I’ve never wanted to be that girl who says “All the good ones are taken,” but I don’t know how else to see it. I guess what I’m asking is, how do I remain positive and genuinely believe that I will find someone right for me at my age? I know a lot of it comes down to having the right mindset, but after the kinds of experiences I’m having, I just can’t seem to remain positive about this aspect of my life. Any thoughts? Thanks. — Late-Bloomer Too Late?
While I was married and had a baby by the time I was 37, I can appreciate where you’re coming from and how frustrating it is to be ready for a relationship and to not find a good match no matter how hard you look. Whether you’re 37, 27, or 57, that feeling of hopelessness is pretty universal when the search for “the one” has been ongoing for several years and has yielded only disappointment. I get it, and I bet a lot of people reading this get it. And those of us who have gotten lucky and finally found the right match will all probably have similar advice: hang in there, be patient, it will happen, etc., etc., rinse, lather, repeat. But I know, when you’re in it, and when it truly seems like all the good ones are taken, those platitudes ring a bit hollow.
And in that same vein, maybe it won’t help when I tell you that my own husband was one of those good men over 35 in NYC who was still single and available when I met him, so I know the unicorns do exist. In fact, I had to come all the way from a different city to find mine. But that doesn’t mean they’re in huge supply; it means I got lucky. But I did a few things that may help you and others in a similar boat:
1. I widened my net. As I said, I had to come all the way from Chicago to find my match in NYC. If I’d kept my search only local, I wouldn’t have found Drew and, who knows, maybe I’d still be looking for the right guy.
2. I told everyone I knew that I was looking and was open to set-ups. There are only so many people you can meet on your own, but, when you enlist the help of friends, co-workers, family, and neighbors, you increase your potential options ten-fold. It was a mutual friend who introduced me to Drew and encouraged a blind date. That blind date was ten years ago next month, and we’ve been together ever since.
3. I read corny self-help books about attracting the one. I wrote about this book here. The idea is that you can attract your match in seven weeks by working through the different lessons in the book. I thought it was kind of silly — and still do — but I figured I had nothing to lose and approached the lessons with as much earnestness as I could muster, and, lo and behold, exactly seven weeks after starting the workbook, I met Drew. Here are some other self-help books that have proven helpful to many.
4. I dated against type. As I wrote in this post about dating against type, I have a theory that people seek out partners who help sell an image they’re trying to project to the world or help tell the narrative they’ve created for themselves. I wonder if being a late bloomer in dating has informed the narrative you want to create for yourself and whether, at least on a subconscious level, you are sabotaging your dating life by seeking out only men (i.e. “eligible men” you say don’t exist) who fit that narrative. You say that “eligible” for you means “a man who shares common values, has good character, and is available.” And I find it hard to believe that if those are your only — or even main — criteria, you aren’t finding this in a city of 8.5 million, let alone outside the city. What other criteria are you using to weed out potential matches and which of those criteria can you sacrifice? What if, instead of 40, your match is 51? What if he lives in Miami? What if he has kids? It’s ok to have a few deal-breakers, but beyond those you really need to open your heart to whatever package your person might come in.
5. I kept a positive attitude. Now, to be fair, my search, when I finally got serious about it, didn’t drag on for years and didn’t last well into my 30s, so I speak from a place of relative privilege and comfort in that regard and I know it. But I also know that, had my search dragged on. and had I let myself get bitter and had I projected that bitterness, it would have greatly hindered my chance of making a genuine connection with someone. You don’t sound bitter or particularly jaded, but you do sound understandably frustrated and you said you’re having an increasingly difficult time staying positive. You need to try as hard as you can to keep that in check and to not project that when meeting new people. One way to do that is to imagine that everyone you meet may lead you to your destiny. It’s kind of a corny way of thinking, but it helps. Even if a person you go on a date with isn’t a match, maybe he will introduce you to the person who is. Stay positive and that positivity, which is really just energy, will help in attracting positivity — including your ideal match — into your life.
And if you’re finding it nearly impossible to stay positive, that’s your cue to take a break from dating. Close or pause your online dating profiles, do whatever else you need to tell yourself you’re not actively dating, and focus instead on fostering your friendships and hobbies and on working on your career. This, in a sense, is cultivating positivity in your life, and, eventually, like will attract like. Which brings me back to my first bit of advice: Hang in there, be patient, it will happen. It will.
