If You're Not Married by 40, You're a Freak

Sasha Brown-Worsham
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We have moved far past the time when an unmarried woman over 35 was branded an "old maid" or when unmarried men were "swinging bachelors," but after seeing the disaster of the marriage between Huma Abedin and Congressman Anthony Weiner, one does have to wonder if the old adage about men over 40 who have never been married is true. Is it a dating red flag?

There is something to be said for marriage. Being in a marriage, whether it ends or stays together, usually means you have some experience with compromise, the ability to love and be loved, and some familiarity with the concept of sharing. "Never-marrieds" on the other hand? Who knows why they're unmarried?

In asking around, it seems the cutoff age between it being cool and it being a red flag is roughly 35 for men and 40 for women.

Of course, nothing is sure-fire and there are as many extenuating circumstances as there are marriages on Earth. But it's a good rule of thumb, when dating, to recognize that a person who has reached a certain age and never had a relationship last longer than a couple months is probably harboring some issues.

Marriage? Maybe not. Maybe they don't want to get married or just don't play musical chairs all that well. There are reasons they may not have walked down the aisle, though in Weiner's case, it probably WAS a red flag. Still, most men over 40 who have had at least one or two long-term relationships that haven't worked out are still marriage material, but those who haven't even had a girlfriend? It's a problem.

We learn something with every relationship we're in. No one would argue that the older you get, the harder it is to compromise. It is. So if you marry young and you compromise together, you get used to that. Someone who has made it to 40 without having to make those compromises and learn and grow with someone would likely be much more rigid in their thinking.

Women over 30 complain all the time that there are few good guys without baggage who are over 30 out there. And it's likely true. There are some good men who stay single, but coupling off whether by marriage or just a long-term relationship is kind of the "norm." So stepping outside of that does make you a bit of a freak.

That said, it isn't fair to not give a guy a chance because of some arbitrary cutoff. There is always the exception to every "rule," right?

Do you think a man or woman over 40 who has never been married is a freak?


Image via cheryl.dudley/Flickr

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