Can An Older Man Change Into a Committed Partner?


After six months, I have discovered (the hard way!) that the man I was becoming more and more attached to is an “ambivalent” man, a commitmentphobe, a “runner.” I’m heartbroken, of course. My question, even after “How Do I Get Him Back”: would he or could he ever change, even with all your relationship assistance and my best efforts?

Do I even want him back? I’m 65, twice widowed, and marriage isn’t a priority for me at this point, but a commitment and loyalty and reliability in my man definitely are.


I’ve been a dating coach for seven years now. In that time, I’ve had nearly 1000 private clients who have engaged A decent percentage of them (10-15%) started working with me while they were already dating men.

You want to know how many of them ended up with those men?


That’s right. Not ONE woman who has EVER come to me with a “man she’s seeing” ended up marrying him.

This may be shocking to you — or it may be utterly predictable. After all, women in happy, healthy, relationships don’t usually shell out $4500 for dating coaching.

Not ONE woman who has EVER come to me with a “man she’s seeing” ended up marrying him.

To me, this illustrates the tremendous power of wishful thinking. The idea that a man who is emotionally unavailable after three months will suddenly become emotionally available after six. Or that the man who never talks about a future with you will suddenly see the light. Or that the guy who disappears for a week is secretly in love with you. This delusion is so commonplace that a book like “He’s Just Not that Into You” was seen as revelatory, when to men it could have been subtitled, “Duh.”

Put another way: if you let go of an apple from chin height, you’d expect it to drop, wouldn’t you? Of course. Because every time you’ve ever let go of an apple, it hit the floor.

So look back at your experiences with two kinds of men: the men who turned into your best boyfriends and the kind where you didn’t know where you stood.

The men who became your committed boyfriends did one thing: they made an effort and talked about a future. “What are you doing tomorrow? How about the next day? What about this weeknend? Let’s make plans for the holidays. I want you to meet my family. Did you get my voice mail last night? I think I’m falling in love with you.”

The men who left you walking on eggshells did the complete opposite. A great night of passion is invariably followed by five days of silence. Maybe a text to say, “what’s up?”

The men who became your committed boyfriends did one thing: they made an effort and talked about a future.

Is it not clear which men have long-term potential?

Is it not clear that in waiting for a man who needs a once-a-week partner to change his mind, you could lose years of your life?

Finally, is it not clear that there is only one answer to “How Do I Get Him Back?”

YOU DON’T!!!!!!!!

You don’t get him back because you never had him to begin with.

You don’t get him back because he doesn’t want you badly enough.

You don’t get him back because he makes for one selfish and shitty life partner.

Do you need any more evidence, Jen?

If you truly prize loyalty, reliability, and commitment over, say, money and chemistry, then start choosing men who are loyal, reliable and commitment-oriented.

This is one of the main messages of “Why He Disappeared.” You can’t change a man who doesn’t want to change.

All you can do is leave him for a man who DOES want to value, cherish and commit to you. It all begins with you.

Click here to check out “Why He Disappeared” and let go of the pain of non-committal men forever.

Join our conversation (49 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 21
    Kat Wilder

    Here’s my experience, although I know it isn’t everyone’s. I’m middle aged and divorced – not really looking to marry again but, yes, a life partner at some point would be nice. A few years ago I met a man and we clicked immediately; he said he wanted to be my boyfriend, not just my lover, and we dated for a few months. I had fallen in love, hard.
    Then one day he said he couldn’t commit. I was hurt but I’m old enough to know that it takes people a few months, if not longer, before they know whether they really want to stay in a relationship with someone or not. So we split but remained friendly, and I went about dating others and even had a loving relationship with a man I knew I wouldn’t be with forever. He and I kept in contact and, yes, sometimes slept together. The time away from him was actually helpful, because it helped me clarify for myself what I really wanted.
    About a year and a half later, I got a long email from him, explaining “why he disappeared” (there were things happening in his life he wasn’t ready to share with me back then) and that he still loved me. He hoped he hadn’t messed everything up by his actions, and he hoped I would take him back.
    And I did. And we’ve been together – living separately as we each have kids still at home – ever since. It was a risk I was willing to take because he’s a good man.
    So, do people change? We’re always changing. Sometimes the reason people don’t commit has a back story someone may not be able/willing to share at a particular time. That may or may not be this man’s story, but you have to ask yourself – what do I really want, when do I want it and from whom?

