He Wants Love, Not Marriage

Q: I'm a middle-aged dad of two, divorced for a couple of years. My ex-wife and I ended things peacefully and the kids live with her. Despite the drama-free divorce, I'm done with marriage. It's just not for me. Do I need to bring this up on dates? When? How? I don't want to lead someone on. I'm looking for love and a long-term relationship, but I'm never planning another trip down the aisle. — Brian, 49

Dr. Susan: You say you seek love and a long-term relationship, so you should be looking for a woman with similar views on marriage. Someone close to your own age who doesn't want to have kids. I tend to believe in laying all cards on the line as early as possible when dating. Of course, a date who barely knows you may find your attitude withholding if you deny even the possibility of commitment. How about going a little deeper into why marriage isn't for you? Is it that you don't like to be held accountable or you like to play the field at all times or that you worry about financial risks? Or is your decision based on the feelings the end of your marriage evoked? Once you can pinpoint why, then you can begin to be truly honest with someone you've begun to like. Personally, I find that deciding the end when a relationship has barely begun is the opposite of a necessary kind of open-mindedness.

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