I have discovered a new species of the middle-aged single male, and if my discovery wasn’t so frightening, I’d be really excited to report my findings. Unfortunately, what I have to say isn’t good news for all the middle-aged single women out there searching for a forever partner. This public service announcement isn’t just for women though; it’s for middle-aged single men as well, because my discovery impacts both sexes in a not so very good way.
I call my new discovery “Cinderfella” — the middle-aged single man with an insatiable hunger for intense emotional and physical intimacy. Cinderfellas want passion! They want fireworks! They want to feel alive! They want to be rescued from their loneliness wastelands! And they want it all by the second or third date. We often think that only women want to be swept off their feet within minutes of meeting someone new, but I’ve discovered that this is not so — there are men out there, a whole lot of them in fact, who desire intense and immediate feet-sweeping as well.
Cinderfellas may have been emotionally healthy earlier in their lives, perhaps even somewhat emotionally elusive (like the classic male species), but after years spent in an unhappy marriage they crave a relationship where they can feel the excitement of love again, and believe there simply is no time to waste. Other Cinderfellas were always emotionally empty and they may even blame their wives and significant others for failing to meet their vast emotional needs. Either way, Cinderfellas feel entitled to get their emotional and physical needs met, now.
Many middle-aged single women can relate to a Cinderfella’s desires and his talk of deep emotional and physical connection. In fact, many middle-aged single women believe they’ve hit the single man jackpot when they first meet a Cinderfella. But this type of man is not really emotionally available; rather, his insatiable need for instant intimacy says far more about the emotional void in his life than it does about his desire to be in an emotionally secure and reciprocal relationship.
In many respects a Cinderfella is far more dangerous than his solely-sex-seeking cousin, the Seducer — a type of man who comes with bright red warning signs. Unlike Seducers, Cinderfellas are not trying to sexually exploit women, and are generally pretty nice guys. In fact, Cinderfellas can often mask themselves for weeks, sometimes longer, because they often speak the same language as the emotionally healthy and available man. But Cinderfellas are too broken to maintain intimacy on a long-term basis, so they don’t make very good partners, at least not in their current emotionally needy state.
So how can we protect ourselves from all the Cinderfellas out there who are increasingly polluting the middle-aged dating pool? Well, I’ve decided to put my vast fieldwork to use and develop a list of warning signs that may suggest you are in fact dating a Cinderfella:
- Cinderfellas are in a hurry. They are impatient and often express a sense of urgency in their desire to connect emotionally and physically on a very deep level. They may put pressure on their dates to hurry things along with promises that they’ll never leave because this romantic union is meant to be. They speak of passion, of intimacy, of destiny, and of deep and abiding connection. They profess love quickly and may even swear that they’ve never felt this way before. But they want what they want immediately, and they aren’t inclined to wait;
- Cinderfellas are often very recently divorced. Or sometimes they are separated, or sometimes they aren’t either, but they want to be. Ignoring the sage advice to wait at least one year before dating, so they can deal with their personal baggage and heal, they rush to the online dating sites, which provide them with the instant gratification they seek. Cinderfellas are often the guys who post emotionally-ladened profiles, who parallel date, and engage in dating ‘hit-and-runs’ — not because they are players, but because they are futilely searching for the elusive dating holy grail — the mutual emotional rescue;
- Cinderfellas are romantic and creative. They often express their emotions and desires in overly romantic and creative ways — in poetry and song lyrics. They may overdo it on the flowers and candy too, and even draw pictures of us sleeping in their bed. Emotionally healthy and available men may say and do many of these very same things, but the difference is in the timing.
- Cinderfellas don’t like conflict. They often have difficulty handling the normal ups and downs of a relationship. They panic when they sense an emotional disconnection — when their intimacy lifeblood is cut off by the object of their desire. What Cinderfellas fail to recognize is that these emotional disconnections are a normal and healthy part of bonding with another human being, and they are temporary. Cinderfellas never gain this wisdom because the moment they feel emotionally disconnected, they move on to the next shiny object that makes them feel alive again.
- Cinderfellas love drama. They may say they don’t want drama, they may even write this in their online dating profile, but secretly it’s the emotional drama that makes Cinderfellas feel connected and so completely electrified. This is why Cinderfellas will almost never fall for an emotionally healthy woman who recognizes that true intimacy requires patience because it is slow-growing; rather, they will always be drawn to their equally unhealthy counterpart — the emotionally unavailable woman.
Dating a Cinderfella can be exciting, at least in the beginning because Cinderfellas offer hope to middle-aged single women who are searching for an emotionally healthy and available man (also called a Real Man). But even though Cinderfellas often act like Real Men, they’re actually more like boys.
Real men are mature. Real men aren’t driven by impulse or emotional neediness. Real men recognize that intense and immediate intimacy is nothing more than instant gratification, which will burn out as quickly as it ignites. Real men understand they must be whole and satiated before they can develop the capacity for an authentically intimate relationship, and they seek this same thing in a partner. Real men emerge slowly, and allow the women they date to emerge slowly as well. And Real Women know these truths as well.
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