My single friends often say all the good ones are taken or married. But I maintain that a lot of the bad ones are too; Hell, some of the worst people I know are married. Despite what other people my age might believe, I don’t think I’m at a point yet (I’m 28) where it’s super difficult to find someone. I know a good number of people from college that are married, but most of the people in my personal circles are still unmarried, and a good number of those are single.

But while there may be power in numbers, there’s little comfort. People still carry a lot of angst about being single, particularly those of us that are nearing (or at) the big three oh. However, I also notice that a lot of us aren’t really clear on what we want.

When it comes to what we want as a whole, there is no simple answer. I read a good number of blogs and magazine articles that purport to tell someone what men or women as a whole want. It’s all bunk and fluff with no basis in reality. While there are still some universal truths when it comes to things like dating etiquette, every person has their own unique ideas goals when it comes to work, professional life, family, and romance.

Some people I know are pretty up-front about it. They want to find their future wife or husband, get married, and have a butt-load of kids. Fact: a “butt-load” is the equivalent of 2.5 children. This is proven by science. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all. More power to them, I say, and I sincerely hope they get it. Because on the whole, most of my friends deserve to get what they want in life.

For me personally, I get uncomfortable when someone asks me on a first date if I want to have kids. Don’t get me wrong, I admire when a woman knows exactly what she wants, and if you’re the sort of person that wants children it’s absolutely something you should know is a possibility (or not) right from the get-go. It speaks more to my insecurities on the subject.

More important for me is finding out what I want in a partner. Do I want someone with a sense of humor, or do I want someone more serious minded who will counteract my natural silliness? Do I want someone who shares my hobbies and interests or do I want someone with their own interests so I can have my own personal time and space? These are the sort of questions I’m asking myself. And they’re the questions I need to figure out the answers to before I go out searching for “the one.”

I have a good, but not concrete, idea of what I want. And that, my friends, is why I’m still single.

I don’t know if I want kids. I’m not sure I want to get married. Hell, I’m not even sure if I want to be with someone on a long-term basis. The fact of the matter is, while I may get lonely from time to time, I’m fairly happy being on my own. I like having my own time. I enjoy having nieces and nephews, but also like that I can leave before I get too exhausted. Sure, there are certain aspects of my life that could be a lot better, but that’s always going to be the case. I can’t measure happiness and contentment by what I don’t have, but rather what I do have.

That doesn’t mean I’m completely against the idea of being in a relationship. What it does mean is that I’m not motivated nor do I have a sense of urgency to find someone. If the right person for me comes along, we get to know each other and fall in love? Sure. I’m not going to fight it. But I’m also not going to aggressively pursue something if I don’t know it’s there.

Deep down, I know that sort of attitude might be self-defeating, and I may come to a point later on in life where if I’m still single I’ll hit the panic button and join all those online dating sites and hit up all those singles events. But for now, I’m alright being single. Hopefully, there are plenty of women out there who are okay with being single too. I’m sure we’d get along great.

This concludes Dating Week here on Kevin Marshall: In the Present Tense. I want to thank all readers and commenters for sharing their feedback and their stories. It’s been a truly eye-opening experience for yours truly.

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17 Responses to Dating Week: What Do We Want?

  1. Rachel says:

    Very good post, Kevin. I really enjoying reading your take on this topic! :-)

  2. Lola says:

    Kevin, I read all your posts, but have not yet felt the urge to comment, until now. For a man your age, may I say that you really have your s*#! together.

    The fact that you even have the confidence to admit that you ‘don’t know what you want’, is clearly an indication of your comfort level with yourself and your choices you make in your dating world. Kudos to you for being so aware. I on the other hand, do know exactly what I want, and am having great difficulty in finding a man that can understand, appreciate and embrace me as partner for feeling so secure about this.

    You’re very honest with yourself, mature and grounded – I have found so few men that possess these qualities, and they have 20 years on you! My advice to you… don’t make any compromises to fulfill any social expectation when it comes to dating. I have no doubt that there is a special someone out there for everyone and you are clearly a good catch. Have fun and always be true to yourself.

  3. derryX says:

    I just have to say, Big Kev, I have throughly enjoyed the week’s dating theme, not only because of it’s timeliness, but also because of the quality. It is nice to read that some of the thoughts I’m having about the dating scene are shared by others.

    That aside, in regards to today’s post, I’ve hit that 3-0 that you’re talking about, and being out there is a little scary, but I have a ray of hope that I will figure out and find what I am looking for. I’m approaching it from the standpoint of, I know I have a personality that isn’t for everybody, but sometime/somewhere, I’ll find that person who appreciates the personality, humor, insight, and fun that I like to portray. I’m in no rush. and I don’t think that’s a self-defeating perspective at all. It’s passive in a sense, but at the same time, it allows everything to be natural and enjoyable for everybody.

    Good stuff!

  4. Sue says:

    What a great post! It’s unusual to find a guy (any guy, any age) who is that in tune with himself and what he wants – and especially one who is willing to admit it out loud! (pause for pat on back)

    Speaking from experience – it’s a bad idea to get married too young. I personally think marriage shouldn’t be allowed until we hit 30, anyway.

  5. Amanda Talar says:

    Can I get an AMEN-uh!

    Great great great post. I thoroughly agree.