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
Kate April 8, 2016, 8:25 am
Everything Wendy said. And I was 37 and online dating when I met my husband, an eligible man of 41.
I feel like there might be something in your “shares similar values” requirement that’s narrowing your net. Just a hunch. You shouldn’t be looking for a unicorn, just someone kind, respectful, with integrity.
Lianne April 8, 2016, 8:45 am
Another book I read while still searching was Meeting Your Half-Orange. Like the book Wendy read and references above, it was a bit cheesey and definitely not something I would typically read, but preaches “dating optimism” and trying to remain positive (he’s out there! vs. there are no good ones), along the same lines of The Secret, where you get back what you put out there. I started dating my husband about a year after I read it. Not to say it was because of the book, but it definitely shifted the way I thought about dating – including cutting the shit with my ex – and opened me up to exploring options I wouldn’t have before.
rosie posie April 8, 2016, 8:56 am
LW – I haven’t logged into the site for ages but I was in your position a year or so ago so I thought I would let you know what worked for me. I’m also 37. I was in a long term relationship and when I came out on the other side I realized that most men in my age group were already paired off. I tried online dating and that was super frustrating. I wasn’t looking for anything unrealistic, I just wanted a good guy who made me laugh and who appreciated me. It was difficult to find and traditional dating wasn’t reaping any rewards.
About a million years ago in the forums here on DW there was a topic about dating and Meetup groups were suggested. I went up to the site and checked a few out. I’m ridiculously shy so it took me a long time to sign up for a group I had been keeping my eye on for a few months. I liked the activities the group had so I figured I would like the people too. It was way outside my comfort zone to attend something where I literally knew no one but I forced myself to go. I had a good time but it really took a few more events before I felt comfortable. Doing this was the BEST thing I have every forced myself to do.
Not only did I make a ton of new friends but I met a unicorn. I hadn’t attended the group thinking I would meet someone there, I just hoped that I might make new friends and if that led me to meeting the right guy it would be a bonus. He’s in my age group, not divorced, not bitter and serious about being in a relationship and one day having a family. He was also a late bloomer and every day he thinks he’s so lucky to have met me (he might be a little crazy considering that last part). Those socially awkward guys you seem to be meeting might be that way because they are late bloomers like yourself or they aren’t comfortable getting to know someone in a one on one dating scenario. I highly suggest trying a Meetup event. More importantly try something out of your comfort zone. Succeeding in something new is confidence building and confidence is always sexy.
K April 8, 2016, 10:54 am
I was going to comment and say the same thing. I met my boyfriend through a hiking Meetup group, and while we’re in our early 30’s, there are plenty of people in the group in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s who are single/divorced. Lots of relationships have formed through our group. LW, give it a try! In fact, I’m in the far northern NYC suburbs and tons of people from NYC, NJ, and the surrounding areas are in my hiking meetup group, so you should join if you’re at all interested in the outdoors! Beginners are welcome too, even if you’ve never hiked before.
Also, so glad Meetup worked well for you and that you found a unicorn, rosie posie!
rosie posie April 8, 2016, 11:24 am
Thanks, K. I’m glad you met someone too!
Just Max April 8, 2016, 2:56 pm
K, I wonder if we’ve hiked together!
I’ve been across the country for the last year, so it’s been a while. But I will be rejoining those meetup groups when I go back home (northern NJ).
I often hope to meet my unicorn in one of the hiking groups, mostly because I want to keep hiking and it’d be awesome to date someone that wants to do the same. Sadly, I have yet to meet someone via a Meetup, neither back home nor where I am now. :-/ (which it may very well be because I’m not settled in one place yet? Food for thought).
But! I’ll keep hoping! 😉
K April 11, 2016, 8:54 am
It’s possible! Not sure if you were in Hudson Valley Hikers – there’s 19000 members, with probably only 1000 members or so that are actually active and attend meetups, but if not, you should join it when you return!
Randee April 8, 2016, 9:27 am
WWS. I was 40 when I met my husband, and he was 42. We met online! And my mom constantly marvels how he managed not to be taken before we met, as he’s such a great guy. Sure, he’s got his “things” like we all have “things” (I definitely have “things”) but you decide what’s important and what you can live with and what you can love and you make it work, if it’s important to you.
