By Bobbi Palmer, The Dating and Relationship Coach for Women over 40
Have you noticed there may be something in the air besides holiday spirit? This time of year can be confusing for single gals. You might have been dating a special someone, things were moving right along when suddenly the holiday season hits– and he slams on the breaks. So what gives?
At the same time you’re feeling anxious over being dateless for New Year’s Eve, men are choosing to hunker down and stop dating, or to end seemingly budding relationships.
I realize that this is not good news. If it helps, I have no empirical evidence to back this up. What I do have is my personal experience being single for 30 years before marrying at 47, and the experience of my countless clients and single girlfriends.
I’m sharing my theory here in hopes of helping you avoid some unnecessary anxiety or pain during this holiday season. Emotions seem to magnify this time of year. Breakups seem far more painful, and being single seems a little lonelier. While it can be a joyous time, it can also be difficult for some
In about mid-November, we gals start grumbling “Here we go again…another freakin’ year with no kiss at midnight.” Or many women do what I used to do: we make plans with girlfriends that involve jammies, food and wine, and bedtime by 11.
Some single guys dread the holidays too, but for different reasons. While they may wish they were in love like us, their reasons for being bummed may have more to do with how much emphasis women can put on romance (or the lack thereof) at this time of year.
Two commonly confusing scenarios and what they mean:
Scenario One: Uncommitted
Let’s say a man is dating someone but it hasn’t moved into a committed relationship. This is when he may start questioning whether she is possibly The One. He may like her, but if the answer is “no” he may see this as the right time to break up.
Why? Because he doesn’t want to invest in a woman who isn’t going to be around for the long haul. I know what you’re thinking: the creep just doesn’t want to buy presents! That may come into play, but I’m referring to emotional investment. Most men understand that when he makes you his date for his company Christmas party or family Hanukkah bash, you might interpret it as a sign of a serious relationship.
Scenario Two: Putting It on Pause
The second scenario is the guy who has been dating and looking for a relationship, but isn’t currently seeing anyone regularly. He may think it’s a good time to put dating on pause. Why? Because he too knows the importance women can place on holiday dates, and he doesn’t want to risk giving any false impressions.
In both instances it’s true that there is a question of presents. What kind of present do you get someone if you’re not sure she’s someone you want to keep dating? After how many dates is a present required? What if he really wants to get you something wonderful – just because he’s a nice guy – but he doesn’t want you to think it’s more than it is?
There is a bottom line to all this: Drama Prevention. These conundrums over what you might want and what you might think have great potential to introduce misunderstanding and crossed signals. That creates drama. And drama, sister, is a man’s greatest dread.
I know you want a date for parties and events. And there’s some “thing” about having another year go by without finding love. But you are a spectacular, smart, loving woman who has not YET found her ideal man. He is out there.
So if you get a “Dear Sally” email or men just aren’t asking you out, it’s okay. It’s for a reason that is ultimately good for you. Accept breakups as getting rid of the wrong guy. And if you have a date, avoid misunderstandings by keeping it in perspective. When a man shares time with you during the holidays, especially one you have recently met, that may be just what he’s doing: sharing time with you.
I’m not saying to stop looking to meet nice men – you should never do that – but work on creating your own good times. Make plans with old friends, volunteer, go to the spa, read or write that book you’ve been putting off…or simply relax and enjoy some well-deserved down time.
Happy holidays! And remember to be good to yourself.
Bobbi Palmer is The Dating and Relationship Coach for Women over 40 and founder of Date Like a Grownup. She is not just a dating coach; she’s a dating success story! Bobbi was married for the first time at age 47 and describes her spectacular husband as “the yummy icing on her already-good cake.”