so much whether your relationship will last forever and ever, but whether you’ll get your heart broken like you assume women in Mark’s past had their hearts broken. And I can’t answer that. I can’t even tell you whether Mark’s past dating patterns indicate a likelihood of that happening. I can’t begin to analyze whether Mark’s dating patterns indicate “insecurity, fear of being alone, need for excitement, and fear of commitment.” And neither can you. And even if you could pathologize your boyfriend’s behavior, it wouldn’t save you from a broken heart. The only thing that will save you from a broken heart is never ever investing any of yourself in a relationship ever again. And that sounds pretty lonely.

Yes, there are risks in dating a man in his 40s who has never been married before. But there are risks in dating anyone, period. Love is a battleground, no matter who the soldiers are or what side you’re fighting for. Every time you open your heart to someone new, whether his or her past is dotted with red flags or as tidy as a freshly-mowed lawn, you risk getting hurt.

And the fact is, you can never know the full truth about someone’s past dating experience. Especially after just two months with the guy, your understanding of his history is basic at best. You’re still getting to know each other. In time, you’ll have more information that will help you decide whether this is someone you could see a future with. But my advice is to place higher value on the relationship YOU have with him, as opposed to the relationship other women have had with him in the past. Doesn’t that make much more sense?

If he’s treating you well, you’re enjoying his company, and he’s showing a willingness and desire to learn about you, make you happy, and move the relationship forward, then for God’s sake, enjoy yourself! Unless there’s a legitimate reason in your relationship to feel anxious, don’t go fishing in each other’s pasts for one. Current relationships take enough work without dragging in issues from former ones to deal with.

If this guy isn’t the one for you, you’ll figure it out eventually. You may not figure it out before experiencing a broken heart, but if you only pursue relationships in which you’re guaranteed to avoid heartache, you’ll never find a meaningful connection. And isn’t that more important to you than sparing yourself a few weeks of sadness?

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

67 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Alecia August 28, 2012, 9:11 am

    Wendy is on point- all relationships end in some way and just because some couples stay married until they die doesn’t always mean they succeeded either. Like Wendy said, love is a battleground (I know you said battleground but I thought in my head cue Pat Benatar) but she’s right. You take chances, see how things go and enjoy yourself- otherwise you should MOA if your going to continue questioning this relationship because you should let him enjoy being with someone who enjoys being with him.

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  • avatar

    j2 August 28, 2012, 9:12 am

    Kids, financial intermingling, living patterns — have those talks. Deal breakers may lurk within.

    Many single guys in their late 30s realllly want to be dads, while others do not. There is so much potential here, both good and bad. Discover, but enjoy what you have and make sure HE knows you are enjoying it.

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  • Budj

    Budj August 28, 2012, 9:12 am

    Nice perspective spin for her understanding of the situation. I think that was a good way to make the point.

    Sounds like your digging for things, LW, just enjoy the ride and judge him based on current actions.

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    • Budj

      Budj August 28, 2012, 9:12 am

      you’re! you’re!!!!****

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 28, 2012, 9:26 am

        Try “ur”. One positive spin to annoying text speak is “ur” is used for your and you’re. So you never have to worry about which one you mean; ur is ur and ur. I think I’m becoming a more open-minded person. This can’t be good for me.

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        Wendy's Dad August 28, 2012, 11:09 am

        Oh, AP, don’t encourage that. The English language is under assault already. Do you use “ur” in legal briefs? (In case you weren’t aware, Wendy’s mom is an English teacher, so I hear about these things over the dinner table frequently).

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 28, 2012, 11:38 am

        Legal briefs have page limits and more often than not it’s truly an art form to shorten briefs to fit. So I might suggest we start using “ur”! … But no, I am very much with you on this. But here’s the problem, WD: I went on a date with an otherwise wonderful guy who likes to text like a 12 year old girl. I have a lot of rules when it comes to texting – and he has violated all of them. The abbreviations, for starters. The fact that he ASKED ME OUT via text, strike two. And one of my other rules is that if “text” is mentioned at least 3 times, it’s time to move on. So strike 3? But, you see, I don’t want to move on because this guy is SO DREAMY. He takes care of his grandmother; we have the same political beliefs; he’s funny; he’s cute; he’s not already married — so many pluses my head is about to explode! … Ergo: I am trying really hard to like “ur” ‘n’ stuff. Sigh. The things you do for lurve.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 28, 2012, 11:52 am

