Friday, August 01, 2014

The New Bachelorette: Dating After 40 - Opposites Attract

Wow, this journey into twenty-first century dating over 40 is really opening my eyes to a lot of things I wish I’ve never seen, but then again, every experience enriches my life in some way, whether I like it or not.

I’m really learning a lot about myself and the things I like, want, don’t like, and definitely don’t want in my life.  Some of these things really shock me and other things I could have seen coming a mile away. So, today I hope I will have some of you shake your head, while others will have your eyeballs widen in disbelief.

Sometimes in this dating game, well almost all of the time, I’m clueless.  I know how to be married, how to be committed, how to be selfless, and how to put the needs and wants of others before me.  That’s how I’ve lived my whole life.  Being single is the total opposite of all that, so I’m often clueless, miss hints, don’t understand many of the terms used in today’s dating realm, and signals ... it’s like I’m still using smoke while the rest of the world has moved onto 1’s and 0’s.  I hope I can find a balance.

You’ve heard the old adage, ‘Opposites Attract’?  My first instinct is to say, “bullshit” but I’m finding that there are certain opposites I find attractive.  Case in point – all the guys I really want to date are guys who’ve been dating, serially, for years -  not guys who’ve been in committed relationships.  While I eventually want a commitment, I’m not in a hurry.  I’ve just come out of a huge commitment.  I’m not looking to get hitched again. I’m not looking for a husband.  I want a partner.  I want someone to go on adventures, experience life, explore the world with me… as-I’m-doing-it. I’m not looking for someone to complete me, but compliment me, and to whom I can be a compliment. I don’t want middle-class, raising a family, pursuing a demanding career kind of life.  I’ve been there, done that, and the tee-shirt is worn out.  It has fond memories, but the time has come to put it away.

I do everything bass ackwards.  When I was young, beautiful, and energetic, that was the time to explore the world and take on wild adventures.  Instead I took care of a family, and then raised one of my own, chased an education and a career, and have since walked away from it all.  Most of the guys my age are in the former state, while I’m in the latter.  In this instance, the opposite wouldn’t attract.

I think it’s quite pathetic when 50 year-old men are JUST NOW wanting to start a family so they try to find themselves a young 20 or 30-something year-old child to marry.  But what other choice do they have? 40 and 50 year-old women are past child bearing age.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to get some stiff feedback for this statement… but I think it’s ridiculous and quite unfair to the women, both the younger and older.

I can hear the older men say (because I’ve already heard them say it), “It’s fair because I can provide a luxurious lifestyle and a comfortable living for the young woman because I’m financially secure.  I can offer her experience in love-making (yeah, you pervert –it’s because you want that young, fit body instead of appreciating the beauty of an older woman’s body), life, and save her a bunch of trouble.”  Give me a f’ing break.  I’m sure there are young women, mostly damaged women with daddy issues (*raises hand in the air), who find it appealing for an older man to take care of her basic needs and be able to teach her about life because God-forbid she actually experiences and learns anything for herself (I hope you caught the sarcasm).  Isn’t the point of life to get out there and learn about it as you go? What happened to the older women who stood beside these older men as they were making their way in this world?  Most likely she gets tossed aside for the younger, child-bearing, unexperienced girl?  Fuck that.

Needless to say, those are often the first thoughts that run through my mind (I admit – I could be wrong) when I get hit on (because I look younger than my 43 years) by 50-60 year-old men when they tell me they’re looking for a wife and want to start a family.  I’m getting ready for grandchildren (kids – if you’re reading this…hopefully not for a few more years).  In these older men’s faces I can also see the future of the younger men (25-35) who also hit on me.  Those young men express how at this time they either don’t want a family, or is something they’d want to pursue at a later time  - when they get in their late 40’s or 50’s,  and are now just looking for that adventure partner – like me, that older woman they can have fun with – but don’t have to commit. While the thought of being a Cougar is quite appealing (what woman in her right mind wouldn’t fantasize about a hot, fit, sexy young man with lots and lots of stamina while she’s going through the hormonal changes of menopause and her libido is through the roof…what was I talking about, again?  Oh, yeah… partners), it’s just a heart-break waiting to happen.  When he does grow up and finally want that family, the cougar isn’t a viable option. While men can often sow their seed until the day they die, women have to compartmentalize that part of their lives because they are on a biological clock.

