Just as women feel the pressure of their biological clocks ticking away, research shows that men should be worrying about theirs too, but as one Wellingtonian singleton point out, finding love in your thirties can be quite difficult.
Marcus, 34 from Wellington is what any women would look for. He has a stable job as an IT professional, he is friendly, considerate, a down to earth, law abiding, pretty awesome guy.
He had to work hard to make headway in his career, he's pretty organised, just moved into a flat in town and is starting a new job but he is ready for the next step, someone to share his life with. So why hasn't he found her yet?
"My friends say it is because I don't get out enough or that maybe it is because I am too shy. It's also that fear of rejection. You don't want to ask a girl out because you are scared if you do and she says no, it might make things awkward between you later on," he says.
While Marcus admits he is not the most social person around and he has tried to break that mould, he can't help who he is.
"I guess IT guys in general are reserved by nature and not the most socially confident... but at the same time the whole Hollywood thing of being able to go up to a woman and say 'how is it going?' and start a conversation. It's not me. Some guys can do it and it works, some guys can't and I am one of those."
As Marcus' friends started moving in with significant others, getting married, having kids and settling down, he started feeling like the third wheel in social situations.
"My friends who were single and who I hung out with slowly but surely got attached. You look at it and say 'hang on a minute- what is happening?' You think to yourself what am I doing wrong?"
Marcus is happy with his life, but he admits he is lonely and wants to share his success with someone.
"You come home to an empty flat, all I have for company is my computer- it's quite sad really..." he laughs.
"...it's more than that too. You get to that stage in your life where you want to share your life with someone. I want to be a dad. I have seen my brother become a parent, with two kids and he has done really well with them... You see what is on the other side of the fence and you know there are things you can pass onto kids."
Deciding to put himself out there, Marcus is giving online dating a go and although he has made some friends he has had a few misses too.
One woman wanted to have a relationship with him so she could get citizenship and another from Auckland rubbished his hometown of Wellington.
"I think I feel more comfortable talking with a woman online than in person but I haven't had much success yet," he says.
Marcus thinks looks play as much of a part in online dating as it does in real life.
"Look, I know I am not Mr Olympia, I'm not the skinniest guy around and fair enough if a woman looks at your photo and moves on, I guess it is a bit of karma because guys do the same!"
Although he may not have found anyone yet, he is pretty hopeful that of the 356 946 singles currently on findsomeone.co.nz he is bound to find someone.
It's free to join the site and once singles have created a personal profile about themselves a list of singles in the area, who matched a person's preferences, are sent to them.
Although it may take some time, according to the success section on the site sreaming_eagle found his soul mate by toughing it out with online dating.
"I had had enough of the bar scene and struck out with singles groups and other dating sites over the years. I had a FindSomeone account for a few years but decided to make more of an effort and upgrade the quality of my profile and also to purchase a gold membership," he explains.
After meeting a young lady in his area via the site the couple moved in together, got engaged during aholiday in Thailand in Mid 2011and in April 2012 celebrated the birth of a beautiful son.
"The moral of this story is that you get out of the site what you put in, if you make an effort you will eventually find what you are looking for."
The professional weighs in
Psychologist Sara Chatwin from Mindworks, says she has dealt with many male clients in their fourties and fifties who have focussed on their careers and are labelled as gay because they haven't settled down.
"That is primarily because of their work. Often there is a lot more focus on women in this scenario, but I can vouch for the fact that there are many men out there who feel they have the same pressures."
For men who are battling with the dating scene, Sara suggests taking part in group activities and to not shy away from social situations, just because you are single.
"You don't necessarily meet people in pubs and clubs. You can meet people in the shops, in the cafe in the gym, at a running club. You meet people through other people," she says.
"Relax, spend some time with friends, have fun. The next person you meet may be the right one for you. Never think the next trip to the supermarket may not yield that person."
While men may think women are only interested in looks, Sara says that is not always the case.
"I think some women are unrealistic, but I don't think all women are looking for the stud. I think more important than looks, is the vibe people give off. Is he giving off a positive vibe? Does he come across as somebody a woman would want to be with? Or is he just so angry he is alone that it puts people off?" she says.
"I would say 70 per cent of it is if you come across as a nice happy person. The other part of it is how you put yourself together. It's not all about looks; it's more about personality, positivity, confidence and a happy nature."
Top tips for the single lads from the professional
1. As a single person, you need to chat to people, it may not lead to a big romance, but you may make a new friend.
2. Make eye contact with people, you may not realise it, but your body language sends messages to people. If you come across as someone angry, or grumpy, people may instinctively back off.
3. You have to get out and about, there is a raft of things you can do to meet new people, you don't have to hang out at a pub or club.
4. Looks and presentation when you are on the dating scene are important, but more important are the vibes you give off. If you are negative, that is how you will come across.
Sara answers the tough questions:
Q. I have met a lovely lady and am keen to go on a date, but she has kids. I am not sure if I want to inherit an instant family. What do I do?
A. If you are expecting people not to judge you, then you can't really judge someone else. Each situation is different. For example you might meet a wealthy woman who has children, so finance wouldn't be an issue or a woman who has really lovely children. I think the key is to go into situations with an extremely open mind and you will know if in the long term that person is right for you.
Q. I have tried a lot of different avenues and I am just not getting it right. Who do I speak to?
A. A lot of people opt for professional advice because they feel they have lost the ability to communicate with others effectively. If you are feeling alone, overwhelmed and peeved off talk to someone who will be able to help you put perspective on the situation.
The do's and don'ts if you want to give online dating a go...
1.Trust your instincts: They say if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck- it's probably a duck. So don't get sucked into the idea of romance if the person you are speaking to sounds too good to be true, is being sleazy or tries to intimidate you. Trust your gut if you think something is amiss.
2. Don't bare all: Your home address, work address, telephone number, this is sacred information until you are one hundred percent sure you can trust the person you are chatting to. Never, ever disclose bank details, or your credit card number. No matter how awesome she may sound- lending someone money is never a good basis for a relationship.
3. A picture says a thousand words: Yes, people can Photoshop themselves beautiful these days, but be honest with what you put out there. Also make sure that the "woman" you are chatting to is in fact a woman- the last thing you want is to be chatting to a 16-year-old who thought it would be a laugh to flirt with an older guy on a dating site. If the person you have been corresponding with for a long time doesn't want to send you a pic, something might be amiss.
4. I just called to say: In the modern era of technology EVERYONE has access to a phone. Just like the pic, if the person doesn't want to speak to you on the phone, there may be a problem.
5.Date night: It might be a good idea to have a first date in a public place, go see a movie, or dinner in town. It will take the pressure off of you for the first meeting. In a neutral place, she will probably feel more relaxed.
6. Carpe Diem: Remember to just be your awesome self. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, there are plenty of fish in the sea and if you don't gel with the first person you date, it doesn't mean your perfect match isn't out there.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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