An old NY Times article written in 1991 on 'Confirmed Bachelors' or never-married men age 40 or over. Basically, incels before the word incel became a word.
A psychologist did a (I think) longitudinal study on these guys to find out 'what makes them tick.'
I've copied and pasted the article below, but it turns out it is a mindset and collection of personality traits which cause this phenomena -- an aversion to relationships of any kind, avoidance and high levels of individualism coupled with unrealistic outlooks.
"Confirmed Bachelorhood: It May Be a State of Mind
By Sandra Blakeslee
Aug. 28, 1991
Credit...The New York Times Archives
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August 28, 1991, Section C, Page 1Buy Reprints
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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. Charles A. 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. 'But if you want marriage, stay away.'
Dr. 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. But as a group, Dr. Waehler said, they relate to people in ways that end up isolating them.
Dr. Waehler said everyone has styles of behavior to help them cope with the anxieties that relationships can produce. But, he said, the bachelors exhibit three defense mechanisms -- avoidance, isolation and distortion -- that keep other people at arm's length. By staying single, the bachelors prevent these defense mechanisms from being challenged, he said.
Many never-married men are deeply satisfied with their lives as they practice these defenses, Dr. Waehler said. 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. 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.
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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. It is important to study them because their perspectives on life are different from people who get married, divorced or widowed, he said, 'but we really don't know how different.' Singlehood on Upswing
Single adulthood is usually considered a transient state and has received scant attention from psychologists, Dr. Waehler said. But adults who do not marry are an expanding segment of the population. In 1980, he said, only 6 percent of adults over 35 years old had never married. In 1988, 8.7 percent of people of that age were single.
The trend may reflect increasing job and educational opportunities for women and changing social attitudes about the need for marriage, the psychologist said.
Dr. Waehler said he decided to study never-married men because so little is known about what makes them tick. Psychologists have long held that men tend to marry 'down,' choosing women who are less educated and socially privileged than they are, while women choose men who are higher on the socioeconomic ladder. In this scheme, Dr. Waehler said, unmarried men are the bottom of the barrel while unmarried women are the cream of the crop."