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To think that a man 40+ who has never had a long term relationship...

(31 Posts)
NorhamGardens Fri 14-Jan-11 08:49:42

Is best avoided? If this is the case then what are women like my older friend supposed to do if they want a relationship and get married etc?

My friend has found that most men she's dated want sex rather than commitment especially through internet dating. A few have never had a long term relationship or been married etc, alarm bells would be ringing for me if they were 40 plus. This is the age group she's met recently (internet dating). She's also said that usually men of her age want a much younger woman.

My heart is breaking for her as she has told me she's resigned herself to the fact she'll now never have children - she's 41, all her life she imagined she'd have them when she met the right person. Now, due to her age, she thinks this is unlikely to happen.

She also has quite a serious health issue, but this wouldn't physically prevent her having children. It might put some men off though, there's a chance she could become seriously ill in the future.

I don't know what to say to her? She wrote me a very sad email yesterday. She's wonderful, a really lovely person and deserves happiness in her life.

I seem to hear this more and more, and from my younger friends too, that men are not interested in settling down until much later (if at all). You hear so much in the press about women delaying having children until it is too late but less about the men who don't want to commit in the first place.

Adversecamber Fri 14-Jan-11 08:57:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NorhamGardens Fri 14-Jan-11 09:00:19

Thank you. I want to give her hope that she'll have children in the future but feel this isn't being honest.

FabbyChic Fri 14-Jan-11 09:02:59

The majority of 40 something men have been there and done it and the last thing they want is another full on, a lot of free internet dating sites are offering men who are only looking for one thing.

If your friend is serious she needs to be on a paying site.

My mother met her partner on a dating site they have been together 7 years, they are both in their 60's. My ex sister in law was 41 and met her partner on a dating site they have been married 4 years.

A lot of men over 40 don't want children, they have already had them. She isn't going to meet someone really who is going to want children at that late age.

A lot of men are going through a mid life crisis and look for younger women because it makes them feel younger.

Your friend has to remember that there is such a variety of choice on the net that she is going to have to kiss a lot of frogs before she finds a prince. Ten years ago I had over 70 dates, only one ended in a long term of over a year.

NorhamGardens Fri 14-Jan-11 09:07:18

She's told me she's very lonely as all of her friends are in relationships or are busy with children, juggling working etc. She's appears confident but she's not really and I think would be demoralised with 70 plus dates.

That's something I find it difficult to understand about her, if you want something badly enough don't you do everything to make it happen? I'd do the same as you if in that position for example. That said not everyone thinks like me and her pain is very real.

PlanetLizard Fri 14-Jan-11 09:11:25

I wouldn't make sweeping statements about "all men over 40". Each man will be different and the right person could well be out there.

NorhamGardens Fri 14-Jan-11 09:15:39

True PlanetLizard, depends on the reason for no commitment and relationship etc. She seems to have met a few along the way who have 'pretended' they want the whole nine yards, commitment a relationship etc and turns out they want sex. This is through internet dating it seems, in her experience.

FabbyChic Fri 14-Jan-11 09:16:47

The thing is until you meet someone you just don't know, because you have to get that spark.

YOu might get on real well with someone liaising via mail/text/skype etc., but when you meet you just feel nothing.

It takes time to meet the right person, someone you would want to see again.

I've not internet dated for years now. But it is not real easy.

Just like some women some men on the net use pictures that are old, so when you meet them they have aged ten years!

glasscompletelybroken Fri 14-Jan-11 09:19:06

I met my 2nd husband on the internet when i was 43. We both have children from previous marriages but I would definately have wanted to have one with him if it had been possible. I wouldn't have thought myself to be too old but had the "op" after my 4th so sadly not an option. Your friend shouldn't give up hope but neither should she let it take over her life. She needs to get out and enjoy herself and not focus too much on finding a man.

I only met one "frog" on the internet before I found my handsome prince so it is possible to be lucky!

Also, you say you can't understand why she doesn't really go for it if she wants it so much - well it's a confidence thing. If she doesn't put too much into it and she doesn't get it then it's not such a "failure". If she goes all out for it and doesn't get it then it will feel like much more of a "failure" and be so much harder to live with.

