I’m 34, a single woman and looking for a partner. I don’t know where to start. I have been so busy finding a career and getting hooked up too an ex-boyfriend that I have missed the best years of my youth. Now I am ready to settle down and get married. I want children. Right now the pickings are slim. Heck, where do all the single guys out there hang out? Plenty of men are available but most are married or have girlfriends–they just want a fling. Where do I search for a decent guy?
The Harvard MBA says:
I’m actually working on a dating book, but because it hasn’t been released yet, I’ll try to provide the summary version and some key recommendations.
First of all, recognize that you’re not alone. With the declining marriage rate and the tendency for people to postpone starting a family, you’re in good company.
In the 80s, there was a widely quoted article that said that a 40-year-old woman had a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than getting married (urban legend, of course; the writer of the article was clearly speaking tongue-in-cheek). Back then, 40 seemed very late in life to get married. Today, it happens all the time.
The Bible on getting married is John Molloy’s “Why Men Marry Some Women And Not Others“. Do read my outline of the book–it’ll only take a few minutes, and it may end up being the most important thing you ever read.
But for the lazy, it says that there are six basic guidelines for women who want to marry:
1. Insist on it.
2. If you find yourself in a dead-end relationship, move on.
3. Love yourself first.
4. Commit yourself to the idea of getting married
5. Keep in shape, watch your weight, and take care of your appearance
6. Time is running out–use time wisely in your search for the marrying man
It sounds like you’re on the right track, now that you’ve dumped your loser of a boyfriend. And if men are offering to have flings with you, you are probably reasonably attractive, which is very important. (By the way, don’t pay attention to the negative Amazon reviews of Molloy’s book; a cursory glance shows that they are all written by overweight women who are outraged that men would be such pigs as to prefer the svelte, sexy, and attractive. Next they’ll be complaining that men should stop wasting time watching sports on TV.)
Your big issue seems to be that you’re unable to find the “decent” guys. Here is where market segmentation and targeting comes into play. According to Molloy’s research, the peak marrying years for college-educated men are 28-33 (30-36 for men who go to graduate school), and that the chances that a man will get married plummet after the age of 38. Therefore, you need to target men between 28 and 38–right in your current age range, another plus for your chances.
Within that age range, there are certain types of men who are more likely to marry:
- Men whose friends and siblings are married; 60% of newly married men reported that they had a friend who had married within the last year, and men who didn’t have any married male friends were 2-3 times as likely to say that they weren’t ready to marry.
- Consider unpolished jewels, men who are just as nice, intelligent, hard-working, and successful, but lack looks, height, or social skills; 88% of men over 50 who were marrying for the first time were marrying divorced women. The women told the researchers that they had already tried the tall, suave, type, and he didn’t make a very good husband.
In other words, find good-hearted men who may not look like Brad Pitt, but might clean up well after getting the “Queer Eye” treatment. The best bet is a guy who has a lot of married friends.
Now for the $64,000 question–where can you find these men?
Here’s the (very) relevant advice from Molloy:
1) The best places to meet eligible men are clubs and groups based on common interests. Join organization that have single men as members.
- 21% of engaged women over 40 said that they had met their fiancée at an athletic club
- Sports clubs that focus on activities that attract singles (trips, bicycling) are best
- Next best are tennis, and golf.
- Third come professional or social organizations that are overwhelmingly male, like engineering associations or collectors of sports memorabilia.
- Fourth come organizations that have a singles scene, or sponsor events that give singles a chance to socialize with other club members.
- Dances, picnics, and charity golf or tennis tournaments are also a good place to meet men.
2. Have an active social life
- Women who go out twice a week, even just to dine with other women or do volunteer work, are 3x as likely to marry than those who don’t go out.
- Going out three times a week boosts your chances even further.
- However, going out more than 5 nights a week decreases your chances. (I call this the Lohan Law)
3. Men who attend religious services are more likely to marry.
A few final thoughts for you:
Only 7 out of 2,000 men interviewed said that their fiancée was dressed in a very sexy outfit when they met–dress attractively, but not provocatively.
Most men propose after going out with a woman for 18 months. If at the end of 22 months, a man has not proposed, the chances that he will start to diminish. For 3.5 years, the chances diminish gradually. After that, it plunges. After 7 years, your chances are virtually zero.
Give men a second chance–20% of brides to be said that they didn’t like their husband when they first met him.
Women with a large number of female friends are more likely to marry than women with a large number of male friends; men don’t go out of their way to introduce their female friends to other men.
Men are attracted by the physical, but marry character; newly engaged men said that what attracted them to their fiancées was how classy, positive, energetic, enthusiastic, and upbeat their future wives were. While 68% gave a physical description of their fiancée, only 20% said that what attracted them was how gorgeous and sexy their fiancée was. Over 60% described their personalities, even if the women in question were very beautiful.
Don’t forget to take geography into account. What is the gender balance of your location on the Singles Map?
Good luck. It sounds like you’re already on the right track.