Why Our Single Friends Are Single

Category: Weekly Columns

Cartoon about men and women sleeping together

           Love this “Dating” vs. “Relationship” comic series – guess which is which?

I’m wading into dangerous waters with this column, but has that ever stopped me? This column is based on a very scientific study that I’ve conducted by observing the lives and behavior of four of my single friends; two men and two women. Of course this “study” is accurate but it may have a plus or minus error factor of 3%.

Quote about marriage

Since I remained single until I was 39, I also have some anecdotal personal evidence. But, since being married twice now, having two kids, and still happily married (at least that’s what I say), I think I’ve adjusted some of my behavior. It’s been said about men that marriage civilizes the gender. It’s also said that if a man has never been married by age 40 or so, he’s damaged goods. And, of course, it’s been said that long-single men are very set in their ways.

My observations during my years of dating – between marriages – was that these observations apply equally to women and now I feel that the issues that single men and women have are gender-irrelevant. The reasons single people are single is not rocket science.

Here’s my short-list of reasons people are single when they would prefer not to be:

~~ Too picky
~~ Too stuck in their ways
~~ Too selfish
~~ Too hung-up on money
~~ Too much of a list

Okay, so that may be “too” many generalizations and they may be “too” harsh, but there’s always truth to generalizations. Let’s analyze these five reasons people stay single.

Dating vs relationship

Everyone has a single friend who is simply too picky. For the guys, it usually is a looks-related pickiness while for the women it may be a career/income-related prejudice. You don’t often hear a woman state, upon recently becoming single after a long relationship or marriage that they simply want to go out and have sex with as many people as possible. Nor, do you hear women usually state – after a divorce – that they’re never getting married again.

Why is that? Because more men tend to get hosed in divorce and men are shallower when it comes to sex. After all, men can have sex with a shoe. Pornography on the web is 99.9% oriented to men. Men work that way. Women tend to have more depth – on the surface – but are just as superficial when it comes to other things.

The set-in-their-way and selfish attitude are just undeniable about most single people that have been single for a long time. Of course you get set in your ways and of course you tend to be selfish because you have no one to really worry about but yourself. So, with the aforementioned single friends, I find making plans with them is always a “work in progress.” For reasons I’ll never quite understand, there’s always some “adjustment” to plans. “Can you meet 20 minutes later or earlier” or “I really don’t feel like sushi” or “My car’s in the shop; can you pick me up” are just a sample of the changes my single friends request.

Quote about staying single

Why is it that my single guy friend is the worst at returning phone calls of all my friends? Heck, he doesn’t even have a pet anymore. He ONLY has to worry about himself. But, my married friends, often with kids at home with disabilities, somehow can return a call promptly. The old saw that says when you want something done give it to a busy person, is true.

The other thing I find among my single friends is that they are the experts on relationships. Really? They judge others with such a broad stroke of certainty. Really? If they’re such relationship experts, why aren’t they IN ONE? Rather than judging others, perhaps a good hard introspective look inside is in order?

Let’s talk about “the list.” Most single people have a list of things they desire in a partner. It’s my belief that core values and some common interests belong on that list. But, does height really belong? Does the car they drive or owning their own home belong? Does the color of their hair or size of their (fill in the blank) really matter in the long run?

My suggestion is ditch the list except for those core issues. If you’re a single parent, perhaps choosing a partner with kids might make sense. If you’re not a parent and want children, choosing a partner that also wants children makes sense. Wanting only a blonde or no less than six feet tall does not make sense.

Given that I’ve always had a fondness for a certain “look” has been my Achilles Heel so I’m one to talk. But, I did relax my list and ended up meeting great women that I might have dismissed for a superficial reason. My wife did not have kids and I thought that might be a deal-breaker. Being open allowed me to not only meet and ultimately marry her, but I discovered that her being without children was a bonus I’d never imagined before. But, that is material for another column.

Dump your list. Be flexible. Think about someone else – heck volunteer somewhere and do some good. Stop being a know-it-all about relationships. Give love a chance…

  • jack43

    Don’t get hung up on proper alphabetical order, a permanent lover comes between life and loneliness.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I agree @jack43:disqus – I don’t do well alone!

  • Luke Reynolds

    Sorry, you lost me at pizza and breaking bad #ultimatecombo

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      What do you Aussies know @lukereynolds:disqus – lol…

      • Luke Reynolds

        Apart from running a financially stable country … nothing much @brucesallan:disqus – LOL

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          @lukereynolds:disqus – oh, THAT! …

  • Guest

    “Because more men tend to get hosed in divorce”

    Why is that? Could it be because otherwise good men don’t back their brothers to demand equal treatment under the law? Or is it because women are naturally able to profit by playing on men’s need for sex through serial divorce.