Raccoon eyes April 8, 2016, 9:39 am
Yes to dating outside your “type.” Im 35, found my dearest about 3 years ago, after thinking that it just wasnt going to happen for me (dating since 16… quite a few serious relationships and more non-so-serious ones than Id like to admit…and I had lost hope a coupla-few times), and he wasnt my “type,” but clearly a good and decent man. The longer we are together, the more I can see that he, specifically, is a great match for me- and that he ended up “ticking off” boxes that in the beginning I did not expect him to. And that the stuff I found to different from my type about him, actually is some of the best parts of him!
Keep going! That truly is the best advice. Also agree that while it is a numbers game and such, that keeping expectations low is best for your own sanity and makes it so much more amazing and recognizable when a great match crosses your path! Pinning expectations on a guy/potential when you only have just met or click in online interaction or through text or whatever is what was really dragging me down. Each guy you meet shouldnt be aggressively pursued and viewed through the “potential husband/life partner” lens (which is soooo distorting), but through a lens of “this may be a cool person to get to know. period.”
Also- when a guy isnt a good match- either because you reject him OR because he rejects you- that isnt a reflection of YOU and YOUR awesomeness. It just wasnt meant to be… so dont force stuff, is what I mean. Because at times I took rejection hard/wrong, and only in looking back can I say, “Phew! Bullet dodged!” – when at the time, I tended to blame myself and think that *I* was the problem, and if I could just do XYZ, then it could magically all be different/Id be happy/live happily ever after.
Lianne April 8, 2016, 9:56 am
Same wrt being with someone who I thought wasn’t my type. My husband is my best friend’s cousin and my bf had been trying to hook us up for years. I kept resisting. Then when I stopped resisting and saw all the great things I couldn’t see when I was saying “he’s not my type” I was kicking myself for being a short-sighted idiot for so long. But I also think timing is everything and I was also more READY to see him when I stopped resisting. I always tell him he is everything I didn’t know I wanted in a partner.
Raccoon eyes April 8, 2016, 10:17 am
Ahh, so precious! I say that to my Sweetie too- that he is everything I never knew I needed and wanted!
juliecatharine April 8, 2016, 11:47 am
omg, I do that too! awwwwww 🙂
Lianne April 8, 2016, 12:08 pm
We’re so gross 😉 Hahaha
marigolden April 8, 2016, 9:43 am
I would say don’t rule out dating someone a few years younger. My fiance is 5 years younger that me and he’s an amazing man and a perfect match for me.
I think someone already mentioned getting involved in new groups and activities. I wanted to second that. Making new friends in general also helps. You never know who you might meet through new friends and new experience.
marigolden April 8, 2016, 9:46 am
EEK!!! Typos!!! I really need to learn to proof read before hitting send!
anonymousse April 8, 2016, 12:36 pm
And don’t rule out older! My husband is much older. Either I’m super mature or he’s immature, but we’re mostly the perfect maturity for each other.
Vathena April 8, 2016, 12:43 pm
My husband is also older. I was definitely “dating against type” – I’d never gone out with anyone more than a few years older than I was. I was already very interested when I found out how old he was (he’s in great shape and looks quite a bit younger).
juliecatharine April 8, 2016, 9:50 am
WW&EES. I’m 36, met my fiancé two years ago online. I’m in NJ so was dating with a similar (presumably) large pool of prospective men. He’s outside of my normal dating ‘target type’ but meets my true needs. Another huge thing that helped me get into a good head space for dating was getting my dog: having someone (yes, my dog is a someone) in my life to love and love me made me a lot more mellow about dating. Finding ‘the one’ felt far less urgent. LW, if you have the means and inclination there are millions of shelter animals that would love to be loved by you.
Essie April 8, 2016, 10:08 am
I think it’s largely a matter of remaining open, even to people you meet in unexpected circumstances, or to people who don’t seem to exactly meet your criteria. For instance, you’re specifically looking at over 35s. Two years younger than you. If I did that, I would never have met my boyfriend of many years, because he’s three years younger than I am. Does three years matter that much? Five? Ten?
I swore I’d never date a divorced guy. My boyfriend is divorced. I swore I’d never date anyone with kids. Guess what? Kids.
