Dating Over 40: Can We Move Past Friendship after 1 Year?

Dating over 40 - Friendship into Relationship

Dear Ronnie,

I need your help as a dating coach for women. Nearly a year ago, I met a man who has been supportive and always there for me with current personal issues in my life. We share many common interests and values. Although he is more shy than most men, there was an instant connection between us and we became great friends. He began opening up to me and in no time we began finishing each others’ sentences, laughed at each other’s jokes, talked on serious levels as well as have fun with one another.

Unfortunately, although we still talk on a regular basis, he seems to have withdrawn to the way he was before we became better friends. If I think he’s busy I ask if I should leave but his answer is always no and that I need to stop worrying so much.

So, he still likes having me around, yet, doesn’t talk as much and seems distant in his answers. This made me start doubting him and ask if there was someone else he has more interest in. Again, his answer is no. He’s never made me doubt him and has no reason to lie where as we are not actually in a committed relationship, even though I would like to be more than “just friends” in the future.

However, I’m afraid that this reaction from me has made me appear “clingy” and “needy” and wonder if I’ve lost any chance of that happening now?

More recently, I’m trying to be more independent, confident and happy around him. I’ve also been giving him a little more space. He seems happier, but I’m not sure how much time this needs to help win his attention back. Or has my behavior caused me to remain in the “friends” status forever?

Please advise, as to how I can get him back and move from friendship to relationship. Thank you.
Stuck as Friends


Dear Stuck,

This is such a hard thing to go through emotionally. When a man pulls away, it leaves a vacant spot.

To me, it seems there maybe more than one thing going on here: 
1. You two were closer than you are now and he is distant.
2. You feel you have pushed him away by acting clingy in response to his withdrawal.
3. You want to shift your one year friendship with this guy into a romance relationship.

I think the more important issue here is #3. After one year, he has never tried to move from friendship to relationship and  romance.

Sometimes men pull away for briefly in a relationship. John Grey talks about this in his Mars asnd Venus book series. But when the guy is truly interested in you romantically, he usually resumes the intensity fairly quickly. Unfortunately,this has not happened. 

Since you’ve been friends for a year, the hard news I have to share with you is you will probably never move past friendship. Even a shy man knows exactly what he has to do to become romantically involved. Since he has not taken this step in a full year, I feel as a dating coach for women dating over 40, I must advise you to move on. It’s more than time to look else where for romance.

But even more than that, please keep in the forefront of your mind this fact: This man has pulled away causing you  to not trust him. His behavior IS A SIGNAL THAT SOMETHING HAS CHANGED which is effecting your self esteem. When the magic is over and time goes by, trying to reclaim what is lost causes damage to your self-confidence. No matter how much you give him space or how clingy you act, neither course will work. The change has already happened.


You can  remain friends. But to really put your mind to finding the love you want, you too will most likely need to retreat, so you can disengage. Right now, you are emotionally entangled with this man. And that will keep you from finding the love you want and deserve.

Who knows why he pulled away. Maybe he is seeing someone else. Maybe he got scared because he felt too close to you. Heck, maybe he’s gay. We don’t know and the truth is IT DOESN’T MATTER. All that matters to me as your dating coach and you as the dating coaching client is that you are not being emotionally supported from this friend. He will not become your boyfriend and that is impacting how you feel about yourself.

I hope you will be open to seeing the truth of this situation. Remember the good days fondly and move on to find even better days with a man who is not only emotionally available, but also relationship ready.

Wishing you love,

Ronnie Ann Ryan – The Dating Coach

Photo Credit: Simply Shutterbug

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.

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