    1. 21.1

      Hi Kat,

      I am glad that you have had a positive experience – seems like the only one on this specific blog! But what I find amazing is that people just say “he’s just not into you” when it could actually be that “he is struggling to be that into anyone”.

      I have unfortunately been with a series of commitment phobes and just read an interesting book on the subject (Men Who Cannot Love). For lots of men (and women), it is not just a question of being into someone. I have been with two men now that have told me that they have never loved anyone else as they have loved me. And I believe them. The issue with a lot of commitment phobes is that they might actually BE with the RIGHT person but they have such intense commitment issues that they scare themselves to death…and so they bolt. Or they remain wishy-washy, driving the other person insane (been there, done that more times/years than I care to remember).

      So while I am not saying that this is any better, I am saying that it is certainly not so black and white as this – he’s into you, he plays a part in your life, and he’s not into you, so he doesn’t. What if he is but he is too scared to play a part (and then has a myriad of excuses to not to).   Even the most perfect person in the world for them can seem flawed when seen through the eyes of fear.

      People like this obviously need help. Whether they accept their issues and then get any is another thing. But I do feel sad for people who are older in their lives and still have commitment problems (which has haunted them their entire life). My bf is 60, and I am struggling with them everyday still. I am not sure if I will much longer though because as Evan says, you cannot change someone who does not to change. And after a point, you need to tell yourself enough is enough…even if they are good people (and into you!).

      1. 21.1.1
        Sandra walker

        Robin i struggle with this …commitment phobia reason , being a woman iv always thght that true love will win thru in the end.

        Having spent a painful confusing, rejectful, year with a guy who came on pretty strong at first to later tell me he doesnt want the obligation or expectations a relationship requires im still struggling to accept this …we got on fantastic, and after mnths of him blowing hot/ cold he THEN invited me to spend the weekend with 28 of his friends and his 2 sons! And at tbe end of tbe weekend he then suggested   we take our teenage kids camping soon. obviously took this to mean he was having   a change of heart and when i voiced that he backed off again completely saying he was just being friendly! Tbis guy never mentioned introducing me to anyone for 7 mnths is it any surprise that i thght him then taking tbis step was a positive move, even his friend says that he knows all about me from my guy talking about me.

        Sooo..after i confronted him asking what did he think i would be thinking of his actions ..he backed of again then later asked me to go away for the weekend with his friend and his friends wife, i said to him ” can you not see hy im confused by your behaviour” he has now backed away AGAIN…iv noticed hes friendly and warm and open when hes had a few drinks…he called me 3 times in a week kadt month , saying how were so alike and have all the basic requirements for a relationship but he just cant be in one he doesnt want to risk upsetting his settled life by getting involved with anyone. So now ..he replies if i text him but doesnt innitiate…and he sometimes just ghosts mid text …im so confused as to what tbis all means ..i rlly want to accept and get to grips with it and move on but my head is all over the place.

  2. 22

    #20 Jennyana

    I too dated a man over the summer, and recently had a phone conversation with him.   We agreed we both had a great time on our last date and he said he would call.   Never heard from him.

    I agree with you, obviously he’s ‘not just into me’…that’s the way the cookie crumbles.   Disappointing, but reality 🙂

  3. 23

    Kat, I’m a little floored by your post.   I dated and fell in love with a man who was newly separated–he on several times said he felt the same way about me.   Our timing was off though, and he wasn’t ready to get involved with another woman so soon.   Totally understood, I’m about a 1.5 years ahead of him in regard to separation and divorce.

    He’s kept in touch with me, it’s been over a year.   I saw   him earlier this year where we slept together.   I spoke to him about a month ago on the phone, otherwise it’s via email or text.

    I’ve held off sleeping with him again, because I didn’t want to have frustrating or negative feelings towards him.    Maybe that’s a bit short sighted.   I don’t have those feelings like I’ve had for him in the past, and I’ve dated plenty of other men and have a very active social life.  

    You’ve given me some things to think about.

    1. 23.1

      Food for thought: My brother told me :”why buy the cow when you can get the milk (sex) free”!

  4. 24

    @ Kat 21 and Denise
    I agree that people are always changing. I think we all reach a point where we are inspired to become more self aware, recognise our fears, manage them better, but it often seems to take a real crisis!
    And even then, it can take years to work out old counter-productive habits and emotional reflexes.
    It might sound cruel – but I’ve found that leaving people to it helps them own it, and can spur their personal growth. Let them come forward in their own time.
    Don’t neglect your own flow!

