Relationship Commitment Has To Be Earned

Couple in the moonlight

By Ken Solin

Touchy Topic

Relationship commitment is with no doubt one of the most delicate subjects that more often than not sends new couples into a tailspin. At the extreme are relationships come to an end because the couple just can’t agree about what commitment really means or when it’s appropriate. Senior men in particular seem to have difficulty with the notion of committing in a relationship. In truth, some of the problem for senior guys is the “too many fish in the sea” paradigm.

Number Disparity

There are far more senior women looking for a partner on online dating sites than men, and this reality causes some men to hesitate about committing to a woman because they may constantly think there is a better compatible partner out there. But in essence, men need to know that while women may not have as many choices, they are also faced with the realities of commitment.

Outnumbered

Setting Expectations

Oddly, men often expect a woman to commit to them even though they’re struggling to do the same. Senior men need to recognize that commitment is a two-way street, and that a woman’s heart, while strong, isn’t indestructible. And further, if a guy wants a woman’s commitment he will need to make her feel confident that he’s in the relationship for the long-term, i.e., they are exclusive.

Emotional Vocabulary

The commitment conversation is inexorably linked to a couple’s ability to have a meaningful emotional dialogue, where both people have to speak openly from their hearts and not just their heads. This is a frequent disconnect point between senior men and women in terms of whether or not they’re able to express their feelings about each other to each other.

Often this isn’t a senior guy’s finest moment in a relationship, particularly in the beginning, and suggesting to a woman that she commit to the relationship while he’s still on the fence is callous. Senior guys need to take a personal inventory of their feelings for a woman by looking into their hearts. This is sometimes a high-wire act for men, but commitment is rarely a simple issue.

Is The Timing Right?

In many ways commitment is linked with pacing, which is the speed a couple falls in love. It’s rare that both partners have the same sense of pacing, and this can cause problems if it’s not recognized as something that needs to be discussed, even if it’s not necessarily resolved. The speed a man or woman falls in love frequently differs, but this doesn’t necessarily have to become a problem. But when it’s not discussed openly and from the heart, it brings anxiety into a relationship.

Frankly it would be better if a senior man dated other women rather than committing to a woman if they’re unsure about their feelings. And while this might cause a woman who’s expecting or wanting a man to commit to the relationship some amount of sadness, it’s far better than the pain she might feel down the road when she thinks the relationship is solidly connected and discovers it isn’t.

Right timing

Dealing With Uncertainty

I’ve dated senior women for quite a while, and I’ve had a few relationships, some brief and others longer-term, and the issue of commitment frequently became a sticking point for me. I don’t think this was about “too many fish in the sea,” but rather about my uncertainty and doubts regarding the validity of a long-term relationship. Like a lot of senior guys I feared getting involved in a relationship I wasn’t feeling almost certain had real potential.

“Avoiding” The Pain

And when a large percentage of senior guys are faced with this particular lack of certainty, commitment is extremely difficult. Senior men may not be able to talk about their pain when a relationship ends, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel it. But at the same time guys like the feeling of having a woman committed to them. It’s a classic push/pull situation.

Be Gentle But Firm

It is quite common that men find it difficult to a commit to a relationship, not because they’re not feeling love for them, but rather because they fear the consequences. What can a woman do to obviate those feelings a man may have about committing to them? Set the expectations from the beginning by gently reassuring your partner that you’re in the relationship for the long term, but let him know that your willingness to commit isn’t open-ended. Sure, he might balk and walk away, but walking away is a risk even if he does commit. Who ever said relationships are easy?

Want to get more useful tips and advice on how to date online? Check out this guide for senior online dating.

About Ken Solin

Author and columnist Ken Solin is a boomer Dating Expert for The Huffington Post, AARP, and About.com. Solin also writes about boomer sex and relationships. Ken’s new book, The Boomer Guide To Finding True Love Online offers real-life boomer dating solutions based on Ken’s online dating experiences. Learn more about Ken and his dating philosophy.

 

 

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