I also find it hard to believe that ALL the guys you meet in the right age range are severely socially awkward or mentally unstable. Some people don’t make a great first impression, because they’re shy or nervous. One of my previous partners was someone that I disliked intensely at first meeting, but I was forced to get to know them better because we worked together, and found that he was a wonderful guy.
And don’t be stuck in a socioeconomic rut, either. My plumber never went to college. He’s smart, he’s funny, and he’s a thoroughly decent, honorable guy whose family is the most important thing in the world to him. If he were dating, I think a lot of more-educated women would pass him by because they don’t see a plumber with a high school diploma as a ‘catch’. Believe me, he’s a catch (a very wise lady with a professional career did catch him). Makes good money, too. 🙂
Kate April 8, 2016, 10:27 am
I also think if you’re a person who finds everyone you meet to be severely awkward or unstable… Likely YOU are.
Diablo April 8, 2016, 10:19 am
First, just for clarification of terminology, a “unicorn” usually refers to that rare person who is truly available and willing to be involved in a no-drama, NSA threesome ( not that I ever met one). The horse you’re looking for is a thoroughbred, a little past his prime years, out to stud but not to pasture. OK, enough horsin’ around. To overgeneralize, generalizin’s easy. I know lots of women who want to take this shortcut to thinking – all the good ones are taken. I also know women who have gone through divorce and now like to think that all men are scum. My one friend has even started extending some of her “all men are bad” generalizations to me – hey, i’m not the one who cheated on you, and neither did all the guys except your ex. The truth is, it’s never easy to find love, but in your 20s, you don’t sweat it because you don’t feel pressed by time. You also don’t have an agenda, as in “looking for relationship.” It’s lot easier to make a friend than find a husband. But i only ever fell in love with people i already called friends. Be open. Make yourself vulnerable. Look for friends – they are great to have while you search for the love of your life. I have another friend who found herself single in her 40s (my former bestie broke up with her after an investment of 12 years – one of the big reasons we aren’t friends anymore). She was fearless and open. She met and married a man who was really not a good match. Got out of it and found another guy, and is now living happily with him. It is possible. Older people come with more baggage, but they are not all broken. Seek friendship without an agenda and I think you will do fine. Good luck.
anonymousse April 8, 2016, 12:37 pm
Lol, that’s what I know as “unicorn,” too!
Thanks p, Dan Savage!
anonymousse April 8, 2016, 12:38 pm
No p intended.
Late Bloomer April 8, 2016, 10:25 am
Hey- I’m the post-er.
Thanks Wendy for publishing my letter. I guess I do need to cast my net wider- I’ve always had a very ‘stay local’ attitude. But I think the last part of your letter is right- my letter doesn’t sound bitter, but I do feel the seeds growing, so I will take a step back for at least a little bit, and come back to dating with a more detached perspective.
And thanks to the commenters! Rosie Posie I LOVE your story. I actually have always gone to meetups, and love them, but they tend to attract more women- at least the ones I’m in. I’ll have to really search for ones with more balanced ratios.
Vathena April 8, 2016, 11:21 am
Re: casting a wider net geographically, I have a friend who lived in the DC area – a really fabulous woman, the total package – who had been dating online for almost a decade without a lot of success. She turned off her geography filters and got a new match with a guy in San Francisco. And they are really a GREAT match. They started an LDR and last year she moved to SF. They just got married and have a baby on the way. She’s 38. I know that the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”, but it can happen! If you are in any way open to relocating, it’s worth a try.
rosie posie April 8, 2016, 11:32 am
Thanks, Late Bloomer! I agree, Meetups tend to attract more women in my area as well. Perhaps if you find one that is more malecentric you could try it out. I know that there are some in my area that have events such as “Retro Video Game Night” and while I don’t attend those I have noticed that almost all the attendees are male. Perhaps if there is something in you area that is mostly male orientated you could try it out. I can’t see a group of guys complaining that a lady would like to join them.
peraltro April 9, 2016, 9:27 pm
Hi Late Bloomer – I completely understand where you are coming from – though I live half way across the world. I’m 37 and I’ve spent much of the latter part of my twenties and part of my thirties single because of career ambitions and in general, I am moody and intense and not the easiest sort of person to be in a relationship with; which makes it difficult to form and maintain close romantic relationships. Lately I’ve been unlucky – it’s as if everyone I meet who I might be interested in is either unavailable or not attracted to me. I make my own problems, too: I’d like to find an ambitious, intelligent partner but most people who are ambitious in their chosen field will not be willing to uproot their lives every 2-3 years and move around the world. And although I’m willing to change jobs, I won’t do that unless I meet someone who I want to spend the rest of my life with. And on and on it goes: I suspect that everyone who’s into their late thirties and is still single has a list of reasons why this is so.
