Carolyn Hax: Is Dating a Never-Married Man a Waste of Time?


Carolyn Hax is gone. The following is from March 9, 2008.

Dear Carolyn, I am a 44 year old divorced woman looking for a committed relationship and I want to remarry. I’ve had some fun dates with a 48 year old never-married man. We have yet to talk about past relationships or goals in our relationship. We’ve all been warned to be wary of never-married men; it’s likely they’ll never get married, right? What are your thoughts on the matter? As I move forward in the relationship, what questions can I ask him to find out if he is truly open to commitment or if I am wasting my time?

D.: The never married are a bad risk because they never want to commit, yeah I’ve heard that.

Also remember that divorced people will commit – but then they will frolic.

And of course, widows and widowers will always remain devoted, on some level, to the deceased, whom you can never hope to replace.

I hardly need to mention those who date you while still married, but I will anyway: You can never trust them not to cheat on you like they did on your predecessor.

I’m not sure if the spouses of alien abductees are considered married or a whole separate category, but either way they just want to stay up all night checking the foil on the roof.

And don’t get me started on the marry-or-bust team.

By my count, that almost rules out dating another human.

If you’re at peace with the idea that some level of risk is inevitable, then there are arguments for and against just about any of these categories. That’s why the most important questions you can ask this man are the ones that help you get to know your date, as a person (as opposed to a spouse by numbers). Find out who he is, what he stands for and if you would ever commit to him.

Dear Carolyn, This is a twist on a common problem:

My new boyfriend makes more money than me. We take turns paying when we go out. Unfortunately, he has expensive taste. I tend to order sparingly; he basically orders the most expensive things on the menu.

We have discussed our income differences before and decided to eat out less. But when we go out again, it’s always something that costs twice as much as what I ordered! I feel like a mean, snarky cheapskate heel for being annoyed, but I have serious money problems as it is and I’m very stressed about them.

So how can I say, “Baby, get a burger, not filet mignon, because I’m going to get kicked out otherwise”?

Washington: Common problem, but there is no twist: You have to learn to say no.

It is not a question of the words; your burger line is absolutely fine and you can also suggest dividing things fairly. Although I would argue that you need to speak up even earlier than that, and offer date-wise reciprocation by cooking and not eating out.

The real problem is your ability to say the words.

This is your money he spends, to the detriment of your financial and emotional health, and because you won’t stand up for yourself, he does it with your permission. Find your backbone and use it.

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