Dating after fifty
The day will come for 50% of us, if it hasn’t happened already for you, that you find yourself without a partner at an age that everything on your body has started to sag, wrinkle or turn a sallow colour, your hair has disappeared, greyed, or significantly thinned, your bones creak when you get up in the morning and your joints seem to be in need of a lube job, while your muffin top has settled in permanently and having sex doesn’t happen that easily anymore either. Fortunately, with any luck, your peers—the group from which a new partner will have to be recruited—will have the same problems, if not worse. The men I dated the last ten years seemed to have significant health problems that I have been lucky to escape so far—-knock on wood. Between fifty to sixty years old the accumulated effects of life style and genetic predispositions first came to the surface in the shape of circulation, metabolic or organ failures, in addition to worn-out joints and other parts of the body that hurt, or need to be replaced.
I am completely shocked that aging happened to me. How could that be? I still think I’m about 36 or so, but when I look in the mirror I see this older woman looking back at me. I avoid mirrors nowadays. When I go on line and explore the dates I could have with men my age, I can’t help thinking these are old men who have written a nice story about themselves. Of course this is a case of hypocrisy on my part, or rather denial, as I am that same age; whether I can accept it or not is a different matter altogether.
I read profiles of men who are about to give up and threaten to go off line if they haven’t had any luck finding a mate within three months. They don’t know I have already been looking for a number of years. It is not easy to find someone who has compatibility in most areas of life and who is also a mature and good person. Let me tell you, the latter can only be experienced while dating for a while. Many men my age are looking for a mate that is ten to twenty years younger than they are. What is that about? Is it that they desire this for the younger body or the younger mind, or just because they can? Women tend to become more radical and stronger minded as they age. In my experience, men of my generation tend to avoid debates and healthy exchanges of opinions and often interpret a difference of opinion with their mate rather as having a non-supportive wife. Many men need to be in a one-up position to feel equal, I observed. True equality between mates is difficult to obtain in that generation.
The hetero sexual women I know of my age who have become strong and independent, have also often given up completely on finding a men, or might seek men who are younger, as our generation of men seems to have been unable to change and adapt to the current realities. Some younger bucks have approached me looking for an older woman, using much flattery and smooth talk—I am not falling for it! I can’t imagine that somebody of twenty-odd years younger would really be interested in my old, sagging body (sure, with an experienced mind and much more wisdom than 30 years ago) when he could have so much nicer-looking, agile, adaptable younger women. There must be an ulterior motive to his quest. Yes, I admit it, I am discriminating: on age—bite me!
I have met men who went through marriages and partners like it was a case of changing out a hot water heater, every 10 to 15 years another. I met men who wanted to replace their wife who had passed away, just to fill the empty spot as soon as possible, regardless of compatibility and seemed to want some warm body to pick up the slack in their housekeeping situation. I met men who needed to be dominant and showed an aversion to women with an opinion; men who wanted just to have a pen pal, so they would not feel so lonely; and men who seemed really confused and unable to carry on a normal conversation and in my opinion, very likely, mentally ill. I met a man whose former mates–all four of them–died or mysteriously disappeared, one of those wives gone in the middle of the ocean in the Bermuda triangle; honestly: no fiction.
Would I rather be back in my twenties, or even my thirties, you ask? God, no! To think of all the life I would still have to go through, the insecurities, the confusion, the hurts of broken hearts and the failures, the separations and the many goodbyes I have had, the stupid things I have done in my life and the wasted energy of worrying and trying to get out of the difficult life situations I had created for myself: I would not want that again.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20. When I was in the middle of it, I possessed the arrogance of the young and assumed that whatever I did, it would be ending all right. In the end, it did. I came out all right; I am healthy and have a lot of accumulated wisdom and knowledge, and have a comfortable life with some friends, some family and with a professional life. I am now waiting for the miracle that a healthy, attractive and compatible man had gone through that same process and came out wanting an EQUAL partner at this stage of life, that we met, that we liked each other, that we came together as life mates and grow older in the last trimester of life, accomplish our combined goals, doing the things we both desire. After all, we are social beings and our fulfillment as a human being lies in being together with others.