Dating After Divorce: He’s Nice, Generous, Good Looking, But I Don’t Love Him.

Dear Ronnie The Dating Coach,

I’ve been dating this man for 4 years. After 6 months of dating him, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. He stayed with me through chemo, baldness, and radiation. He is a very kind, caring, and generous man. He fixes things around my condo. He has grown children and we get along fine.  He is nice, decent looking, gives good advice  and is my age – 60.

There are some things that make me wonder if he is the best I can get. He is on the quiet and boring side, although he likes to go and do stuff. He does not have much to say on the phone.

I don’t feel it for him. He is kind, but I’m not excited about him. He is not sophisticated or get social etiquette. He eats while the rest of us converse during a meal.  He repeats and continues talking and obsessing after I’ve stopped talking about something. He has a very messy small house in a neighborhood I don’t like and he tends to hoard things which is why I’m concerned about a future with him. And the sex is ho hum.

We only seen each other on the weekends. During a school week I’m too tired to have him over. I don’t want to have sex nor do I want to entertain during the week. He comes over Saturday afternoon and sleeps over til Monday. I like being a couple. I like having company on the weekend.

I wish I was in love or loved him. I’m not sure what being in love means. I know lust. I know being excited about someone. I don’t want to be single. I prefer going through life with a companion.  A lot of my girlfriends are dating. They don’t find anyone , they have difficulty. I know, I’ve been there. I’ve never had anyone that has worked out. Even my ex husband who I was married to for 21 years. I miss a man with that outgoing personality.

Anyway, I need to know what makes a good relationship. I know no one is perfect. Do I stay or do I go. I’d like to get married at some point, but fear him getting on my nerves and being annoying.

Thanks for your insights,
Unsatisfied in Sarasota


Dear Unsatisfied,

This is not an easy answer for several reasons. Let me start by saying that love is not lust. And often lust doesn’t turn into a relationship. More frequently its just lust and dissipates as quickly as it showed up.

Second, you have found a man who loves you, stuck by you when things were tough, is loyal and consistent. He’s caring generous, fixes things, is good looking, your age and still has sex. Most of your descriptions sounds pretty good to me. I’m not sure  you value the things that are going well in your relationship. Sometimes the grass looks greener…

He does some things that annoy you – I bet you do some things that annoy him too. We all experience this – that’s what a relationship is – learning to compromise and be flexible.

Third, you don’t want to socialize during the week, even with your boyfriend of four years. This is a stumbling block if you want to find a new man. I think its amazing you have found a man who will put up with a weekend only relationship. Many men wouldn’t.

Maybe he isn’t the right man to marry. Maybe he is – I can’t say. But, considering your current circumstances, sounds like he fits into your life quite nicely.  Since you don’t want to see him during the week, maybe you don’t really want to live with someone and be bothered by daily life with a man. That makes me question your desire for marriage.

Is there someone better out there? Hard to say. It’s possible. But do you have the time or desire to do what’s needed to find a new guy? Would you prefer a more interesting man who was great in bed, but slept around, drank, was cheap and wouldn’t commit?

I recommend spending time figuring out the answers to these questions. I wouldn’t make any changes or jump to any conclusions until you determine that what you have isn’t good enough AND are willing to invest time and money to find another.

The dating journey is really one where you get to know yourself – what you want, what works and what you are willing to  do to get what you want. I advise figuring this out first, then go from there. Knowing what you want is the first step.  And feeling grateful for what you do have can sometimes make the grass at your feet greener right before your eyes

Wishing you love,

Your dating coach – Ronnie

7 thoughts on “Dating After Divorce: He’s Nice, Generous, Good Looking, But I Don’t Love Him.”

  1. Thanks for letting me have my say, Ronnie! I get carried away on this topic. I love Evan, but don’t always agree with him 100% of the time either. But you both do great work. And you are right, “nuts” probably wasn’t the best choice of words. But definitely the other things you mentioned. are vital.
    I hope every woman finds the situation that is right for *her.*

    Reply
  2. Ronnie,

    I am not at all disputing the advice you gave the original poster, and, in general, I think you give very sound advice. I think that in the final analysis, we all have to decide what is most important to us. When you look around you, you, as I, will see all kinds of situations. In my own family, there are at least three. I have an older sister that got pregnant at age 19, chose to marry her first boyfriend rather than abort, and has been married 35 years. Is she really happy? Hard to tell. I know that her husband, though a good husband and father, is very needy and demanding. My sister has consistently been 40 pounds overweight her whole adult life. I think she eats to appease her frustration to being married to someone who is so all encompassing of her time.

    Second example is my other sister. Married at 22, realized her husband had absolutely NO motivation, divorce after 5 years, luckily no children (the same is true of me) She met another man before she was divorced, fell head-over-heels in love with him, he was everything her husband was not. Successful, attractive, but a confirmed bachelor at 30. She set her cap for him, and eventually they married, after many ups and downs. They have had their share of problems over the years, almost divorced. Now, two children and 23 years later, they are quite content. They definitely have had their ups and downs, but I remember asking my sister at one point, when she was considering divorce, do you still love him? “Of course I do” was the answer. I maintain, and she will not disagree with me, that if she didn’t have the level of chemistry and desire for him, she would NOT have stayed through the tough times. I think she would have taken the kids and left, as so many women do.

