“No wonder he’s single”

You’ve heard people utter this phrase about a hapless dater — or would-be dater. Perhaps you’ve said it yourself after a vexing encounter with a single. And of course, it can be said about either gender.

The speaker usually says it after an unpleasant interaction, or even hearing about someone’s clueless behavior. I thought it myself recently after a potential suitor’s second call, during which this accomplished, intelligent man was argumentative and condescending.
But whenever I hear someone matter-of-factly say, “No wonder he (or she) is single,” I think, “But I’m single. Just because someone is still single doesn’t mean s/he is clueless, offensive, or uncouth.”

I’d guess no one considers him/herself clueless, offensive, uncouth or any unflattering adjective. We justify our behavior as being appropriate based on our logic. The man I deemed argumentative probably thought he was just pointing out the flaws in my thinking. The know-it-all at Thanksgiving dinner probably thought he was just imparting his knowledge to those who didn’t know what he knew — even though others shared their knowledge about the topic. The person who gets defensive and quarrelsome says she’s just standing up for herself.

Can these behaviors cause someone to remain single longer than they’d like? Absolutely. Yet, I see these same behaviors in coupled people too. So did they become this way after they married? Or did their sweetie just learn to live with them? Who knows.

The fewer obnoxious behaviors you have, the easier it is to find someone who wants to be with you. So while I believe in working to reduce irritating behaviors, I also know it’s impossible to eliminate them all. With focus, you can be on your best behavior for a while, but at some point you feel accepted enough to let your guard down and some of the old ways seep to the surface.

If you are brave, you can ask close friends to point out behaviors that they think might be contributing to your still being single. This takes some thick skin and the ability to hear negative feedback without getting defensive or angry. When I’ve had the courage to ask and fully listen, I’m reminded I still have work to do to monitor some of my off-putting behaviors.

It’s easy to think that the reason you are still single is you just haven’t found the right person. Yet, maybe you’re doing some things that keep the right person at bay.

Have you ever asked your friends for feedback on what may be keeping you single? If so, what have you learned?


Date or Wait_3d-coverGot a midlife dater on your holiday gift list? Any of the Adventures in Delicious Dating After 40 books make perfect gifts! I’m happy to autograph Date or Wait: Are You Ready for Mr. Great? to the recipient and send it directly to her.


13 responses to ““No wonder he’s single””

  1. Karen Avatar

    I think this is so true! I call these types the “undate-ables”. Especially when you’re dating in middle age, the proportion of undate-ables you will run into naturally rises due to many of the easy-going and “normal”-acting people already being in couples.

    On the other hand, of course that doesn’t mean that all single people are “undate-able”.

    I have asked friends about what you say, and they usually reply that I terrify men. (!) Although I’m petite and fairly pretty, I’m also very highly educated and work a professor in the hard sciences. So the guys all feel that they would automatically come up short in my eyes and this scares them away. I do believe that the vast majority of men are not comfortable with a woman who they think is smarter than they are–I’ve seen in over and over in my own dating life/marriage. At this point, I don’t even consider dating men unless they are similarly highly educated and also happy with their career achievements.

  2. Mark Avatar

    The first time I met a woman who intimidated me a bit with her career and education I was briefly taken aback, but I recovered. I believe in myself. I’m worth someone’s time on a date. So it ended up being just fine.

    (The woman in question graduated third in her class at William and Mary and first in her graduate degree class, and got accepted to Harvard Law, but it wasn’t even that as much as just how confident she was. I hadn’t encountered someone like her before.)

  3. Anna Avatar

    This is timely for me DG because I was told last week (via an email) “no wonder you are still single”. I am tall, 5′ 8″, and like to wear heels so that brings me up to 5’10” at least (this is on my online profile). I had received a very nice email from a guy and his profile was really interesting and we might have a lot in common. But he is 5’6″ and looked small even in his photos. So instead of sending my usual polite no thanks email, I explained that as he is 5’6″ we might not suit each other as most men are not comfortable with a woman taller than him. I should have sent my usual polite No Thanks!! I got a horrible tirade back of how immature, and arrogant I am. And the its-no-wonder-you-are-still-single slap. Now I am wondering if the guy is right. Perhaps I am too picky. But really, what man DOES want a woman towering over him?? I know in future I will not offend again by telling the truth and just send the general No Thanks polite email. But it does give me food for thought.
    Likewise as Karen says in relation to highly educated women. I did my own brief research on one online site and took away all mention of my education and my career and bam!! loads more interest from men. I was tempted to leave it that way but did change it back to the “real me” as I know when we do date, the guys will find me out in the end 🙂 Plus, I would not be happy with a guy that could not accept my education nor my career ambitions. So now I have to look for a highly educated, confident, tall man……….who is also still single.

