Maybe marriage isn't in my cards…

posted 6 months ago in Relationships
Post # 61
3398 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

anonymousbee001 :  if I met a guy who didn’t have his basic high school diploma, it would definitely be something I’d take note of and have concerns about our compatibility over, but if he happened to be a rare exception who had stable employment with a reasonably reliable forward trajectory, and was both interesting and intelligent, I wouldn’t write him off for it. 

Chances are though that a guy who didn’t even finish high school would not be a good match for me. 

I find your comments about wanting to push your future children into getting “at least a bachelor’s degree” interesting. Why is it so important to go that particular educational route? If your kid preferred to work with their hands and wanted to apprentice in a trade instead, would you seriously try to push them away from that? Why? 

ETA: if it’s about wanting them to be successful, consider the fact that out of my family of four siblings, two of us went to University and two went to trade school.

The two of us who went to University have both struggled quite a bit to find meaningful and we’ll paying work. My job pays well and has a lot of flexibility, but I find it dull and boring. The other one is a teacher and has been struggling for almost a decade to get on a school board full time and has spent years hashing together an income with subbing and one-off contracts. 

The two who went to trade school are both making 6 figures (CAD). One has a cushy government job as an inspector and is able to comfortably raise four kids in a nice house in a great neighborhood, all playing hockey and going to private school. 

The other has risen through the ranks working in his trade and now runs multi million dollar jobs. He is about to marry a woman who has just a college diploma but has worked her way up the ranks in her company to also make 6 figures. I’m about to marry someone with a college diploma as well who makes the same as me at the moment but will almost certainly make a good 50% more than me in five years time. 

Post # 62
2052 posts
Buzzing bee

anonymousbee001 :  For example, I’m not sure how I could credibly impress upon future children that, barring extraordinary circumstances, they are expected to earn at least a bachelor’s degree, if I were to choose a partner that chose not to, especially in Canada.

I get what you’re saying here but you cannot *make* your adult aged kid go to college. People are their own individuals and just because someone chooses to go a different route doesn’t say to me that their intellectual capabilities are limited. One could argue that the sheeple racking up degrees being professional students are the intellectually stunted ones without, as Kanye West once said, “their degrees to keep them warm at night” ๐Ÿ™‚


And that’s not a knock on people who have degrees and advanced education– I’m simply saying it takes all kinds of kinds. 

If OP finds a guy who has a degree and is great, then great! If she finds a guy who works in a trade and he is great, then great! I think it’s reasonable to put some financial parameters around dating, ie someone who has credible work history and their lifestyle is sustainable on the income they earn, they’re honest and hardworking, they do stimulate your own intellect and bring meaningful conversation and perspective to the table. To me, that’s more on the individual and less on the university they did or did not attend.

Just a thought.


Post # 63
10687 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

elderbee :  


As for the stringent academic requirements, good grief.  I have spent a little time in academia, collecting two post grad degrees, one is a doctorate (JD).

Universities are overflowing with imbeciles. Getting through college has only a minimal minimal association with genuine intelligence, self awareness, common sense, or any other quality that would draw me to a potential partner.

No, I am not saying everyone who pursues higher education is an idiot. It’s a shame I have to put that disclaimer on there and it’s rather telling that I do.

If the OP wants to reject potential dates out of hand because they didn’t log in their four years, so be it. Her choice. Personally, my many years of experience in academic settings do not support OP’s hypotheses.  Much depends on the individual student’s area of study and the university’s ranking on the Top Party Schools list.

College Degree =intelligence, meh.


OP, to find a good partner, be a good partner. What are you bringing to the table? How are you showcasing yourself in your online profile?

Looking at every date as a potential life partner is doing it the hard way. Maybe instead you can make a new friend.  OP, do you have too many friends? If you turn out not to be right for each other, perhaps he knows exactly the right guy for you. Casting your net far and wide is generally the more efficient approach.

Even better, learn to see each man you date as an actual person. Be present in the moment.  Enjoy the dinner or whatever outing you share. Focus on the food, the scenery, the music, the people around you, the birds chirping, whatever. Surely, there is something happening on every date other than a brutal analysis of the hapless guy on the other side of the table.

Post # 65
2217 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

ahsoka :  This is so beautiful. Seriously. Thank you for sharing that. 

I did something along those lines, by working through a book “Calling In The One” where I spent about 6 months proceeding through a series of visualization exercises and ultimately clarifying to myself what I wanted most in a partner. 