  5. 25

    At 65, and if you’re not married, just enjoy the freedom, at least that is what a single man who is not interested in marriage would do.   A lot of Men do not want to be tied down if they are not married.   They want to be Free from girlfriends, wives, and have free time, and be able to date many women.   There’s nothing wrong with that decision or lifestyle as long as you are not married.   And its expected for Single Men to have fun and enjoy their freedom.
    Now, unfortunately for single women, they want monogamous relationships with one man for marriage or quasi-marriage.   Unfortunately, the Good-looking rich players know they have their pick and will never settle down.   That is just life.
    If a single woman wants to marry a man, get off the pill, and get pregnant.   Because only a Baby will make a man commit to marriage.

  6. 26

    well i am a 58 year old man looking to have a love life again, but meeting a good woman again after a divorce which my wife was the one that cheated on me make it worse now. there are so many women that seem to have such an attitude problem today, and play very hard too get. it is wonderful to share a life with a woman, and who would like to be alone anyway? not me, and i can certainly speak for myself. but there are many people that do like staying alone, and more power for them. there are not that many good places to go too where i am, and that makes it much more difficult for people are age. my aunt and uncle are very lucky since they are starting their 65th year together, and that just shows you how much different the times were back then when most of the women were very committed to their men and accepted them for who they were. most of the women nowadays are looking for men with a very large bank account, and these type of women are users as well as losers anyway. it was certainly meant to be for my aunt and uncle to be together, and they met when they were kids in school which was much easier back then. for me, going out all over again and dealing with this mess really sucks for me. it is like a joke trying to meet a good woman again, since there are so many very rude women today. at my age it is very difficult now, since time is short for me. i wish that i was born a lot sooner, then i could have avoided this mess now and had my own family that i would have wanted. but now i will just go out again and hope for the best.

  7. 27
    Sparkling Emerald

    Joe 25 “If a single woman wants to marry a man, get off the pill, and get pregnant.   Because only a Baby will make a man commit to marriage.”
    Boo, hiss, to that comment. TERRIBLE advice !!!!!!!   First of all, there are tons of single moms, who were never married to their baby-daddy.   So a baby will not make a player commit.   Maybe a court ordered support check, but not a proposal.   Second of all, shot-gun weddings often times lead to crappy marriages.   Third of all, a baby deserves to be wanted and loved by BOTH parents, using a baby as a means of “trapping” a man is despicable.  
    If a woman wants to marry, don’t waste time on a man who doesn’t.   Move on, there are men out there who want marriage and children, in that order.   Her chances of finding one are greater if she doesn’t waste time on anti-marriage men.

  8. 28

    Unmarried older men are the proverbial roosters in the henhouse. They know they have the upper hand and can date whomever they want: younger or older or whatever. So many older women are so desperate that they put up with it, and the younger gals think they’re going to get a ‘catch’ so they put up with it too. It’s insane.

    1. 28.1

      #Jo   that is so funny!   Because its so true of some older men.   But not all of them especially the less handsome, sicker, poorer ones.   I am 60 female and fairly saggy baggy and not very rich.   The hard thing is not to let loneliness and desperation drive choices about relationships.   I am in a long term relationship which hasn’t been that enjoyable a lot of the time.   Why do I stay?   I am not frightened of being alone.   But I hate feeling lonely and on the outside of life.   My experience of dating back in my forties was really so negative that i have vowed never to do it again. Hence that is partly why i have stuck with my highly imperfect relationship.   The question for me is this?   Is it possible to live a happy, dignified, emotionally whole , life without an intimate partner. Should there come a time when we must face the truth that despite our best efforts a long stable and happy marriage lifestyle has failed to eventuate. Hold on to a dignified singledom   and love oneself anyway. Dating the older you get seems to have so many problems especially for women way past their prime. The ever shrinking number of emotionally available and physically healthy, solvent, men of reasonable appearance make the choices stark.   A good woman may be hard to find but a good older man is virtually impossible and so the rooster in the hen house is the funny but pretty accurate reality that I have witnessed.

