I am sixty years old .. well into boomerdom … and have “completed” two long-term relationships in my life … Not too bad by today’s standards, is it?
I met my first husband when I was sixteen years old (mid-October, 1966 to be exact) and a Junior in high school. My dad was on his way to Viet Nam for a year. Had he not been, I think the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing would not have gone on for so long. Being a military brat, I moved between my Junior and Senior year and somehow the relationship continued and he followed me to Hawaii in June of 1968 (when I graduated) and we became engaged, and we were married a year later in August, 1969 when I was eighteen. We were married for twenty-three years until he died unexpectedly from a heart attack in May of 1992, at the age of forty-three. He was my first love, high school sweetheart, and though our marriage was somewhat tumultuous (a whole story in itself) we loved each other deeply. Our nineteen year old daughter and sixteen year old son (who was home alone with him when he died) and I joined forces and helped each other through the worst of it. Time passes, and while the hurt and missing does not go away completely, I found that place in my brain to tuck it away.
It took a few years before I was ready to that those tentative steps to dating again. It was intimidating because I never really dated much in high school. I eventually met someone in 1995, were married in 1997 and divorced in 2007. I realized early on that I’d married for all the wrong reasons – but being the nurturer/fixer that I am figured I could love away the problems. Can you say “WRONG!”? One cannot “fix” substance abuse problems for someone else. The relationship ended much earlier than the paperwork was finalized. Need I say more?
I met my current “relationship” in January, 2008. He is divorced and then lost his second love to cancer in a very short period of time after she was diagnosed. We have taken our time in getting to know each other, and to each work through some of our own issues. We have at times been friends, at times lovers, at times “in a relationship” and at times not. We lived together for a year, and we have lived in our own spaces for the last year. We both have had some very high fences to break down in learning how to communicate better with each other. What we have come to realize over the last six months (or maybe less) is that in spite of our ups and downs, comings and goings, we have now been very happy, unintentionally exclusive, committed but not wanting to admit it, best friends for the last three and a half years. And through being friends, we have come to accept each other for who we are (and we’ve seen pretty much the best and worst in each other) with our crazy little quirks and nuances … and we have come to love each other.
I am not afraid of committing to him or to our whatever you want to call this friendship but I AM terrified (after a first tumultuous marriage and a second disaster ending in divorce) of the big “M” word … for all my talk with him about being vulnerable enough to fall in love again at the risk of hurt or failure or success? …. I am the squeamish one. There are more conversations to be had, I guess.
That being said, with all my heart I can say – I don’t know much … but the words say it all …
Aaron Neville & Linda Ronstaadt
And I would love to hear from others who have braved the vulnerability and trusted yourselves to love yet again at “our age” …. is it possible that the third time’s the charm?