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A PSYCHOLOGIST who studies the hearts and minds of confirmed bachelors over the age of 40 has advice for women who want to marry one: Forget it."If you get involved with a never-married middle-aged man, don't expect him to change," said Dr. Waehler, a psychologist at the University of Akron in Ohio who studied a group of white, heterosexual bachelors 40 to 50 years old."If you both value independence, it might be okay," he said. Waehler, who presented his findings at a recent meeting of the American Psychological Association in San Francisco, found that these men are not woman-haters, they are not fixated on a parent, and they are not workaholics or wild playboys. Waehler said, they relate to people in ways that end up isolating them. Waehler said everyone has styles of behavior to help them cope with the anxieties that relationships can produce.Many never-married men are deeply satisfied with their lives as they practice these defenses, Dr. But others are miserable and would like to change but do not know how.Comparable research on never-married women over 40 shows a dramatically different picture, according to Dr.Two-thirds said they still thought they would eventually get married. The men showed three patterns of relating to people, Dr. First, they avoided people by adopting an air of passivity, complacency and lack of engagement.
The trend may reflect increasing job and educational opportunities for women and changing social attitudes about the need for marriage, the psychologist said. Waehler said he decided to study never-married men because so little is known about what makes them tick.Very little is known about never-married men and women, said Dr.Timothy Brubaker, editor of Family Relations journal and director of the Family and Child Study Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.Janice Witzel, a psychologist in private practice who is also a consultant at the Family Institute in Chicago.Such women are often extremely happy, she said, and have far richer emotional lives -- without marriage -- than do their male counterparts.