To answer your original question: of course there are good guys out there who aren’t taken – you just have to find one, and there should be many opportunities in a place like New York. I think that Wendy’s advice is spot on – you need to keep trying to meet people, be patient, and widen your net. I’d just add two other things:
– first, there’s no guarantee that even doing all of these things you will meet the kind of person you are seeking, because so much of this is about luck – not only being in the right place at the right time and meeting someone, but that someone having romantic feelings for you and being in the right frame of mind for a serious relationship.
– second, you have to prepare yourself for the possibility that you will remain without what you seek. Which prompts the inevitable question: how can people in our situation live meaningful, satisfying lives?
Late Bloomer April 10, 2016, 11:32 am
Peraltro- thank you for sharing your experiences- it does sound like we’re in similar positions. Moody and intense are definitely words people would use to describe me as well 😉 I also think I probably read too much into certain things, which doesn’t help in relating to the opposite sex.
But, I really like your very last line. It’s a smart and tough question. And I think if we were men, we might not be thinking about this as intensely. No matter how many strides women have made, “are you coupled” is always the first question we get, and the thing that seems to continue to define us. It takes a lot- and I mean a LOT- of emotional strength to not succumb to shaken confidence after hearing it so much.
Northern Star April 8, 2016, 10:44 am
I was in your position ( a little younger) 1.5 years ago. I hadn’t done ANY dating, and I basically was pushed into signing up for a Match.com account by my best friend. Maybe if I was doing it on my own, I would have passed on this one guy—he had a specific interest that I didn’t know much about, and he was a pretty recent widower with no pictures provided. Yikes, potentially LOADS of baggage! Possible fanaticism! No picture!
My best friend told me to contact him anyway. 1.5 years later, we’re happily engaged.
I was in your shoes. I truly never thought I’d find someone as special and wonderful as my fiancé. Wendy’s advice to enlist others is spot-on. If your friends don’t know anyone personally, just having their support and encouragement to try different things will open you up to new possibilities.
em April 8, 2016, 11:02 am
Nothing to add really, except thank you Wendy for a compassionate, not trite response.
Mylaray April 8, 2016, 11:05 am
I haven’t been in this position myself, but I think at any age age, it’s easy to feel hopeless. I did the same 5 things Wendy mentioned, along with keeping my life otherwise full, and found my husband in the least expected place. I see a lot of excuses in the original letter, and I have to wonder if you really are as available and ready as you say you are. I think it could be helpful to pick a few things that would normally make you reject someone (maybe he’s divorced, maybe he’s out of your age range) and go on a date. I think it’s easy to put too many expectations on a single date when in reality, you’re meeting people, getting to know them slowly over time and then seeing if they really fit your needs.
Late Bloomer April 8, 2016, 1:39 pm
Hey- Post-er here again. Just curious- what’s making me sound unavailable/not ready in my letter? Just want to be more aware of it
Mylaray April 8, 2016, 2:08 pm
To me, it came across that maybe you’re nit picking and finding reasons that these men you find aren’t matching up to all the qualities you’re looking for, and it’s quite possible you’re projecting that internally where available men who are ready aren’t attracted to you. It sounds like you beat yourself up a bit for being a “late bloomer” and for taking time to work on yourself and your trauma (which is great! Not enough people do). I have several friends, including my husband, who were late bloomers into sex/dating and there’s nothing I would be able to detect except their attitude. Someone who is down and too hard on themselves isn’t as attractive and doesn’t appear ready. Instead of apologizing to yourself (or others) that you’re 37 and ready to find a partner, be proud of that and try to show positivity and optimism (I know, easier said than done). But people of all ages find someone all the time. And I do think as we get older, our “requirements” get looser as we open up to a wider range of experiences and people who we could share our life with.
