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5 eligible guys who stay single

We all know this guy — or are this guy: in his 30s, affable, attractive, and yet he’s never been in a serious long-term relationship. And as his single status stretches into a third decade, one has to wonder: What’s the deal? Far from being undateable, this guy may simply not be ready to change his independent ways. Or, he may be all too willing to do so — but something’s blocking him. If you feel you may fall into the latter category (or know someone who does), stop worrying about what’s slowing you down and read on to learn about how five types of die-hard bachelors contribute to their perpetually single status and what steps to take to break the cycle.

The workaholic
For the guy who makes work priority number one, a relationship can seem like a hindrance for which he hasn’t the time or energy. It’s likely that he’s set lofty career goals for himself — perhaps finishing medical school, rising to make partner in his law firm or starting his own business — with personal deadlines (say, by age 35). Take it from Doug, 31, of Washington, D.C.: “My main focus is getting to a point in my career where I am stable and accomplished enough to move on to a job that I really want to do,” he says. “I can’t sacrifice or compromise my career path for anyone yet.”

Reality check: Waiting for the “right time” isn’t the solution, according to Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of DSI: Date Scene Investigation. “This guy needs to understand that life doesn’t start when he schedules it,” Dr. Kerner points out. And it needn’t be a lonely climb to the top: rather than derail his career, a supportive mate could provide stability, encouragement and an attentive ear. And for the guy who is working to become husband material, consider this: 91 percent of women in a Match.com survey reported that they tend to fall in love with a moderately successful career person with a balanced life rather than a very successful workaholic.

The partier
For this guy, weekends in Vegas and hitting up the newest parties and clubs has too much appeal to entertain the possibility of settling down. Says self-described “committed bachelor” Sean, 30, of Brooklyn: “I go out to have a good time — mingle, dance, have fun — and not to meet someone.”

Reality check: As the Seans of the world mature, they may notice that their party-hearty peers are becoming fewer in number or that the average age of his social circle — and of his dates — remains constant as he ages. Another warning sign? More numbers in his cell phone for “friends with benefits” than those belonging to actual friends. The bottom line is, for all the fun of casual encounters and late nights out, a partier would do well to understand that a committed relationship has its own joys, too — even excitement and novelty. “These guys are adrenaline junkies, and they fear that a commitment to one person will be no fun,” says Dr. Kerner. “But really getting to know one person in a relationship can be a source of passion and adrenaline, too.”

The shy guy
It’s a fact: Meeting women requires conversation — which can be problematic for a shy guy and can stunt his relationship prospects. “I go out with the express purpose of meeting people, but I hardly ever screw up enough courage to talk to strangers,” admits Alex, 31, of Raleigh, NC. “Even if I do, I wuss out and leave before I get anywhere.”

Reality check: Rather than forcing social behavior in a high-stress situation, like at a loud nightclub, shy guys may be better off searching for potential mates who share the same affinities. “The shy guy doesn’t have to walk up to someone cold,” says Dr. Kerner. “Instead, he should put himself in situations that present opportunities for easy conversation.” Dr. Kerner suggests theater clubs, team sports or anything else with expectations for regular participation, like volunteering. Or, if you do start dating someone, suggest making it a double date or an activity date, thereby reducing the pressure of a one-on-one outing.

The too-picky guy
For all his many, many first dates, this guy is resolutely single, never having met anyone who quite fits his mold for the ideal mate. He is convinced that there is someone out there and is alternately determined to find The One or frustrated by his inability to do so. Says Andrew, 30, of Scarsdale, NY: “It’s impossible for me to compromise. I can’t settle for someone who doesn’t attract me physically, emotionally, intellectually and so on.” Compounding this inability to compromise is the belief that perfection in another personal really exists — a notion that could lend itself to fantasies of discovering love at first sight. “A guy with impossibly high standards may fall for someone, but then he’ll see this person’s flaws and imperfections and become disappointed,” says Dr. Kerner. Unfortunately, this can lead to discounting potentially great matches, as the picky guy may be unwilling to give a date with, say, a tendency to use emoticons in emails or “too short” hair a chance.

Reality check: What these guys need to accept is that no one’s perfect — and include themselves in that statement. And, in Dr. Kerner’s opinion, “There is no such thing as a soul mate,” he says. “Rather, it’s the journey of building a great relationship over time that leads to a ‘soul mate’-type of closeness.” So the next time you’re iffy about a girl, give her more of a chance before you write her off.

The none-of-the-above guy
Of course, there are guys who might not fall into (just) one of these categories, who are comfortable with themselves, outgoing and trying to meet someone to share their lives with — but for whom it just hasn’t happened yet. Guys like “chronically single” Greg, 30, of Boston, explains: “I’m ready to give my heart to someone and to do some hard work to find her, but I have yet to find that person.”

Reality check: Keeping adages such as “Love happens when you least expect it” in mind may not totally assuage feelings of “What the heck is going on here?” Suffice to say that this still-single guy is not alone — and won’t be for long if he keeps an open mind, gets active in organizations that provide opportunities to meet others and gives luck (or some effort) a chance to work. “Regardless of his circumstances, the important thing for a single guy in his 30s to do is to put himself in situations where he’s meeting women — whether it’s making time to join in activity groups, dating online or signing up for singles’ events,” says Dr. Kerner. So, single guy, keep your chin up and continue taking those leaps of faith into the dating pool. Sooner or later, you’ll find someone who sees you for the catch you truly are.

Matt Schneiderman is a writer based in New York City.