I’d like to know where to meet single men over 40 in New York City. I’ve tried church, online dating, speed dating events, volunteering and all other places people recommend but it seems all that are there are women and a few men. I work on Wall Street and see men at lunch time, but it seems after work everyone over 40 disappears. Is it that men are just working and going home? Help!! – Karen, NYC
The reason why you’re finding mostly women at those activities is because many of them all have the same idea – this would be a great way to meet men. The truth is, at our age, dating does have a competitive edge to it. At any age, there’s a sense competition. But it’s much greater when you hit your late thirties and older.
Because there are fewer and fewer available, healthy men to go around. Either men have decided to feast off the smorgasbord presented to them or they have absolutely no need or use for commitment or settling down. Or they’re dysfunctional. Or…and I’d say this is a healthy percentage – they’re considered “not good enough” by their target audience. Which is funny considering those same women who are passing them up are being turned away themselves. It’s a vicious cycle. Women say they want an available man. Just not that available man. They want an available man who is X, Y and Z. Meanwhile, what they bring to the table isn’t comparable.
And men are no better. We’ve talked about the profile some men write where they describe their ideal woman and it sounds like an extension or replica of themselves. Well, if they’re so awesome, why are they single? Oh. Right. They refuse to settle. Somebody said it in the comments recently and they were right on the mark. We look for reasons to blow someone off. The questions is: why? Here are a few reasons:
1. We’ve gotten by this long “alone” so what’s the rush? - I truly believe this is a myth. While there are some people who are truly and wholly self-sufficient in both the financial and emotional sense, for the most part we have a support system that we can fall back on in trying times. As human beings, I believe we need that external validation and connection. If someone is surrounded by other single friends, then there’s nothing compelling them to look past that particular circle. Only when their single friends fall away do they feel the need to look for a partner. As long as a man or woman has a steady stream of suitors, be it relationships or even just first dates, they’re going to be conditioned to believe they will always have that and therefore they have plenty of time to meet someone. Those of us who have done online dating for a long period of time know that when you hit a certain age, the responses just dry up. That’s when the hunt starts to become more…aggressive. Those standards that we lived by for so long suddenly become more flexible, only not in the areas where they should. We tolerate more douchebaggery. We believe more of the empty promises. We end up in bad relationship after bad relationship because we chose to ignore what was in front of us.
2. We don’t like ourselves - Shame can be a powerful anchor. It will hold you down and keep you in place so that you do not move. That’s where all the casual relationships come in. They’re safe and contained and present no risk of true vulnerability. You can be whomever you want to be because that other person doesn’t care if you’re embellishing or not. Your secrets and flaws are safe.
3. All we hear is the downside of commitment and relationships, so what’s the point? – Honestly, could the media and blogs be more down on relationships? I’ve hit my threshold for all the bitching, snarking and whining. I have no problem with dating or marriage or commitment or monogamy being presented realistically. There’s two sides to every argument. But these sites devoted to discussing only the downside of dating just exhaust me. Namely the sites about snarking on bad dates.
4. We’ve given up. - After shame, I think hopelessness is the next most powerful motivator to stay single. I read things that people write and they’re trying to hard to sound like they’re open and flexible and willing. But they’re not. It’s just a series of excuses and reasons why they’re too afraid to try anymore. Listening as people rationalize it depressing, because you can hear the fear and sadness in their voices.
Nopw that that’s out of the way, let’s try to answer the actual questions:
Where are all the great single people?
Well…I’m going to say this: I don’t think they’re online. Some are, but if they’re truly worth their salt, they’re in demand. So if you’re going to do online dating, you need to let go of all the rules that you’ve been clinging to for so long. You are going to have to be more flexible and acommodating. You’re going to have to compete and invest time in to crafting and maintaining your profile. If all of that sounds like too much work, get off those sites now. You’re just going to end up going on a series of “meh” first dates. That will lead you to become burnt out and jaded and sad.
OP, keep doing what you’re doing. Go to church because it provides you with an hour a week to just reflect and strengthens your faith. Volunteer because it helps other people. Go to speeddating because it’s a great way to keep your conversation skills sharp. Do online dating because it exposes you to people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet. Online dating and speeddating is to help people “date.” These sites don’t sell relationships for a reason. Most people are on those sites to get dates and dates only. Sure, a relationship might develop from one of those situations. But for the most part it’s just a place to get dates.
I don’t know if there’s a particular location or way to meet people that is more successful than the other. I think what makes those efforts successful is your attitude. Be willing to try something (or someone) without knowing much about it/them. Stop trying to control the whole experience. Let go of the suspicion and drop your guard a bit. And be kind. Do all these things with an open mind. That’s the edge that you need. Don’t do these things with the sole purpose of finding a boyfriend. It’s disingenuous. Plus it gets in the way of truly getting to know someone.
People get so caught up in determining if someone will make a good long term partner that they’re not really getting to know someone. They’re looking for red flags. Well, everyone has something about them that serves as a red flag. Date someone to get to know them and to enjoy their company. You’re never going to really know someone until you spend a considerable amount of time with them any way. You have to muzzle that ticking clock, biological or otherwise, going on inside you. That’s when the true connections develop, as you’re more open.