Women not finding partners

I noticed a certain phenomenon among female friends about my age - in their late twenties.

The phenomenon is, many of them are single. Several of those recently had relationships with rather horrid guys. Of the few who are in relationships, some are still in relationships with horrid guys.

And the thing that strikes me?

At a certain point, many of these girls were with guys, or had the opportunity to be with guys, that were better than the fare that they're now putting up with.

This is not to say that those guys were perfect. But they do appear to have been better than whatever is available to them today.

I get to watch all this from a perspective of a guy who has enjoyed a nearly perfect relationship and marriage over the past 5 years - but also a guy who was previously incredibly frustrated with girls until my early twenties.

From my very limited personal observations, here's what I ponder:
  • Can most people find a partner that is better for them than being single?
  • If yes, what prevents them? Do they look in the wrong places? All first meetings are random chance, but it seems futile to me to wait for your Prince Charming to find you randomly in a stale environment that provides few or poorly aligned meeting opportunities. It seems more likely that you would meet one if you seek out a possible partner in places where there are many opportunities to meet people who are in some ways like what you think you're seeking.
  • If most people cannot find a partner who is better for them than being single, then what prevents them? I would bet that a strong factor is an irrational conception of love. Quite a number of women who I observe stay single as they age appear to be causing that by refusing to take a rational view of partnership. Instead of looking for someone they would be compatible with, they look for someone to sweep them off their feet. They put the cart in front of the horse; instead of starting with compatibility and then letting love grow over time and develop, they want to start with a fiery infatuation to begin with, and hope for compatibility later. This, of course, usually does not occur.
  • In their early twenties, they might find a reasonable match that could be good, but then they severe it because it doesn't feel like it's "the thing". Since they are looking for infatuation rather than compatibility, each following match is shorter and worse. But by the time they wise up, they are not in their prime any more. They might be looking for older guys, but the better older guys have taken younger women and are already in relationships. What now remains is the rejects, or people whose first marriages did not work out, who might already have children, or younger guys who are looking for yet younger women.
Based on my limited insight, here's the advice I'd give to young women:
  • You want to be with the guy you're going to be with by the time you're 25. By the time you're past your prime, you don't want to still be looking for your guy. The pickings will only get worse. You can delay this by aiming for younger guys as you get older, but that's stretching it.
  • You want to look for compatibility first and foremost. Yes, the guy you're with has to be attractive enough to turn you on. That's part and parcel of being compatible. He has to be someone whose company stimulates you. That's part and parcel of being compatible, too. But he doesn't have to swipe you off your feet. In fact, it's preferable that he doesn't. That way, you'll be able to make a better decision about whether you're compatible with him or not.
  • Infatuation is an illusion. Never forget that. It is passionate, and it is exciting, but it is an illusion generated by yourself. Moreover, illusions disappear. Once you have found someone you think you're truly compatible with, don't let an infatuation with someone else ruin your relationship. Infatuations are likely to not work out. They are however likely to make you single, lonely, and miserable.
  • Look for your guy purposefully and intentionally. Don't be afraid to use the internet - social networks, good dating websites. A woman I know used a dating website to schedule dates with guys every day for weeks in advance. She found her guy. If you want to find a needle in a haystack, equip yourself with magnets by all means. But you have to do your part in sifting through the haystack, or else others are going to get to the needles first.

Comments

verbatim said…
This phenomenom goes both ways. I noticed this certain "unable to find a partner" trend among male friends in their late twenties too.

Based on my observations, I can't agree with your reasons. Yes, people were looking for compatibility 15 years ago, but now it is all down to visual appearance - compatibilty is not so important anymore because of limited time they don't spend so much time together. Relationship seeking people usually know good matches for them but those matches are not the one they would put in their fancy cars, to be seen in public with them or in photos section on Facebook.

So now we have a large group of average men (or women) which are looking to find a particular person from a very limited group of toned and genetically blessed. As every year pass by this limited group gets smaller. There are also other environmental factors, e.g. developed nations are getting more obese every year.

So in the end from their point of view their choice can only be suboptimal one. Some of them found a solution - you wouldn't believe how many Brazilian and SouthEast Asian (mostly much younger and uneducated) girls are lately in my area. But most of them stay miserable year after year.
denis bider said…
A foreigner-import phenomenon in Slovenia? That's striking. :) I imagine it can be difficult for those women to fit in with the introverted culture of their adopted country. I wonder if the different languages and culture don't also make it a bit more difficult for partners to communicate and understand each other. But I think the diversity is great for the country.

So, the way you see it, pickiness about a prospective partner's looks is the primary issue for the single guys you know?

Hmm.

For the women I know, I would definitely say that the common thread is confusion, lack of initiative, and poor judgement. I don't really think it's based on unrealizable desires for an Adonis, all that much. That... seems more like the domain of girls in their teens and early twenties.

I think we live in a world now where there is no longer a social pressure to force people to marry. One remains socially accepted as a single, whether one is male or female. Without this pressure, many who don't seem to be ready for a long term relationship, do not enter one.

This might be a good thing... for those who do not have to be in relationships with people who aren't actually ready for it.

It doesn't seem to work that great for our fertility, however. :)

BTW, ever considered that it would actually be easy to maintain a steady population even with a fertility rate as low as 1.1, if we simply caused most births and/or conceptions to be girls?

