Everyone brings baggage to a relationship. The older we get, the more baggage we carry. Your Old Mr. Right’s quirks are going to be different from those of a younger man.
Young brides cope with football addiction and dirty socks on the floor. Your older guy will deposit his socks in a hamper, and his sports cravings won’t be as testosterone-intense as they were. But mature men have plenty of foibles, and of course we senior gals have them too. The challenge is to reconcile theirs with ours. Here are some:
Past Relationship Memories
Both sexes suffer grief when a spouse divorces or dies. Women have the girlfriend support system, but few men have friendships of the shoulder-to-cry-on kind. A grieving man may stay rooted in the past until you show him that yes, he can go on. Be sympathetic, but if references to the departed are constant and unending, he’s not ready for you. Let him go. Don’t let past memories consume future happiness.
Habits of Mind
Is he bookish? Frugal? A political pundit? It’s too late to turn a Republican into a Democrat (or vice versa), too late to persuade a cheapskate to enjoy dinner in a five star restaurant. You’ll have to embrace these hold-over habits – for a while. Over time, couples evolve and just naturally become more alike in their thinking.
A man who goes to bed at 9PM and a woman who retires at midnight might be able to make a relationship work, but it doesn’t sound like much fun. Here’s where compromise should happen so that intimacy can thrive. More humdrum compulsions, like his need for steaks to be well done, or to have his boxer shorts ironed – you’re on your own.
Collections and Accumulations
When he moves in with you, he wants to install his Meerschaum collection in your living room étagère. That’s wonderful if you love pipes with turtles or sea captains carved on their bowls. But what if you don’t want him displacing your Lalique crystal? Differences in taste are tough to reconcile, and if your guy won’t accept compromise he’s being just plain unreasonable.
Children and Grandchildren
Adult children and their children can be a big source of comfort when you find yourself widowed or divorced. But too much dependency is risky. Most adult children are happy when their solitary parents find new partners. Their well kept secret is that although they do love seeing you, less frequent visits are okay. They have their own lives and they’re glad you now have one too.
Old guys are perfectly capable, if they are in general good health, of vigorous sexual performance. If you fall for a man with a performance hang-up, your assurances, constancy, and sexiness can help him get over it. Remember this: it’s not your fault. And it’s not his. The fault lies squarely with erectile dysfunction “specialists.” Your warmth and caring will expose their idiotic assertions that Viagra-less sex is just a memory after 45.
Plain Old Stubbornness
Some old guys just can’t accept advice when it sounds like advice. State the obvious (“your sport jacket is out of style,” “take an umbrella – it’s raining,” or “there’s more to TV than the NFL.”) and you’re just talking to the air. Is he threatened by your comments, too trusting of his own wisdom, or simply trapped in ancient rituals? The only way to get ahead on this one is to persist, but not by nagging. Buy him the sports jacket. He will wear it. Or just let it hang there in the closet. Either way, you’ll have been true to your convictions.