Late Bloomer April 8, 2016, 2:34 pm
hmmm- interesting- haven’t thought about that. Appreciate the input
bittergaymark April 8, 2016, 11:14 am
There is definitely SOME truth to that… in both men and women. Many of my single friends at this point — self included! — have some pretty obvious reasons why they are STILL on the market… People will now flip out about this statement, but if they actually think about, they will know it to be true…
Saatl April 8, 2016, 11:20 am
I am echoing a lot of what Wendy and the other commenters said, but adding one more thing. I was 35 and single and all my friends were married with children and the guys I met were fine but there was no click. Then, I met the most amazing man who is now my husband and father to my two kids. So, what do I have to add? Really think about what your dealbreakers are and why they are dealbreakers. My husband is not Jewish and I am. I always considered that a deal breaker, but then upon some self reflection, I realized that was because my parents drilled that into my head, and that it was not particularly important to me. My husband learned a ton about Judiasm, has similar views on religion and identical values despite the difference in our upbringing. And, my parents, who I was terrified to tell, LOVE LOVE LOVE my sweet husband and don’t get along as well with my Jewish brother-in-law. So, basically, it took reassessing my deal breakers to find the perfect guy for me.
Kate April 8, 2016, 1:24 pm
Good point. I have some rather unconventional beliefs that I’ve never talked about on here, that are core to my value system (Lianne knows what I’m referring to and can attest that it would make your hair curl… Or straighten back out as the case may be), but I do not need a man to share those beliefs, just be tolerant of them. I also don’t really want to be alive, but I don’t need a guy who also didn’t want to be born. A life partner need not share all your values.
MiamiMami April 8, 2016, 1:03 pm
Check out the Ted Talk “How I Hacked Online Dating”” by Amy Webb, it’s very inspiring and it is for women in their 30s looking to settle down. Also her self-help book “Data a Love Story” is excellent too! Good luck. 🙂
Lovelygirl April 8, 2016, 7:35 pm
I was in the same boat before I met my husband. Online dating, putting my name out to every person I met along the way that I was actively looking, and always dressed nice even when going to the grocery store. Then I tried a singles cruise that helped me widen my net and consider men outside my comfort zone. A lady I met a year prior at a baby shower for a coworker remembered me and asked if I was still single and of course I still was. She introduced me to the man I wound up marrying. Keep your eyes open, your net cast wide, and always advertise yourself!
Brise April 11, 2016, 9:02 am
A good thing would also be to break your work routine. Take a month leave and travel, or make a work experience in an other branch of your company for a while, or take a training in your field. I met my husband during a one year training leave.
Group trips are also great to meet new people, around an activity (a sport, or culture or whatever interests you).
And persist with the online dating. It is a bit like flat hunting. You see 20 and find the one you want and can have.
I Like cats May 9, 2019, 8:11 pm
I wouldn’t say 35. More like 25. I became very ill at 20 and almost died. By my mid-twenties I realized I was on the shelf.
Gave up on men 20 years ago. All decent men are married. The only guys left are womanizing players. I learned from online dating apps.
Frank Johnson September 30, 2019, 4:04 pm
“What Happened to All the Nice Guys?”
I see this question posted with some regularity in the personals section, so I thought I’d take a minute to explain things to the ladies out there that haven’t figured it out.
What happened to all the nice guys?
The answer is simple: you did.
See, if you think back, really hard, you might vaguely remember a Platonic guy pal who always seemed to want to spend time with you. He’d tag along with you when you went shopping, stop by your place for a movie when you were lonely but didn’t feel like going out, or even sit there and hold you while you sobbed and told him about how horribly the (other) guy that you were fucking treated you.
At the time, you probably joked with your girlfriends about how he was a little puppy dog, always following you around, trying to do things to get you to pay attention to him. They probably teased you because they thought he had a crush on you. Given that his behavior was, admittedly, a little pathetic, you vehemently denied having any romantic feelings for him, and buttressed your position by claiming that you were “just friends.” Besides, he totally wasn’t your type. I mean, he was a little too short, or too bald, or too fat, or too poor, or didn’t know how to dress himself, or basically be or do any of the things that your tall, good-looking, fit, rich, stylish boyfriend at the time pulled off with such ease.
Eventually, your Platonic buddy drifted away, as your relationship with the boyfriend got more serious and spending time with this other guy was, admittedly, a little weird, if you weren’t dating him. More time passed, and the boyfriend eventually cheated on you, or became boring, or you realized that the things that attracted you to him weren’t the kinds of things that make for a good, long-term relationship. So, now, you’re single again, and after having tried the bar scene for several months having only encountered players and douche bags, you wonder, “What happened to all the nice guys?”