        Oh hey what was that, Wendy’s Dad, you want to hear more about this guy? Ok, I’ll tell you: he’s outgoing; he speaks Spanish; he likes spicy food; he’s a good kisser, even with spicy food breath; he has a little sister about 12 years younger – FUN!; he seems to dig me and he said as much to his buddy who mentioned it to my girl friend who told me; and… well, i’ve only seen him twice, so that’s all I got. But I already know all of these things. Thank you for asking!

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      • avatar

        Wendy's Dad August 28, 2012, 12:08 pm

        You’re a hoot. Definitely my favorite commenter. But in regard to texting, it should be a no-no for dating. I mean, c’mon, don’t people realize that one can also make a phone call on those mobile phones? BTW, the locals here call a cell phone a “handy”. Sounds like you have found a handyman. Yuk yuk.

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      • avatar

        Lydia August 29, 2012, 5:58 am

        I actually like texting in dating. A lot of the courtship between me and my fiancé took place through texting each other poetry fragments. 🙂

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      • avatar

        bethany August 28, 2012, 12:45 pm

        He gets 4+’s in my book for liking spicy food.

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      • avatar

        MMcG August 28, 2012, 11:41 am

        Ohhhhh! AP got corrected by Wendy’s dad!
        Go English teachers;)

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      • avatar

        Wendy's Dad August 28, 2012, 1:15 pm

        Just to clarify, I’m not the English teacher in the family. My wife has done so for years, and Wendy’s masters is in English education. My degrees are in biology for my undergrad and counseling for my masters. However, I have always thought that people can bullshit their way through lots of things just by being able to write an English sentence correctly. Man, it got me through 36 years of employment with the Department of Defense, most of which were spent as someone’s “designated writer”.

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  • avatar

    ktfran August 28, 2012, 9:21 am

    Where is the thumbs up button for Wendy’s response? Kidding. But thumbs up times a lot.

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  • avatar

    TECH August 28, 2012, 9:26 am

    Wendy’s advice, as usual, is spot on. The fact that he’s been a serial monogamist is, in my opinion, a really good sign. It may show strength that he has not married the wrong woman and has been careful about his choices.
    I think no matter how long you’ve been with your partner, you’ll never know everything about their relationship history. It’s impossible for you, or anyone, to judge your partner’s past behavior because you weren’t there to witness it. So I would just relax and see where this relationship takes you.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle August 28, 2012, 9:28 am

    Yeah, Wendy is so on-point with this response. The urge to over-analyze usually comes from a place of uncertainty & it’s clear that this LW– at the heart of everything– is just concerned she’ll get her heart broken. Wendy’s right, pathologizing your boyfriend won’t save you from that.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs August 28, 2012, 9:32 am

    this will be a strange post…but i recently decided to retire from the dating scene…i just can’t handle hurting someone or getting hurt when the relationship doesn’t work out…i can never relax and just enjoy the relationship…they all seem to evolve to a point where the initial lust goes away and then the calls or texts become fewer…some guys just dissappear altogether…its that feeling of rejection…i hate it so much…its just too damaging to my self esteem…i have been much happier on my own lately

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    • avatar

      BettyBoop August 28, 2012, 5:46 pm

      There is nothing wrong with taking a hiatus from dating! I actually took a few years off myself and I am very happy I did so. It gave me a chance to move my life forward in a direction I wanted to go without worrying about anybody else’s feelings. I highly recommend a lengthy break from dating if your feeling burnt out.

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray August 28, 2012, 9:34 am

    I liked Wendy’s advice, per usual, and it was particularly reassuring for me because, in case you didn’t notice, I have this habit of making up rules and theories and trying to apply them to life… Basically I sometimes think the same way LW is thinking.

