Meet my friend, Lola
She’s in her mid-60’s, smack-dab int he middle of the baby boomer generation. Divorced, she’s accustomed to living alone. She’s happy to be the mother of a good mother. Deeply involved with her grandkids, she’s enamored beyond belief–who knew?
She had a successful marriage for approximately 15 years then she experienced a change. Many people call menopause THE CHANGE. Maybe it is. But maybe the change is more than hormones in need of replacement. Maybe THE CHANGE is a change of heart and a change of mind.
Her kids are grown; her marriage has ended; she’s not well-off enough to retire—maybe ever —although she has high hopes.
But she loves her work (and her side-lines) enough to want to maintain them as long as she is healthy and has the energy to do so.
For the first time in her life, she makes her own decisions in her politics and her financial planning.
She feels that she has lived long enough to actually “do” what needs to be done. Perhaps that’s wisdom: Living long enough to actually do what you know that you should—and learn to want to! That’s the trick!
She is experiencing many life-time goals—extensive travel is high on that list.
Well, it’s not all about sex anymore. It feels more real—and less imminent.
“I feel more centered and less pushed around by my emotions”, I’ve heard more than once.
Without the hormones that play into the nesting syndrome, our emotional make-up is less conciliatory and not as submissive. Females have an increase in testosterone as we age—it makes sticking to our beliefs easier in the face of opposition or differences in opinions. We are more hormonally balanced towards thinking for ourselves and not self-sacrificing for the good of all, which oxytocin is shown to do to females. It is probably the foundation for passive aggression in women who have traditionally had to keep the peace in order to save their lives and their offspring in the face of strength and bullying.
But no wonder couples split up—the jig is up.
“This bra doesn’t fit and I don’t have to wear it anymore.” is a defining statement and women of a certain age are no longer afraid to say so!
A wise woman told me more than once that she believed when we are young, opposites attract. As we age, likes attract.
In theory, when we are of child-bearing/child-rearing age, we subconsciously seek to expand the gene pool, offering more options for the offspring. When we no longer have that subconscious drive, affinity becomes more important. Now that we are living longer, perhaps we are experiencing that effect.
I see my own life is playing out that way. And it may go far in explaining the mid-life crisis that so many experience.
Instead of the change being viewed as failure, perhaps it is just the course of events as we live longer. Change and context of relationships should and could be viewed as wholesome and natural—a rite of passage rather than a defeat of vows. Maybe it’s time to review and change the vows. Perhaps we can now be more age-realistic about relationships and their stages.
How that plays out
In Lola’s relationship,
- They like living separately; each has room to be and do as they see fit.
- They do not have to participate in family dramas; they can be more objective and supportive of each other’s stuff without becoming personally involved.
- Decisions about what effects us mutually is truly mutual. Where do we go? How long do we stay? The where’s and wherefore’s are discussed and valued.
- Who controls the remote? It’s not a control issue.
- Money and finances are handled individually—omitting the #1 reason for marital discord.
- Without worrying about how the other person plays his or her family role, the pressure is off—more fun, less hassle.