Finding Love in Middle Age
‘Like a Ship on an Ocean’
By Tony DeLorger © 2010
It is not hard to imagine that finding a ‘life partner’ in middle age is near impossible. Having been through the process at least once the prospect of doing it all again, and knowing firsthand the pitfalls, creates an internal terror beyond comparison. Not only have we gained some modicum of experience, and not all of it good, but we have in response, adapted our values and expectations. In essence we are far different people with a different perspective.
I suppose we middle-aged divorcees are perhaps too choosy and expect too much from prospective partners. The reality is yes we do, but only because we can see all too clearly when something won’t work, and now are unprepared to go for the ride to reach the same result in the end.
When you’re young, finding a partner is like going to a party; you put your best foot forward, go where angels fear to tread and simply see what develops. In middle age, and after a life stomping; our entrails still dragging behind us, we are more soothsayers than singles, able to detect the smallest nuance of doubt and potential problems. Without effort we can mentally take a minor detail of personality or circumstance to its ultimate conclusion and effect if we are involved. This pre-emptive vision rings alarm bells that in the end saves much time and heartache. One could call it paranoia, but I like to refer to it as ‘grown up intuition’. An odd laugh, annoying habit, compulsion or any idiosyncrasy that is bothering now, could well become a catastrophe down the track. You see we are set in our ways, not fifteen any more.
Having been married for twenty years or so, and with all the experiences associated with buying houses, bringing up kids and maintaining a family, we have developed certain beliefs about ourselves and the world in general. We have ways of doing things, tried and true, we know what we like and don’t like, what we’ll accept and not accept. We are practised human beings, not fledglings. So with that reality in mind, finding a member of the opposite sex with similar values and compatibilities is unlikely at best, let alone expecting that all important ‘spark’ of attraction as well.
So what do we do with the odds stacked against us? There must be room for compromise, of course; no-one can afford to be rigid. We have to accept that people have faults and there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. But being comfortable in our own skin is an achievement afforded the aged, and not something we’re prepared to give up for any relationships. In Middle age we are no longer the chameleons of our youth, and unable to mould ourselves for the sake of a prospective mate. So, is it all too hard, too much to expect? Well... no.
Perhaps so many marriages and relationships fail in early life, because we haven’t the understanding or the experience to be who we really are. In fact maybe we can’t be who we are because we haven’t reached that point of our evolution. Regardless, being true to ourselves is all that we can do. If we find love again then we have been doubly blessed. If not, friendship and love in a broader sense, can sustain a happy and rewarding life.