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Why I Don't Date Anymore

Updated on December 05, 2016
TessSchlesinger profile image

Globetrotter, author, and thinker with interests in environment, minimalism, health, dancing, architecture, décor, politics, and science.

Old People Don't Date Much...

I stopped dating a while ago. Curiously, despite the fact that I’m now an ‘older woman,’ this has not stopped men from asking me out. When I decline, I’m generally asked why. It's not just one simple reason, but rather a combination of personal experiences and environmental factors, i.e. fewer single people as one grows older and more difficult to meet suitable potential partners. That said, older people do marry, and romance is alive and kicking in many lives. So why do some decide not to date anymore?

But When They do Date, They May Get Married!

Yes, you can wear a white wedding dress, a stunning bit of glitterati, or even a smart suit. Up to you!
Yes, you can wear a white wedding dress, a stunning bit of glitterati, or even a smart suit. Up to you! | Source

General Decision Not To Date Anymore

It seems that enough people decide not to date at a certain point in their lives to make it 'normal.' There is both tragedy and freedom in this. The tragedy comes when the decision not to date is based on the fear of further hurt rather than a big yes to more life!

Why I Don't Date Anymore

Too many bad experiences
Dating is expensive
Friendship provides needed emotional support
Other interests and obligations take up time
Sex with older bodies isn't as appealing
There are better returns on investments
Too difficult to find someone

There Are a Many More Women Than Men!

When there are three single women for every man, unless one is a phenomenal woman, the competition is simply too much. The degree of time and energy it takes to snare a man (and then one will probably have to settle for the kind of man where he doesn't bring an equal amount to the table) simply isn't worth the investment where there are other options to consider. Marriage isn't the only thing in life that brings happiness.

When there are more women than men, it allows men to misbehave and get away with it.
When there are more women than men, it allows men to misbehave and get away with it. | Source

I've Had Too Many Bad Experiences with Men!

To me, the only reason for dating was marriage. I might have been mistaken there, but it was the 60s and I lived in South Africa. I was shocked when people weren't married by nineteen.

Being somewhat ignorant as a result of a very sheltered' environment, having an absent father, going to all girl's boarding schools for a dozen years, and having a learning disability which limited my social understanding, I had no idea that men did not look at dating in the same way. So I generally asked about marriage almost immediately. I kid you not. The rest was history.

In any event, by the time I was twenty five, I just gave up. Nobody wanted to marry me.

I did develop a crush on one person (school days) and fall heavily in love with another. Neither even got off the ground. All my fault. I just didn't get it.

Those two experiences were painful, but they did not put me off men. What confused me initially and made me angry eventually were the perpetual lies that so many men kept telling me.

They would lie about their income, their past, their interest in me, their achievements or lack thereof, about dating other women, about being married, and more.

Was I mistaken? It appears not. Apparently 61% of people lie on their first date. Different studies show that between 50% and 80% of the information exchanged on dates are lies.

According to a survey of 5000 members of, 83% of divorced men would consider marriage in the next five years, while only 32% of divorced women would do the same.
According to a survey of 5000 members of, 83% of divorced men would consider marriage in the next five years, while only 32% of divorced women would do the same. | Source

Even Small Lies Lead to Mistrust

The biggest lie that got to me and finally turned me off for life was the one where someone asked me out, I told them I wasn't interested, and then they told me they just wanted to be friends. I love friends, so I would be quite excited about that. In 1995, however, three different guys, all of whom 'just wanted to be friends' turned out to want everything but. It was the last time I believed any man 'just wanted to be friends.' And it affected my ability to be friends with men because I no longer trusted them after that.

There are differing opinions on whether men and women can be friends, but I think studies bear out that while women can be 'just friends,' men not so. To quote from Scientific American "The results suggest large gender differences in how men and women experience opposite-sex friendships. Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa. Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them—a clearly misguided belief."

Moi! In All My Incarnations During My Life!

Tessa Schlesinger
Tessa Schlesinger

Why Men Don't Date Anymore

Generally, for the most part, men continue to date more frequently than women do. However, there are those who don't.

The dominant reason tends to be extreme disillusionment with women, most having being financially hurt. As with the experience of many women hearing lies from men, so many men have experienced lies from women. A newspaper article revealed that 37% of women lied about their age while 29% of men lied about their income.

Men also deeply resent having to part with their 'hard earned money' when there are divorces. For some this is sufficient discouragement never to take a women seriously again. To quote from The Simple Dollar " The most common reason given for men not to get married is that the financial outcome of divorce proceedings is seen to be unfair."