Women in their 20s have numerous opportunities to date the decent men they claim to want, but they consistently reject or friendzone these men for jerks and promiscuity until they’re past their prime. These women take advantage of the nice guy’s kindness for attention and favors, then accuses him of thinking he was entitled to sex just for being nice. She used him for emotional intimacy without reciprocating, in kind, with physical intimacy. You laughed at his consideration and resented his devotion. You valued the aloof boyfriend more than the attentive “just-a-” friend.
But when you are in her 30s with depreciating looks, jerks who won’t commit, the likelihood of being a single mom, and the social pressure from her married friends, she asks “Where have all the good men gone?” Funny how back when she was chasing the bad boys and the Chads, he was a nice guy unworthy of dating, but now that you are past your prime and need a bailout he’s a “real man” who will treat you with respect.
Eventually, he took the hint and moved on with his life. He probably came to realize, one day, that women aren’t really attracted to guys who hold doors open; or make dinners just because; or buy you a Christmas gift that you mentioned, in passing, that you really wanted five months ago; or listen when you’re upset; or hold you when you cry. He came to realize that, if he wanted a woman like you, he’d have to act more like the boyfriend that you had. He probably cleaned up his look, started making some money, and generally acted like more of an asshole than he ever wanted to be.
Fact is, now, he’s probably getting laid, and in a way, your ultimate rejection of him is to thank for that. And I’m sorry that it took the complete absence of “nice guys” in your life for you to realize that you missed them and wanted them. Most women will only have a handful of nice guys stumble into their lives, if that.
So, if you’re looking for a nice guy, here’s what you do:
1.) Build a time machine.
2.) Go back a few years and pull your head out of your ass.
3.) Take a look at what’s right in front of you and grab ahold of it.
I suppose the other possibility is that you STILL don’t really want a nice guy, but you feel the social pressure to at least appear to have matured beyond your infantile taste in men. In which case, you might be in luck, because the nice guy you claim to want has, in reality, shed his nice guy mantle and is out there looking to unleash his cynicism and resentment onto someone just like you.
If you were five years younger.
So, please: either stop misrepresenting what you want, or own up to the fact that you’ve fucked yourself over. You’re getting older, after all. It’s time to excise the bullshit and deal with reality. You didn’t want a nice guy then, and you really don’t want one, now. What you want from him is emotional support and his paycheck.
A Recovering Nice Guy
Dear Wendy October 1, 2019, 4:59 am
No nice guy talks about women like this, like they expire once they hit their 30s and are “past their prime,” with “depreciating looks.” I guarantee that literally no woman, no matter how old and ugly she gets, is ever going to regret rejecting someone like you.
Lucidity October 1, 2019, 6:07 am
“These women take advantage of the nice guy’s kindness for attention and favors, then accuses him of thinking he was entitled to sex just for being nice. She used him for emotional intimacy without reciprocating, in kind, with physical intimacy. ”
Darn these women who accuse Nice Guys of thinking exactly what the Nice Guys are thinking, huh? LOL
Dear Wendy October 1, 2019, 6:13 am
Yeah, how dare these women, before they are 30 and past their prime, not have sex with every man who is nice to her. They deserve to be alone and single when they’re 33 and of deteriorating looks and value.
Allornone October 1, 2019, 6:21 am
Wow. So Textbook.
You’re not a recovering nice guy. You’re a NiceGuy™. NiceGuys™ are clingy (often a little scary), transactional, and are only really nice because they think at some point, it will pay off for them with either sex or whatever idealized version of a relationship they’ve built up in their head. Real kindness, real caring, doesn’t expect something in return.
P.S. I’m a woman. In my twenties, I did not have numerous opportunities. I was socially awkward, insecure, not particularly attractive, and did not know how to generally talk to people. I did “date” a creep, only because at the time, I didn’t think I could do better. It was only after I worked on myself and gained some effing self-esteem that I found a healthy relationship with a man with whom a relationship built on mutual love, trust, and respect was possible. And yes, he does open doors for me. And I open doors for him. Because it’s just standard politeness and not a big deal.
anonymousse October 1, 2019, 7:18 am
I’m sorry Frank, but you were never a Nice Guy if you expected sex in exchange for pretending to be someone’s friend.
