Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member…

We’ve all heard the old Groucho Marx line, “I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member”. It’s funny.

And maybe, not so funny. In the world of dating, it’s frequently true.

I can’t tell you how many slightly (or not so slightly) overweight men and women I know who say they won’t date overweight members of the opposite , for example.

I have one of these completely inappropriate, hypocritical glitches of my own.  I would much rather date divorced men, than guys who’ve never been married.  Even though I’ve never been married.  I know, I know. RIDICULOUS.  I’m just being honest.

I’ve never NOT gone out with a because he’s never been married.  But when that is the case, I always question.  More.  Because I assume there’s something wrong with a man who’s over and never been married.

All the while, I’m totally offended when people assume there’s something wrong with me just because I’m 40 and have never been married.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to see if this assumption is a commonly held one (at least amongst my readers). Go ahead and be honest.  I won’t be offended.

Do you assume there's something "wrong" with a person who is 40+ and has never been married?

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9 to “I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member…”


  1. For me, it isn’t about marriage, per se, but whether someone has been in a serious relationship. And like most things, what really matters are the details. Someone who is 40+ and dated a lot but never been in a relationship that lasted longer than a few weeks is very different from someone who is 40+, never married but has been in a committed relationship that ended because he was left at the altar. And that’s different from someone who has been in one or two long-term relationships that ended because the couple grew in different ways, or because he wouldn’t commit, or because she wanted kids and he didn’t, etc. For me, the issue has always been whether the guy has shown an ability and interest in being in a committed relationship – if he hasn’t, it isn’t so much that I think something is ‘wrong’ with him, but I would have a hard time believing that he was interested in the type of relationship I want.

    I’d also add that I think there’s a huge double-standard about this for men versus women – I think that a 40+ unmarried woman is more likely to be seen as having something ‘wrong’ with her because it’s assumed that women WANT to be married but a 40+ unmarried man is not seen in the same way because it’s assumed that men don’t want to be married in the same way (i.e., for him, it’s a choice but for her, she must not have had the option).

  2. Wow this is very interesting…specifically because I see things the exact opposite way in relation to divorced men. (apology to divorced people in advance). But here’s how I see it. The guy who’s never gotten married (assuming he’s not…you know…a complete degenerate) to me is someone who never settled, never did something he had an inkling wasn’t the right fit, never committed to a girl just because “he should”, basically spent his time focused on career, himself, life, etc. The divorced guy on the other hand…he’s got a firm stamp of “rejected” disapproval on him. There’s a woman out there who regardless of vows and or life plans together, said, no thanks, don’t care, send him back. Now I no, there are reasons, things happen, life is life…but on the superficial level of dating someone whether or not they have been married/divorced…to me, it’s no good…it means extra baggage…extra stuff…just extra (which I will allow also means the possibility of being much much wiser having had the experience).

    But then again I’m chubby and don’t want to date a chubby guy (we’ll just be bouncing off each other all the time lol) so what do I know…grain of salt…jus sayin’

  3. alphafox says:

    Well I am 41 and never married. BUT, I was in a 10yr relationship (living together, grew apart) and then in a 5 yr relationship (I wanted marriage, he did not – he was 43). So having been burnt on the last relationship I prefer to date men who have shown in past patterns that they can at least commit. So, double standard (in a way I guess) but a guy over 40 and not married must be “single for a reason”. I try to stay away from those types. There are A LOT of 40+ men who are peter pans, and they usually want women at least 10 years younger than them (less pressure, I think, they view younger women have more wiggle room on the timeframe).

  4. I agree with you Simone and the first poster. It’s more of a either been divorced or was in a long-term relationship that didn’t work. From my dating experiences so far, there are just things that you learn by being in a long-term relationship that someone who hasn’t is just not going to get. It’s not about committment, per se, but more about a been there and learned that kind of thing. Experience. I’m divorced too though. I think the next serious relationship I have will probably be with someone that has this experience. If for anything they know what it is like to realize that this person you thought you would be with forever turned out not to be the case. Sure there is baggage, but there is also room for growth and wisdom. A recognition of the patterns that ruin relationships, an experience with learning from your mistakes, etc. I think that’s what you recognize, Simone: an emotional maturity? Maybe you just have that naturally ;)

  5. Fiona says:

    My BF hasn’t been in a long term relationship, but I have, and he’s a couple of years my senior. We’ve been together for 2 years now, living together complete with the child replacement pet.
    I think regardless of whether you’ve been married, divorced, widowed, single all your life – what is really really important is that you’re at the same place in your lives. Essentailly, are you both looking for the same thing?

  6. Shannia says:

    As long as the person as had some kind of long term significant relationship I am ok. It’s the lack of ability to commit that scares me.

  7. Terry says:

    My brother is 60 – and he has never married — he’s smart, articulate, caring – but lives in Alaska where there are few women. Sure, he is a bit set in his ways at this point- but for someone not to date him — well, they’d be missing a great guy.

  8. Simone Grant says:

    So many different ways of looking at people. It’s all so goddamn complicated. Which is, I guess, a good thing. And heck, I figure if any dismisses me without getting to know me just because I’m 40 and never married, then he’s not the kind of person I’d want to know anyway.

  9. Louche says:

    I’m 21, so I couldn’t care less about people over 40 as far as dating goes. But I don’t really care for the idea of marriage, so… my answer is no. However, I have never been on a date! And if I met someone who’d never been on a date, well… y’know. I’d think they’re not my type. But that’s because my type usually tells me they’re highly sexual, and I know they are very outgoing, the type of person everyone wants to date. That said, if I actually met a person I was interested in who had never dated before, that would totally not be an issue, I’d just go with the flow. Unless they were scarcely an acquaintance… then small things mean more.