I was just invited to join a Facebook group of women over 45 who are looking for love.
I joined, even though I have found my love. The woman who invited me knows this, so perhaps she thinks I may have some insight. I’m not sure why she asked me, but I’m interested in what they have to say. Perhaps she thinks I have something to contribute…
I can say for certain that love after 50 is definitely different from love in your 20’s.
Toby Keith’s lyrics are floating through my brain…
“I ain’t as good as I once was but I’m good once as I ever was”
That’s the truth, lovemaking in your 50’s involves a sense of humor and a lot of adjusting positions because you have a cramp.
There are other differences that are more profound.
We have separate bedrooms and bathrooms.
I will tell you this has absolutely been a life saver. He doesn’t sleep well, and he hates my bed (and my bed seems to hate him). I also hate his bed. Our comfort is really important.
We’re an island unto ourselves.
I married an introvert with a whole bunch of baggage where family is concerned. We decided early on that he wasn’t in this relationship with my family, he’s in this relationship with me and that’s all that matters. The family has been told this; rather than expecting my husband to adapt to them, they’ve learned to adapt to him.
We don’t fight.
That’s not to say we don’t disagree, we absolutely do! The difference now is that we find no pleasure in hurting the other. We learned early on in our relationship that we can both be incredibly mean when we’re angry. There are still times when we get triggered and angry at each other. When that happens, we go to our separate rooms and deal with our own stuff and then come back together when we’re calm.
This took us a couple of years to master, honestly. My old method would be to try to MAKE him fight. He calls it “poking the bear”. It led to a lot of wasted energy and anger and it gave our dog major anxiety. Better to just shut the door, keep the dog calm and sort out our own stuff.
We don’t tease each other.
A decision we made early on was that teasing isn’t love. It’s hurtful. Perhaps it’s because we were both bullied as kids, perhaps we’re just sensitive. My family pattern was always to tease and I’ve seen how it hurts. It makes no sense to me to hurt people you love. That’s not to say we don’t laugh at the other when they do something weird or silly, but we know that the laughter is based in love.
We don’t keep score.
This was also a habit we had to break and it also took a couple of years. People make mistakes, people hurt each other unintentionally. Once this has been worked out and forgiven, it’s over and rarely comes up again.
As I’m writing this list, I realize just how much work it took to get to each of these practices. Certainly, the separate bedrooms were a no-brainer, Scott actually insisted on that one. The rest has evolved as we’ve grown together.
While it all sounds like a lovely, peaceful proposition full of wine and roses and connection, it was not. It was painful and there were a lot of tears and slammed doors. There were times when I threatened to leave and times of profound sadness. In fact, we’re married because Scott insisted that I fully commit to our relationship. And even then, I had to unlearn all that I thought being a wife should be. I had to write my own definition.
Eventually however, we figured it out.
This morning I told Scott that I was about to face a blank page and a blinking cursor. As a writer, he knew what I meant. He came in just now to check on me and I shared what I’ve written so far. I asked him if there was anything I missed.
He said “well we certainly try all those things and we’re getting better at them, but we’re not perfect at it yet”
He said, “I think what happens is we always lead with forgiveness now, Forgiveness, Encouragement, Acceptance…and …we need an r…that spells FEAR”
I said…”um that’s not a good one…how about a T…FEAT like it’s a FEAT to be successful”
He smiled at me…
“Or L…like Love FEAL?”
And because we’re us and we get easily distracted, we ended up going down a rabbit hole of acronyms with words like Passion and Persistence, Love, Perpendicular (that was Scott). Soon we forgot what our original acronym even was and that sent us into fits of laughter.
I so love us. 🙂
That right there is the most profound difference in love after 50…
We don’t take things so seriously.
We laugh at the craziest things, we play, we sit together in the same room and watch different programs on youtube, we critique each other’s cooking and we create stuff together, we have rituals, we learn, we grow, we talk and we have each other’s back as we each go through our separate journeys together.
I guess my contribution to this group of women over 45 looking for love would be to tell them to never stop searching because when you find it, it is so worth the journey to get there.
And then the next thing I would tell them would be to buckle up, because the work has only just begun and it’s a wild ride.