Are All of the Good Men Taken?

Are all of the good men taken? A beautiful woman is asking herself that question as she shrugs her shoulders.A comment from one of our readers, Jim, on my last post got me thinking about the whole idea of scarcity, as in all of the good men are taken. As Jim points out, there are many educated, responsible, interesting men out there that are complaining about the same thing – the lack of available women. So how can it be that both sides are feeling the same, particularly when the statistics show that nearly half (44%) of the U.S. population over age 18 are single, with this group being roughly split with 53% being female and 47% being male (so single men have a slight advantage). But that's still nearly 48 million single men in the U.S. alone. So why do so many of us have so much trouble finding just one?

It got me thinking back to when my husband and I were first dating years ago. We both had many single friends and we thought it would be great to play a little matchmaker and see if we couldn't help some of them find love with each other just like we had found.  After all, they were attractive, successful and single, and most, if not all, were tired of being solo. And they were all going to all the same types of places looking for the same thing – to meet someone who they might be interested in having a relationship with that might eventually lead to marriage.

I really thought it would be easy to match up my single girlfriends – after all, these were women who consistently complained about never finding any good men! Here I had a guy with a plethora of great bachelor friends, all of them great choices. Getting them together should be pretty simply, right?  Well, as we found out, apparently not. But that was before I understood the phenomenon that I would begin to see happen over and over again as I met more and more single women AND men.

We'd typically invite a few of these respective friends over to our place for a group get together so there would be no pressure. After they would meet and hang out together for a while in this comfortable, safe, group setting, we would always want to know what they thought. And surprisingly, the answer was pretty much the same from both the men and the women - he's not my type, she's not my type. They just didn't feel that initial attraction, those sparks, that WOW factor. This came from both groups! And that was the irony.

I realized that this was the single biggest factor that was keeping them all in the same situation as they've always been – single. Digging deeper, we found that both groups had their long list of must-haves, with the WOW factor being at the top of the list. And both groups were becoming more and more close-minded with a stricter must-have list all the time.

You see, what we soon realized is that our friends were holding out for this unrealistic, fantasy-like chemistry that they couldn't even define – but they believed they would know it when they saw it. They didn't realize that, while being relatively attracted to your potential mate is important, there are many more important things that will determine if you will be happy in a long term relationship or not. Like how you he treats you, how he cares about you, how you care about him. Fireworks and chemistry both fade over time, whereas treating each other with kindness and respect, caring about each other, and sharing the same values and goals will build a long lasting love like you wouldn't believe. Instead of fading with time, this kind of true love just gets better and better.

So how do we find all of these available men?

It begins with taking a really good look at ourselves.  What are we really being picky about, and are we being picky about the right things?

While we are beautiful, radiant, confident women who deserve nothing less than a man who is available to commit to us, available to be in a relationship with us, and treats us with that same love and respect we have for ourselves, we also need to be realistic.  How he treats us should be the number one thing we are paying attention to. It needs to be. Sure we need to be attracted to him. But before we decide to dismiss him simply because our chemistry indicator isn't off the charts the first time we meet him, we need to consider that someone may also be dismissing us in this same manner. Wouldn't we want more than that kind of surface dismissal?  Wouldn't we want someone to give us a chance to get to know them and for them to find out more about who we really are and what we really have to offer them?

The truth is that there are some really great guys out there that are a bit nervous on the first date, might stammer a bit, or might have trouble carrying on a conversation the entire night without any uncomfortable silences. But once you get to know him, things will get better and better. Once he feels comfortable telling you about his hobby, of say, comic book collecting, and you let him know that it's OK with you, things will start to flow and a real connection can build.

If you tend to reject a man very quickly based on superficial qualities, or some small thing that can be overlooked, think about how you would feel if you went out on a date and a guy rejected you because he didn't like the dress that you wore or he thought you weren't interesting enough. You'd think he was making a big mistake, and the truth is he would be making a big mistake. But so are you if you reject a guy for any similarly small reasons.

When we turn the tables on ourselves, it really is that simple.  It's about really giving someone a chance. Holding off judgment until we've actually had a chance to get to know someone more than just that initial impression. Getting to know who someone really is and what they're really like.  How they treat us.

We're expecting them to get to know the real us, so isn't it time we gave them the same chance?

What do you think? Have you really given all of the available men that you've met a fair chance? Or have you dismissed some because of surface reasons like an odd hobby, lack of a full head of hair or initial awkwardness? Tell us about it in the comments!

