How Do I Figure Out If I’m Just Part of My Older Man’s Midlife Crisis?

QUESTION: I just started dat­ing a man who is recently divorced, in his late 40s, and very lib­eral with his money. I think I might be falling in love with him, but I think I might also be part of his midlife cri­sis. How do I know if he’s really into me?

CHELSEA SAYS: This is a tricky one, espe­cially because you’re dat­ing a mature man with a recent divorce. He might still have his guard up, which can make it harder for you to fig­ure him out. How­ever, there are still a few tell­tale signs that he’s seri­ously into you and that you’re more than just a fling for him.

If your rela­tion­ship revolves around more than money and sex: You said he’s lib­eral with his money, which is fine, because he’s prob­a­bly suc­cess­ful enough and has the money to spend. Fancy, expen­sive dates are fun, but do you and your older man ever just spend time together with­out spend­ing money or get­ting frisky? If you can come home, lounge around, and still enjoy each other’s com­pany, there’s a good chance that your older man is a keeper.

If your man shows an inter­est in you and your life, like ask­ing how your day was or about your friends and fam­ily: Since you’ve just started dat­ing and it’s still early in your rela­tion­ship, I wouldn’t expect you to start intro­duc­ing each other to your fam­i­lies, but try bring­ing up the topic sub­tly and see how he reacts. If he’s com­pletely against the idea of you meet­ing his par­ents, or vice versa, I’d say that’s kind of a red flag.

If he actu­ally wants to spend time with you and shows it by mak­ing plans for the two of you instead of wait­ing for you to plan some­thing: This shows that he’s excited about being with you—definitely a good sign that your rela­tion­ship is on the right track. Also, does he ever ran­domly call you just for the sake of it? That’s another good sign.

If he leans in toward you and main­tains eye con­tact with you: That is a pos­i­tive sign. Whereas if he crosses his arms or puts his hands in his pock­ets a lot, he might still be try­ing to keep his dis­tance. Try and read his body lan­guage when you’re together.

If he uses more “us” and “we” than “my” or “I” when he’s talk­ing about future plans: That shows that your older man is think­ing along the lines of a long-term rela­tion­ship with you, in which case you’re def­i­nitely not part of his midlife crisis.

TRENT SAYS: On the sur­face, I can see why you might be a lit­tle con­cerned about whether or not your boyfriend is hav­ing a midlife cri­sis. He’s wealthy, recently divorced, and it sounds like you two are going out and hav­ing a lot of fun. It’s all fun all the time!

At the same time, you might be putting too much merit into the fact that he’s recently divorced. I don’t know the par­tic­u­lars, but from my expe­ri­ence, the rela­tion­ship is dead and gone long before the actual divorce goes through. Maybe he moved on emo­tion­ally from his ex-wife a year or two (or longer) before the divorce was finalized.

It’s not totally dis­sim­i­lar to mar­riage. Sure, you have an actual wed­ding day, but chances are you feel emo­tion­ally, spir­i­tu­ally, and phys­i­cally con­nected to the per­son long before you walk down the aisle. A wed­ding is a cel­e­bra­tion and dec­la­ra­tion of your love for each other. A divorce, on the other hand, is a pub­lic dec­la­ra­tion that the rela­tion­ship is over.

Any­way, there’s a good chance this isn’t a midlife cri­sis for him. In fact, this might be the begin­ning of an amaz­ing rela­tion­ship. And the best way to fig­ure that out is to give it time to live and breathe. I hate to say it, but men typ­i­cally aren’t the hard­est to read. It’s a cliché, but actions do speak louder than words.

Is he atten­tive? Does he want to find out all the nuances that make you, well, you? Does he like talk­ing to you and mak­ing plans to see you, or are you the one that always makes the first move? And does he rely on money and a bed­spring kiss to show you he’s into you?

If you’re keep­ing an open mind about things, you should be able to tell whether or not he’s really into YOU, or just into hang­ing out with you.