This year, turning 40 years old has been a whirlwind for me. I bought a house with my partner, got engaged, married and now I’m expecting my first child. While some in my circle have been waiting for these life events to occur for me, no one has ever thought anything was “wrong” with me for being a late 30’s or 40-year-old single person with no kids. They simply thought I was living my life, not settling or waiting for the right time in my life to do all of these things. But to my knowledge, no one ever thought, “what is wrong with her?”
However, my male counterparts might not get the same benefit of the doubt. I’ve heard friends wonder aloud, “He’s 40, never been married and has no kids? Something must be wrong with him.” While some women may consider that man a catch, others stay away wondering why he hasn’t at been married or at the very least, why he has no children. With all the shade we throw at men and women alike for having a “baby mama” or “baby daddy,” is it contradictory to wonder what is wrong with a 40 year old bachelor who has no kids or who has never jumped the broom?
Most women make the assumption that a man who has never been married or who has no children has no desire to be a husband or a father. Maybe they think he’s a dog, a player, a commitment phobe or an emotionally unstable man who is too immature to settle down. Could all of these things be true? Absolutely. But should we lump all 40-something year old men, with no wives or children to speak of, in the same category? I’m not so sure.
While in many cases the stereotype of the 40 year old bachelor may be valid, some of us women tend to overlook other factors that may have kept him from achieving these “milestones.” The fact that relationships are hard work makes it plausible that he probably just hasn’t found “the one” yet by age 40. After all, should he settle just because he’s 37 years old and his mother is begging him for grandchildren? Should he break down and marry just anyone because all of his friends are married and having kids? Some folks give in to the peer pressure to keep up with their friends and family, but is that ever a good reason to get married and have a kid? With the divorce rate so high, most of us would agree that getting married just to be married is just silly. Maybe that 42 year old single man is a lot smarter and more of a catch than we think.
Perhaps he’s 40+ and not married because he’s been living with someone for the past 7 years who has no desire to get married. Maybe he was about to propose to his last girlfriend, only to find out she was cheating on him and the relationship ended badly. Maybe he’s a serial monogamist who has been in a string of bad relationships. Maybe, just maybe, he just hasn’t found the one he wants to marry?
Granted, if he’s been in a string of bad relationships or can’t seem to make one work, it could be that he is the bad seed in the relationship. But I don’t think that means he doesn’t want a wife or a child – it just means he may need to figure out what he may be doing wrong as far as his decision-making in choosing a mate. That being said, I don’t think a woman should run away as fast as possible when she meets a 40something year old man who has never been married or had a kid. It means take your time to get to know him without expecting failure. Some men are just coming into their own and maturing at the age of 40, so you might be getting him at the perfect time when he’s finally figuring it all out.
While you may think he became a 40 year old bachelor by not making the best decisions in love, it could be that he is a 40 year-old bachelor by choice because he knew he just wasn’t ready yet…until he met you.