About Jane

Comments

  1. I think what you have written here is both right and wrong. It's wrong to say that it's unrealistic to expect to meet someone who makes your pulse beat harder whenever you see him--that this kind of fireworks doesn't last. I am here to tell you that is not true. I met the love of my life at age 17--fireworks the first time he held me--and I was just as madly in love with him 30 years later. Just looking at him across a room made me hot. But he died unexpectedly 8 years ago and I realized that it was unlikely that I would meet his equal again, so I lowered my standards. Since then, I have been on dates with probably 100 dfferent men--of all ages, sizes, income levels, hair status, etc.--and I have yet to meet anyone who comes even remotely close to exciting me and treating me as well as did my late husband. I have been in two long term relationships and those ended because neither guy treated me as I deserved--one had Aspberger's syndrome and was unable to show any affection towards anyone, let alone me, and the other one was 9 years older than me, cheated on me, and barely gave me the time of day when my mother died a year ago. Believe me, I am not being picky. I am now 57. The men my age who are even halfway decent all want to date someone 10 years younger than me--and I am attractive, well educated, fun to be around, active, financially secure and have a ton of good friends of both genders. My friends all tell me not to settle, but that's what it feels like I am doing every time I date someone for whom I feel zero attraction. Your advice makes sense for 20 or 30 somethings for whom there are still many fish in the sea, but by the time you are a woman in her late 50's, your options are much more limited and the truth needs to be told about that. Thanks.

    • Thanks for the comment Jo, and you are very right – dating later in life certainly presents itself with different challenges than does dating younger in life, but then again I think it's fair to say that dating at any stage in life presents its own set of challenges. At your stage in life, many of the available men are widowers, and there are many good support groups for widows and widowers. I realize that it may seem strange to some people, but you may find someone very compatible in one of these groups (my own father-in-law met his current wife at one of these groups, several years after the loss of my husband's mother, and they have been very happy together ever since). As far as dating men that you feel zero attraction for, my advice would be to simply start a friendship with these men, and spend time with them to see if you are compatible as friends. You would be very surprised at how often that can turn into an attraction months or even years later, as you discover more and more that you like about the other person.

      Regarding the fireworks, I totally agree with you, Jo - love at first site can happen, and it can result in long lasting, true love, which you were very fortunate to have had in your life. It's just very unlikely, and for every story, like yours, that I've heard of love at first site that turned into a life-long love affair, there are 99 stories of what was believed to be love at first site, but turned out to be an unhealthy infatuation based on the all too common deep seated desires for unhealthy, emotionally unavailable men. These relationships spark and pop initially and then fizzle very quickly, ending in heartbreak (and I've been there several times so I unfortunately know this cycle very well).

      You were very right to walk (or run) away from these men who didn't treat you well and even cheated on you, and for that you can feel confident in knowing that you are much healthier emotionally than many of us who would have tried to stick it out in a similar situation. The only recommendation I would have for you is that if you go on a date with someone with whom you feel zero attraction for, but seems like a very kind, healthy, available person, then at least continue to spend time with him on a friendship basis. At the very least you will develop another friendship, and have a possible companion to do things with when you find that you are by yourself and looking for some companionship. Also, networking is as important in social circles as it is in business circles, and you might find that someone that turns into a friend may have another contact that leads to a love relationship for you!

  2. Hello Jane,
    Thanks again for this wonderful piece! Based on my experience, I haven't rejected anyone from my dates. I tried to always look for the positive side of him.But unfortunately and sadly, most of them turned into frogs after sometime. :-( And now I got a lot of thinking, why am I attracted to unavailable men? I hope I will find the answer soon.

    Rose

    • I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Rose. I hear you about the frogs - most of mine turned into frogs as well. Getting to the root of why we're so attracted to unavailable men really holds the key to moving on to healthy relationships, but it's not an easy journey and it doesn't happen overnight. If you haven't already read the post about my personal experience with unavailable men, check it out here.

      The most important part is remembering that you deserve nothing less than someone who treats you well, and refusing to settle for anything less than that, regardless of how much you feel something for someone and believe you can change them. The reality is, you can't. Most of all, be patient with yourself in the process; it took more than overnight to get to this point, and it will take more than that to get to the other side.

  3. Jo: I am 54 and understand all too well what you said about men in our age group wanting younger women. I have seen it time and time again. But to them I say, have at it. I wouldn't want such a shallow man anyway. What I have found in men in our age group is a whole lot of baggage...enough to open a Samsonite store. It stands to reason that the older we are, the more painful relationships we have most likely experienced. But if you are unable to learn from them and move on, I don't want you anyway. The men in our age group simply don't know what they are missing! One of my favorite quotes by Henry Rollins says it best: “Girls aren't beautiful, they're pretty. Beautiful is too heavy a word to assign to a girl. Women are beautiful because their faces show that they know they have lost something and picked up something else.”

    • "One of my favorite quotes by Henry Rollins says it best: “Girls aren't beautiful, they're pretty. Beautiful is too heavy a word to assign to a girl. Women are beautiful because their faces show that they know they have lost something and picked up something else.”"

      I must have missed this one earlier, Brenda, because this is a most beautiful quote you've shared with us here. So very, very true!

      Thanks for recalling it and sharing it here, it bears repeating time and time again, and putting somewhere we can be reminded of this daily. And let's not miss the fact that it came from a man. :-)

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