The Imperative of Life Partnership
The Imperative of Life Partnership
By Tony DeLorger © 2011
We are conditioned to believe that to be a part of society we need to be self-sufficient financially, and to find a life partner, get married and to have children. This imperative comes firstly from our parents as well as religious teachings and of course the society in which we live. The need to procreate is engrained in our DNA and the social parameters are set, the expectation to be married in your twenties and to have at least two children. This ensures the growth of our societies and continuing our species.
This conditioning and expectation determined what most of us have done. The difference now is that we are living longer than ever before. A few hundred years ago children would have grown up and had their own kids just as their parents were checking out. Now, kids could all be married and had two children each, and their parents have another thirty-odd years of living. Another problem that has arisen over the last century is that marriages are just not lasting the distance, and that scenario is getting worse not better.
Today there are so many fifty something divorcees looking for partners that nearly two thirds of that age group are alone. So, after doing what is expected of us, all dictated by our conditioning, what do we do in our twilight years, for want of a better expression? I always thought that I’d grow old with my wife by my side, each in turn wiping the dribble from our chins. I’d be happy to be a grumpy old bastard and live out my days watching my kids and grandkids enjoy their lives.
Life is rarely like that these days, creating a society of single parents and single aged citizens. So do we have to have a partner to be happy? That is the question. It is so engrained in our thinking to be in a partnership, but when you’ve been around the block a few times, is it so important?
Sure, there’s the internet dating thing, horrendous at best, a hit and miss exercise that isn’t for the faint-hearted. At fifty-seven, I’m questioning this presently. Still kids at home; not much time but don’t want to be alone. I’m questioning whether this is conditioning or some need that I have to be fulfilled. One challenge is men and women are so different, and when you add the fact of age and set in our ways, how practical is a long-term partnership?
This is a problem. I’m still filled with testosterone and not ready for the walking frame yet, but what relationship can I have with a women of similar situation? Everyone wants the fairytale love story, even in their fifties, but perhaps it’s chasing dreams. It’s difficult enough finding a compatible person: similar values and interests let alone having that spark to boot. In the end, if you can’t find everything in one person, why bother.
When you’re young, you see
little and blindly get into relationships just to see where it will go. After a
life of experience, you just don’t have the stamina to go through it all.
Thankfully age has its advantages: patience, understanding and a keen sense of
self-protection. I’m not sure what will happen to me, but I will remain happy
one way or another. I have my cat.
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