It not only helped me realize I hadn’t yet met that person (so all the previous relationships that didn’t work out, well… they weren’t the right person, not that I was somehow flawed and underserving of their love) but also to more quickly see when someone I was dating ALSO wasn’t that person. I didn’t spend weeks and months trying to see if things might come together; I could almost immediately tell if they were the person I was envisioning. It spared a lot of time and heartache. 

But I had the book for almost 3 years before I was able to actually get through it. I was terrified at the kind of scrutiny and self-love I would have to practice in order to make the process work. I wasn’t ready for a long time, even though I had the tools, the prospect of using them was so upsetting and scary, I knew I would rather contiunue to suffer in a way that was farmiliar than try something new. 

OP – it’s okay if you aren’t ready. It’s okay if you are protecting yourself from further harm and sadness by engaging in a pattern that keeps you insulated from heartbreak. Just know that even though changing is scary and hard, it is often the only way you can change your outcomes. It is often the only way to truly find out what you want, and then be able to actually find it. 

Post # 66
2217 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

pinkglitter2017 :  I would eliminate those questions entirely.


I think you are looking at this as an equation like A + B = C

And if they are missing A or B you can never get to C so why bother.

Love is weird. It’s more like A + Yellow – 15 = Potato

You seem keenly fixated on a person’s previous relationships as a predictor for future outcomes, and that just isn’t a trustworthy measure. Other than understanding that they are indeed looking for a serious relationship (as opposed to a hookup) the fact and length of their prior relationships doesn’t tell you very much at all about what a relationship with YOU might be like. 

My FH had never been with someone for longer than about 3 years before we met. He was 40. You might infer from that he has a problem with commitment or didn’t want to get married. Within 6 months of meeting we were planning to build a house and get married. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to get married, it was that he didn’t want to get married until he met me

Stop thinking that what they have done in the past is going to tell you what you need to know about what they might do with regard to you. It just isn’t that simple. And it’s ONLY meaningful in context of their other qualities and traits. 

Also, you don’t even know if you like them? Why do you care how long/how many relationships they have been in? It’s kind of a personal question. It would REALLY turn me off if that was the first thing someone online asked me. It would feel unnecessarily reductive, and kind of irrelevant. 

Ask them if they like their job.

Ask them what the last great thing they read was.

Ask them how they feel about parrots! They live a long time; any partner of yours has to kinda be on board with that, right?

Ask them about their last vacation.

Ask them about the things that reveal whether or not they are someone you can have an engaging conversation with. Ask them about things that can tell you something about how they see the world, and where they want to end up in the future – not just about a past that might not have a lot of bearing on how they MIGHT EVENTUALLY feel about you. 

While it’s important to figure out if you want the same things, it isn’t something you can figure out that simply. It’s also important to figure out if you find them LIKEABLE. Start there, ask about their past once you have that settled. It will make more sense in the context of whatever else you know about them. 

And if you guys can eventually get to potato. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Post # 67
3740 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

pinkglitter2017 :  I haven’t read all the replies, so forgive me if this has been covered already. I read your updated and I’m happy to see that you’re broadening your search criteria! It’s important to not paint everyone with the same brush. 

When I first started online dating after my divorce, I was VERY choosy. I wanted:

  • someone older because I needed someone emotionally mature with life experience. 
  • Someone with an established career because work ethic is important to me
  • Someone who has been in a long-term committed relationship because I didn’t want to teach someone how to be in a partnership/marriage
  • Someone who wanted children
  • Someone local

My Fiance only checks one of these boxes lol. However, he embodies my reasoning behind all these criteria. He’s younger than me, but more emotionally mature than any man I’ve dated before. He’d never even lived with a girlfriend until I moved in but he’s the best partner, I didn’t have to teach him anything in that area. He had just moved from a big city & an established job to a small town to take over a family business that is entirely weather, customer and seasonally dependent (so not a super stable option) but he works his butt off. He lived 2 hours away and had to literally talk me into even meeting him because I wasn’t going to be relocating (and he’s a business owner, so he wouldn’t be moving). Well am I ever glad he talked me into meeting up. After over a year of dating, I relocated for him and I adore my life here. I woudn’t change it for anything, but if I hadn’t been flexible, I would have never meet this amazing man who truly is my best friend and created the most perfect life with him. 

