I have my interests and hobbies. I’ve been told I’m good looking for my age. I’m employed, financially stable, fit and healthy. I’m close with my parents. I have three nieces, but I’m not close with them. I don’t have many close friends. I have acquaintances. I’ve had girlfriends in the past. My longest relationship was a year. I always seem to get bored after three to six months.
At one time, I thought I wanted to get married, and then I realized I didn’t. Now at 50, marriage interests me less and less. If I did have a girlfriend, my ideal arrangement would be to live separately, see each other two or three times a week, and travel together. The issue is that women don’t like this arrangement. They want to live with a man and even get married. My parents have warned me that if I remain on my own, I will be very lonely and I will have no one to take care of me in my old age. I’m not that worried about potential loneliness. I’m not lonely now, so why would I be lonely later? Loneliness is a state of mind. You can be in a room full of people and be lonely. But there is a possibility, as I age, that I would be very lonely.
You know what concerns me the most? I’m concerned what people think of me. Yep, that’s right. Not loneliness, but how I’m perceived. If I don’t ever marry or have a serious girlfriend, I’m concerned people may think I’m gay, bisexual, or strange. They’ll be thinking, “What’s wrong with that dude”? Let me just say to all the readers that there is nothing wrong with being gay or bisexual. If you’re a single man in your 50s and have never married, people think you’re gay or bisexual, and that is false in my case. I’m 100 percent heterosexual. I’m more of a selfish, immature individual who likes to be free.
Do you think I should push myself to form a romantic relationship because of the many benefits? In other words, should I force myself to do something I don’t really want to do for my own good? And what do you think of people thinking I could be gay or bisexual or strange because I’m a perpetually single man? — Single and Straight
You ask if you should push yourself to form a romantic relationship that you have no interest in for the “many benefits” it would bring you when only one that seems remotely appealing to you is that maybe people won’t assume you’re gay, bi, or strange, and, no, that is not a good reason to get into a relationship!! You seem happy enough with your lifestyle – you enjoy your freedom, and though you don’t seem to have many people in your life you feel close with, you claim not to feel lonely. Your own company is enough for you, and when it’s not, you apparently don’t have trouble finding a date or someone to have sex with. But… you’re afraid that people think you might be gay or strange? Good lord, that’s the kind of stuff my EIGHT-YEAR-OLD says people on the playground talk about! And even then I’m outraged because, come the fuck on, it’s 2020 and my family lives in the liberal bubble of central Brooklyn, so why are kids taunting each other about being gay?!
I mean, why on earth is the idea of “being gay” even an issue anymore? Who is fostering the fear? People like you, that’s who, and it needs to fucking stop. It is not enough for you to say “there is nothing wrong with being gay or bisexual” if you would go so far as to marry someone you don’t really want to marry — you said yourself that marriage interests you less and less — to somehow prove you aren’t gay. If there’s nothing wrong with being gay, you shouldn’t worry if people think you are! I don’t worry if people think I’m left-handed even though I’m not. I don’t go out of my way to wave my right hand around when I’m holding a pencil and to say in a loud voice, “Look at me using my RIGHT hand to write and to wave at you all, I am definitely NOT left-handed, nope, not I!” in an effort to prove which of my hands is the dominant one because it’s a total non-issue, just like my sexuality and your sexuality and EVERYONE’S SEXUALITY. It is a non-issue!! Or, at least it would be if people would stop making it one, and I’m looking at YOU. STOP MAKING PEOPLE’S SEXUALITY AN ISSUE BECAUSE WHO CARES?!?!
So, no, don’t get married. Don’t get married unless you meet someone who changes the way you feel about marriage, which, who knows – might happen! Don’t get married to have someone to take care of you in old age because there’s no guarantee your partner will be able to. YOU might have to take care of her, and I don’t know if you have that in you, frankly. And don’t get married so people won’t think you’re gay or bi or strange. Marrying someone of the opposite sex won’t stop people from thinking you’re gay anyway. Look at Lindsay Graham or Mike Pence. And, as for being strange, something tells me that it would take a lot more than a conventional marriage for you to appear typical, and you know what? As with being gay or bi or straight, there’s nothing wrong with being a little strange either! Own that shit. Own who you are! At 50, it is beyond time to be ok with yourself, and if you need some help getting there, take advantage of your financial stability and your lack of expensive dependents and get yourself to therapy. Even totally “normal” people do that.
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
Helen January 7, 2020, 10:32 am
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being single or a sexual orientation other than straight. There is, however, something grotesquely wrong with tricking a woman into marrying you for appearance. You make no mention of the woman you’re consider marrying, only the horrible, unwanted you’d be subjecting her to. You’ll get bored of her within 3 months, you’re set in your ways & have no intention of making room for her in your life. No wonder you prefer sex workers and tinder hookups, you don’t have to consider the other person at all.