So the reasons some men reach a point where they don't date anymore are similar to those of women - generally too many negative experiences with the opposite sex.

Too Many Other Commitments and Interests

As we get older, we take on more and more commitments. Sometimes these simply do not leave room for dating. In bullet form, here are some of them.

  • Single parenting is a full time job, especially if one is also working. One is simply too tired to go out.
  • One loses confidence in one's appearance. A 50 year old body is not the same as an 18 year old body. Who wants someone to gaze at one's cellulite or pot belly?
  • The energy of youth disappears. We become more and more tired more and more quickly. Where once we could work all day, then party most of the night and be up for work the following morning, that doesn't work that way (much) after 40.
  • It's impossibly difficult to meet new people, and dating sites tend not to work the older one gets.
  • If one has risen in one's career, it sometimes takes up all one's waking hours and, again, there simply isn't time for a dating life. That includes business travel which can exhaust one.
  • The cost of dating is quite high.Appropriate clothing to go to the theatre, a bathing suit that flatters, jeans that hide the worst of body sins - they all add up. Sometimes people simply don't have sufficient discretionary income to take on dating. To quote from The Guardian, "While a few traditionalists still prefer dinner and a movie, for others figuring out how to pay for a date (sometimes on a salary of $25,000 a year or less) was a frequent source of anxiety."

Have you given up dating?

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Friendship Provides Emotional Support

  • At a certain level of maturity, most people no longer need others as much as they used to when they were younger. They become emotionally independent and so long as they have a few close friends, it works for them. Perhaps it's just that if one has been alone for a long time, one becomes accustomed to it and doesn't need someone else anymore.
  • Sex drive becomes less powerful although it doesn't disappear completely for most people. It's more that if one's libido is only occasional, a shower or a slice of chocolate cake may make the problem go away.
  • There may be better returns on investment than dating. For instance, as one grows older and the children have left home, money becomes more available. Rather than spending money on dating,dinner, and dress, a three day cruise might be more tempting.
  • It's a numbers game. There simply isn't someone for everyone. In some places there are more men than women and in other places there are more women than men. Plus the more different one is, the more difficult it is to find compatible people. Looking for a needle in a haystack isn't appealing! To quote, "For a woman over 65", adds Arber, "there is a 10,000 to one chance of marriage and for a man the odds fall to a thousand to one."

Single Cruising for 86 Year Old Woman

Lots To Do -- Cruises, Book Clubs, Dancing, etc.

Many older people get together with friends to take cruises which have been marked down and spend happy times in this way. They also attend tea dances plus join dance studios to both learn dancing and socialize. Book clubs, learning new skills, meeting friends for coffee all keep people who don't date busy. Some even write articles for hubpages! :


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    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 21 months ago

      This is a well-written and thoughtful article. I agree that friendships can provide the emotional support you need in life. Voted up.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 21 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for sharing this part of your life Tess. I am happily married fortunately. I can't imagine even attempting to date anymore.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 21 months ago from Europe

      What I find very inspiring about this Hub is it openness and honesty. I read your story with great interest.

      Personally I don't believe in dating, because it's mostly a parade of ego's with nonsense stories about blah, blah, blah, while both sides are looking for a soulmate, and that doesn't make sense.

      This guru was right, there is a soulmate for everyone. But since most people keep a kind of secret shopping list (tall, dark hair, blue eyes, blah, blah, blah and must do this and this) they are unable to recognize theirs. Maybe the perfect soulmate is that ugly looking person in a wheelchair, or someone who has a terminal illness or some other uncomfortable habit or disease.

    • WriteAngled profile image

      WriteAngled 20 months ago from Treorci, Cymru

      I was married twice and also in two long-term relationships (about 12 years each time). I am now delighted to be single and will never ever change that status. I am so much more happy and fulfilled living on my own. Being alone has taught me that relationships are generally more like prison sentences than anything else. I was caught by the lie fed to women of my generation that marriage is essential for happiness. What a stinking heap of bovine manure that statement is!

    • TessSchlesinger profile image

      Tessa Schlesinger 20 months ago from South Africa

      WriteAngled, you said, "Being alone has taught me that relationships are generally more like prison sentences than anything else. I was caught by the lie fed to women of my generation that marriage is essential for happiness. What a stinking heap of bovine manure that statement is!"