  6. Casey says:

    I also agree with everyone that you have got it together. Even though you may not know exactly what you want, when you stumble over the right person, it will be then that you know. I have truly enjoyed each and every post this week and look forward to many more insightful posts.

    Throughout my 27 years, I have always been told by “elders” that you will stumble over the right person when you least expect it, and to this day I truly beleive that. I have tried to force relationships in the past and it wasn’t until I was comfortable with myself that I found the right person. It sounds that you are completely okay with being single, so it is only a matter of time for you. You possess so many qualities that any woman would be lucky to have, so just sit back and let the right person in when she comes.

  7. Eileen in Selkirk says:

    I agree with Casey. Just when you aren’t searching, you will stumble over the “one”. For now.. enjoy your single time. I hope you keep blogging because I love reading it. You are a talented writer.

  8. I just wanted to say I have enjoyed the dating blog this week! It is very refreshing to read how well you know yourself as a single gal creeping upon the 3-0 and not meeting alot of guys that have a handle on that. The dating scene can be scary but I agree as others have said that you may find that you know what you want when you see it in someone that you meet. I also wanted to add… another hard part of finding someone …. “Are they going to mind all my tattoos” (I have alot of them that may not be seen while out at bars, etc).

  9. Steve says:

    Some people look to relationships as an escape. The successful ones see it as a way to return to a feeling called “home.”

  10. James Frederick says:

    I always feel awkward stating that I don’t know what I want in life and that I’m still trying to find myself. It’s true that it seems like most people do know what they want and want to find someone else who knows they want. I have to say that I’m quite impressed that everyone is so supportive of your “not-knowing.” Everyone seems to find you confident in knowing that you don’t know. I wouldn’t have thought that to be a good thing. I’m confident that I’m clueless most times about life in general. I think it’s easy to respect someone for saying that on a blog, but not so much when you are sitting across from them at Applebees on a first date.

    I’m curious, how would everyone feel finding out on a first date (as oppossed to a blog entry) that the other person is confident in not knowing what they want in some aspects of their life?

  11. Cute~Ella says:

    I can understand the uneasiness in being asked about having kids on the first date, but if say by date three and things are going really well? If that’s something that’s really important to her – then why not ask if it’s something you want too?

    You’ll find what you’re looking for…or it will find you. :)

  12. Laura Lee says:

    All I can say is WOW…I am sooo with you. Just discovered your blog today and you’ve become my ‘not so secret’ admirer! I too am in the same boat as you (except I am now the big three oh) and wish I could run into more guys out there like you. I am a ‘desperate man magnet’ and I’m just looking for someone who’d like to get to know me rather than start making wedding plans after the first date…UGH! You just made the start of my weekend a little happier.

  13. Casey says:

    James Frederick-

    I think that we all admire Kevin’s honesty. He brought up some very intriguing question such as…

    “Do I want someone with a sense of humor, or do I want someone more serious minded who will counteract my natural silliness? Do I want someone who shares my hobbies and interests or do I want someone with their own interests so I can have my own personal time and space?”

    I have always wanted and gone for someone with similar hobbies and interests, but the gentleman that I am with now has completely different interests and it works out great. I think even if you may not know what you definitively want in someone, it is not a bad thing. It is perfectly fine to get to know someone and figure things out as you go.

  14. Ellie says:

    @ James Frederick

    You know what? If I was sitting across from a guy at a restaurant other than Applebees (bad bad baaaaad memories), and he admitted he wasn’t so sure about certain aspects of his life, I’d find that so very refreshing. All too often I meet men who are certain that they want the job, the wife who is tall blonde and has her masters but really wants to stay home to educate children. These are not me. I’m an average sized gal with graying hair and any guy who dates me has to realize he’s going to be Mr. Ellie no matter what he does and he’d better be doing something career minded. And they date me, or they try, and either attempt to squeeze me into wifey role or make subtle comments about how I’m not what they wanted but I’ll do.

    I’ve figured out some of my own wants – I need a guy who has a strong personality, a strong and authentic personality. He also needs to understand that I have a job, and for the most part, it is my life. There’s a goal, and I’m working towards it. That requires a ton of work and a flexible schedule. Because my job is somewhat public in nature, and managerial, he’s going to be Mr. Ellie. He’s got to be content with that fact. He’s got to be secure in his maculinity to not freak out. Everything else is negotiable.

  15. Jen says:

    Nice wrap up for date week! Oddly, I’m coming up on 30 and still don’t worry much about my single status. I wear it like a badge of honor. I’m proud to have gotten this far. There have been few, very-short lived, periods of my life that I’ve felt that need to grab the closest guy and hang on tight. I’ve found that those periods are the worst periods in time to go searching.

    Whenever I hear “The good ones are all taken”, I wonder what that says about the person saying it. Aren’t they single?

  16. tassiegrl says:

    Kevin, I’m late to commenting on this post and I apologize for that. I wish there were more men who were willing to admit that they:
    #1 – thought about what they want in a partner;
    #2 – realize they don’t know what they want, and;
    #3 – stay out of the dating pool until they figure it out (thus sparing those of us who do know what we want the agony of having a bad relationship with them!).

    It’s OK to be single – even when you are approaching 37 instead of 30.

  17. I’ve gotta say that I agree with Cute~Ella….
    Kids might not be a great 1st date conversation starter, but if it’s important to someone it should be mentioned early on. If a guy tells me he’s set on not having children that’s an instant deal-killer for me…. To each their own.

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