Kate October 1, 2019, 8:22 am
Lol “the bar scene.” Was this written in 1979?
On a serious note, physical intimacy is not reciprocal for emotional intimacy, or we’d all be having sex with our moms, bffs, and therapists. Wtf makes you think sex is reciprocity for friendship.
Also, you and these other “recovering nice guys” aren’t getting laid. That’s a daydream. You didn’t become Chads who are having sex with women, you became incels who fantasize about killing women.
Kate October 1, 2019, 8:26 am
PS, lol your paycheck. Let’s compare tax returns, Frank. ?
Allornone October 1, 2019, 8:42 am
OMG. LOL. I missed the part of the paycheck (honestly, I was just skimming by the end, everything he says is so cliche’ incel).
Honey, I make more than my boyfriend. Like a lot more. Before he recently secured a better job, it was a LOT lot more. Welcome to 2019.
Kate October 1, 2019, 8:43 am
I don’t think he’s dated in this century.
Allornone October 1, 2019, 8:44 am
In case it wasn’t clear since I was replying to Kate, but the “honey” part is all for Frank.
Allornone October 1, 2019, 8:45 am
I doubt he’s talked to a woman this century. He just hides behind the computer screen with the rest of the niceguy incels.
Bittergaymark October 1, 2019, 9:56 am
Eh, he’s no prize. But an INSANE amount of women DO have a real penchant for obsessively dating assholes… I mean, you know, just read a huge chunk of the letters here…
Gus October 4, 2019, 10:14 am
Are all the good 35 + women gone?
I think not.
I get what your saying and I’d agree there is likely a lot if truth to it. Men/Women that are capable and in a healthy place to have a relationship. Have had a good chance to attract their significant other by this stage in life if that what they were seeking.
I’m a late bloomer too. I’m male, over 40 and single. I had an abuse upbringing so although I wanted a relationship I just wasn’t capable. On the couple brief occasions I did attract a potential partner I attracted someone incapable like myself.
Therapy has helped me come to terms and manage things it a much better way. Finally, I now feel ready and good about finding a life partner.
My point is there are lots of reasons why good people haven’t met there ideal partner yet in life. Sure it is not ideal. People stay in bad relationships then wake up one day, need to work on themselves first or just haven’t met the right person.
We can’t change why we weren’t ready. All we can do is get on with life and live it now.
Myself January 31, 2020, 12:16 pm
I’m a late bloomer myself, I was always very young looking for my age and didn’t stop growing till I hit 23, I was one of the smallest boys in HS with a face that is more “cute and boyish ” then rugged handsome (now I’m 6’2″ 220 pounds of muscle) .
I did wind up getting married to a girl I knew from HS, we were only married for a few years and then divorced . It wasn’t a bad split, she didn’t take my house or anything. I wanted children she didn’t, she just fell in love with some other guy.
Like a lot of guys I absolutely hated, not a strong enough word, online dating . For a guy it’s like applying for a job during a recession. It made me feel like women don’t want a profile, they want a resume. It was a lot of work, reading profiles, trying to compose a message that would get a response etc. No fun at all.
At 35 I stopped asking women out entirely, there was always this part of me in the back of my mind that thought some nice girl would find me attractive and approach me for a change. But while women talk to me, I never learned to tell friendly from flirting so I always assume they are just being nice.
I’m about to turn 40, my hope of having wife and family are long dead. I still look much younger and keep myself very fit, but like many of my friends I’ve been single so long the idea of a relationship seems a daydream as realistic as becoming an astronaut.
LeoJ_66 December 24, 2021, 1:07 am
As a curios individual, I always find something interesting in these analyses of ‘where are the good men over 35’, and why can’t women find love and the relationship they want.
As a man, and one formerly married to a grotesquely entitled yet extraordinarily beautiful woman for 22 years. The narcissism became boorish to the point of unbearable and I divorced.
Extremely happy now and single, well set with life and finances…
And I will never date nor attach my self in a relationship of any kind ever again.
It simply isn’t worth the headaches and financial drain.
Much more useful time invested in my business, my health, my auto racing hobby and traveling.
Nothing beats a great view from the top of a mountain just reaching the summit and knowing tomorrow will bring something new and good to enjoy about this life.
Alone and loving it!!
Don’t need anyone or anything.