She's just protecting herself.

nurseblade Fri 14-Jan-11 09:19:48

If I was her, at 41 I would be deciding what I want most, a man or a baby. If she can't see her live without children then she can explore donor insemination or adoption. If she'd prefer to have a man she probably needs to accept that she may never have children. Personally I would choose children over a partner.

DuplicitousBitch Fri 14-Jan-11 09:21:39

she, in all likelihood isn't going to have children now. i think let her grieve and move on.

PlanetLizard Fri 14-Jan-11 09:22:25

If internet dating isn't working for her, could she try other ways of meeting people? Any local groups she could join? Or other websites which bring together people with a common interest (travel, history, French food, photography, music, golf, gardening)?

wannaBe Fri 14-Jan-11 09:24:41

you're saying that men over 40 should be avoided, yet your friend is over 40 and from your postings appears to have not had a long term relationship either?

Why is this?

And why should the men over 40 comment be applied to men and then not to women?

I think I would avoid like the plague a man who had never been in a long term relationship at that age, but equally I think the same would apply to a woman tbh.

mammamia25 Fri 14-Jan-11 09:25:03

Tell your friend my dp and I met on a singles holiday both age 40, and our dd was born when we were 42 (ivf), so don't give up yet! smile

elephantjelly Fri 14-Jan-11 09:26:36

This is why you get older women who go and meet someone on holiday. I've known a few who have shacked up with men they met on holiday after failing to find love in the UK. There is a whole world of people to choose from.

mammamia25 Fri 14-Jan-11 09:28:10

Just realised, we were 41 when we met - so she definetely shouldnt give up!

theredhen Fri 14-Jan-11 09:28:30

I dated a 40 year old man who had never really had a long term relationship. Having been with him for a few months it was clear that he was looking for something that just wasn't out there. He was looking for perfection, whilst being far from perfect himself. DP also has a friend who is a similar age and who again is looking for something that isn't out there.

Not to say all 40 year old men are like that but that's my experience of men of that age who haven't settled down.

I feel for your friend, she has tried to do the right thing by not having children with just anyone and now she is realising that maybe that was a mistake as she may end up with no children at all.

Not everyone has that "get up and go" nature about them and dating can be very emotionally draining when you are going from one dead beat date to the next. It's hard not to get your confidence knocked and she is protecting herself from that, I think.

octopusinabox Fri 14-Jan-11 09:29:15

I know quite a few men now over 40 who've never been in a serious relationship - I'm an engineer as are they. I think in certain circles it's pretty normal for this to happen and it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them. Some of them are lovely and I just can't understand why they haven't found anyone yet although many people find partners through work so that's not an option for them.

I also have a few friends who've met their partners on the internet.

Has she tried different dating sites? What about the dating thing where a mixed group go to different restuarants (might just be London though)?

Thistledew Fri 14-Jan-11 09:47:14

I sympathise with your situation and with your friend. I have a close friend who is just a few years younger (38) who is also struggling with the idea that she may never find "Mr Right" and have children.

I know that she also has no confidence in looking for a partner, but at the same time is desperate for it to happen. She will not do internet dating, speed dating or even approach men that she likes through clubs she joins. It's all a bit of a catch 22 as over the last few years she has been desperate to be in a relationship so has allowed some men to treat her really badly, which has further knocked her confidence in finding a decent guy.

She also has what is in my opinion a pretty contradictory and unrealistic checklist of things she is looking for in a partner, perhaps as a defence to herself so if she never ends up in a permanent relationship, she can justify it to herself on the grounds that none of the men where right for her.

I also struggle with the balance between offering sympathy and support, and with wanting to say to her that if she continues to have such high expectations, but makes no effort to look for a partner herself, then it is not surprising that she is single.

I will watch this thread for interest as I often struggle to know how to be a good friend to her in this situation.

ButterflySally Fri 14-Jan-11 09:50:36

I think love is possible to find at any age. There are plenty of people who find love later in life. My uncle got remarried and started a second family after the age of 40 so there are men out there who would like to have children later in life.

I think, as others have said, all you can do is support her. Remind her of all the good qualities that she has that men would find desirable. Encourage her not to give up hope.

Do you think she just has rotten luck with men? Or do you think she unknowingly contributes toward it in some way(is she overly picky, choose wrong men, give out wrong signals, look in the wrong places)? It may be worth gently helping her explore why she feels she is still single and if there is anything she can do differently to help her situation.