But I also don’t think being a loner or selfish makes you a bad person either. Duping a woman into a loveless marriage does
Kate B. January 7, 2020, 10:53 am
When I was young, I didn’t date much. I still don’t. I remember my mother being very concerned that people would think I was gay because I didn’t have a lot of boyfriends. One of her friends actually asked her, “But she’s engaged, right? Right?” I think she still thinks I’m gay, frankly, even though I’ve told her that I’m not. I don’t own a dog, either. Does that mean I’m into cats? The whole thing is ridiculous. I decided a long time ago that if someone made a big deal about my perceived sexuality, without even bothering to talk to me about it, then that person did not need to be in my life. If you’re happy with your life the way it is, then live it as you choose. Nobody else’s opinion matters. Marrying someone just to prove something to the world would be very cruel. I also don’t think being a loner makes you selfish or immature, necessarily. Take it from a fellow loner.
LisforLeslie January 7, 2020, 10:58 am
I’m closing in on 50, never married and totally selfish and immature. No really, I still like to watch cartoons and I don’t want to deal with anyone else’s mess or nonsense.
But never have I really given a crap about whether people think I’m gay or not. Don’t marry a woman for that reason. Do it for a decent reason like she has a big house or season’s tickets to your favorite football team.
ron January 7, 2020, 11:25 am
What a strange letter. At age 50, why would you suddenly start worrying that people might think you were gay. You’ve lived through a couple of decades when society did impose a stigma upon gays, but that is not the same issue today. Is thee an unmentioned actual problem in the present with people commenting behind your back or shunning you for being gay, or is this just a hypothetical worry that just popped into your head, or are your parents questioning if you are actually gay.
Marrying to have someone to take care of you when you grow old is no sure thing, either. People of both sexes fall ill and die at any age. You could equally well marry, spend half a decade caring for a dying wife, and still spend your last decade (or two) alone.
If you marry, marry for love, or at least for excellent companionship.
Bittergaymark January 7, 2020, 11:32 am
And — really — don’t worry. You sound far too dull, too dreary, and too fucking homophobic for people to think you are even vaguely interesting. Much less gay.
anonymousse January 7, 2020, 12:30 pm
anonymousse January 7, 2020, 12:45 pm
I don’t think anyone thinks about your sex life or orientation half as much as you do. No one cares. And you shouldn’t care what others might think. I know a few older singles. It’s not that unusual to be single or alone as an older adult.
Miss MJ January 7, 2020, 1:31 pm
No. Don’t get married for appearances or whatever. If you’re content where you are, then be content where you are.
I do think you’re wrong that there aren’t women out there who’d enjoy a romantic relationship with someone where they live separately, see each other a couple of times a week and travel together. They largely aren’t in their 30s or early 40s, though. They’ll be closer to your own age, maybe a bit older, not want kids or have kids that are grown or nearly grown, and be invested in their careers, friends and hobbies, but still looking for companionship. If you’re looking for age-appropriate women, then what you’re looking for is out there. You just have to set your parameters right and put what you want in your profile and maybe change the dating sites/apps you use.
_s_ January 7, 2020, 6:16 pm
“I do think you’re wrong that there aren’t women out there who’d enjoy a romantic relationship with someone where they live separately, see each other a couple of times a week and travel together.” – totally agree. I know my mom would LOVE a relationship like that.
Prognosti-gator January 7, 2020, 1:42 pm
No! Maybe you should go for the “long con.”
Hit up every glory hole and bath house and have lots of anonymous gay sex … just to establish “street cred.” Then, date men. Eventually, settle down with one special dude and get married. Maybe even have kids.
Then, after another 20+ years of seemingly marital bliss, activate the neuro-communicator implanted in your skull. Send a broadcast brainwave to everyone you know telling them “Ha ha. I’m not gay. Fooled you all. That’s what you get for speculating on someone else’s love life.”
Man. You’ll show them.
OR – calm down and realize that doing ANYTHING just to satisfy others’ opinion of you is stupid and move on and live your life how you want.
You know. Either way is good.
Fyodor January 7, 2020, 1:43 pm
Gay people can get married now. It’s been in the news and everything.
LisforLeslie January 7, 2020, 4:14 pm
Ange January 7, 2020, 4:00 pm
The best thing you can do is set as much money aside as possible so when you’re older and potentially in need of care you can pay dedicated professionals to do so for you. I feel like that’d be a much safer bet than marrying someone.
LisforLeslie January 7, 2020, 4:17 pm
I’ve mentioned this before but I’ve been wintering in Florida – and I meet a lot of ladies in their 70’s/80’s. Marriage & dating at this age includes a discussion about whether a man is looking for a Nurse or a Purse. If you’re wealthy, you may remarry to have someone to take care of you (aka the Nurse). If you’re not wealthy but in good health, you can seek out some of the richer single woman (aka the Purse).
if you’re neither healthy nor rich … well good luck.