    In any case, it be nice to see some coverage because both men and their children tend to get the shaft when women divorce men, hose em, and clean house: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/divorcecorp/

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      The scales are unbalanced for both men AND women…sadly.

      • Guest

        But only men get hosed? Generally, hosing is caused by tyranny of some sort. How do women suffer from Divorce or Family Court tyranny?

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          Women get “hosed” as well, sadly. Family Courts and Family Law should be called ANTI-family court and law! The system should protect the children but instead protects the anger of the more powerful crazy spouse! Either gender!

          • Guest

            And the anger of the more powerful political/legal gender goons.
            We don’t see an Office for Vice (or Violence) Against Men in the White House but we do see one for women. While some women certainly do get hosed, it’s women who primarily divorce and hose men…and the law helps em by backing egregious false accusations on a grand scale… ‘clean house’, to rob child custody, and/or for mere revenge. This little PIC elephant in the living room needs some coverage by men for men, don’t ya think?

  • Guest

    Give love a chance…as soon as the lovely ladies bond us for the suicidal legal risks which come with marriage for men, guarantee us 50/50 custody in the prenupt…and show us some solid public opposition against feminists beforehand so we have reason to trust our fiances to respect us as men once we marry em.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      But, when we ask for that pre-nupt, we’re accused of being unromantic. Funny how wealthy women don’t seem to have a problem asking a man they’re marrying to sign one!?

      • Guest

        Romance is just female porn. Reality is the antidote for men. We need one standard or feminism is simply more female supremacist ‘romance’.

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          Okay, you win – you are even more cynical than me! Lol…

          • Guest

            Only on the surface.

  • Guest

    The real elephant in the living room for our married brothers is this one: http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/feminist-violence/put-down-that-gun-lady/ Sadly, they never seem to address the core issue the other than obliquely, indifferently, obliviously, or masochistically. This is a crying shame because in every other situation involving male-male power plays, men tend to establish solid masculine lines so as to not descend into female-female hell…a form of hell that features utterly cruel, indirect, and unlimited forms combat.

  • http://www.alittlebiteoflife.net/ Julie Cohn

    I think you hit all the major areas! My husband and I did not get married until our early/mid 30’s, so I think we will a little “stuck in our ways”, but still bendable. We were complete opposites, but we have learned over the years not to sweat the small stuff. We both have quirks, but we appreciate (most of) those quirks! Great post!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thanks @Julco1:disqus – perhaps it’s the “quirks” that make it always interesting?

      • http://www.alittlebiteoflife.net/ Julie Cohn

        Yes, true. It is certainly always interesting in my house! 😉

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          All joking aside @Julco1:disqus – keeping it “interesting” is KEY to keeping it romantic and keeping “it” alive!

          • http://www.alittlebiteoflife.net/ Julie Cohn

            Yes, so true! We have been married 16 yrs and I still discover something new to love about him every day.

          • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

            That is so sweet @Julco1:disqus and in the words of Lou Grant, “I hate sweet” (just kidding)…

  • David Weber

    I don’t believe that your comments are necessarily “wrong.” It’s just that even taking into account your frame up front that the comments are based on a very small and specific slice of perception, the amount of reality that escapes your perception is VAST.

    Please consider that the U.S.A. has a population of over 310 million people. Some number of those are adults; some number among them are married; some number among them are single and in long-term love relationships and not married; some number of them are in between serious love relationships; and some are resolutely single.

    It appears to me that you are seeing the latter category as consisting of “x” number of people who collectively can be understood according to your schema. I don’t know if we have a similar or different sense of how BIG (in terms of number of people) the category is. But I can’t believe it is SMALL enough to be sliced-and-diced as you propose.

    Personally, I am not married (and have not been) and am in my early 60s, it has been a long time since I was scolded for not being married, or in any way encountered discourse such as what I am reading in this column that argues I am in any way less human for being unmarried. Such thinking has become increasingly less common, possibly because (a) it was at its peak when the Baby Boom cohort was navigating the waters of marriage/divorce/etc. and (b) led to the construction, in younger or upcoming cohorts, of new approaches to thinking about such matters.

    Regarding “a” specifically: Baby Boomers have now, for the most part, reached ages when being married, being single, dating and all such manner of activity and choice is a great deal different than it all was when we were 40, 30 and 20. “Practical” reasons for getting married are limited now. Any “moral” argument for getting married is almost ludicrous to consider if the argument is based on presuppositions, such as (just one example) faith-based principles, not shared by the person making the argument and the audience for the argument.

    As for phone calls, I don’t return them with alacrity. That is not a function of being single, it is that I don’t check for messages. Neither is that a function of being single.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      David, I don’t really disagree with you at all. If I gave the impression that being married was better for everyone, that is a wrong perception or wrong if it’s there in my writing. I think it IS better for many people, especially men, but I agree fully that our options are much different these days – and, in many ways, for the best…

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