    I have (had?) this theory that goes like this: All guys you’d want to marry who are nice, smart, funny, etc. *and* interested in getting married themselves will find a woman (b/c there are TONS of great girls out there) and marry her before they (the dudes) turn 30 – maybe 31 or 32 – but by their EARLY 30s at the latest. A single man in his 30s is single for a reason – either he’s not a nice guy or he’s not interested in marrying. So if you’re a single woman in your 30s you just have to enjoy your time with young 20-something year olds while you wait out the married 30 year-olds’s divorces. Because some of ’em will divorce and then you can marry them then.

    It’s just a theory and we can probably insert Wendy’s response above in response to my theory. … But to this I’d say: no, it’ only works for single men in their 30s. Because all the single ladies I know in their 30s are fabulous.

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    • avatar

      MJ August 28, 2012, 10:21 am

      Agreed! (And yes, all the dudes I know who are older than 30 and single are commitment-phobes or very socially awkward, but I know fabulous single women in their 30s!)

      Somebody somewhere did a sociological study and found that men who don’t commit by 33 or 34 or not likely to do so…the commitment window for men is 27-32 or something like that. But that’s just a larger societal trend and doesn’t necessarily point to something wrong in this particular relationship.

      I don’t think you should necessarily go looking for issues, LW, since things seem to be good right now and he’s not disappearing or being clingy. But at some point it’ll have to be addressed, I suppose. Two months is too soon to do so, though.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 28, 2012, 6:47 pm

        Typical, if a guy isn’t committed at 30 — he’s fucked up. If it’s a woman, she’s FABULOUS. Whatever…

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 28, 2012, 8:15 pm

        You’re finally getting it, BGM!

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  • katie

    katie August 28, 2012, 9:36 am

    dang wendy! bazinga!! i bet the LW wasnt expecting that response.

    it is totally true though. i do imagine, LW, you are near his age (40), and people say terrible things about un-married or divorced women of that age… if you dont want anyone to prematurely judge you for your life, why would you judge this guy for his?

    i agree with an above comment that your digging. maybe your trying to find something wrong with him because you do actually like him but YOU are the one who doesnt want to commit or your afraid to get your heart broken or a million other things. but the problem lies within you- you bringing up these types of concerns reflects more on you then it does on him, in my opinion.

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    • avatar

      Lindsay August 28, 2012, 3:47 pm

      Exactly. What if she had never seen that article or didn’t know that there’s a stigma attached to being 40 and single? Would she still be concerned? Probably not, because the relationship sounds like it’s going pretty well.

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  • avatar

    bethany August 28, 2012, 9:36 am

    WWS.

    You’ll never know until you try… There are no huge red flags here, just a guy who’s been meeting people and getting to know them before he decides to get married. In my opinion, it’s way better than a guy who has been married (and divorced) 3 times already!

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  • avatar

    SuzyQ August 28, 2012, 9:41 am

    Be happy those other relationships ended! Now he’s available for you. Perhaps he was holding out for just the right person, and maybe that person could be you! Seriously, maybe he’s still s bachelor because he’s mature enough to know who he is and what he wants. And he simply wasn’t willing to settle.

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    • avatar

      Eljay August 28, 2012, 11:23 am

      Love this!

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  • avatar

    Leah August 28, 2012, 9:49 am

    Have you asked him how he feels about marriage and why he never got married in the past? As you get older, it’s more acceptable to ask those sorts of questions (especially whether or not you want children) because you don’t have as much time as someone in their twenties. Seems like that would make a lot more sense then reading articles, analyzing his past behavior (that you know very little about) and asking all of us. He’s a man, not the I Ching!

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  • avatar

    tbrucemom August 28, 2012, 9:54 am

    I can speak from personal experience. My current 3 current relationship is with a man who’s never been married and he’s 52. I am divorced after being married for 28 years and have a 17 year old and a 26 year old. I’ve known my BF since high school (he took me to prom). When I asked him why he’s never been married he says the ones that wanted to marry me I didn’t want to marry and the ones I wanted to marry didn’t want to marry me. He’s a great guy and we’ve talked about marriage and will get more serious about the subject next year when my daughter finishes high school. I know he would have like to have gotten married and had children but it just didn’t work out that way (he’s great to my kids). I’ve had the same thoughts as the LW but came to the same conclusion as Wendy, you never know how long a relationship will last and what if he had been married and divorced once or even more times. Would that make him a better catch? I think probably not. If there are no red flags, I’d stay with it and see how it goes, you could be very happily surprised. I know I’ve been very happy and would have missed out on a great relationship if I let those thoughts keep me from being with him.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B August 28, 2012, 10:31 am

    Never say never. Sounds like he’s just cautious to me. Maybe he wants to make sure he does it right, and only once. I know of a man like that. He finally found the right woman and got married at 45 after being a bachelor prior to that. So, it can happen. Relax.

