Relationship stress: Attractive, successful, in their mid-30s and without a man - that's why women are losing the dating game

Tinder was just invented in 2012, this year Bettina Arndt wrote a groundbreaking article.

Relationship stress: Attractive, successful, in their mid-30s and without a man - that's why women are losing the dating game

Tinder was just invented in 2012, this year Bettina Arndt wrote a groundbreaking article. It was the progenitor of a wave of similar pieces that endlessly varied and recycled Arndt's observations. Arndt's style was pleasingly neutral. She lacked the whiny, accusatory tone of today's TikTokers and the sardonic malice of the Manosphere.

She wasn't concerned with dating per se, but with the problems of a specific group: successful, urban women in their mid-30s. Without a permanent partnership, but with the urgent desire to start a family after all. Their problem: everyone wants a good catch and the best men are no longer on the market.

In 2023, Arndt has developed into a contentious relationship expert. When asked about the old piece, she told Stern today that conditions had not fundamentally improved for women. "In fact, I firmly believe that successful, working women in their 30s are worse off today." The old dilemma that attractive men in their late 30s tend to date younger women has not existed. Instead, new ones have been added.

The old article illustrated the problem with several examples. Number one is Naomi. She attended her fiancé's lectures and noticed a group of three women in the audience, all attractive, well-groomed, in their 30s. "He's 36 years old and definitely someone who falls into the alpha male category: excellent work in finance, Ph.D , high income, 1.80m tall, athletic and very handsome." Before the lecture, the dream man briefly flirted with Naomi via eye contact. "The women saw that and it was like the room suddenly froze." When the three found out that he and Naomi were engaged, they eyed their rival in horror. "Like they were trying to figure out how a girl wearing jeans and ballet flats could land a guy like that." Then they left the lecture.

In doing so, Arndt took up a phenomenon that was known at least in the Anglo-American world. In college students in their 20s, female erotic interest is concentrated in a small percentage of their male peers. They are the so-called Alphas, the great majority - the Betas - are overlooked. But unnoticed, a journey to Jerusalem begins. The game where there are fewer and fewer chairs to sit on when the music stops. In this case it means that the coveted alphas are taken out of the dating pool. The mismatch of few alphas and many prospects is an exciting game in the casual youth, but when it comes to serious monogamous partnerships, it becomes apparent that alphas are scarce. The women who arrive late find a market that has been swept empty. This is how situations like those described by Naomi come about. And Naomi embodies another problem. Unlike when they were at university, the coveted men don't necessarily bond in the same age group, but rather younger.

The remaining career women in their mid-30s face a difficult choice. Either they continue to look for a dream man who corresponds to their ideas. Or they compromise. As if there were older men or the once spurned betas of their group. "I worked as an online dating coach for five years," Arndt said today. "I've found that many women have a hugely inflated idea of ​​their own market value. They came to me with long shopping lists of what they wanted in a partner - and the longer they've been in the dating scene, the longer that list got ."

The topic has been discussed continuously since 2012. On TikTok there are women's cries for help ("Where have the good men gone?"), on Reddit and Youtube the malicious comments from the Manosphere ("Another woman hits the wall!"). The biggest problem, according to Arndt, is that someone who has spent a lot of time in unhappy and unsuccessful relationships becomes more and more cynical and at the same time more and more demanding. "Women who are deeply hurt are not particularly attractive to a man who is looking for a loving, accepting mate."

Beta Males - once as attractive as a "cold bowl of grits" - experience an unexpected rise in women's favor in their 30s. At least when they have blossomed from the ugly duckling into an attractive, semi-successful man. In 2012, Arndt quoted "Greenlander," then a successful engineer in his late 30s. As a young man, he admitted he couldn't land with women at all. But now he only dates women under the age of 27. He only meets older women for dubious motives, which can be summed up under the term "The Revenge of the Beta Boys".

"The women in their 30s I know are delusional. Sometimes I sleep with them just because they're so easy to manipulate. They're sick of the cock carousel and they see a guy like me as the perfect beta to fuck with settle down before their balls dry up... When I get tired of them, I just delete their numbers from the phone and stop answering their calls."

That was bitter enough. But since 2012 other factors have been added, says Arndt. Marriage is no longer the binding model of life. Young men in particular are more suspicious of marriage today than they were when they grew up in single-parent households after bitter divorces.

In Australia there is another specialty. Allegations of domestic violence - whether justified or not - give women many advantages in a separation process. "It's hard to imagine why men should be pro-marriage when they've seen their fathers spend every dollar in court battles just to see their children." Arndt is also more than critical of feminism, as it is being spread at universities. Not because of the justified demands for equal rights, but if women are brought up to see men as enemies, then, Arndt believes, it is poison for relationships, and "men have every reason to be careful".

As already mentioned, Arndt describes the problem of a loud but small group. It's drama at a leftover market. It's the women who are left over from their group of committed women, and they meet the men who haven't been able to bring themselves to commit to a committed relationship either. Fixed couples are probably a much larger group, but they don't make as much of a fuss on social media.