Monday, April 15, 2019

Purely Personal: Dating and Companionship in 2019

Wow! The last time I wrote about being single was over six months ago.

I am a social person...

I continue to reflect on not sharing a home with another adult in a committed, monogamous and intimate relationship. I am also reflecting on what I have to do to make that happen. ("Dating" he says as he clears his throat. "cough, cough")

As 2019 rolled in, I have...

... gained a few insights about myself at this age.



Update (July 27, 2019) 
I found this article from the Wall Street Journal titled:



I've been fortunate. I've been married to two lovely women, and had a spouse-like relationship with a third woman that lasted longer than the sum of the years of my two marriages. Bobby and I were together over a decade before she died in 2011.

Since then, I've had one relationship that lasted 3-1/2 years and two relationships that lasted about 6 months each. They are all ended, now.

The next relationship? Well...

I see four things that are in the way: inertia, age, baggage, and the nature of building a relationship.

Inertia


In physics, inertia is defined as "the resistance of the object to any change in its motion, including a change in direction. An object will stay still or keep moving at the same speed and in a straight line, unless it is acted upon by an external unbalanced force."

That means that I am most likely to live the next 5 years the same way as I lived that last five.

I have all the comforts of a household, so I have nothing pushing me to change.

I own, rather than rent, and I am not motivated by that. If anything, I have 25% too much living space rather than too little space. (And all the junk to fill it.)

Bottom line: I'm happy with my where and how I live.

Most women my age have the same inertia. They are likely to live the next 5 years the same way they lived in the last five, unless they were recently divorced or widowed.

If a prospective partner is newly single (widowed or divorced), then my experience is that they won't be ready for a new long-term relationship for a few years.

While I've been in relationships for almost three decades of my life, there have been a random twenty years of me not being in a co-habitating relationship.
This sentiment
goes both ways

Whether a woman owns or rents, her nesting instincts are generally stronger than a man's. (That's a sweeping generalization for a discussion at another time.) Therefore I expect that her household comforts (and inertia) are as strong. and probably stronger than mine.

I do recognize that living arrangements could change at or on the (proverbial) dime
.

Age


I am unsure exactly how my age fits into my prospects for a long-term committed monogamous relationship, but it is a factor in me looking for one.

I'm officially a septuagenarian. My 70th birthday is this year. I've having a hard time with this birthday. Up until age 69 years + 11 months + 29 days I was still in my 60's. No longer.

Just before 70th birthday
I've been told that I don't look that old, and on the inside I don't feel that old. (My body agrees with the calendar more frequently now-a-days.)

A 20-year-old man is at a difficult age. The difference in circumstances, expectations and maturity between him and a 16-year-old high schooler are HUGE without addressing the legality of it. The life differences can be almost as huge between him and woman who is 24 years old.

That is only plus or minus a 4-year difference.

The same chasm exists at my age, 70!  A 65-year-old partner is still experiencing the exuberance of  reaching "retirement" and Social Security and Medicare. I cannot imagine what might be going through the mind of a 75-year-old. I know that I frequently examine my own mortality and health.

Based on those generalities, and I own that they are generalities, I not actively "pursuing" women under 65 or over 75.

But I digress....

Age (continued)


In the 8 years since Bobby's death, all of my relationships have been non-cohabiting.  I have had intimate relationships (but only one at a time) with sleep-overs and trips. We've shared luggage and dresser drawers. But these companions and I have always had the anchor of our own homes.

I remember a speaker from a singles seminar decades ago that said something like this:
  • Everyone needs 3 marriages in their lifetime:
    1. The first marriage is for sex.
    2. The next marriage is for children. Raising a family has an entirely different focus and skill set.
    3. Finally, the last marriage is for friendship.
  • The ideal is to have the same partner for all three marriages. The argument for how society has screwed up the possibilities for that continuity is a subject for another article.
I've been fortunate to experience all three relationships, and yes, with different people. Unfortunately the third one ended with her death...

Baggage


I don't use the term "baggage" with a negative connotation.

"Baggage" is a function of how we handle the inertia of our lives, age, our life experiences, and honor the commitments we've made along the way.

By now, life's early drama is over. Kids are grown, and grandchildren are ready for lives of their own. The calendar says I'm old enough to have great-grandchildren, although they'd be under 10 years old.

I have 50 years of life experience from age 20 to now. My (new) companion has that same amount, and I must respect and accept that. We have gotten to 2019 separately, so there is almost 100 years of living to catch up on.... to communicate... to compare... to contrast...

Ditto for catching up on children and grandchildren. Mine, and hers.

Relationships Take Time


I realize that a quality relationship would, and should, take a year (or two) to develop. The following are the points that resonated with me from a recent "Tell Me About It" article:
  • All couples need to talk each other. Really talk. Talk about feelings, fears, hopes, old aches, and new epiphanies.
  • Each person needs to listen.
  • There is lots to trust, too. Trust yourself to speak from within. Trust your partner to learn.
  • Can you list three things that make being with them different from being with anyone else?
That's after finding someone to begin that journey. And I'm a septuagenarian, and I don't have a lot of years to make false starts.

My future...?


My own experience with online dating sites is that "friendship" isn't the goal. Instead. the motivation and goal expressed by everyone else seems to be finding a partner.

Mar 2019
I have had a few conversations with ladies who are not interested in even meeting for coffee unless I am willing to first commit to pursuing a relationship.

Huh?! That leads me to feel that I am expected to go from zero to sixty based on a thumbnail photograph and two paragraphs (or less) of text.

For me, for now, like a recovering alcoholic, I'm taking one day at a time. I will continue to find purely social occasions. That may lead to some one-on-one time. Or not. TBD.

I will embrace a committed relationship if it presents itself, but I will not pursue someone just to have that relationship.

I want to explore compatibility in the context of friendship, first.


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