Are men currently in relationships more desirable?

Dear Single Ladies,

A friend of mine does weekly polls via text and his latest poll asked, “why do women find men who are currently in relationships more desirable than single men?” Initially, I was surprised at how he framed the question, because he should have said “do women find men who are currently in relationships more desirable than single men?” Right? Or is this already a settled fact?

Now on more than one occasion, I’ve met a great guy and then found out that he has a girlfriend or wife. Not that he was being sketchy and trying to pick me up or anything. Most of the time we just randomly bumped into each other and started talking. Nevertheless, I moved them to a special category that few men are placed in when I initially meet them. But was it the fact that they had a significant other that moved them to the different category? I guess I should specify which categories I’m referring to, when I initially meet a man there are several categories I’ll consciously/subconsciously place them into: potential friend, HOT!, men to ignore completely, pretty boys :-), men to smile politely at while walking away, wannabe players, players, swagger-less men, nice guys, funny guys, awkward guys, etc.  The categories aren’t mutually exclusive, but guys in relationships tend to automatically be placed in my potential friend category.

I view the fact that they’re in a relationship as showing they’re capable of relating to a woman over a sustained period of time. Single men are obviously capable of doing this as well, but I cannot infer this capability right off the bat. On the other hand I assume the men in relationships are capable of being a woman’s friend, lover, confidant, and all of the other things that go into a relationship. And yes, this does make them more desirable…but it only makes them more desirable to me if I already desired them in the first place (i.e., falling into the “HOT!” category). For me, being in a relationship is not the initial factor which sparks a romantic interest but I know it does for others. I think there are a couple more things that make them more desirable as well:

  1. We tend to want what we cannot have. When we meet someone great and they’re in a relationship, we see a challenge. Even if we don’t actively seek to break them up (which I hope none of you are doing!) we’re looking for some way to “be there” for the person if/when the relationship ends. The only challenges usually involved with single men deal with baggage, communication, and gauging interest.
  2. We think there’s something special about the guy. The fact that he’s settled down makes him seem somewhat unique considering the stereotypical male who’s supposed to be afraid of commitment and settling down before his 30s. Plus, the girl must really like him if she’s in a relationship with him, because we only really like and have relationships with the “special” guys, right?…

So maybe men in relationships are more desirable than single men. I guess my friend who’s currently into a guy seriously dating someone else was right, “the world is so unfair.”


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