Friday, January 1, 2016

Lessons Learned in 2015

  1. There IS such a thing as senior citizen love, and it feels just as intense as senior-in-high-school love.

  2. With senior age comes a certain urgency about finding the right person.  Assuming even the best of circumstances, you don't know how many years are left, but you know that they are countable, and you want to spend them WITH someone -- not necessarily married or even living together, but with them in a solid, monogamous relationship.

  3. Being with the wrong someone IS worse than being alone.  If you're alone, you may be lonely or bored.  Loneliness and boredom are both fixable, at least for a few hours at a time.  You can go bowling, groom your dog, go shopping, start a project, or take a job.  But if you're with the wrong someone, you can't focus, you can't sleep, you're depressed, and you feel bad all over.  Signs of stress appear -- itchy skin rashes, cold sores, digestive disorders, heart palpitations, an aching jaw caused by clenching and grinding your teeth, hemorrhoids.  Intuition in the form of a gnawing little voice that never stops lectures you that you must get out of this situation, but a hopeful chirp (possibly the devil in disguise) never stops either, always promising something better ... he WILL call more often, he WILL begin to love you, he WILL want to spend more time with you.

  4. The breakup hurts just as much as a senior-in-high-school breakup ... even if it was the right thing to do and it was your decision.  Hopefully, the hurt doesn't last as long, but as of this writing, I can't say.   

  5. A man's advanced age is no guarantee of maturity.  My failed relationship involved a man just weeks short of age 76.  He looks younger, is physically fit, active in both work and sports, and enjoys going out several nights a week, all attributes that I found attractive.  He comes from a family of extreme longevity, and likely has many years of life remaining.  Unfortunately, along with these positives came a childlike sense of invulnerability -- in his mind, there was no possibility of an accident, stroke, heart attack or debilitating illness, so the hunt for someone "better" -- meaning younger, prettier, wealthier, having a more exciting lifestyle, etc. could continue forever.      

  6. Natural drugs play a part in our actions and reactions.  It was in 2015 that I first learned of oxytocin, a hormone that is naturally released in our bodies during kissing or sexual intimacy.  Oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the "cuddle hormone" and can also be purchased, should anyone be interested. In women, it plays a significant role in fostering feelings of love and bonding.  
    Unfortunately, oxytocin does not have the same effect, at least to the same degree, on the male body.  In a nutshell, the more physical intimacy there is, the more likely that a woman will feel in love.  If you're primarily interested in a sexual experience, oxytocin will enhance that experience, but if you're looking for genuine love, the result is likely to be a false positive.  This gives some plausibility to the chaste behavior our mothers encouraged.

  7. Online dating sites may not work for seniors and need better algorithms for everyone.  You can't help but notice men of extreme advanced age looking for much younger women, but is this a dream or does it really happen? A couple can meet anywhere (the market, the dog park, a bar, etc.) but how often do these unexpected liaisons involve younger women and much older men? I suspect that younger women out grocery shopping or walking their dog don't establish liaisons with elderly men.
    Of course, the dating sites include ample opportunities to list common interests but some really important questions are missing. Consider dancing, for instance. Almost every profile mentions someone's love for dancing. Given that I am not a dancer, this is more of a turn-off for me than a turn-on, but should it matter? How often do couples dance anyway? Unless it's a primary interest, in our area it's necessary to do some searching for a venue where dancing is offered, and probably finer restaurants won't be included. On the other hand, have you ever seen a question about sharing food? This is a situation that comes up every day. Are you a person who can share food off your plate or give a loved one a bite of your sandwich? Some people can and some cannot, and it's important to me to know someone's attitude.

  8. I can't "settle." Some people can, but chemistry is still important to me.  Both male and female contemporaries have told me that at our stage in life, it is necessary only that you "like" your companion and "don't argue."  I need more than that to be happy.  I still want to revel in the feel of a loved one's arms around me or his hand locked with mine, whether in public or in private.     
  9. You learn from every relationship.  After 36 wonderful years with my now deceased husband, I doubted that I could ever love again.  However, even though this year's romance failed, I learned that I could love again, and hopefully, will have a chance to do so.