_s_ January 7, 2020, 6:21 pm
My mom’s younger than that, but I’ve heard her say all men her age want “a nurse and purse.” She doesn’t have the purse and doesn’t want to be a nurse – she’d love exactly sort of the relationship this guy wants.
SubbyP January 7, 2020, 4:42 pm
No. Do not marry someone under false pretenses. Especially do not marry someone because you’re worried about your image.
Also, try looking up “aromantic.”
Leon January 7, 2020, 11:33 pm
Are you sure you are not gay? You sound like a closeted person to me, but I don’t know. Why don’t you try the d? Maybe the rainbow path is a thing that would benefit you in the long run.
TheLadyE January 8, 2020, 2:24 am
Yet again with the astounding confidence of a middle aged man who thinks he can just get married without any thought as to what he offers a woman or who will have him. It must be nice to think you can just wake up one day and conveniently find a mate/partner without much consideration as to who you are or what you can offer to her. As I say all the time, oh, to have the confidence of a man.
Also, LW, no. Unless you want to be the worst person in the world and a huge asshole, you should not get married under false pretenses, provided you find a woman who will marry you. No, you should not. It’s deceptive, wrong, and deplorable.
Kate January 8, 2020, 6:05 am
No, it’s, “to have the confidence of a mediocre white man.”
TheLadyE January 8, 2020, 11:28 pm
YES, Kate, so true.
Air Horse January 8, 2020, 9:59 am
TheLadyE and Kate
Air Horse January 8, 2020, 9:43 am
I’m enjoying all the thoughtful, well worded responses to this ass’ letter. I’m in my mid 50’s, long divorced and out of a 10+ yr relationship (which I ended). I own my own home, have a good job with a pension and WOULD NEVER, EVER live with a man again. I would love to have a drama free, relationship with a man that involves day trips, maybe some travel and just enjoying hanging out with each other a couple of days a week. I find many men are looking for a new home to move to and a cook. Been there, done that….I love the life that I have created for myself and my family is very happy for me. I am not lonely as I hang out with my friends and I do enjoy my “alone time”.
AW January 13, 2020, 1:24 pm
But aren’t you worried people will think you’re a lesbian? Kidding – I’m in the same boat. Divorced, zero interest in ever cohabiting or marrying again. I wouldn’t mind a friend for an occasional date/trip/encounter, but I am not in any way seeking a deep romantic happily every after story. And I really don’t care what anyone thinks about that.
Fyodor January 8, 2020, 1:22 pm
Eh, I don’t think that it’s terribly difficult to find someone to marry if you really want to and aren’t concerned with the quality of the partnership as this guy obviously is not.
Sea Witch January 8, 2020, 5:30 pm
He sounds like a prime candidate for a mail order bride. Someone whose only expectation is financial support and perhaps citizenship in his country.
mellanthe January 17, 2020, 4:52 am
You’ll make both yourself and your new Mrs miserable. At best, you migh find someone who is also equally insecure and wants a sham marriage based on deceiving everyone else, rather than mutual respect and love for each other. At worst, you might deceive some loving woman into thinking that you care for her, and she might spend many sad years wondering what she’s doing wrong and how unloveable she is if you evidently don’t care for her. You’ll both probably get really hurt.
By all means, if you’re asexual and can find someone who will be your platonic life partner go for it! A relationship doesn’t ahve to be sexual or romantic to work. But both people have to agree on the partnership and it needs to be based on respect for each other.
Katherine January 21, 2020, 7:15 am
I find it interesting that you don’t have an issue with people thinking you are “selfish and immature” but you DO have an issue with people thinking you are “gay, bi, or strange”. Selfish and immature isn’t exactly a badge of honor. This is well worth exploring. Also, you are 50. Stop worrying so much what people think about you. People aren’t as concerned with your life choices as you might like to think – they’re busy with their own.
Moe July 25, 2022, 9:51 am
I’m a 46-year-old single lesbian without kids. I am generally happy, or at least not interested in a relationship just to not be single. I am close to my family and have a happy, solid friend network. First, people rarely, if ever, seem to care I’m single and if they do, I really dismiss them as silly. One warning: never dismiss or underestimate the significance of being considered gay. It is very far from a non issue and is much more culturally significant than being left handed (I know because I’m both). It can result in real dangers. I’m not saying this guy isn’t homophobic or that our culture should care what a person’s sexual orientation is, but the reality is, people do.
ron July 25, 2022, 3:17 pm
No, that would be a really dumb thing for you to do. There are communities where there is little downside in being considered gay. If you aren’t living in such a community, move.