    Third example is my mother. Married my father mainly to escape the turmoil of an alcoholic household. Was she nuts about my father? At age 17, she didn’t know a heck of a lot, but made a go of it for 47 years when my dad died. Four years later, she hooked up with her childhood sweetheart, the one who was too ambitious and immature to settle downin his late teens before my father swooped in. She had a passionate 4 years with him before he, too, died. She tells me she does not regret either man.

    I myself made a decison in my early 30s, after a youthful divorce, to literally ask God to take my desire to become a biological mother away from me if it was not His intention to bring the right man into my life in time. Guess what? I woke up one morning at 35 and found the desire *gone* Some women are willing to forego passion for the chance to become a mother. I was not. And have never regretted it since.

    I think the question is, are the 51% of women looking for Mr. Perfect? I think not. I certainly am not. I know I am not perfect. I do know that I am considered very attractive, educated, and make a good living. I don’t want to settle for someone who doesn’t “light my fire” because I am quite content on my own. I don’t need a man to define me, though it would be nice to share my life with someone.

    I guess a better question to ask would be, why do we accept men who do not give a damn about their appearance, are in dead-end jobs, live a joyless existence, all for the sake of “being” with someone? Multiple sociological studies have shown that men benefit far more from marriage than do women.

    I guess I am saying, what is in it for me? If I want to date a man I feel no passion for, hey, my brother, mother, and female friends are just as much fun and far less demanding.

    Ronnie, I am not trying to be critical, but asking you to please recognize that different women have different needs.

    And being with *a man* is not the be all and end all. I want to be with someone I am nuts about, or I will be alone. My choice. Other women will make a different choice.

    I do respect the work you do, I just do not always agree with it 100%.

    Margaret

    Reply
    • Hi Margaret,
      Well you have certainly had your say. And believe me I hear what you are saying and get your point. I totally respect women who decide they don’t want to bother and don’t want to settle. I’m not suggesting that. There’s a big difference between compromise and settling. Read this post by Evan Marc Katz – he makes it really clear.

      So let me resopnd to the last thing you said – “You want to be nuts about the guy.” In love, Yes. Respect the guy, Yes. Attracted to him, Yes. Nuts about him – not sure. I totally love my husband, but I never went nuts over him. For me, that’s how I knew things would last. You are right, its just another perspective.

  3. Margaret,

    You have said what so many women state today emphatically. If it’s not just right, women prefer not to bother. That is why 51% of women are single. Many of these women are perfectly happy being single – I had a great life before I found my husband. But for me, I wanted more – I wanted a partner. And with partnership comes compromise since no one is perfect.

    I do know a lot of women who vassilate back and forth about a relationship, yet stay for years and years. That’s not good for them or the guy.

    It’s hard to know when someone just isn’t appreicating what htey have and when it’s just not right – that’s a tough call any way you look at it.

    Reply
  4. I am with Laine. It is indeed wonderful that this man stayed with her through her illness, but this does not necessarily mean that she would be happier living with him/married There is more to a partner than being your nurse. A sound, healthy relationship, to me, is one in which the key elements are all there: trust, passion, shared values. When one of these is glaringly absent, sorry, this is not the right man. I don’t believe we women should have to settle unless we decide that that missing element is not all that important. Personally, I believe it is possible to have a reasonable facsimile of all of these components, and would rather be alone than live without passion. I agree we women tend to overanalyze for fear of being alone. If it’s right, you should know it, especially after 4 years.

    However, I agree with Ronnie that if you are not willing to invest the time/energy/money to find someone more suitable, don’t complain. EIther accept him as is, or accept that you really would rather not have to put too much work into a relationship and be happy alone.

    Reply
  5. Whenever I hear about a guy who’s cared for a woman through a health crisis, I want to kiss him. So I share Ronnie’s inclination not to dump this man without getting some serious perspective on the situation.

    A solo vacation could help you see things clearly.

    You might go away for a week or a weekend to immerse yourself in something you really love to do: Hang out on a tropical beach, get a history fix at the Tower of London, or head to Cape May or some such place to go antiquing.

    (I recommend you stay in a good Bed & Breakfast, where you’ll be forced to meet people. Hotels are isolating.)

    It’s amazing how distance will put things into focus. See if your thoughts turn toward him. See if you miss him.

    If you’re not willing to go away by yourself, make plans without your boyfriend next weekend. Make plans with a friend or a cousin. Invite an old classmate over to your place for the weekend. Take a weekend course.

    Get a taste of life without your boyfriend.

    If you miss him, then you’d probably want to continue seeing him. And if you want to keep seeing him, would you have to marry him? Would you be content perhaps to see him just on the weekends but to spice things up with travel or lessons you could take together (a language, golf?). Studies show that when couples have new experiences together, it recharges the euphoria of falling in love.

    Maybe what you and he need is a little adventure.

    If you don’t miss him, he’s not what you want and need, so please set him free so that he can find someone who’ll truly love him. Free yourself to find someone whom you can truly love.

    Reply
  6. “I don’t feel it for him”

    We women sometimes overanalyse our relationships because of the fear of being alone and /or the way society moulds females into the belief that we have to please everyone BUT ourselves..commonly known as the disease to please!!

    Dump this guy. You dont feel it for him . He is not meeting your needs as a romantic parner. He is a friend. That is all and this is as good as it will get with him.

    Keep him as a friend if you like. But go date others!! men that excite YOU.
    Life is too short to SETTLE.

    Laine

    Reply

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