Dating Over 40: Are you Holding Back in Your Relationship?

Maribeth has been dating Ben for more then 6 months. I hear from her frequently with questions and updates on how things are going. She just went away for their first weekend trip and they really got along and had a wonderful time together. That’s good news!

But not good enough perhaps. Seems Ben just doesn’t have the affectionate nature that Maribeth desires. He’s honest, straight forward, has a good sense of humor, a strong s-e-x drive, is generous. But Ben gets just a "C" for affection.

Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting more affection. But what surprised me is what Maribeth was doing about creating this. Nothing. So I’m surprised to hear that she’s WAITING for Ben to be affectionate rather than initiating some affection herself. I asked her, if you want to hold his hand, have you simply reached for it? She said, "No."

Let’s get clear about dating protocol. After six months, you are not dating any more. You are in a relationship. All that holding off, holding back, letting the man lead stuff softens with time. Often the woman starts making the social arrangements and I would think initiating intimacy if desired. Why not affection too?

Turns out Maribeth has been totally letting Ben lead. She has not shifted into relationship mode but remains stuck in  just dating. Maribeth is in her relationship, but hanging out on the sidelines. She’s still observing, critiquing and measuring. It makes sense to keep your eyes open, but what happens when you continually view your situation from the outside? You cannot be in two places at once. So Maribeth lives her relationship from the sidelines.

My suggestion? Jump in and get into the middle of the relationship. At a dance, you can’t fully experience the fun if you are dancing alone on the edge of the dance floor. Oh no. You  want to be in the thick of the whirling swirling bodies, shaking and bobbing to the music. That’s where it’s happening. And the same thing is true for relationships.

I suggested to Maribeth that if she wanted a kiss, ask for one. Or lean over and kiss him. If she wants to hold hands, do it. If she wants to snuggle on the couch while watching TV, move over and snuggle up. Don’t over do it. You don’t want to crowd or smother they guy. But when you want some affection, get it started. Sometimes men are relieved and pleased when they don’t have to start everything.

If you are a woman who has been dating your guy for over six months, admit you are in a relationship. If it’s not the right relationship, then move on. If you are uncertain about the rightness, the best way to really know is to pretend you are happy to see what happens next.

When you hold back and watch from the sidelines, you will never really know how you feel. Because you are not really involved. When you hold yourself separate – the man will sense it. He will feel it. And if he is serious about you, you will start to make him wonder. That’s not what you want is it?

Take the chance. if the man  you are dating is a good man, you have enough in common, you seem to want the same things out of life and you enjoy each other’s company, then open your heart and let him in. Jump into the middle of the dance floor of life and stop waiting on the sidelines being cautious. While I’m a big believer in cautiousness, there is a time and place for everything. Give the good guys a real shot at making you happy to experience the full potential of what the two of you can have together.


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.

5 thoughts on “Dating Over 40: Are you Holding Back in Your Relationship?”

  1. I am 37 with a school-aged child. I’ve been seeing a 37 y/o guy with no kids/never been married who when I first met him said “I love kids” and he wanted children of his own. I said I wanted the same thing. He called me every other day and always responded to me if I text/called which was every other day because I felt he needed time and I thought we should/ were taking it slow. Anyway, 3 months into the relationship he said he wanted to take me away for my birthday. We did and then he went away for 1 week for business. When he got back and after not calling for a week, he said, ” I had such a good time with you but…I decided that while away I was going to end it because I found out I could see us becoming closer and it scared me because the last relationship I was in with children was the worst one I had”. Also, he said, “you deserve better then the way I treated you”. By the way, the relationship he is talking about was 2 years ago and he has only dated other women for 3 months max. length of time. I told him, I’m sorry you feel that way and let’s be friends. Did I end it too soon?

  2. ‘ then turning things around.could be hard’ measn what.should i give her some time to think before i talk to her. she knew the girl she saw was not my girl friend

  3. hey Ronie,

    thanks for responding,she is now fully aware that i like her.but now avoiding and ingnoring me. and at the beiginin she was given me body sign that says she like.she even tell a friend of mine that she like me.i don’nt no was her problem.

    may be she is scared of going into a realtionship or acting under instructions to avoid me.

  4. Hello Ome,
    Sorry to hear of your girlfriend problems. Sounds like you are in school still? If she’s running – there’s not much you can do. You might be able to ask her what’s going on. If she’s that jealous, then turning things around.could be hard. Just keep smiling!

  5. hey i need help here,there is this paticular young and cute girl that i like,well at the beginin we started talking and calling each other ,but somtimes she is holding back say she don’nt have the chance to come and see me bcos of her parent and i understand.but one day i was walking wit a girl friend of mine(just a friend,i mean).this girl saw us together and i can tell she was jeolus and i later that day i call her and talk to her and even the girlfriend i was with that day even talk to her to give chance to let her know how i wanted her.

    This was just to let her no that i don’nt have any girlfriend.she responded fine.but the very next day she started avoid me.when she see me coming she will dodge and she stop talking to me.i am bit comfuse here.

    i need respond from u guys to help me out here immediate;y.

    Thanks alot


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