Have you met a great guy who’s over 40 but has never been married? Has he never lived with a woman or even been in a seriously relationship? If you’re looking for lasting passionate love or marriage, this can be a tricky situation. Even if things are fantastic between the two of you in the beginning, you may be wondering, is this guy a commitment-phobe? Is he too picky? Is he a player? Is he a narcissist? What is the potential for a long-term relationship with this man and what is that relationship going to be like?
Here are six key tips to help you assess your potential future with him:
1. Bring up his relationship history.
If he focuses on how great he has been (and is), and has little to no self-reflection about what he did wrong, be wary. He may be unconscious about his own limitations, or a narcissist who has a difficult time having a real relationship with a woman.
If he describes all his ex’s as too clingy or needy, or too distant, or too demanding, or angry, he may have an unconscious pattern of self-sabotage, where he provokes his partner into acting a certain way with him. And this is how he sets his relationships up to fail.
3. Talk about the future.
If he doesn’t mention lasting love, or marriage, realize that it may not be a goal for him. He may be a player, or a commitment-phobe.
4. Listen to how he talks about marriage.
Research on the “marrying kind of men” shows that men who get married talk positively about marriage in general and specifically about happy marriages in their network of friends. If he doesn’t do this, and refers to negative metaphors, such as the “old ball and chain,” he may be afraid of marriage and commitment.
5. Learn about his family history.
This is another marker for a commitment-friendly, marriage-minded guy. If he comes from a family of divorce, or if he has unresolved issues with his family, it can have a huge influence on how he views his relationship with you. That doesn’t mean people who come from divorced parents can’t have wonderful romantic relationships (in fact, many people learn from their parent’s mistakes and are stronger for it), but do look out for someone who refuses to address the issues from their past or are still dealing with it. It may help you understand how he views relationships and commitment, and give you further insight into why he’s the way he is.
Is he religious or spiritual? Are you? If you differ on core beliefs, he may see you a great person to be with for now, but not for the long-haul. If you’re happy with living in the moment and not worrying about the future, that’s great. But if you’re looking for someone to settle down with, and want to make sure you’re on the same page, it’s worth having a conversation with him about it.
For example, Sarah, a 40-something nurse in my coaching program was sick of the merry-go-round of dating. She would be with a guy for a few months, and everything would see fine, but then he’d distance himself and dump her out of nowhere. A big reason for this, was that she wasn’t careful about screening out guys who were in a different place in life than she was.
When she started rejecting men who weren’t ready for something serious, and focusing on those who were, she finally met a great guy (who wasn’t perfect!), but who was was marriage-minded, from a loving family, and was a regular church goer like she was. Long story short, he was the right fit for Sarah, and they had a glorious wedding at sunset on a beautiful beach!
If you find that your guy talks positively about marriage and relationships, has similar values as you do, and is engaged and invested in your relationship, it doesn’t really matter that he hasn’t had a serious relationship before. He may not be as experienced in commitment, but his relationship with you may be able to provide you with the lasting love you want.
However, if seems like he’s on a different page than you or is uninterested in talking about the future, his history, his views on marriage, or his values, you’re not going to find a lot to build a future on. You can find an awesome partner who is interested in you for the long-term.