      That is soooo true! I also grew up with that idea and it took me a long time to realize that a relationship with a man was incredibly hard work and that it was much easier to be on one's own. Once one has learnt how not to be lonely and to connect with the world, one no longer needs to 'find someone special' to alleviate that loneliness. :)

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 20 months ago from Australia

      Hello Tess. What a fascinating hub. You raised a lot of very interesting issues.

      I've known people in the past who had to muster up a lot of courage to risk a friendship simply so they could find out how the other person felt. Some friendships ended, some couples moved onto stronger relationships, and some retained their friendship after moving on from an uncomfortable moment.

      When I first met the wonderful man I am growing old with, it never occurred to me that we would end up happily married.

      Neither of us were interested in dating when we met through work. It was a happy surprise to fall in love just by spending time together, laughing, talking, and getting to know each other without any 'dating' pressure.

      The foundation of our relationship is mutual respect. We respected each other enough to trust each other. With that trust came the opportunity to discuss and explore our beliefs, opinions, attitudes, personal strengths, weaknesses etc.

      Funny though, I never saw his marriage proposal coming. I was shocked when he asked me ... but, despite the obvious obstacles, I couldn't imagine life without him. So I said yes.

      We had connected on so many levels, it seemed perfectly natural to marry a man who lived on the other side of the world and start a life together. An unexpected 'move' has given us 20 great years together ... and many more to come, I hope.

      I'm disappointed that you lost good friends after they made a move. Perhaps you could have retained those friendships if you'd explained that you really enjoyed their friendship but weren't interested in anything more.

      I'm voting your hub up, and sharing it because it offers genuine food for thought, and a chance for us all to reflect on choices we make - or have made. Best wishes to you, Tess.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image

      Tessa Schlesinger 20 months ago from South Africa

      Hi Long Time Mother, thanks for sharing. I'm happy for you. I do believe with all my heart that there are very successful relationships out there. It just never came my way, and that may well be because of the person I am. In retrospect, if I understood the motivations of men as I understand them now, perhaps I would have taken a different path. I just didn't understand that the men who said that they wanted to be friends saw that as a prelude to courtship.

      I don't believe that one can lie about something like that. In other words, it wasn't a real friendship on their part (it was on mine). They were courting; I wasn't. Had there been real friendship, perhaps, in time, something would have developed. That said, for myself, I would need chemistry and I have never found that chemistry grows. To me, it either is there, or it's not.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image

      Tessa Schlesinger 20 months ago from South Africa

      Hi Long Time Mother, I have deleted your latest post, as I did my response to you. Please respect the fact that despite your having an excellent experience, I am now 64 years old, and I have never met any man who treated me well. You distress me when you suggest that my conclusions must be wrong because you had a different experience.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 20 months ago

      Hi Tess

      You have engaged me with this hub. I too do not date anymore. But I've never taken the time to consider why. It has not been a concrete decision that I've made. It's more just become a way of being. Thanks for sharing your insights.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image

      Tessa Schlesinger 20 months ago from South Africa

      Hi Deb, is there anything in it that you specifically relate to?

    • profile image

      DebMartin 20 months ago

      Nothing specifically, Tess. I feel everyone's experience is different. I've always had a need to be unrestricted. And I'm not implying that a potential partner might be restricting. But, instead, that relationships require an amount of compromise that feels restrictive to me.

      Now I know this hub is about dating, not relationships. But for most, "dating" implies a relationship is the desired end. Otherwise it would would be called something like an "outing with a friend." And I do have many outings with friends, men and women.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image

      Tessa Schlesinger 20 months ago from South Africa

      That I could go with. I don't think I initially found the thought of being restricted bothersome. That was essentially because I hadn't developed much as a person. The more I developed, though, the more restrictive it came to me personally to have to share my life as a wife. I much prefer, these days, to have a variety of very close friends with whom I spend time. :)

    • profile image

      DebMartin 20 months ago

      Yup. We do evolve, don't we? I'm curious to watch my own progression. I used to call myself independent. But as I develop, I have come to recognize that "independent" is not quite it.

      To me, I feel there's a distinction between wanting to be unrestricted and wanting to be independent. Maybe it's subtle, but to me independent implies more of a lack of relationships; as in, I want to do things by myself. But the truth for me is that I love my relationships with friends. So I rather prefer to be an unrestricted person (as much as is possible), meaning that my friends know I'm going to say "yes" or "no" to offers to engage depending on the amount of restriction I feel about whatever they are proposing we do together.

