When you are twenty, you can afford to date without forethought. Having all the time in the world allows you the luxury of asking anyone for any reason to spend a little time together. Because you are new to adult life, stretching your experience with different kinds of people works to help you figure yourself out. We find our life’s envelope by fooling around at the edges.
Logically, there’s no reason not to do the same if you are fifty. You might even want to make the case that being free of youthful responsibilities – and maybe even your own children – means you can return to self-discovery with your dating. Life gave you ups and downs, and now you can use the found knowledge to find someone compatible.
But I don’t think it works that way. Maturity narrows our focus to those elements of life that are important. Casting off that which doesn’t interest us gives us time and (importantly) the energy to pursue what is of value. Discarding choices can be liberating, in the sense that we more clearly define ourselves…both to ourselves and that yet-to-be-found other person.
To be a better date, we need to be a better date.
In other words, if we want others to be sufficiently interested in us to see us more than once, cultivating our skills as a social animal is paramount.
Let’s turn this back on itself and ask the question:
Would you want to date you?
From here at age 52, the world is different than it was at 32 and certainly than at 22. My insight is that the world – and here I’m talking about the world of dating – actually isn’t much changed. I changed.
The distinction is important. Experience of life gave me perspective. People coming together in relationships of variable length, intimacy and depth is a process that doesn’t change much. Yes, there are shifts of emphasis and changes of fashion but the idea is always the same; there are biological imperatives and social constructs into which we fit them.
By social constructs I mean monogamous sexual relationships, especially marriage. Designed originally to provide a secure basis for raising children, it seems we like them beyond that narrow mission.
As the reproductive urge fades (or the possibility disappears) we’re left with couples creating deep links to each other and sex for fun. Without the piquancy of the possibility of pregnancy, the comfort and satisfaction of a committed relationship and the physical closeness that comes with it still motivate us.
Here’s the difference: When a guy says he’s thinking about nothing in particular, he is likely telling the truth. We spend a variable but oftentimes large amount of our time mentally lying on the couch; floating, if you will, around our headspace.
When a woman says she has nothing on her mind, she’s probably not being quite so honest. Even whilst idling ladies are thinking about something. Frankly I cannot tell you what, because when I ask female friends about this, they become evasive. If I were in a closer relationship with these women, I imagine they’d be more forthcoming. Being a non-partner and a male, they are more reticent to let me in.
Men who want accord in their relationships with women learn to cajole information from their partners. It takes time and trust. She needs to feel, well, like she’s being taken seriously.
Awareness of the fact of women’s mental restlessness and their need for security is a good start to finding a communications harmony.