It’s Not Him, It’s You: What You’re Doing That Makes Him Want to Leave You

Dat­ing is a hard game to play, and unfor­tu­nately, it doesn’t get any eas­ier as you get older. If you’re dat­ing older men, have you ever fallen vic­tim to the dreaded “first date curse” where you meet an intrigu­ing prospect, go on a great first date, but then you never hear from him again? Research shows that you’re not the only one—the results of a recent dat­ing sur­vey revealed that approx­i­mately 72% of first dates don’t lead to a sec­ond date.

If you’re a younger woman dat­ing an older man and your rela­tion­ship has been lucky enough to sur­vive the first date curse, you may not be out of the woods just yet because it isn’t uncom­mon for men to pull away after a few dates, or even after sev­eral months into the rela­tion­ship. So, what’s the prob­lem? Accord­ing to one the­ory, it might be you.

The prob­lem lies in the dif­fer­ences between the way men and women are raised. Most men grow up learn­ing that they need to be tough and keep their emo­tions in check. This is espe­cially true for older men who prob­a­bly grew up in more tra­di­tional house­holds. Women, on the other hand, are usu­ally raised to be car­ing and nurturing.

Here’s how this will play out in your rela­tion­ship with an older man. When he expe­ri­ences some kind of fear in the relationship—whether it’s a fear of com­mit­ment or failure—he’ll pull away emo­tion­ally, and prob­a­bly phys­i­cally, because it’s eas­ier than hav­ing to deal with his feel­ings. You, being the car­ing woman, will swoop in to try and help him; you’ll do every­thing you can to find out what’s wrong with him so that you can fix it. The prob­lem is that the more you pry into his feel­ings, the more he’s going to pull away from you. Instead of fix­ing the rela­tion­ship, you’re just mak­ing it worse.

So what should you do if your older man is start­ing to dis­tance him­self from you? “Noth­ing,” says renowned dat­ing and rela­tion­ship coach Jonathan Aslay. “Women are emo­tional con­nec­tors and when a gap appears, their fear fills the void. Men, on the other hand, use this void to gain strength.” The best thing you can do as his part­ner is to let him deal with it on his own, rather than assume that by pulling away he’s ask­ing for help—when he’s ready, he’ll let you know. “The best solu­tion, strangely enough, is to leave him alone or even encour­age his alone time,” says Aslay.

What do you think: Do you agree with Aslay’s rela­tion­ship advice? Do you have any tips of your own about how to deal with a man (or woman) pulling away from the relationship?

Crowe, D., “Why Men Pull Away: Why Women Unin­ten­tion­ally Make it Worse,” Newswire web site;, last accessed July 16, 2013.

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About Francine K

I first met Alfred when I was 38 and he was 63, on an Internet chat site. I really didn't think this was a datable person, but a wonderful friendship developed. We became chat buddies for a while and connected so well on so many levels, we decided to meet in person. We live 100 miles apart, but that has never gotten in the way of us spending time together. A passionate relationship soon grew, and oh what an amazing lover. I had some reservations about getting too involved: our age difference is 25 years, and we are in different phases in our lives; in fact he has a daughter who is older than I am. I have 2 teenage sons, a career, was building my first home, and he’s retired, owns his home, lives alone, takes a nap during the day, and enjoys a slow-paced lifestyle. I am still ambitious and will soon have the empty nest to go start my own life, as my sons are nearly independent. There is no way I want to sit down and have a retired lifestyle yet. We’ve shared a beautiful, passionate friendship for many years together. We’ve never really figured out how to plan a future together, though.