I’m shocked at how shallow men really are. I don’t mean to be egotistical but I have always been considered far above average in the looks department. But now that I am over 40
I have noticed that men just get what they want and leave. Are there any mature
single men left out there or am I doomed to stay single?
If it makes you feel any better, I too am single and I certainly don’t feel “doomed” so you have that option open to you as well. I quite like my life. But on behalf of my entire gender you have my apologies for any poor behaviour you’ve endured as a result of a minority of men’s myopic interest in sex. It is fine for sex to be important—even very important—in a relationship, but it can never be the entire basis for one.
Without knowing more about your situation I can’t say whether or not this may have been a factor but I can speak to a trend I’ve definitely noticed in my work. People may not like these facts, but if you remove the difficulties generated by child-rearing, I overwhelmingly see two basic situations in the struggling relationships I work with: the first is grossly inattentive men, and the second is blindly selfish women.
By 40 even the most jaded guy’s-guy will have done at least some introspection on the fundamental questions surrounding our existence. The few that haven’t will seem remarkably immature and undeveloped, but even for those that have—that still doesn’t mean they’ve also built the communication skills necessary to convey those personal discoveries and the resulting values. So it’s not that there isn’t depth there, it’s that there is no language to describe it. This can make many men very challenging to communicate deeply with.
Men are taught to become masters of their own destiny, so because they are busy advancing their own cause, in many cases they have greater challenges in becoming attuned to the needs of others around them. This is why it’s considered ridiculous for a man to have sex and not orgasm, whereas it’s all too common for women (and that’s largely because the guy really doesn’t even have her satisfaction on his radar). Most men never even consider the fact that their wives might be faking their orgasms every single time.
Again, removing powerful forces like addictions or violence, when men get left in midlife it will very often be because they are failing to connect with what’s going on around them. They fail to notice some of the more mundane but troublesome aspects of running a household. It’s common for men to come to me after being left and they are deeply embarrassed about the fact that their wives had quite pointedly described all of the things that they needed to see changed and yet it’s common for the men not to have addressed any of those things. They will not have helped more with the kids or around the house, they will not have made even the slightest earnest effort to even try to control their tempers or temperaments. In short they weren’t very present within their relationships and that lead to challenges. That said, the ladies have their own version of these challenges and you may be running into that too.
Whereas men tend to be lacking in introspection and general awareness of needs outside their own, the ladies will also often inadvertently be just as selfish. But rather than being unaware of their selfishness, they will justify theirs with volumes of thought. Of course this thought is all self-talk inside her own head so of course it does tend to be overwhelmingly self-supporting and congratulatory. The net result is that a lot of women leave fairly good marriages because they have expectations of a strange kind of perfection.
Through their ruminations about men and love, many women will have imagined their ultimate relationship for some time. They will have imagined it for so long that it will become a hardened plan. They will have essentially pre-built their own version of a “good relationship” in their head. They will know how the couple should act in public, roughly what they should wear, and maybe what level of job the husband should achieve and how the kids should behave etc.. I’ve heard these get remarkably detailed. And they would be great if the man (and the kids) weren’t individuals themselves. Because in the case of the husband, just by being himself he will step outside of her script. Because it does not match her imagination it will be viewed as him being “wrong.” His personal choices will be viewed as being unsupportive of “the relationship” rather than as examples of him merely expressing who he really is. This leaves very little room for the natural growth or the desires of the man. As men age and the allure of sex appeal begins to fade, the desire for peaceful relations begins to increase.
So how this plays out is that middle-aged women are looking for complete, well-rounded, emotionally intelligent men, and the men are looking for women who smile easily and who need very little to be happy. On one side there’s a desire for a man who’s ambitious about nurturing his relationship, and on the other there’s a desire for a woman who’s easygoing about conducting her relationship.
If you’re considerably above average in the looks department then you’ve likely had men extending you kindnesses that a lot of women would never see. But as those men age many will have faced years of complaints about not meeting the expectations of their partner’s scripts. So far from seeking beauty or sex appeal, they begin to seek carefree happiness. They want more calmness and less wrongness.
Only you know your own situation. But when you’re on these dates, pay attention to when you find the men disengaging. It may in fact be when they’ve achieved their “goal” and gotten their sex. Or it might be when you start making demands, or if you start describing your definition of a “good” or “proper” relationship. Because at this stage in life, whatever you do will get compared to the rest of his life. And men mostly do one of three things together. They play a game or sport where they’re focused on the moment they’re in and what they’re doing; they discuss subjects that fascinate or entertain them; or they make fun of things or each other and they laugh. These are all very fun activities, so when that’s what’s waiting for them it becomes difficult to hold their attention with expectations and demands.
If you’re having to deal with guys who are just plain bad at commitment, or who are only seeing you as a sex object, then at least they’ll make a more dedicated man stand out by comparison. And if you find they’re disengaging when you apply any restrictions on their adult freedom, then it may have less to do with them rejecting you and more about them respecting their own freedom as an individual. Either way, as long as you’re enjoying your life I’m fine with you being attached or single. In fact, when you’re okay with either scenario is likely when the highest quality men would find you most attractive.
In the end a relationship never really is a commitment. It’s always a choice. And it doesn’t get made on a wedding day. It needs to happen every single day. So if we’re looking to have good relationships, we need to encourage good choices. If we’re generally consistent, open, loving people, then healthy people will find it easy to choose to spend time with us.
I’m certain there are many avenues to good fortune in your life, so keep your eyes peeled. I wish you every good fortune in finding a way to share your heart more often. And I hope you always remember to be kind to yourself in the process.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.