Imagine the demand for the remaining men. :) And then it turns out some of them are gay! Heh heh heh heh. :)
boris_kolar said…
I chose to marry a foreign girl. Cultural differences are vast and searching for spouse abroad is something I would definitely recommend. My experience, however, shows, that treating foreign women with anything less than sincere respect will likely result in failure (by "experience" I mean observing failures of others, not having some myself).

My wife was (and still is) desired by many man, rich or poor, old or young. I will try to explain how I passed the test that many other wealthier and better looking men failed.

Many men in Nicaragua don't take relationships seriously - they have other women on the side, abandon pregnant women, or even beat their partners. It would be very wrong to think there are no good men there, but my wife felt that someone from another culture will more likely be a good fit.

Other men treated her as a kind of trophy, something to brag about (some even lied that they were her boyfriends once).

Sill others were too jealous and controlling, to the point of stalking her and calling her several times per day.

Some guys tried to impress her with money - the approach failed miserably with her.

One thing that really was important was mutual decision to base our relationship on truth. She was afraid that her man would lie to her, so we promised each other to tell the truth immediately no matter how painful it would be.

The other thing that helped was that I wasn't even trying to impress her with anything. I wasn't half as "gentleman" other were trying to be, but at the same time I did always treated her with respect. She noted that I was more truthful than others and she felt like she knows me for years. I also explained right in the beginning that what she feels might be infatuation, how her brains produce different chemicals during such periods, and how she might feel when is stops. I explained that after the "wiped me of my feet" period is over, she might feel like she doesn't love me anymore, or that I don't love her. That strange feeling actually weakly materialized (on both sides), but we were prepared and understood what it was.

Despite all, both her and my decision to get married was rational and reason played important role. I did spend a lot of time with her sister and cousin, talked to other relatives of hers, and somehow they all felt I was good enough for her. I never had to act because all I have said and done was truthful. We even discussed possibility that at some point in the future we might want to experience sex with other people. She was very surprised when I told her that she could get my permission to fulfill such desires.

Anyway, we live in Slovenia right now, and will enjoy at least all summer here. After that I might play the role of imported spouse for a while.

Language barrier is a bit difficult to overcome. We had a lot of help from Google translate. But I managed to learn basic Spanish in about three months and now a combination of gestures, e-dictionary, description with other words makes it possible to communicate almost anything.
denis bider said…
Boris - wow! That's interesting. Thank you for that personal account. She speaks a bit of English though, right? There must have been a way for you to communicate before you had a chance to be at the computer together, and before you started learning Spanish?

One aspect I imagine might be a challenge in a relationship where partners don't share proficiency in the same language is nuance and subtlety. Then again, perhaps that works to actually avoid misunderstandings, because both parties have to explain how they feel explicitly, and in depth?

I definitely think that such a relationship is fascinating. I hope it works out as good in the long run as it has started. :)

Oh, and, sex with other people? That, in my experience, requires a heavy helping of precise communication of both partners' feelings.
boris_kolar said…
She speaks a bit of English though, right?When we met, she didn't - and my Spanish was barely enough to get another date. Now she's learning English and my Spanish has improved as well. It will take several more months before our communication is on par with same language couples.

There was one nonverbal incidence not long after we met, that might helped me earn her (Kenia) trust: one day I went to her place and asked to go out for dance, she refused saying that she doesn't feel to good. I went alone and on the way I met other girls (one was quite determined to get me). Suddenly, Kenia appears at the dance bar - I didn't notice her right away. Luckily, she saw me sitting in a corner alone, drinking a beer and being seemingly uninterested in other girls.

Regarding sex with other people: we are not considering this option for now, as far as I know. What we were talking about is a possibility that maybe after several years or decades, one of us might feel she missed something by committing to just one partner. I just wanted to make clear that if such feelings arise, it's better to communicate them and we may resolve them by giving each other permission to have an adventure. I wanted to make sure that relationship based on truth includes communication like that.
denis bider said…
Interesting!

The way you described it, it seems that clearing that up in advance is indeed a wise choice. I've observed perfectly good relationships fall apart because people became disturbed when they started to have thoughts like that, and felt like they can't communicate about that with their partners. Telling your partner upfront that you are willing to talk about that if the situation arises may reinforce the relationship and cultivate a healthy expectation that the partners can talk about anything - that no matter the circumstance, one doesn't need to go around the other's back.
andrej said…
Interesting observation. Are you talking about four friends in Slovenia, or elsewhere? Well, in Slovenia, I have noticed another thing - most of girls of my age (early twenties) are in a (serious long-term) relationship. In fact, I have met very few good-looking, intelligent and nice single girls during my college years - all of those seemed to be in a relationships from very young age.

What is interesting is that, based on your observation, those relationships break up later. It always seemed quite self-destructive to me to be in such a relationship at such a young age, when one definitely isn't well enough informed about what they are looking from their prospective life partner.

From what I noticed in US, there is a different situation there. Friends I have there that are in their late twenties are mostly in successful relationships. It probably goes with a very different teenage culture - they live a "wild" life during college years, and settle down with a partner afterwards.

I think your advices are reasonable - however, in addition to trying to find a partner before the age of 25, I would definitely advise to be mature enough and settled down in your life - it takes trying relationships with different people to know what exactly you're looking for. That's why I think relationships in Slovenia are unsuccessful and don't last past their late twenties. People are maybe just too young when they start them.

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