by Christian Carter
Would you recognize a “good man” if you saw one?
Does it seem to you that you frequently meet and get into relationships with men you THOUGHT were going to be right for you, only to discover many months down the road that they’re not, and it causes you a lot of pain and frustration? A man will often be on his “best behavior” the first 6 months when you’re first dating.
It’s often hard to “see” him for who he really is when you’re experiencing a lot of attraction and chemistry. This is why it’s CRUCIAL for you to figure out early on, before you get too involved, whether or not he’s MATURE ENOUGH to have a good relationship with a woman, and whether he’s ready to be the kind of man you need him to be for you.
I’d like to answer a question that I hear all the time from women who are getting back out into the dating world after getting divorced or leaving a long-term relationship. Maybe this is something you’ve been curious about, too.
You’ve met a man who’s over 40. Let’s say he’s never been married. He’s got a great career, is fairly successful, and has a lot going on in his life. You find him very fascinating and attractive, and you think about how much you’d love to have a man like this in your life.
You date him a few times, and he seems like a great guy, but something feels a little “off” in the things he does and says (even though you tried to ignore it or deny it). He seems a little defensive, a little reserved – specifically when it comes to letting you know how he feels or what he wants from a “relationship.” He almost seems SCARED or turned off by the idea of anything long-term or “serious.”
He gives you the impression that he’s just into having fun, seeing you once in a while, but he’s not into anything more than that. He doesn’t say it directly, but you have a feeling this guy is just into playing the field. There are the little clues. He has dates with other “friends” and always seems to be busy every night of the week. He never introduces you to his close friends or family, and when he does, you’re just “a friend.” He likes to do things and hang out in places with a much younger crowd.
You really like this guy, but you know it’s probably hopeless. He is only interested in women to have fun with, and maybe even women much, much younger than you are. And then there’s the man who WAS married before. Maybe he’s even got kids from his previous marriage or relationship. He’s loving, responsible, and you sense that he could be a great long-term partner.
You have a great connection and you have a lot in common. Then suddenly, (and particularly AFTER you’ve had an amazing and intimate time together) he pulls back a little. He tells you he wants to “go slow” and “not rush into anything serious”, which is fine and you agree. But then a little while later he completely withdraws and acts like he wants NOTHING to do with a serious relationship after all.
Ouch! He acts very “into you” one minute, and very loving, then doesn’t call you for days, or acts distracted and distant. You’re confused and hurt, and you don’t know what to do next. Maybe he gives you a “been-there-done-that” speech, or makes you feel like you’re the “clingy” one who wants so much more than he’s willing to offer.
He leads you to believe that he’s not interested in anything more than being a “good friend” because he’s done the marriage thing, and he’s not into that anymore. You feel like he’s getting ahead of himself, so you try to let him know that you don’t mind taking it slow, but nothing helps.
You want to date a man who’s close to your age, but a man your age doesn’t seem to want anything real. It’s like you can’t win! Which leads you to ask yourself- Do men over 40 just have more “baggage” when it comes to love and relationships? Is it virtually impossible to meet a single or divorced man over 40 who wants to settle down with one woman, raise a family, have kids, and have a happy, committed relationship?
A lot of women write me and tell me that it’s their experience that men over 40 just aren’t available for a relationship anymore. Either the men have been married and don’t want to marry again, or have never been married and don’t intend to in the future, or they’re just looking to have fun.
They seem to be carrying around a bunch of “baggage” from the past, and they’re afraid to have a committed relationship. They want to keep their “freedom.” Maybe they only want to date women half their age.
This is a fascinating phenomenon to me. Not that men over 40 are being seen as having “baggage,” but that so many women are having this experience with these 40-plus year-old men. What’s going on here? And what can you do if you want to have a committed, long-term, quality relationship with a man over 40, but you keep having this negative experience?
I recently sat down with a very bright and insightful woman who is a relationship life coach for women, and I asked her this exact question. I wanted to know what she had to say because she’s writing a book specifically for women to help them UNDERSTAND men better, as well as helping them select the RIGHT man for them.
Her name is Eve Sharon Hart, and she has a very interesting method for women to use to figure out if the man they’re interested in, dating, or married to is actually a GOOD GUY who is healthy for them and capable of making them happy… Or, a total DRAIN on their emotional and psychological well being.