  4. Richard Avatar

    Anna: I think the problem is that you told him he was short, and insecure about it – “most men are not comfortable with taller women”. However, that does not excuse his response. Best to say you are not interested and leave it at that. If he persists, then put the “blame” on yourself. Say you are tall, and prefer taller guys.

    Mental note: I need to look for educated, career oriented, tall women. Seems like the competition may not be as intense. I prefer educated women. I find it easier to talk shop (what she is working on), rather than what happened to Tiger Woods the other day.

  5. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Anna: Richard is right. No one likes the sting of rejection, and when the sting is about something one can’t change and may not feel good about, it stings a bit more.

    I’ve learned very few people like to be told really why I think we aren’t a match. If I was forced to tell a shorter man that it was because I’d tower ower him, I’d say it was my issue — that I’m not like Tom Cruise’s wives who didn’t seem to mind. But best to say nothing.

    And it says way more about the guy than it does about you. So reflect on your pickiness if you want, or just know there are guys like Richard out there who love us smart (and perhaps tall!) ones!

  6. Karen Avatar

    Anna, why should you feel guilty because some aspect of a guy just “isn’t doing it” for you? I think it’s great that you know what you want, plus you told him and didn’t lead him on or anything.

    I’ve never met a man who apologized for preferring women with (fill-in-the-blank) physical/mental attributes. Why should women be infinitely flexible in their preferences, then?

    When I started dating at 45 yo after my divorce, I was shocked at how unattractive most middle-aged men are. I tried to look past the physical though because I thought it was “shallow”. Although I had some decent relationships with men who I didn’t think were all that, I did feel something was missing and I ultimately let those relationships peter out–I just couldn’t see spending a lifetime with them. There were other problems in the relationships as well, but I was definitely bothered by the lack of fire. It made me kind of sad/mad that as a middle-aged woman I couldn’t expect/hope for that anymore, but I finally decided that without it, I wouldn’t try it.

    Then about 6 months ago I got up my courage and asked out this guy I’d met through work–my age, really smart and sweet, and (!!!) unbelievably attractive. Things are going really well in all areas of our growing relationship, but I have to say there’s a huge and wonderful difference on the physical side—-yayyy!! Who knows how it will end up, but at least I know it’s totally worth looking/waiting for a man who rocks my socks!

    It’s not like he looks like a movie actor or anything, he’s just totally my type. Probably other women would turn up their nose at him–he’s not a fancy dresser, for example. And it’s not like the other men I dated were quasimodos or anything either. It’s more about what personally turns you on.

    So I do think women (&men) have a “right” and responsibility to look for a partner with that special something. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool!

  7. Anna Avatar

    You are all very correct. I should have just said we would not be a good match in my opinion. I have definitely learnt my lesson. I did feel mean when I received his email and realized I had hurt his feelings and/or his ego although gave a sigh of relief at avoiding that bullet!! He was pretty nasty in his reply, and showed the real type of guy he is. But Karen is also correct, men usually are pretty firm about what they want and need in a woman and we women deserve the same. I have gone out on dates with guys shorter than I am who have said they do not mind, and I did not want to believe myself shallow. Then when we met it became an immediate issue. Literally !! I am slim so I think that makes me look taller. Bring back real-life meetings 🙂
    And yes, I am going to wait for Mr. Right (again LOL).
    Richard: Delighted to hear there are men “out there” that appreciate education and height 🙂

  8. Samantha Avatar

    Seems like there’s a lot of subtle flirtin’ going on in this thread.

  9. Joie Avatar

    I just found this site and it’s great, thanks. I laughed reading this post, because I am newly coming out of the separation fog after 9 months (and 15+ yrs of marriage). I find myself looking at couples and wondering, “Why are they together?”