      Thanks for the thought-provoking hub.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image

      Tessa Schlesinger 20 months ago from South Africa

      Deb, you bring up a very valid point, one that I hadn't considered. I also think that independent means, to some extent, that one is very capable. For the most part, I don't really feel all that capable. :) But, yes, I don't like being restricted. I don't want to be feel that I have to go home and cook. I don't want to feel that someone is depending on me to carry out a routine. I like the fact that I have a circle of great friends who help each other in a sort of carefree symbiosis. It works for me, and I find it very emotionally satisfying. :)

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 20 months ago from Australia

      Hi Tess. I've just logged on and notice your message to me about deleting my last message and your response. Sorry, I didn't get to see your response. Perhaps you might like to email it to me so I can see it.

      It sounds like I offended you, which was certainly not my intention. I certainly didn't mean to suggest your conclusions must be wrong. I simply thought I was furthering the conversation by explaining my own transition from being satisfied with being single to being happily married.

      I thought it might have had some relevance to someone else who reads this hub and comments, but I respect your right to delete me. I was engaged in discussing the topic, Tess, not thinking for one moment it would upset you. Sorry if it did.

      I still like your hub. :)

    • TessSchlesinger profile image

      Tessa Schlesinger 20 months ago from South Africa

      LongTimeMother. Most of what you said is something that I think a lot of readers would have wanted to read. The 'trigger' came when you suggested I shouldn't give up looking. That made me feel inadequate.

    • profile image

      ArtDiva 20 months ago

      For me, at the core is friendship, but it seems we live in a throw-away society, even with friendship. Well written article on a subject never thought addressed.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 7 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Perhaps you should just tell them that you are not interested in sex. That would probably discourage most men.

    • profile image

      happyhappygal 6 months ago

      I stopped dating because I wanted to heal. All dating and relationships did nothing but cause more pain in my life. I have found out that I am more happy being without a relationship. I would want someone in my life but (This is my experience) all the men that I have met have been nothing but liers and cheaters. I have tried to not bring past issues into new relationships and start with an open mind, I have been friendly, loving, caring, accepting.. nothing works. I have explained to them my past experiences.. and still nothing.

      Dating is extremely hard. No one is interested in truly taking the time to get to know you.. they care about sex.. I have told men that I have dated that I don't want to deal with a married man.. or a man in a relationship and they look into my face and say they understand..I turn around and I find out they are married or involved..So many of them have babies everywhere. Then they feel like I am judging them because I tell them honestly.. not with an attitude... why I am not interested in a man with multiple families. It is difficult to raise one family successfully.. how can a person manage multiple families...financially, emotionally.. timewise and then look to start a new relationship with me? It is not being bitter.. it is just being tired. So I choose to be alone. I wish I could meet a nice guy, a real one in the flesh.. everyone says that they are out there but I have never met one.

    • profile image

      Cackus 3 months ago

      I gave up when I turned 30, when my wife left. It took a decade to dig out of the mess working two jobs to pay off the divorce debt. I wanted a family and such but I realized from watching my friends and from the divorce that women are simply to risky to have any relationship with and will most likely leave you broke, depressed with no legal access to your children unless you are like some of my friends (all single dads some raising children that aren’t even theirs) .

      To bad, I think I would make a great dad it's just not for me. At least this way I can invest in myself, being single and not spending my time and energy fulfilling womens needs allowed me to for once in my life work on me. I got an engineering degree, work out and got in great shape, have savings, retirement and a good credit rating why would I risk loosing it all?

      Yes, being celibate sucks and for a few years I took anti depressants (not that I was depressed it just reduced my sex drive which I always thought was to much anyway) now I use licorice root, saw palmetto and chase tree extract capsules and without the constant nagging libido I find women less than interesting.

      Now I've been women free for 16 years, if I can only get people to quite saying things like "You're such a great catch, why don't you get a girlfriend?" (becasue I'm sane and want to stay that way) or "You're so handsome I bet all the girls like you. " (I wouldn't know and don't care)

      Mostly I get this from my female friends and relatives, my male friends know why I don't, no explanation needed many choose the same lifestyle.

    • profile image

      Nadia2016 3 months ago

      I'm a very young woman and I gave up dating because I'm in a new era for women and I don't want to date a bunch of jerks just because I must to get married, because "it's a society rule". People always push me to marry and have kids because "you must do it or you'll die alone". That's rude, but people enjoy that. There isn't guarantee...your husband and kids could abandon you, or not! I would like to find my soulmate, but sorry, I think that it won't happen. Sometimes, ruminating thoughts of fear to be alone forever appear on my mind, but I'm not! I have my lovely parents, pets and friends and they provide me with the emotional support that I need!

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