But first, here’s what Eve had to say when I asked her if she thought that men over 40 had more baggage:
“We all as human beings look at others according to what they can give us, or what we need from them. If we push aside our own needs and look at the man as being simply human, we’ll realize we’re identical. We want love, but we’re afraid to take risks because we’ve been wounded. We have all have baggage from relationships that have broken our heart, on some level. The more wounded we are, the more defensive we can become if we don’t heal those wounds.
“If a man acts defensive and cold, and seems to be afraid of love or commitment, that COULD mean that he has all kinds of baggage from a prior relationship. He got hurt. He’s afraid of risking it all and getting hurt again. If you look at his defenses, they look really annoying and harsh to you. What you may not realize is that you have your OWN set of harsh defenses that may not be as apparent to you. Hey, don’t get the wrong idea.
“You don’t want to get involved with a guy if he doesn’t want to get close to you. But you can have compassion for where he’s coming from. If you look out there and you see all these men who want to run around and don’t want to be in a committed relationship, usually those men are afraid of falling in love and needing a woman.
“It’s ironic, but statistics will show that when a man and a woman are in a long marriage together, and the woman dies, the man will die shortly thereafter. It’s not true so much for women. Whereas if the old man dies first, the woman is more resilient and goes on living for years thereafter. Which shows that men are actually more vulnerable and more afraid to take a risk and be vulnerable and attached to a woman, because he literally fears that he might DIE without her!
“If a man isn’t “ready” because he’s still dealing with the baggage from his past, it doesn’t mean that you should wait around for him to “get ready.” But definitely have some understanding about WHY he’s afraid or why he’s resisting being in a committed relationship.” . . .
I agree with what Eve had to say about men over 40.
In my experience, men over 40 -just like many women over 40 – have experienced a lot of disappointment and pain in their love lives. In trying to defend themselves against more of that pain, some men may appear to have a lot of “issues” and be callous and selfish. As humans, we have different ways of dealing with things from our past.
But I also know, (as does Eve) that there are many, many men over 40 who would love nothing more than to find a great woman, commit to her, have kids or help raise a family, and experience true and lasting love in their life. The key is to RECOGNIZE a great man when you meet one, so you don’t waste your time with a man who may not be “ready” or willing to have a real relationship with you.
This is the other important key that Eve shared with me during our interview. Whether he’s a loving, supportive partner and has the potential to be so for years to come. Or if he’s an UNsupportive, critical man who is going to slowly DRAG YOU DOWN and drain you the longer you stay with him.
Let me tell you something. Sometimes when you’re feeling that initial attraction, connection and “chemistry,” it’s really difficult to make rational and objective observations about the guy you’re with.
During our interview, Eve also shared: — What to do if you’re dating a man who isn’t sure he wants to have anything serious with you because you have kids from a previous relationship — The #1 thing to look for in a man when you’re trying to decide if a “rough patch” is just temporary and you should WORK IT OUT, or if he’s really not the right man for you.
All you need to do is just ask yourself one question — How a man’s behavior around other people can quickly and easily tell you if he’s going to be abusive and neglectful of you years down the line (even if he’s treating you well now) — and much more.
I also think it’s important to understand the stages of maturity men go through in their lives. It’s not chronological. You can meet a man who’s 25 years old and already very mature and ready for a loving, committed relationship where BOTH his needs and his partners are important to him. Or, you can meet a man who’s 45 and still just a “boy” in a lot of ways that affect how he is in a relationship.
If you know what stage of maturity your man is in, you can understand better where he’s coming from and what you can – OR CAN’T DO – to change the way he is in a relationship. If you’ve ever experienced these with a man:
> He comes on strong at first, but then disappears
> He changes his mind about you in a moment, for apparently no reason
> He talks about wanting to travel and “explore” the world and live an adventurous life (often without you in it)
> He’s controlling and inflexible at times
Then you’ve been experiencing certain symptoms of a man’s maturity level, from a “boy” all the way to a mature and self-possessed “King.”
I’ll talk to you again soon, and best of luck in Life and Love.
Your Friend, Christian Carter
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