You are here:

How to Strengthen Your Relationship/how to approach dating differently


Hi Stuart, I am single, 49 years young and on the whole pretty happy with life - love my job, a I am financially secure, get on well with extended family and active in the community (volunteer at my Temple and as a volunteer vet assistant at the SPCA) BUT have completely got out of the habit of dating and haven't done so for 10 years - a long time!!

I have never been married but just now feel after talking to some close friends that this is an area of my life that could be richer. I realise that really I have just removed myself from dating and instead channelled my life into other things. I have got used to being on my own, and although I do have female friends, the women in my life are now just ones I work with, sales clerks in the shops I go to, or wives or partners or others. What I am really yearning for is intimacy and the companionship of a relationship with a woman and mutual acceptance.

I realise now that in fact I have put up barriers to finding a partner and my actions have not matched my dreams. These barriers have manifested themselves as: refusing to use online dating; not bothering to go to events that I know will have single women; making excuses about not asking women out (she is probably attached; she is the wrong height; she is too young; or it is the wrong time and place). I am normally a friendly person but last year I told a woman who asked me out for a drink that I was busy ( all I had to do was my laundry). My male friends (almost all married) thought I was nuts - and they were probably right! That women almost stopped talking to me after that. My approach has not been overtly negative - this negativity has shown up as inaction, being dismissive of potential partners, and just shutting dating out of my life.

Key to changing this I think is breaking the habit of not dating - and how can I develop a dating habit from 10 years of not dating?

Also, what I wish to do is change from eliminating dating options and opportunities, to finding reasons to date and being able and willing to meet up with any women that I find interesting (and vice versa) with no more excuses. How do I begin to do this?

Thank you so much for giving your time to consider this question and any advice would be gratefully received.


Hi David!

Usually, when people reach out, they may lack the insight in to the true issue.  It sounds like you have a firm grip on what's going on for you and this may make it a bit easier to take the next step.  Clearly, you can develop relationships so perhaps we can frame the unknown differently.  For example, if we say one are on 1 end of the spectrum now and being in a loving, committed relationship is the other end, let's just shoot for middle ground to start.  How?  Perhaps we can enhance the contact with one or more of the existing gals or in possibly meeting someone new.  This could look like spending a little more time with them.  Inviting them over (or being invited over to their house), even talking more about wanting to enter a deeper relationship (with friends and loved-ones who may help point us in that direction), be around more people with similar interests (yes, even peeking at the on-line sites), etc.  Remember, even if you are dating, you decide the pace.  

I also think it most appropriate to be ok reflecting on our concerns about dating and possibly a long-term relationship (a la commitment, sharing space and not having our freedom, etc) and know that dating and getting a taste for these experiences may make it then easier to know we can best manage them ( or not - and then enhance coping mechanisms at that point).  Good luck!  Stuart

How to Strengthen Your Relationship

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Stuart A. Kaplowitz, MFT


how to help relationship. How to address issues within relationship......I am pretty open here


20th year in the field. Managed and directed clinical programs. Now, I work out of my own office as well as supervise counselors

California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists

The California Therapist

B.A. Psychology M.S. Counseling Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Awards and Honors
Hero of the Heart - Covina Valley USD

Past/Present Clients
I work with individuals, couples, families and children

©2016 All rights reserved.