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  • avatar

    Anna August 28, 2012, 11:08 am

    Yes, I’m pretty sure that a 40 year old bachelor is just as capable of committing as any other bachelor. The question is “Is THIS PARTICULAR 40 year old bachelor capable of committing?” And the only way to answer that question is to ask the man already! Not in those words of course, but ask him if he wants to get married someday. If he says no, believe him. As women, we find it very offensive if someone thinks less of us for being single past a certain age. Knowing how offensive that feels on the receiving end, why would you entertain those thoughts about someone else? Have a little faith and base your opinions on his personality and values rather than his age and dating history.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay August 28, 2012, 11:09 am

    Perfect response from Wendy. I have a lot of things to say about this one. I’m curious about how old the LW is. If she thinks that being 40 and single is such a bad sign, than I figure she’s either a lot younger or is somehow ignoring the fact that she is also 40 (or whatever) and single. So far, she hasn’t named anything that’s an actual red flag, though she says she has. There are SO many reasons why someone might be single at 40. Having unsuccessful relationships, as Wendy defines them, doesn’t necessarily reflect badly on you. And honestly, I would think that an inability to commit would be more evidenced by him being single most of his life, not having what appear to be committed relationships. (Yes, he may not have made the BIG commitment, but he apparently is willing to make other commitments by being in a relationship.)

    My stepmom was 42 or something when she met my dad. He was 43. She’d never been married, though she’d been in a 13-year (!) relationship with someone. My dad was divorced. Surely, the LW would say they both had red flags, but they’ve been married for 10 years at this point and seem happy. You can’t will things to go perfectly in your life, and I don’t think it’s right to judge someone solely because they never got married. I’d suggest the LW take a break from pop psychology articles and focus on what’s actually going on in her relationship. In fact, I’d consider asking him why he never settled down. Not in an accusatory way, but just a discussion.

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  • avatar

    stilgar666 August 28, 2012, 11:49 am

    WWS….

    or….
    You could go full bore at him and try and pick apart the past details of his life. Maybe contact a few exes…get him talking about his mother…dig through old emails…go to relationship counseling…

    You did read an article on a dating website after all.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant August 28, 2012, 11:58 am

    Have you considered asking him if he’s interested in marriage, children, and/or you?

    That may be the place to start. He’ll know more about his intentions that Wendy, a total stranger, will.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope August 28, 2012, 12:18 pm

    Although you may not want to generalize, the 40-something year old bachelors I know, including my brother, become set in their ways and find it extremely difficult to compromise.They really value their independence. I’m not saying it can’t work. But when the going gets tough, they’re more likely to move on. The exception? A man who’s finally ready to have a child.

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    • katie

      katie August 28, 2012, 12:31 pm

      why does getting marriage have to mean they want a kid? that doesnt make sense. some people just want to get married.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh August 28, 2012, 1:04 pm

        i agree. everyone women and men get set in their ways as they get older. it’s not just bachelors. and i’ve known a few older men and women who were single for a long time. it took finding the right person at the right time to be ready, were some ready for kids, sure. others just took a little longer to find the person that they wanted to marry.

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        MJ August 28, 2012, 1:07 pm

        Because if a man wants to get married, he’ll most likely do it before he’s 40. That is not a universal statement, but if you look around, you won’t find a lot of single men (who aren’t divorced) over 40.

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    • avatar

      ktfran August 28, 2012, 12:46 pm

      I think the same could be said for women. Unless they’re desperate for marriage, then they’ll settle.

      And this is coming from a woman.