  9. 29

    For 19 years now I have been letting this Guy Waste my time and Tie up my Life.
    Now we are Older.he has used Every Excuse under the Sun.
    I have never met his friends…Says he does not have Any.
    Says he has no Family.His dad is   dead now. no Children…
    i have to fly to see him. we stay in   a Hotel suite… the Best.he is afraid to Fly he says..
    his excuse…He works from Home..the Hotel gives   him a Break.
    We stay in….don’t know who We hide from….no wife….he says an old girlfriends Stalks Him…
    He did buy me a car   years   ago …….when I told him to go to H…and not to come back….
    I am demanding a House so he is Sulking Right now…
    Stopped calling.. When I got tough…Told him I wanted More..
    Found a House. But no one can Hedge and put off like him..
    Women can be so Dumb..

    1. 29.1


  10. 30

    is there Anyway to get Even with a guy like this?

  11. 31

    Yes Meg there is a way “to get Even with a guy like this”: create a happy, fullfilling life for yourself. You’ve allowed this for 19 years…don’t make it 20.

  12. 32
    Jason Ellis

    Cool! Grand Pa is still kicking ‘

  13. 33

    Now at age 56, a year divorced after a 25 year marriage being destroyed by a cheating ex, I can say that I’m slowly becoming attracted again. But I don’t feel like pursuing or treating someone really special just to be able to be around them–that seems to be a requisite. I don’t think  women should  be placed on a pedestal above me. That treatment simply doesn’t make sense to me anymore. I don’t hate women, I just know that they aren’t any better than men. Being looked down on by women because I’m a man is common and simply unacceptable to me, and it seems a prevalent view among the middle age segment, especially. If I do connect with someone I don’t think marriage is a possibility or makes any sense at my age. I truly believe my view is reflective of many men out there.

    1. 33.1

      It might be the age and experience, not gender. I have also been through a divorce and I already know I will never co-habit or marry a man. It seems redundant and I like my own space.   I do not feel like giving up all of my free time to wait around for a man to call me or be free to see me (the way it goes when you are younger). I won’t give up my hobbies or friends.   He will need to fit around my life.   So I also don’t think men should be put on pedestals and treated better than me because he is a man.   I wouldn’t expect him to give up any of his hobbies, work time or wait around for me to tell him I’m free. I am now as selfish about my time as every man I’ve ever met.   I hear every bit as much cynicism about women as you do about men.   I think at our age and with our experiences, we have just had too many bad experiences not to be wary of the opposite sex.   We both feel treated badly and unjustly in our relationships.   Men usually about all the money they believe she swindled out of him(despite mountains of evidence that women are far worse off financially after divorce than men)   and women for the lack of care of the marriage and family she believed caused the great divide in the first place.   There is a huge disconnect somewhere.


  14. 34

    Omg this is my story

    and today it ends

    i am taking my life back cause I deserve better.

    thank you

  15. 35
    Brigitte jones

    Jakki he is worth the time if you get the house. You’re getting more than most in more typical relationships. Whatever he is unable to disclose to you, you clearly mean a lot to him in what he will do to keep you. Seriously would you rather not bother with him and be on your own?. Or just enjoy what you two share and get more self sufficient in times apart.

  16. 36

    OH my.   I’ve been dealing with this nonsense with one for over a year now (my fault for allowing this).   Hot and cold.   Noncommittal.   “I want to pursue a relationship with you, but I’m so busy with my work”.   We are long distance.   When he does invite me out, it’s a trip with about 36 hours notice.   Let me drop everything to be with you.   Please.


    I’ve recently distanced myself.   So guess who’s been more attentive.   I’m a bit over it now.   And the second I reciprocate, it will be the same nonsense over and over again.   He will go silent and “busy” and I’m left vulnerable, confused and broken hearted.

    Eff that.

  17. 37
    Fed up

    I’m in a situation where I’ve been seeing a guy (50) for 7 months…within first 2 months he was calling me his girlfriend (which he seemed nervous about asking me) and stated he was only seeing me. He apparently had very few partners in his life and just been divorced.
    First few months were great; he would tell me how he missed me when we weren’t together (saw each other 3 times per week), and would make comments about potential future. In fact any talk of future (spart from trips and outings) would come from him. I’d not bring things up (for fear of scaring him off) but would admittedly respond favourably.

    However, after about 4 months the positive talk dwindled. Recently got to point I couldn’t get him to agree/commit to coming to mine for dinner 2 weeks in advance! He’s now stated (7 months in) he has no interest in permanent commitment and that he thinks I’m commitment obsessed…after asking if we can make plans for 3 WEEKS TIME!

    He walked out (thought we’d worked it out) and now ignoring me completely. I’ve not hounded him with messages (only sent 2), but he’s not even told me it’s over, which would be sad but at least honest.

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