Having deal breakers is important. But it’s more about WHY you have the criteria you have, not the specific criteria. Not all divorced men are bitter and commitment-phobic… I met lots of guys who had never been married who were more bitter than the divorcees! My Fiance was hesitant to date me because I’m divorced. He assumed I would be bitter & have lots of baggage.. and I do have baggage, but it actually matches FI’s baggage, so we can really understand & forgive each other’s insecurities because of it!

ETA – You asked about questions to ask when getting to know someone. I just asked questions about their life goals, to see if our paths were headed in the same direction. I dont really understand how someones previous relationship history reflects the kind of person they are. I would ask how long they have been single for, what they do for work, if they are close with their families, what they do for fun. Try to get a general picture of what this guy is like. 

Post # 68
923 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

pinkglitter2017 :   To be honest, I think your three questions are unhelpful. 

Before agreeing to meet someone in person, they’re a complete stranger.  Strangers have no obligation or interest in being transparent about significant issues in their past.  Men in their 30s have been dating for decades. They can all spin a version of these answers that won’t tell you a darn thing about them, but will lead you to think you know what you don’t.  Here are some of the big blind spots in your questions.

1. What was your longest relationship?   (Should we count the 4 year college sweetheart, the on-again off-again not-quite relationship that lasted through his 20s, or maybe the 1 year relationship that ended 2 months ago?  The one year relationship is probably a more relevant indication of his relationship readiness, but completely invisible based on your question.)

2. What are you looking for? Is marriage something you want? (Most guys are going to say some version of “I’m looking for a great person to share life with” / “Yes, if I find the right person”.  No matter his intentions, a man talking to a woman in her 30s who has asked that question before meeting him is going to assume that there is only correct answer. What anyone is looking for has a novel’s amount of nuance. You’re asking for a book title.)

3. How many past relationships have you had?  (People count “relationships” differently.  Is 4 dates a relationship?  How about booty calls? Are we counting only people he dated after college? Only ones where they called each other boyfriend/ girlfriend?  Only people he was in love with?  It’s also a weirdly intrusive question to ask a stranger.  I’d think that was a HUGE red flag if I was asked that before meeting face to face.)

I recommend replacing these checklist questions with a conversation.  If you must come up with questions that help you make a go/no go decision to meet, ask questions that will illuminate major incompatibilities.  Let’s say you can’t date men who don’t read or don’t work out. 

“I just finished reading X- I’m looking for a book recommendation. What have you read recently that you’d recommend?”  You’ll get a stronger sense of their intellectual life from the books men read now than the college they got into as teenagers.  If they cite periodicals instead of books, ask about the columns/ authors they follow.  The information people seek out about the world says a lot about how they see it.  

“I’m about to head to the gym.  My routine is getting a bit boring. How do you keep in shape?” Ask followup questions about how they design their workouts, if they go to classes, if they read about exercise science, that kind of thing.

You can ask about relationships in person.  “How long ago did your last significant relationship end?”  Can be followed by questions like “What makes a relationship significant? What did you learn from that experience?” etc… Body language will tell you more than text can.

Have fun!

Post # 69
269 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Yeah, I’d axe those questions. They seem like you are trying to fill a job posting, not trying to get to know someone for who they are.  

Post # 70
6806 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

teamroro :  “Ask them if they like their job.

Ask them what the last great thing they read was.

Ask them how they feel about parrots! They live a long time; any partner of yours has to kinda be on board with that, right?

Ask them about their last vacation.

Ask them about the things that reveal whether or not they are someone you can have an engaging conversation with. Ask them about things that can tell you something about how they see the world, and where they want to end up in the future”

OP, these are great. I agree, those other questions you’ve been asking don’t really tell you ANYTHING about these men. Wouldn’t you rather meet a guy that maybe doesn’t have all the right answers to those questions but instead you find yourself connecting with on a completely deeper level?

Post # 71
3398 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

 I’m glad you’re widening your net, OP ๐Ÿ™‚ 

And it makes a lot more sense that those were just your search parameters than an actual rigid set of requirements haha but yes I think loosening them a bit will help a lot. 

As for the whole online dating thing, in my experience, learning how to use Tinder (or Bumble, which wasn’t really a thing yet) effectively yeilds much better results than sifting through overly-curated profiles on dating sites. 

What a person says about themselves on paper and who they actually are don’t actually align as well as one might think. I feel like it was a lot easier to gauge whether a guy was my type based off the kinds of photos he had on his tinder profile and whatever line or two he had there, than on what they wrote about themselves on an extended profile or what search parameters they aligned with. 

