vendredi, décembre 09, 2011

To jump...or not.

I used to avoid the idea of dating a never-married man -- if one would contact me, I'd nicely inform him that we suffered from a bad case of incompatible lifestyles.

It's one thing to be not-married at thirty.

It's quite another to have never jumped the broom at fifty.

But what "quite another' is it?

There could be all sorts of reasons why someone hasn't gotten married.

They fell in love a number of times, but never felt certain enough to dedicate themselves to one person.

They had responsibilities to parents or others that meant they didn't feel right about taking on a new partner.

They weren't mature enough at the time.

They were committed to a career, and are now waking up to the notion that life is short.

And let's face it -- not all of us should have gotten married. My ex and I have made lemonade out of lemons, but it hasn't always been simple, or easy.

If kids are the best product of a union that went south, was that union a good choice? That's one of those questions I can't answer. I would say yes, but I wouldn't say "yes" for you.

I respect men or women who know they can't handle a relationship, or know they need time to heal from a bad one, and stay out of one. Why inflict more pain?

To some mid-life women and men, the lack of a romantic relationship is a problem they must solve -- instead of a chance to get to know themselves better and figure out what went wrong.

So they run the risk of ending up, when the narcotic wears off, of ending up in a feedback loop of broken romances.

To others, like me, it's scarier to enter into another one, and possibly make mistakes that could also inflict distress on me and someone else.

I am less and less inclined to be defined by someone else's insecurities or traumas.

Overly cautious? Indeed. I run the risk of not experiencing love.

I'm not sure what that looks like as I move on. Does it mean a less committed, possibly more superficial relationship?

I don't know. For someone with a degree in deep, that's a scary prospect.

Darn, middle-age is tough. We trail our history and doubts and dreams with us, experienced as the most jaded rake, and naive as teenagers.

I can't speak for the married -- as I know from having been in one, marriage is also defined by the individuals in it.

But for me, I know that I'm trying to stay limber -- I don't have to be his "little woman" to be engaged by a man I respect.

Even when I hobble, I hobble with determination.

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