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A New Dating Relationship

I am a sixty-seven-year-old heterosexual female who’s lived alone for the past twenty-four years. I’ve created a rich, full, satisfying life as a single woman. Periodically that life has included intimate relationships.

For the past six months I have been dating a man who plans to work full-time for ten more years, until he is seventy.  I retired from my job earlier this year and now do consulting part-time.

I experience a lot in this new romantic connection. In my Co-Counseling sessions I take on [confront] sexism, male domination, internalized sexism, classism, elders’ oppression, and internalized anti-Jewish oppression. The main outcome of this is a recurring decision to stay in the relationship. I also learn more about my early hurts. I remember what it felt like to be a child growing up in my home. I recall what I saw as a child that was rational in male-female relationships and what made no sense to me. I feel the isolation of not having had anyone to talk to about what I saw and felt. I reclaim my thinking, power, and voice.

I explore and discharge on what I want in a relationship at this point in my life. I work on my goals and dreams. I look at where, how, and if this man’s goals and dreams intersect or overlap with mine. I think about what values we share, what lifestyle choices we make and have made, and how we navigate our differences.

There are endless opportunities for me to stand up for myself, say what I think, and require that he and I share listening and speaking time. I initiate conversations about how we handle money and time, both individually and in relationship to each other. We discuss sexuality, physical closeness, emotional intimacy, and companionship. I offer him Co-Counseling skills and theory. 

We are both twice married and divorced. For him, he loves as if he’s never been hurt. For me, “caution” would be an understatement. For him, “I’ve never been with someone who is so honest, open, and communicative.” For me, this relationship is about the progression and fun, and the opportunity of interacting with a good man and how that enriches my life as an elder female.

Our relationship continues to fascinate each of us and to help us grow and develop. We share lots of laughter and are learning to more skillfully communicate with each other. I work on lots of early feelings about when, and to whom, I said “I love you.” I discharge on what saying “I love you” means in relationship to him.

What I call him, within my own mind or when in public, is a dilemma. Some elder males may have a “lady friend.” Do I then have a “gentleman caller”? Saying “my boyfriend” when we are both in our sixties just does not resonate for me. Recently someone called him my “significant other.” I play with calling him “my beau,” “my friend,” “my honey” or simply use his name. My granddaughter suggested I call him my “senior boyfriend.”

The biggest opportunities are fourfold: to be in present time, to remain in this moment, to accept both of us as we are, and to enjoy the unfolding.

Anonymous

USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of elders

(Present Time 187, April 2017)


Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00