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    • avatar

      Lindsay August 28, 2012, 3:42 pm

      I think it’s true that as people get older, they become set in their ways (like how my stepmom refers to EVERYONE as hers, even to my dad — “my” house, “my” driveway, which they both own). But I think it’s an individual personality trait whether you’re unwilling to compromise.

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      • avatar

        Lindsay August 28, 2012, 3:51 pm

        Also, anecdotal evidence can somewhat prove a point, but it’s not a guarantee. I have male friends who are in their late 30s who are in newly serious relationships or newly engaged who have made plenty of compromises to keep their relationship going. This includes driving an hour in each direction to cope with a LDR and totally restructuring their entire apartment to handle their fiancee’s terror of a cat (who they aren’t allowed to have). For every example of anything, there’s usually an example of the opposite.

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    • avatar

      BettyBoop August 28, 2012, 5:54 pm

      Hell, I’m a single woman in my early 30’s and I sure as hell set in my ways and value my independence more than my older, single guy friends. It’s not about gender, it’s about personality. You perspective is not wrong, but it is skewed through a small sampling size. I recommend not generalizing based solely on your experience and visual media.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark August 28, 2012, 10:42 pm

      Right, and all the 40-something female bacherlorettes are nothing but patron saints on compromise… Nothing set in their ways about them ever…

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  • avatar

    AKchic August 28, 2012, 12:43 pm

    My uncle K married for the first time at the age of 41 and had no children. He had a few serious girlfriends before he married my aunt K (she was 42 when they married). He moved out of the house after graduation, found that he didn’t like it much because he couldn’t afford everything he wanted and moved back in with my grandparents, where he stayed until he was 32 and could afford to pay CASH for a nice little condo. My uncle was always the “smart”, fiscally responsible one of the 3 siblings. Him and my aunt have “adopted” (read: are the foster parents for the benefits but claim they adopted to make themselves look better, which is silly) my aunt’s 2 nieces and 1 nephew because they couldn’t have kids of their own.

    Some guys simply are waiting for the right one and for whatever reason, it takes a while for the right one.

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  • avatar

    Jubietta August 28, 2012, 12:55 pm

    I’d be very curious to know if BF’s history has many relationships that end in the 18-24 month range. I have (had?) a friend whose relationship history never included one over 26 months…including marriages. From our discussions I learned that for her it was impossible to convert a “relationship of passion” that activates the part of the brain associated with gambling and chasing a high to a “relationship of security” that activates the part of the brain assumed responsible for addiction. For her, after the chemistry of lust ran it’s course there wasn’t anything left to hold her. I’ve watched her beat herself up about it, commenting that she “wants that forever thing,” instead of embracing who she is and being clear up-front with her partners in these love affairs that while it’ll be great, and it’ll be intense, and it doesn’t look to be a long ride.

    All of that said, I think Wendy’s advice is more universally applicable. When your heart is ready to risk, go and take the risk. Know there are no guarantees, live in the moment. If today goes well, make plans for tomorrow. When *your* history warrants reaching into the future to make commitments…make them. Check in frequently, make sure that whole “today went well, I’d like to be with you again tomorrow” feeling holds true. I’ve based a 27 year monogamous relationship/marriage on this…and the phrase, “Have fun, I’ll see you when you get home!”

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny August 28, 2012, 1:01 pm

    I know this is anecdotal, but my brother-in-law is 16 years older than my sister, and they met when she was 21. He’s 51 now (to her 35, and they have a 2 month old baby), and he’s quite possibly one of the nicest guys I know. And, in talking to him, he is so happy that my sister entered his life when she did, because he had all but given up on meeting the right woman for him and was planning on buying a boat and moving up to a lake and being a bachelor for the rest of his life. His life didn’t quite turn out the way he thought it would, and for the better. Knowing him how I do, I don’t think there’s any negative reason that he remained unattached for so long, aside from being a fairly independent guy and just not meeting the right woman for him.
    So, I wouldn’t be so concerned about the fact that this guy is 40. And it’s to the benefit of the LW, because here is this fun, caring guy who wants to make her happy! I would take him for what he is and be happy to have found what sounds like a catch.

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    • avatar

      ktfran August 28, 2012, 1:13 pm

      “Knowing him how I do, I don’t think there’s any negative reason that he remained unattached for so long, aside from being a fairly independent guy and just not meeting the right woman for him.”

