Riding the waves of Love in the Golden Years
As I keep riding the waves of Love in the Golden Years , the many facets that make relationships work at this age have challenged the smooth sailing I envisioned earlier. While I enjoyed the most recent relationship, the challenges of dealing with someone whose heart is with a love in heaven has made this wave crest for us both.
As I reflect on where that relationship has gone, I realize several things. First, all relationships are complicated. Both parties need to have the same goals for the relationship. While we had those goals in the first part of the relationship, as time went on we developed different needs. While I wanted companionship and everyday contact, he was still dealing with his feelings of cheating on the love of his life. As I thought back on another brief relationship with another widower, and the research I’ve done on it at this time, I realize that his feelings are typical and something he has to work through at his own pace.
Secondly, as a single person with experience with divorce, I’ve had to work through similar feelings of abandonment, anger, depression, and loneliness. And while I realize mine is different, it’s still the death of the dream of a happy relationship. While the widow(er) has no chance of ever seeing their love again (until in eternity) and deals with the pain of that as they remember their loved one for birthdays, etc. the divorced person has the pain of dealing with a live person who caused that pain. In addition, the widow(er) will see that loved one in eternity and be happy again, while the divorced person does not have that to look forward to. And society makes it harder in that it is acceptable for widow(er)s to post things about missing their loved one as well as happy pictures of their life together. Yet, it is frowned upon (or not even done) if a divorced person posts memories from their past with the person that caused that pain. For example, I had 36 years with my ex who came out of the closet as transgendered. We raised children together and had a happy marriage for 33 of those 36 years. However, I’m reluctant to post pictures of happy times, as that would hurt the person I separated from, as well as remind everyone on social media that it didn’t end well. A widow at a workship once said to me ”My pain is more than yours because after all, you chose divorce by marrying the wrong person.” My reply to her was ”Well then, I guess that’s like me saying it’s your fault because you chose to marry someone who was going to die early.” Her eyes went wide open, and she admitted that she hadn’t thought of it that way before. So both parties in a relationship come together having dealt, or not dealt, with past hurts and healing.
Thirdly, even if both parties come together having dealt with the feelings from the past, the path forward is still riddled with many obstacles. Top of the list is blending families that previously didn’t operate in the same sphere. Then there is blending schedules and things to do, menus for meals that may have different needs, learning to accept and help each other deal with their pain, while dealing with your own. Learning to live with the aging body and limitations to things you used to love to do.
Fourthly, equally important is planning for the future. How will each of you deal when your quality of life declines? Will you be able to care for each other? Or is family involved, and will they let you still be in the picture when they have to make life decisions about their loved one? At first I thought the financial piece of that might be another complication, but from hanging with people in this age group, that complication seems to be less important than I thought, because seniors have relatively the same incomes, and noone knows what they will need for their own future care (think nursing costs here) so most keep finances separate.
So as I ride this cresting wave, whether it crashes mid ocean, or continues to let me ride, I still feel very lucky to have had this relationship at this time of my life. I’ve learned a little more clearly what I want in relationships if I’m lucky enough to have one. I hope that as we both work through this wave, if it’s meant to be for us to be partners, we can both grab on and ride the future waves together. And if it’s not meant to be, that we both will be able to live full and happy lives for the remainder of our time.
Other Posts on this topic:
Golden Reflections – Love on the Doorstep
Golden Reflections- Life & Love in our Senior Years ….August 6, 2022
Riding the waves of Love in the Golden Years February 4, 2023
Crashing Waves of Love in the Golden Years
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