    I’m looking forward to dating again but even before this marriage was always told I was “too smart and funny” for a female (intimidating to men, apparently). I thought I had finally found someone who found those things attractive but now that he has taken off to find himself (and other women), I’m wondering how much truth there is in it….. But if we’re out here, there have got to be smart, handsome, funny men who are interested in smart, fun, highbrow things…. right? RIGHT?

  10. Mark Avatar

    “But if we’re out here, there have got to be smart, handsome, funny men who are interested in smart, fun, highbrow things…. right? RIGHT?”

    Yes. I can’t date a woman who isn’t sharp. And while I’m not a full-blown highbrow, there are a lot of things I can’t watch or read.

  11. Candice Avatar

    I am 45, I work in finance, earn a good salary. But never mention this to guys. As I feel I am not over the top educated. I have found that men are intimidated by a confident woman, and unfortunately when you get to 40…you automatically have more confidence as you have earned it and are not afraid to speak your mind or decide what you want. I met a guy who was keen, but he was anorexic looking, I am 5.6 and weigh 55kg, so I am a good weight, he was 5.5 and weighed 58 kg, this was a total turn off for me as he looked like a skeleton….I thought he might have “AIDS”. Needless to say he was rather bitter than I did not want to see him as I prefer a man with a lot more weight…..a cuddly bear hug and at least taller than me. A lot of men have mentioned that they do feel intimidated by a woman who has a “career” and that they have “Ego’s”……… but then I have also noticed that men do not like a “Needy” helpless woman either….that is sitting around with nothing to her name waiting for a knight in shining armour to save her from her small salary, drowning in debt and give her a home whereby she just moves in with a kettle and mattress and her child or children…….what she is actually looking for is a “Mealticket” in a man….not really loving him for who is, but more what he can offer her financially and take care of her. Although I know of a man aged 50 who was on the internet for about 10 years looking everyday, dating a string of women and known as womaniser. He eventually fell for a 29 year old woman with a kid of 10, she was half his height, tiny and acted like a “little girl”…this brought out the “fatherly/Man” instinct in him to committ to her and he really does not mind that he is now supporting her and the child as all he can say is that she is “20 years younger than him”….he has actually proven to all his mates that he still has it eh…..you know ;-)). And she is smiling all the way…finally got a man to committ to her and be her meal ticket. Both their needs were different. But it’s working…..so far they are living together in his house and have just recently got engaged…….so there are happy endings….it all depends on where people are at in their lives when meeting someone….are you prepared to settle with a guy cos you need security and financial assistance and feel you getting old and need to have someone by your side, are you looking for that spark and love as companions, are you looking for a mealticket only………different strokes for different folks. And I believe…if a man wants you…..he will be around, men remain the hunters….afterall

  12. Candice Avatar

    Oh…just another thing. I met a guy on the internet. Did not really like him that much, we never actually met in person, rather just saw photos of each other and wrote to each other for a while. What really switched me off was hao he was analysing what he wanted. He analysed that I was “hot looking”, slim, attractive, was an ex provincial athlete, was intelligent and nice chatting to…..so ……as he put it, you looking good so far. Then he wanted to know what I like in a man, hair colour, build (as he had a six pack and really showed this in his photo’s…which was a turn off for me again), what I expect from a man, how should he be…etc etc.

    I replied that it is usually chemistry, an attraction that draws you to someone, not the hair colour and six pack and bulging muscles, it’s the connection when you meet, when you click mentally and enjoy each others company and really feel I want to see him again…..and from there you take it….with faults and all, if you care you will work through differences and make allowances for each others so called “short comings”….it’s not about a list of things that you want in a man…that is clinical, and if you go strictly according to a list….you are never going to meet a guy that is right for you….no woman or man is perfect, it’s to find the man who is perfect for you and in your eyes the way you percieve him. I just have to admit I really can’t stand a skinny anorexic man….to me a man is the “protector”, he needs to be taller and stronger in build than I am…..sorry that is really a fetish I have ;-((

  13. Richard Avatar

    I found it interesting (not in a bad way) that you are taller and lighter than him. You describe yourself as “good weight”, but him as “skinny”. I must admit that your description is typical. The stereotypical attractive woman is thinner than the stereotypical attractive guy. BTW: That’s good news for me – lol.