So, you are still not married. I didn't get married until I was 29. But here are my comments.
First, some background.
I knew a guy, I’ll call him Jammin (Jam for short). He was strong and tall, but not quick (so he could not play basketball or football – not quick enough, trouble with powerlifting, too tall). He wasn’t as good looking as he thought, and not as smart as he needed to be. He had a thing about really pretty girls. Of course the only really pretty girls that would date him were ones with problems that off-set their being pretty. He couldn’t figure out why he was always dating girls with serious problems, how come he always ran into the ones that turned out to be scary?
It was simple. He wasn’t good looking enough to be a good match or fit for that group and did not have off-setting qualities (dating sites show that you can exchange money, education and other things for good looks if you are a guy). So, if you were a pretty girl, you probably had some pretty serious negatives before you would date him.
I knew another guy, I’ll call him Loser (Lou for short). Lou liked really pretty girls. He liked pretty girls who could think. He invariably picked them up on the rebound after a bad break-up, he wasn’t pushy. They would drift away as they recovered. Mostly they remained friends, and interestingly enough, formed a group of ex-girlfriends of Lou’s that enjoyed each other, just not him. Lou couldn’t understand why he couldn’t hold on to the kind of girls he was dating. Now he is old enough that he is kind of skeevy vis a vis the girls he would like to date and has burned some bridges as well.
His problem is pretty simple. He has little to offer (less now that he is older) other than a non-threatening supportive ear and friend-style dating. But no one in their right emotional mind sees him as dating material for romantic dates.
Both of these guys were not matching what they were to what they were chasing. Both of them had long histories of failed relationships. Jam succeeded by breaking free of his blinders. Lou is, well, there is a reason I called him Loser.
We probably all know a Lou and a Jam.
This is kind of a harsh introduction. I knew a guy who told the same story, more or less, except it was about a girl who chased football players and another who chased drummers.
Too many people think that the moral of the stories is that you have to “settle” for less than you “deserve” or “want.” That’s wrong. What you have to do is find who you match.
Some things make it easier. If you are a guy, go to New York City. There is a surplus of single women in New York City. If you are a woman, go places where there is a surplus of men.
Next, go places where people are looking for people like you. I had a friend, Martha Muriel who was pretty and a dancer. She went to a ward full of short professional men and tall models. The men all wanted a short model (which, of course, wasn’t going to happen, there is a minimum height for models after all). The women were all looking for tall professionals (which group, it turns out, is mostly already married). None of them were looking for Hispanics, more their loss. Martha left after a couple visits, she was much too smart to waste more time there.
There are things that look like problems, but that are not. They are matters of fit.
In addition, it is easy enough to have huge blocks of time consumed by a failed relationship. Though finding yourself 40 and single whether through divorce, death, or just never getting married can be much the same.
It is similar for both men and women. In some areas there are too many men, in others there are too many women. This is true of physical locations as it is of areas of interest (you trying to become a doctor’s spouse or snag an unmarried professional athlete? There are a lot of people in those areas). Some areas have huge pools (so the chance of someone in your sub-pool goes up) some have very tiny pools (if there are only three guys and three women in an area, the chance of a close match has probably gone way down).
Finally, what do you use as a filter? What things do you use to exclude? Every “hard” barrier will limit you. For example, my wife is taller than I am. If I had insisted on someone shorter than I was, I would not have married her (and vice versa – luckily we fell in love before we realized the height issue).
All of these matters taken together means that it is very, very possible for someone to never find a match without it being their fault and without anything being wrong with them.
1. Geography. Sometimes it is just bad luck where you live or where your education goals take you.
2. Relationships. Not all relationships succeed. However, each time you invest time and effort in a relationship it puts you a few more years down the road.
3. Looking for the wrong solutions in seeking a match. Mostly that is idiot guys looking for physical attractiveness in women, but there are other things that come up.
4. Filter issues – excluding on the wrong things. Which does not mean you should ever, ever give way when you are filtering for the right things.
5. Other gap creators (there are things that make a match more difficult. Age, personal interests, political tastes, etc.).
Note that the most common issues do not require anything to be wrong with someone. Being “squirrely beyond belief” and crazy is not something that keeps people from being married (would that it were so – I know lots of people in that category, some who have been married multiple times).
Well, that is an entirely different thing. What are the real things you want and the real deal killers? Then, list why they are what you want and why they are deal killers (e.g. the thing you have against New York Republicans would apply to old fashioned southern Democrats and would make you fine with Arnold Schwarzenegger Republicans).
Then re-think a focus. You might start working at a Starbucks (comprehensive insurance for all employees)(and, if you don’t drink coffee, a wonderful place because you aren’t tempted to waste your money at work – I had a good friend whose wife worked at Starbucks until last year). From there you might move to a Starbucks in the area where the other sex is in surplus. Or a place where there are a lot of people in your interest area (you might not head to Brownsville if your interest area is skiing, for example).
Finally, consider and reconsider your goals. I used to be a game designer. Good enough that Origin cold called me to offer me a job. But, that is no longer a goal of mine. There is a time and there is a time. My goals are different now, I let myself grow into new ones, all the better for my skills and time constraints. Look at your own and think if they have grown with you.