Dating After Divorce: How Can I Tell If He Used Me?

Dating Over 40, Dating After Divorce

Dear Ronnie – The Dating Coach

I went out with what I thought was a great guy, Charlie,  for two months, We’re both divorced and have two teenagers a piece . , We met each other’s families (but not the kids) and saw each other every night he didn’t have his kids. Charlie really stayed in contact, calling me every day. We went to parties together and told each other that we love each other. A sweet, fun and almost blissful romance for eight joyous weeks.

Then the calls became fewer. I was dismayed because he became critical and picked fights. I’m proud to say I remained cool, didn’t call him or ask about the future. But, if Charlie got nasty, I called him on it and stood up for myself.

Eventually, he said he felt things were “too intense”, and then he broke up with me. Next thing you know, he calls to ask me out to a friend’s dinner, but said he didn’t want a serious relationship now! I turned down the offer. I thought our relationship was for real. Do you think he was he playing me all along?

How do I spot a player like this and how can you say you love someone and be there for him without it being “intense”?  I won’t call him again but hurts so much,and taking longer than I’d like to get over. I feel lied to and used.

Burned in Boston

Hi Burned,

I’m not sure how to spot a complete turnaround like this to avoid it again. Were there red flags you overlooked? Do any clues come to you now looking back?

This really stinks. But what experts say is – this is why you need to see a person through four seasons before agreeing to marry. Occasionally, it takes time for the rottenness to surface.

There are so many reasons why he could have changed like this:

  • He may have met someone else which caused him to act strangely and push you away.
  • Some people start full speed ahead, then back off, having scared themselves with their own intensity.
  • He may have issues with commitment or intimacy.
  • He may not be over his ex wife and perhaps you reminded him of her.

Who knows? Its very hard to say and all guess work at this point. That’s why I advise my dating coaching clients who are dating over 40 or dating after divorce, not to spend too much time trying to figure out why a man did what he did.

However, I strongly doubt he planned to behave like this all along and just cut you out at some point. He probably was sincere initially in his interest in you. More than anything he may have gotten cold feet and decided to back out.

Many men prefer to act like a jerk that be direct and say things are over. They hate confrontation with women, the crying and the drama and they don’t want to be the bad guy. So they push you to do the “dirty work”.

Regarding the “how to not be intense” part of the question, that’s a tough one. I’m not privy to much of your detail. From what you wrote, it sounds to me like you have a good head on your shoulders and know about and maintain boundaries. You didn’t smother him or get clingy based on what you wrote, and didn’t bother him about the future. That all sounds well-handled.

My advice to you is to simply remember this:

All men are NOT the same. The next one you meet will be a unique individual. Don’t expect the next guy to be the same – good or bad. Be smart, take your time to heal and don’t be hard on yourself. Your trust was broken and that can rock your world.

On another note, I also advise my dating coaching clients who are dating over 40 or dating after divorce, to watch out for the “rush.” Sometimes the rush seems romantic, but it can lead quickly to heartbreak as well. The rush can be a signal that the man is a romance junkie – a topic I just posted about the other day.

When you feel ready, get back out there to find a better man. You will recover and I know there’s a good man out there for you.

Wishing you love in the New Year,

Photo credit: Oliver GR

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. She put her skills from personal development and her spiritual path to work, dating 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to manifesting and midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late to help smart, successful women find love or live an empowered and magical life. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000s of midlife women with her Love & Magical Life Coach services. She’s the host of the Breathe Love & Magic podcast and has been featured on NBC, ABC, & Fox News, NPR, BBC, eHarmony,, and Connecticut Magazine among others. Also, Ronnie is the author of 6 books which are available on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “Dating After Divorce: How Can I Tell If He Used Me?”

  1. Interesting… the intense beginning quickly becoming too intense…. sounds like many relationships which get off to a false start.

    I still like the slow cooker approach rather than fast food. Much more flavour and a delight to eat.

    Not only the not so nice stuff does show over time, so does the good stuff and over even more time… the really good stuff!

    Even if the guy is full-on initially, go away for a week, or call back after a few days. For many men it seems 3 – 5 days is more like 1 day for women!

    Patience has not been my strongest point, or in the case of women/men relations, I wonder if that is not only me but rather a female trait.

  2. Regarding Burned in Boston… A man’s take on it:
    Good advice, as always Ronnie. My guess is that this guy was afraid of commitment, for whatever reason, and found handy excuses or reasons to end things. Bottom line, work on what you want and what makes you happy. Don’t waste too much energy figuring out the other person, regardless of the gender in the scenario. This is of course my humble opinion, but I do practice what I preach. And one last tip, when a date or a relationship doesn’t work out, scream as loud as you can, “NEXT!!” and move on. Uh, you might not want to do this in a bar full of people though. 😉
    Warm regards,


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