Saturday, April 2, 2011
Love in the Time of Sixty
I've been thinking about love lately. I've been in and out of love a few times but I'm not currently in love so I'm giving myself permission to, well, think about love for this blog. (Okay, maybe for longer than this blog.) And I'm not in a relationship at this moment so that's the best time to think about love. No responsibilities, no messiness, no flights, no disfunction, no connectivity, no cherishing. Damn! I'm already missing love.
I miss the energy of love. I miss the contact in love. But love is so complicated. how do we love and cherish throughout the years and maintain happiness? Tough question.
A few months ago, a friend of mine came in town who spends about 3 months in LA. He lives in a city that will remain nameless. I will protect his identity. We like each other, and while we were together for those months, we talked about relationships among other things. We are both boomers - well, we are at the upper end of the boomer generation - well, we are three and four years above the official limit - and it has been interesting to talk about love and relationships at our age.
It feels that love at this age has a different, more mature, more direct connection. It's more think outside the box kind of thing. And we can make our own rules about our love connection. It's actually freeing, kind of liberating to think about love in a broader sense. And it's nice not to leap into love as we do when we are younger. I think when we are younger, it's more about lust at the beginning, so caught up in the sex of it all.
When we are older, sure there is a sexual component, but it's more about the com-munication of the relationship and how that communication shapes the intimac. And that's a process and it takes time like a fine wine coming into maturity.
When love is seasoned both partners keep up with the changes in each other's lives. Lillian Hellman said once,"People change and forget to tell each other." In any relationship, married or not, most successful couples note the changes. For those of us who come to love later in life, it takes time to have sufficient past information to feel comfortable in the love zone. We don't know what he/she was like 20 years ago. so we have to take the present conscious moments and season them with what is divulged from the past. So begins the moment of securing a truly intimate relationship.
All couples have to know how to fight fairly. We have to be aware of our inherent passive aggressive natures. No throwing out dirty laundry or past associations unless they are relevant to the present. True power comes from knowing how to discuss differences fully and honestly. In my last blog, "Talk Pretty to Me," I noted that we have to be cognizant and conscious of throwing out hot button words. It's destructive to any relationship. I read somewhere that if you do not feel stronger and more intimate than you did before you started the argument, you are not building a stronger, more loving relationship. Argue with class and dignity I always say. No hitting below the belt because it's more important to respect the differences.
People in love have all kinds of challenges that us single women don't have. People in love by definition take care of each other. As we age, there are physical challenges as well as mental and emotional challenges and the two love birds are collaborators and helpmates forging a rather new and different relationship. This takes heaps of energy and fortitude and patience. I'm not there yet and maybe I never will be, but I sure respect and honor that journey.
One of the things I am aware of are the physical challenges inherent in a relationship between boomers. Affection is really an important part of a relationship at any age; however, as the boomers age, there are hormonal changes in both men and women. So staying physically connected with passion is a must to combat physical and emotional obstacles and to maintain a physically satisfying and sensual relationship. Keep the fires burning.
Whether dating or in a relationship (oh, so long ago) I know adding new ways to play together is crucial. Couples bond more closely when they do new and exciting activities. Take a painting class together, open up a bed and breakfast together, sign up for the Peace Corp, exercise together, take a yoga class together, meditate once a day together. Invigorate love and find joy.
Okay, I'm going to take my own advice. Now I just need a man to fall in love with.