I also never wasted my time or energy having multiple conversations before meeting someone I found on Tinder or online. Basically, I’d swipe right on guys I thought seemed cool and if we matched, I’d have a quick back and forth to see if we were looking for the same thing (looking to date with the intention of finding a partner as opposed to casually or hooking up). Most guys are pretty honest about those intentions when you just straight up ask from the get go. 

If we were on the same page about what we were looking for, I’d suggest we meet up for a beer and see if we click. 

Post # 72
538 posts
Busy bee

I feel like these are good questions to ask when you are getting to know someobody to get to know how they think about the world. But they aren’t good to use as automatic deal-breakers. And they aren’t worth using BEFORE you meet somebody. 

To meet somebody, just see how they interact. Do they ask questions about your profile? Do they seem interesting? Chat about a book you read! An exhibit you saw this week. See whether they respond in ways you find enjoyable. 

Meet them in person. 

That will tell you much more about them. Ask them about their past relationships. But don’t assume somebody whose only had an 8 month relationship isn’t ready for a longer one. Lots of people haven’t had relationships for lots of perfectly good reasons….until they do (my husband and I started dating in our 30s. I’d only had one relationship and it was for a year. In part that was because I WAS serious about the people I was invovled in. It was also just random, not the product of some inability to interact (which would be obvious to people who knew me and my many long-standing deep friendships) Ask them about past marraiges. But don’t assume they will be bitter or twisted by a past marriage. They might have learned and grown from it. Ask them what they care about? That will tell you more about how they think about education, about long-term planning, and so on. 

No list will tell you what interacting with people will. When you meet people talk to them light-heartedily. It will tell you how they laugh. Talk to them seriously, it will tell you what they value. 


Ask them why they love the tv shows they love. Ask them why they chose their careers and what they turned down to choose them and why they made those choices. Ask them about their favorite parts of our childhood, and their least favorite. Ask them about where they would live if they could live anywhere and why. Ask them all kinds of things–but do it when you are getting to know them in person. 

I know its painful, but you can’t checklist yourself out of potential heart-break, or out of the harder work of figuring out if you actually like people, or what their character is. 

Post # 73
2052 posts
Buzzing bee

Lets not forget the question to end all questions: Are you a cat person or a dog person?


Their answer can determine potentially the rest of your life.

Post # 74
809 posts
Busy bee

fromatoz :   sboom : If we accept that there may be multiple people with whom someone would be sufficiently compatible with and that there are costs to filtering/searching, it’s reasonable that the individual may accept some Type 1 error. (Filtering out 22 years olds may be reasonable even though a compatible 22 year old may exist.) There are some people who are so unlikely to be compatible that it isn’t worth the time and search effort to meet up or inquire further.

I’m not saying it’s a good criteria for everyone or even most people, only that there exist people for whom the criteria makes sense. There are some social circles and cultures for which a college degree is expected as much as a high school degree, and people for whom someone without one is highly unlikely to be compatible (similar to your concession that chances are someone who didn’t finish high school wouldn’t be a good fit).

While there are indeed opportunities to those without a high school degree, it is still true that on average, individuals with a college degree earn more, and are more likely to reach the highest percentiles of the income distribution. Furthermore, individuals with a college degree may be less susceptible to structural changes in workforce.

Additionally, the value in a college education comes not only from the financial benefits but also the intellectual expansion and critical thinking skills gained, especially considering the inadequacy of many US secondary schools. Furthermore, while I’m sure there are many intelligent people without a college degree who can be very interesting and engaging conversationalists, as I asserted earlier, some areas do require proper training to have command over these topics.

Regarding children, someone could ask similarly why it is important for (hypothetical) children to graduate from high school (in some countries and cultures, it’s not a given). With respect to my personal preferences, while I agree I cannot force adult children (suitable oxymoron in this case) to go to college, I would be highly disappointed if they chose not to, especially given the values I had hoped to instill, the opportunities afforded to them, and the hopes I had for their future. Additionally, while adults cannot be compelled to attend college, minors to some extent can be. 

Post # 75
9828 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

In my personal experience, the people I have met that have been dumb as a doornail have all been highly degreed college folks. Zero common sense/street smarts.

Of course, there are loads of smart college educated folks out there. But the three dumbest people I’ve ever met have had multiple letters behind their names.

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