Evan, I really enjoy your blog, have seen your video clips and have read “Why He Disappeared” several times. Your advice has really helped me in many ways! I think you’re great (in almost all respects) as a dating advice columnist. There is one thing that I want to clear the air about for me, and that is the marriage thing.

I’m in my early thirties, successful, attractive, etc. You know, a “catch.” I’ve been dating a great guy for about two and a half years, and we seem to be coming to the conclusion that we want to spend our lives together. We each have a child from another partner, and we don’t live together. Neither of us feels the need to get married, but we both agree that long-term, committed, monogamous relationships are desirable. And then I read your advice stating that if a man postpones marriage for too long, move on. The general tone I’m getting is that “no marriage” equals “no REAL commitment,” and he is probably “just not that into you.”

I realize that many of your readers (perhaps all but me) are looking for a husband, perhaps ready to have babies, and have the nuclear family we’ve all been told is the “American Dream.” I respect that choice and lifestyle for those that wish to have it. But is it really a “waste of time” or am I “settling for less than I deserve” by choosing a man that is against the act of marriage? For the record, we are in love (he said it first) and he considers me his soulmate. I guess I just want to know that you do believe that love and relationships are more than just the marriage certificate. Thanks, Evan, and I wish you and your new family the very best! -Erica

Dear Erica,

I’m posting your question because it’s not really a question and it gives me an opportunity to rant about something that’s been on my mind for a while.

Two things immediately come to mind.

One, that my opinion actually matters. It doesn’t. As has been crudely put by a wise man “Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one.” And it’s true. My opinions are merely my opinions and I don’t think for a second that because I say something that it’s “true,” at least not in the way it’s true that I own a 27″ iMac.

Another reason that my opinion doesn’t really matter is because very little that I write is about what I think. You read that properly. If you carried a video camera around with you for a week and shot everything you saw – and then went and wrote what you observed – would you be recounting your opinions? Or would you just be logging your empirical observations?

The way I see it, I was a single guy with a lot of experience for 15 years. I’ve been a dating coach, talking on the phone about relationships for 7 years. I used my own advice to forge a happy marriage over the past 4 years. And I have thousands of emails from people who have gained from what I’ve had to say in my books, newsletters and blogs. None of which makes me “right” about everything, all of which should make me a pretty credible witness to interpret the video of your life.

The next thing I want to clear up is that advice isn’t one-size-fits-all. Similarly, the exceptions don’t disprove the rule. For example:

Can a woman attract a quality man online with a crappy online dating profile?

Yes, but she’d attract MORE quality men if she had something unique to say.

Can a woman attract a quality man online with a crappy online dating profile?

Yes, but she’d attract MORE quality men if she had something unique to say.

Can a woman have a successful relationship after sleeping with a guy on Date 1?

Sure, but since many men judge women for hopping into bed, she’d usually be well-served to make him wait until he’s shown he’s serious about a relationship.

Can a 55-year-old woman date a 45-year-old man if she’s youthful and vibrant enough?

Well, in the realm that anything’s possible, of course she can. But if you look at the age preferences of most 45-year-old men on Match, you’ll see that it usually runs from 30-45 and cuts off at his age.

Are any of those things my OPINIONS? No. Just observations about how things usually work.

Since 95% of men eventually wed, it would stand to reason that marriage is the end game for most men.

So if I’m asked, without any background information, is it a good sign or a bad sign that a man you’ve been seeing for three years has never once talked about marriage, I’m going to instantly conclude, based on my experience, that it’s a BAD sign. Since 95% of men eventually wed, it would stand to reason that marriage is the end game for most men.

However, if you’re in love with your soulmate AND neither of you desire marriage AND you want the same things in life, never fight and are fully integrated into each others’ lives and families… congratulations! You’re the exception to the rule! And it doesn’t matter what anyone else in the world thinks of you.

Since I am somewhat responsible to the masses, I tend to answer questions with the 95% in mind, not the 5%.

Which is why anyone who insists on no sex before marriage will struggle with my advice. Or anyone who insists that women should pay for the first date will struggle with my advice. Or anyone who insists that she wants to fall in love but refuses to date online, go to singles events, or make single girl friends will struggle with my advice.

If you’re happy, Erica, that’s all I care about.

I’m just perpetually surprised when people who are unhappy with their love lives tell me how wrong I am for giving them advice that would improve their happiness.