      This! I wish more people would realize this and not judge.

      I would rather wait until I’m old and gray for the person I want to spend the rest of my life with than do it now because it fits into society’s idea of what should be done. I realize there are no gaurantees even what that happens, if ever, but I’m not going to rush the decision in fear of being viewed unfavorably.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny August 28, 2012, 1:18 pm

        Definitely!
        And along those lines, I keep telling myself, quality, not quantity!

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh August 28, 2012, 1:08 pm

    I think this goes along well with Wendy’s letter from yesterday. Some of us just get a little nervous when things seem to good. It’s normal to freak out a little, but don’t let that influence where your relationship will take you. I’ve known many people to have not married until later in life. For almost all of them it was a case of finally finding the right person or meeting the person at the right time. Listen to Wendy and just enjoy dating him! He sounds like a really good guy.

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  • avatar

    MsMisery August 28, 2012, 1:47 pm

    And if he had been married before, you’d be judging him for having been divorced (can’t commit! all that baggage! does he hate women now??) No one can win,

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  • avatar

    HmC August 28, 2012, 4:22 pm

    I don’t think it’s necessarily a sign of doom, in and of itself, that he’s 40 and has never been married. But I don’t think it’s totally meaningless either. Our experiences and choices are a reflection of who we are, and 40 is older than most people looking to get married want to wait. He’s explained it in a totally rational way though, by just saying that the timing never worked out with anyone that he wanted to marry. That’s understandable. And given that the relationship seems to be going well, and you’re still just getting to know each other at 2 months in, what’s the rush? I think Wendy wisely picked up on the LW’s desire to guarantee, in a way, against future heartbreak. At 2 months in, that is simply impossible. If you’re happy now, enjoy it. Ask questions and have discussions of issues that are important to you, but don’t consume yourself with dark imaginings. If he’s a commitment-phobe, it will become apparent, and you can cross that bridge when you get to it. Don’t worry. Be happy!

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  • avatar

    LANY August 28, 2012, 7:26 pm

    Go Wendy.

    First, I just have to say, that that article was one of the most painful, vacuous, stereotypical pieces of “reporting” I have come across in recent times. It was about as insightful as saying “blondes are fun” and “nerds watch Star Trek.” Is this seriously who you are taking relationship advice from?

    You said yourself this guy treats you well, is considerate, etc. If you’re seriously judging him / fearful based on a past that you will NEVER fully understand / know everything about, even thought it doesn’t impact your current relationship, let this guy go and leave him for one of the many single women out there who would be thrilled to date a 40 year old who treated them well, without feeling like ridiculous “patterns shouldn’t be ignored.”

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    • theattack

      theattack August 28, 2012, 8:27 pm

      Holy crap when I first started reading your comment I thought you were making some horrible digs at Wendy, and I was about to tell you to chill the hell out. So glad you were talking about the other article! Whew.

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      • avatar

        LANY August 28, 2012, 8:49 pm

        NOO!!! LOVE Wendy. Wendy is awesome. Definitely referring to the “what his romantic past says about him.”… Thanks for forcing the clarification, lest other people think that I think Wendy is anything less than a great person to take advice from!

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      • theattack

        theattack August 28, 2012, 8:54 pm

        Yeah I was really shocked that you would make those comments because from what I’ve seen of your comments, it seemed out of character for you. So glad I misread it! And I totally agree that the slideshow was crap. It’s kind of a funny and entertaining thing to read but not something to actually take seriously and worry about your own relationship.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie August 28, 2012, 7:23 pm

    When I was 38 all the women I was attracted to had kids or wanted them very urgently. The role of “Daddy” was something I’d avoided like the plague and it cost me several otherwise solid relationships. For the next 7 years I didn’t date and remained completely celibate. During those years I rented spare bedrooms to women and was not immune to sexual attraction but knowing what the result would be I stayed alone. At 45 I decided to find someone and make it work no matter what it took. Fortune smiled on me and I got together with and old friend that was a year out of a failed relationship and we’re celebrating our 24th anniversary tomorrow.

