Dating a Long-Term Bachelor

Jupiterimages/ Images

A man's dating patterns and relationship history can reveal a lot about the type of person he is. A woman may be reluctant to date a long-term bachelor, assuming that he is a heartbreaker who strings women along and ditches them when someone better comes along. The reality is that there may be various reasons for a man's confirmed bachelor status, and it is possible to enjoy a rewarding relationship with him.

Why Some Men Say "I Don't"

Some never-married middle-age men simply haven't found the right person yet, or they have dedicated their lives thus far to their careers and left little time for relationships. Other confirmed bachelors isolate people with their behavior, according to the article "Confirmed Bachelorhood: It May Be a State of Mind" from "The New York Times." A University of Akron study carried out by psychologist Charles A. Waehler found that a group of 40- to 50-year-old bachelors displayed defense mechanisms that pushed others away. Identifying what camp your date falls into will help you work out whether the relationship has a future and what you need to do to make it work. A suitably qualified therapist may be able to offer advice specific to your situation.

Shying Away From Commitment

Commitment may be an issue for a long-term bachelor. He may be scared of entering into a serious, committed relationship for a number of reasons. Some commitment phobia is due to an earlier trauma, says psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith in the article "Understanding and Dealing With Commitment-Phobia" from "Psychology Today." If he was badly betrayed by a loved one, he may be too scared of getting hurt again to get close to someone. He may struggle to deal with the thought of being responsible for another person when he has spent his whole life only having to look after himself.

Time for a Talk

Communication is key when dating a long-term bachelor. You need to be prepared to ask difficult questions -- and perhaps hear difficult answers. If you and your bachelor have very different views on relationships and what the future holds, it's best to know sooner rather than later. At an appropriate time, when you're both fairly relaxed and things are going well, ask him where he sees himself in five or 10 years. If it's clear that you don't fit in with his plans, it's time for a serious conversation. Ask him to be honest with you about where he sees your relationship going. It's then up to you whether you want to continue dating him.

It's Not All Doom and Gloom!

Waehler warns against hoping you can change a long-term bachelor, particularly if you are looking for marriage, and states that if men have not married by 40 they are likely to remain single for the rest of their lives. As always, however, there are exceptions. If you think you can make a relationship with your bachelor work, be patient. Avoid putting pressure on him to live together or get married. Let him take those steps in his own time. Remember that he has had little -- or no -- experience with a committed relationship. Accept him as he is and be realistic about your relationship, and you will both find greater happiness together. There are risks involved in dating all kinds of people, not just long-term bachelors.