Break Out of the JUST FRIENDS Rut

People write in to ASK MIDLIFE BACHELOR with questions.  An index of all Q&As is located on the ASK MIDLIFE BACHELOR INDEX page. Email your question in complete confidence to [email protected].

DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR: I am about 6 months out of a traumatic divorce with a cheating, controlling spouse who was great in bed. I am now on about my 5th date which hasn’t made me feel any better about my future. All are still friends, and I met four out of the five online. However, I don’t seem to get to the second date. I would really like a relationship, instead of a string of first dates.

I seem to be back in the “just want to be friends” role again. This usually happens to me after first dates … which reminds me of my pre-married days. I seem to get labeled as “too nice”.  What are some things I can do to get rid of that stigma. I don’t think I am so nice, as I am just polite. I guess perhaps I am too old fashioned about manners towards women and all.  I like friends, don’t get me wrong.  But again, I ask, what are some little things I can do to make gals think of me as more than just “friend” material?  JP

MLB ANSWER:  There is nothing wrong with being nice or polite to women – I am usually the same way.  It is great that you have gotten back out there, and went out with five different women … that in itself is great progress, and you should be happy about it.  The fact that none of these women turned into anything but friends could mean a number of things – hard to know without seeing you in action.  My guess is that you may be talking about your ex-wife, or your divorce, or the associated legal troubles, etc.  On a date with a fresh woman, you usually want to avoid talking about yourself – and get the woman talking about her interests … and hopefully you are interested in similar things, etc.  So my first piece of advice is to watch what you are saying, and try to make the date about her.

The other thing you might do to come across as less of a friend, and more of a potential lover is to subtly touch her during the date.  [I don’t mean grope her – although that would be fun.]   I’m talking about touching her arm when you are talking to her occasionally … just be touchy/feely BUT don’t be weird about it.   What about a goodnight kiss?  Have you asserted those on your dates?  I say “asserted” because if you are coming across as a super nice guy, the woman may not be expecting a kiss … so you need to make it happen.  Again, don’t be weird about it – but simply refer to the golden rule (ALWAYS GO FOR IT), and take that kiss.  If she pulls back before you get too close, then withdraw and don’t worry about it.   Your goal before the end of the date is to make her realize that you are INTERESTED in her.   There are many ways to accomplish that goal … what and how you say things, touching her, the goodnight kiss, etc.  It takes a conscious effort – and you are making progress.

If you have not read the Midlife Dating Advice section of this site – it was designed for people in your situation.  Check out Watch for Signs or Signals on the First Date or Two and also Saying Goodnight or Goodbye on the First Date or Two The section entitled The Midlife Bachelor Personal Makeover would be a great refresher for you – as it discusses both how to look and how to tune up your personality with dating success as an objective.  There is also the section entitled Develop a Strategy for Midlife Bachelor Success … which will get you through the mechanics of dating, setting and re-evaluating goals for yourself, etc.  Definitely give it a read, and good luck. Please report back with how you are progressing.

DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR: My friend recently went out with a man she met online. The first date seemed to go pretty well. Toward the end of the first date, the woman told the man that she lied about her age, that she is really 39 not 34 like her profile stated. The guy is 34. The guy said he didn’t care – that it did not matter to him. A few minutes later, the guy tells her that he really likes her BUT that he had been on two dates with another woman, and is thinking of being exclusive with her because he really liked her a lot. He said it would not be fair for him to see her again because of this other woman. He tells her that he was hoping he did not like her because it would make it easier to tell her that he couldn’t see her again and that he needed to focus on the other woman that he had already had two dates with. What do you make of all this?  Anonymous

MLB ANSWER:   You are really asking me if the guy made up that story about the “other new woman” because he was mad that his online date lied about her age, right?   Well – it is hard to know with certainty.   I don’t think that a five-year age gap is anything to piss a guy off about.  If I was the guy, I would have been more concerned about what else she might have been lying about.  If she’ll tell one lie, why not more?   That said – it is possible that the guy was being 100% truthful about the other woman … and that is what your friend would need to look for in his face, in his actions, etc.   Did he do a 180 after she told him about her real age?  In other words, did she feel the date was heading in a different direction BEFORE she told him she lied about her age?   It really doesn’t matter – the end result is the same … the guy doesn’t want to date your friend.  They say “the truth shall set you free”, and that seems to be what happened to your friend  ;o)

Avatar of Greg Smith
About the Author

Midlife Bachelor chronicles lifestyle, dating, and relationship experiences and advice to avoid a midlife crisis. Readers like you are often beyond young adulthood in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s that want to understand how dating, sex, relationships, and love fit in with our lifestyles.