    OMG, I’d better run to town and fetch flowers. Not kidding, I really did misplace the date. Talk about coincidence. Thanks a ton Wendy for reminding me.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy August 28, 2012, 7:33 pm

      Aw, happy anniversary!

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie August 28, 2012, 8:42 pm

        OK I’m good got flowers and card. Thankfully she’s out for the evening so I could take care of it. Reservations are easy, this is a very small town. In my defense I plead extenuating circumstances, we have a very sick kitty on our hands back from the hospital yesterday. Weeks ago I proposed we fly to Seattle to have our anniversary dinner at the Space Needle Restaurant, but medical appointments prohibited it.

        Sub note: We didn’t have kids, indeed we have no family at all, but over the last 5 years we’ve fostered 31 kittens.

        Thanks again for jogging my attention.

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      jlyfsh August 28, 2012, 8:51 pm

      happy anniversary, eddie! hope the sick kitten is on the mend!! 🙂

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      AKchic August 28, 2012, 8:54 pm

      *laugh* Today’s my mom and stepdad’s anniversary. I like to remind ’em that I wore 3 inch stilletos with a broken foot to their wedding last year, so they soooo freaking owe me.

      It’s also a friend’s birthday. And my aunt’s wedding anniversary (tomorrow is her birthday).

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie August 28, 2012, 10:50 pm

        You northern gals are tough by golly. Yet another quality to admire about you.

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    Sue Jones August 28, 2012, 10:25 pm

    Most men in my experience, do not mature truly until they are at least 35, so an unmarried 40 year old male, at least in the town where I live, that has a lot of PhD’s etc. is unremarkable. Often professionals and the highly educated wait until they have completed their schooling and are on a good career track before they want to start a family. I always said that I would not date a man who by the age of 40 hadn’t been in long term relationships because there must be a reason. But at least he has been in relationships. Wait and see…

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    • fast eddie

      fast eddie August 28, 2012, 10:56 pm

      Just one ding dong minute Sue, I’m 70 and still very immature. I used to be mature but it was boring so I became eccentric. Which was my ambition when I was young and mature. ;-}

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones August 28, 2012, 11:15 pm

        But you did get married. Not saying all married men are mature though… but I am more suspect of the men who marry young… because they CAN’T be mature yet, except for my nephew who has his PhD and just got married and is…. 26? But he and his wife seem to be more the exception than the rule. Heck, my husband is 54 going on 15!

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      • theattack

        theattack August 28, 2012, 11:26 pm

        Do you really have to be 100% mature to get married though? You certainly need to be mature enough to make the big decisions, but I don’t think you have to have everything totally worked out. People never really completely mature, but it sure is nice for them to have a life partner while they make that journey.

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    The LW August 29, 2012, 8:44 am

    Thanks to all of you who commented!

    The consensus seems to be it’s ridiculous to judge someone’s future relationship potential based on the limited information I have about his past, and I should give it time, enjoy it, and let it develop. Sounds good to me!

    I am a few years younger than “Mark,” and have been in just a few relationships in my life (they were LONG term). None of them, nor any of the handful that I dated short term, seemed GOOD like this in the beginnning – they all had issues early on, and I either stuck with them forever or cut them off really early. This is the first one that’s seemed very very good, with definite future potential – it just seems to “work” so well, and as many of you pointed out, he truly seems to be a great guy.

    But then I guess I thought, could I be mis-reading this? After all, neither of us have been able to get something to really work in the past. But hey, maybe we both have grown a lot over time and now the timing is just right for it to work for us. Time will tell. Thanks again everyone!

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  • avatar

    JJ789 March 1, 2014, 11:53 am

    Most men I know who are over 40 and not married, is not because they are strange or met the right one yet (please!!!), it is because they are extremely selfish and not just recently, would have been selfish all their life. Aguy I did know who got married at 42, started cheating after his wife had their child and she was only 28, some men are just not meant for marriage, no big reasoning or excuses behind it. It is more selfish to get married to please your girlfriend when deep down you REALLY don’t want to, now that’s cruel! Too much pressure to have kids and get married, way too much, just be happy with who you are and what you have achieved and what is meant to be will be! PS: I know a couple who got married in their 60’s and are very happy.

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