My take on men over 40 - If someone has been in a relationship, they are more likely to understand compromise and negotiation, how to be a loving and attentive partner, and to have learnt valuable lessons from previous relationship mistakes and breakdowns. I think this would potentially make them a better partner. (that's not to say all men who've been in relationships have learnt those skills but I think it increases the chances!). I would be cautious about someone who hasn't been in a position to learn essential relationship skills. I may be being unfair but that's my 2 cents worth.

You sound like you are being a good friend and I'm sure you'll provide her with the support and encouragement she needs

NorhamGardens Fri 14-Jan-11 09:54:48

Thanks for the optimism and heartening to hear others happy stories Will pass on when the time is right and if appropriate. She doesn't find internet, or any dating, easy that's the thing and has 'gone out' with the first people she's met through internet dating rather than exploring further.

Someone mentioned photos, she puts on quite unflattering photos of herself on the internet site she's used, often taken by a work colleague last thing at the end of a busy day etc. She's half smiling in a polo neck, a bit scruffy and tired looking, that sort of thing. The men she's met have always said they're surprised she is more attractive in the flesh as usually it's the other way around.

I've told her that men are visual and she'd be better off posting the most flattering photo she can find as this might increase her chances? I'd do that, but am much more vain . As a result she has never managed to get a date with any of the men she's approached on site, she's gone for quite good looking ones as well as ones that sound interesting/solid etc.

She said to post a photo that made her look 'better' would be dishonest and would be misrepresenting how she is in real life. She's down to earth. Not sure if this is the correct approach? I admire her honesty but wonder if you need to 'play the game'?

As an aside I met a friend of a facebook friend the other day. I'd seen her facebook photo before and she was absolutely flawlessly beautiful, amazing hair, skin, eyes, fab body you name it. Absolutely stunning, most beautiful model you've every seen kind of pretty.

Imagine my surprise when she looked about 15-20 years older in the flesh than she did in the photo and nothing like as beautiful. Perfectly pleasant looking but NOTHING like her photo. I wonder how often you get this with internet dating?

GrownupsLikeQuiet Fri 14-Jan-11 10:07:37

I met my DH when he was 37 and I was 27 and I was his first proper relationship. He lived on his own and had largely given up hope I think. We now have DD5, DS 2.10 and a bump. He is the most loving, caring husband and father anyone could wish for and because he was on his own for years, is actually an adult who can do his own washing, cooking etc rather than expecting me to do it for him.

Admittedly we didn't meet through the internet, but I would say never give up hope, but do be careful.

NorhamGardens Fri 14-Jan-11 12:46:31

Going to mention to my friend that she should use a more a flattering photo if she internet dates again.

Don't get why anyone would use an unflattering photo, she says to do anything else is 'dishonest' will attract the wrong sorts?

Problem is the sorts she contacts are not currently responding?

How common do you think the scenario is re: the much more flattering photo situation I mention? Thanks.

Surely you need a 'hook'?

minmooch Fri 14-Jan-11 13:03:09

I met my 2nd dh aged 40 at a singles event. He had not married before, had long term relationships but was waiting for the right woman.

there are decent men out there, whatever their age, but you have to look for them and be ruthless.

Good luck to your friend.

Onetoomanycornettos Fri 14-Jan-11 13:10:04

I'm not sure if internet dating is the way forward for her, if she has been on 70 dates (did I read that right) and none have turned into relationships. Rather than worry about her photo (which I agree is important if you are finding it difficult to meet someone initially), she needs to think about why none of those 70 turned into second or third dates or nice relationships. I consider myself fussy, but even I found someone (ok, on the 16th date!) sooner than that and my friends had given me a stiff talking to about being more open-minded about seeing people once!

Either she is attracting the wrong type of people, or is in the wrong place (agreed, pay out for an expensive dating agency or a decent website at this stage, freebies will attract chancers and she might need help matching herself up). And, it may not happen before she is 45, so if you could broach the subject of having children (on her own) or if she could live with not having them, I think it's worth having a frank chat about that now, rather than finding some poor guy, fixating on him and being gutted when it only lasts two months or whatever.

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