Finding true love at any age can be a precarious proposition even in the best of scenarios. But, how about when we begin to enter our senior years? Are things different now than when you were younger? Are your experiences and gained wisdom just getting in the way? How do you even go about finding someone these days, anyhow? Is it too late to find love again?
Love rarely comes to us out of the blue. Hollywood continues to try and make us believe that but, in everyday non-Hollywood reality, if you want to make a connection, you have to be proactive. The first thing you have to determine is if you are ready for a relationship and, if so, what type of relationship are you looking for? Are you looking for a brief winter fling and a lover? Are you looking for a long term partner who will compliment you so that you both may succeed together? Does it need be one or the other? Can there be both commitment and passion?
Reaching our senior years means there is so much more history and set patterns of thought and behavior to attend to and recognize than there was when we were unknowing twenty-something’s. However, everyone tries to remain optimistic. Everyone tries to stay positive and realize that the next person they meet, or go on a date with, could be The One. Sure, you are looking for that elusive intimacy but are you prepared to risk rejection? When was the last time you went on a first date?
The one thing you have to get used to is that you are no longer in a long term relationship. That intimacy, that ebb and flow, that comfort level, just won’t be there at the beginning of a new relationship despite wanting it to be. That is hard because it is something that had been an intimate part of you for a long time. To achieve intimacy in any relationship, regardless of age, means laying yourself bare. It means willing to stand emotionally naked before someone. It means emotional honesty. But, alas, such aspirations are far easier said than done.
Recent research suggests that the over 55 crowd are struggling with this. Not so much for the women, but for the men. Women want the intimacy and many, but not all, are willing to lay themselves bare to try and achieve it. Apparently, this is not so true for senior men. There has become a trust rift for which there is no easy answer. Again, it goes back to knowing what you want. Knowing what you want isn’t the easiest thing to uncover. You may think it is but it isn’t.
When we reach a certain age, there is a certain amount of emotional damage that everyone carries around with them regarding relationships. If not confronted and recognized, it is impossible to move beyond that damage. You end up carrying that damage with you everywhere and it ends up sabotaging your future potential. We all have damage. We have all been hurt or crushed. You must truly be rid of it, or at least have made a lasting peace with it, before you can even think about venturing out into the romantic relationship waters again. If you don’t, you are not giving yourself, or the other person, an honest and realistic chance for a successful connection. Establishing and nurturing trust is no easy thing and is fraught with potential disaster.
The time investment is one that seniors are most keenly aware of. They simply believe, both men and women do, that they don’t have the time they had when they were younger with regard to measuring a potential partner. This is unfortunate in many ways. What, exactly, is your hurry? You have someplace better to be? You’re not buying a grapefruit at the supermarket. You’re trying to make an emotional connection with another human being. Snap judgments are far too common in current senior dating situations. If you don’t want to put in the time investment worthy of your potential goal, then just stay home and watch TV.
Once again, it all rests with you and your expectations regarding a relationship. Unless you have confronted your previous damage and until you have clearly defined what you are looking for, you will never find it. Emotional honesty must be risked because the gain can be far greater than the risk. For love to develop there must, first, be “like”. You have to actually like the other person to continue seeing them. There is, also, the friendship consideration that must be addressed. Do they have the potential to become my friend? Not a Facebook friend but a true friend who is always there for you. A true friendship is a nurtured relationship. The most successful, and long term, relationships are awash in the friend factor. Underneath it all, however, remains only one thing: trust. You have to risk trust despite the potential to be hurt or betrayed. If you can’t risk trust, you are not ready for the potential appearance of true love.
Love and intimacy takes time and there is never a guarantee of success. Go slowly. Take your time to actually get to know someone and allow them to get to know you. Understand how the other gender thinks. It will go a long way toward assuring success. Step out of your comfort zone and see people you might not normally think might be a fit. Find some common ground and go from there. Don’t focus on the negative and the differences. That’s far too easy to do. Try and discover what is actually going right and how to expound on that. Making that deep connection is possible. You must overcome the instant gratification world we have become conditioned to. You just have to plant it, nurture it, and appreciate the bloom. If you want someone to take a chance on you, you have to be willing to take a chance on them.
Perhaps, in the end, it is not so crazy to aspire to what Edgar Allen Poe once wrote:
“We loved with a love that was more than love…”