Dear Ronnie – The Dating Coach,
“I’m in my late 40s and have been dating Norman for two years. He’s been married before as I have and we both have grown up families who live in our respective towns. Norman has been single for a long time, and although he’s lived with a few women since his divorce, it’s never been full time. He’s always had his own place.
We live 100 miles apart, and most of the time we’ve been together he’s been out of work and had very little money. So I traveled to see him every weekend and we got along really well. He treated me wonderfully during that time, and he always said that he missed me and was very happy to see me. I only went up for weekends though as I didn’t want to appear to make it too easy for him. He always says he loves me, and he calls every day to talk.
However Norman led me to believe that when he started working again, we would spend more time together. He said that he wanted to see more of me and for our relationship to progress. However, now he’s back at work and it doesn’t appear to be happening, although it’s only been a month. His work is halfway between my place and his, but so far he’s choosing to go back to his place in after work and only visiting one day of the weekend. He’s too busy to see me.
What’s driving me crazy is how Norman tells me he’s definitely coming down during the week, which changes to probably, then – ‘Sorry I have to go into work!’ I know that he’s busy and they often expect him to do last minute shifts, but I’m still feeling angry and let down by his behavior.
I know that Norman likes to see his family and friends and I have never moaned about him not coming down or put any pressure on him in any way. I keep myself busy usually, but this on/off thing is getting to me. In my mind if he wanted to be with me he would. But, a little part of me is worried that I am expecting too much too soon. I don’t know what to do. I’m beginning to feel used and it’s not a feeling I like!”
–Left Alone in London
Dear Left Alone,
This can be one of the toughest challenges for a woman dating over 40 (or any time), when her man says one thing and does another. But let’s look at this situation closely to see if we can unravel things and read between the lines.
- He’s been single a long time
- He hasn’t lived with a woman full-time since his marriage
- He had the excuse that he wasn’t working
- He now has the excuse that he IS working
- He is keeping you separate, not inviting you to spend time with his friends/family
- He doesn’t want to see you both weekend nights
Unfortunately the message is clear to this dating coach – he doesn’t want to see you often. Norman is giving you crumbs. The problem is, we don’t know why.
Here’s the cold truth, we really don’t need to know why. What matters most is that this is not what you want in a relationship. You are right! After two years, if Norman truly wanted a closer relationship, you’d be having one. His words and actions do not match up and in fact, according to what you have written, he is seeing you even less than before.
Some possible reasons maybe (but these are guesses):
- He doesn’t have the same agenda or needs regarding relationship and closeness as you do.
- He doesn’t ever want a woman to cramp his style again.
- He is seeing other women…
He may love you , but that doesn’t mean he wants what you want. You may never be happy or satisfied with the level of intimacy he is willing to share.
But YOU ARE NOT ASKING TOO MUCH to want to see him on a regular basis and with greater frequency! In a relationship that is healthy, loving, and progressing, both people want that.
Norman seems to be heading in the opposite direction.
As a dating coach for women dating over 40, my advice is to have a conversation with him. Find a way to stay calm. Prepare what you are going to say in advance and practice it if that helps. Your emotional balance is key.
Then say something like this:
“Norman, you know how I feel about you. But as things stand right now, I am not happy. What works for me in a relationship is to see each other regularly and spend the weekends together as well. I understand you want to see friends and family, but it’s time that we can do some of that together.”
Then stop talking. Allow the uncomfortable silence so that he will say something. This will be the start of a crucial conversation. He may be defensive and throw you a lot of excuses. But if he wants to keep seeing you, he will want to alleviate some of your unhappiness. Not just in words, but in actions. In spending more time with you!
If he says all the right things, then be specific with what you want him to do. “I want to see you one night during the week and both weekend nights” – or whatever it is you want. Tell him you want him to stay at your house one night during the week – if that’s something you want. Don’t make your list too long and stick to this subject matter only. Don’t bring up other possible issues during this conversation.
Give Norman two weeks to show you he can step up. If in that time, he continues to say nice things, but not follow through – you have your answer. He unfortunately, regardless of his reasons, is not the right man for you.
This is a step towards an honest, open relationship which may not be what he wants. However, it seems that it is what you want. I just want you to be forewarned that my advice could shake things up, so be clear on that before taking this next step.
It might be difficult, but wouldn’t you rather know than spend more time hoping things will turn around?
While you have invested two years in this relationship, I want you to know there are men out there who will want to spend time with you. Men who are looking for the same type of relationship that you are.
I wish you all the best, and of course I hope Norman turns around. But he might not and that is the risk you take. A risk to find the loving, healthy, reciprocal relationship that you desire and deserve. Maybe with him, or maybe with a new and better man for you.
Wishing you love,
Photo Credit: ToniVC