Just because we women in our 40’s are older, it doesn’t mean we can’t fall in love, or don’t want to fall in love, and be loved just like we did when we were 16.  I think men, both young and old,  forget that. Just because we’re more refined, smarter, experienced, know how to compose ourselves, independent, and classy, it doesn’t mean we’re not also spontaneous, crazy, wild, freaky, and still have that young romantic girl inside us.   In a way, we’re all cougars – because I’m always looking for that playful, horny, sexy, crazy young man inside every mature man I meet.

 So, do opposites attract?  Of course they do.  There’s something inside all of us that wants what’s different.  But, sometimes it’s not prudent when the opposites are just a little too far apart.  That’s why I think it’s important to know what you want, to know what works best with you, what traits about your partner will enrich your life.  Love – real love – can override any rule, even those of age, race, social status, culture, etc.  But, you should always be honest when it comes to those opposites to know which ones will work for you.

Here’s six traits and qualities about myself and what I want.  I’d want someone that could work with these particular things, because in the end – balance is the key.

· Age – 33-53 (I’m not interested in being a Sugar Mama or a Nurse Maid), but I can work within this age range.  It’s ten below and ten above, anything more is just asking for unmerited difficulty, sacrifice, and heartbreak.  Balance is key… remember?

· Race/Relations – I’m open to all races.  I find beauty in all shades.  The only color I’m concerned with is the color of the heart. I’m not a racist, but I’m extremely prejudiced.  I don’t like racists and will never be with one, I don’t care what our ancestors have done in the past – I’ve got relatives on both sides of every issue. I wasn’t there, it wasn’t me, and if everyone looked hard enough we can all find tragic and horrible stories in each of our family histories.  Holding onto the hate of past wrongs only produces more hate, and we all know two wrongs don’t make things right.  I don’t like bigots and could never be in a relationship with someone who carries around so much hatred and resentment toward other human beings.  I also don’t like hippy/pacifists who don’t live in the real world – one filled with evil people and evil acts and sometime harsh decisions need to be made to stop them.  Free love flowers don’t mean shit when  you’re trying to protect those you love.  I don’t like thugs, enablers, punks, perverts, pedophiles, players, cheaters, liars and thieves. No one is perfect, but some of us are really, really, really fucked up.

· Wealth – I’m independent and don’t need the support of anyone else.  I’m not rich, but I’m not desperate.  However, if you can’t manage your money and are in debt up to your eyeballs, or you’re extremely wealthy and used to buying everything, including the people in your life – it’s not going to work with me.  I won’t enable you and your bad habits, nor will I become your possession.   I’m looking for love, connection, a relationship – not to be taken care of or to take care of someone else.  I’ve had money, and I’ve been dirt poor.  Money is important, but I’m a very simple girl and that’s not just a phrase.  I’m the least materialistic person I know. I hate shopping, I like costume jewelry, I’m most comfortable in cargo pants, tee-shirts and hiking boots, I only buy what I need, and would rather spend my money on filling my life with adventures and good food, and not stuff.  I don’t need a big house, a fancy car, or diamonds and pearls. I don’t give a shit about social status and I’m not going to run away and join a commune and live off the earth.  I won’t stand in political rallies or religious gatherings.

· Health – I work hard to be fit, healthy and energetic.  There’s a lot of things I want to do in this world and they require me to be healthy and strong.  I’m not going to want to do these things alone.  While my partner doesn’t have to have a six-pack or walk around with less than 5% body fat, they do have to be physically capable of participating in general activities.  I have nothing against disabilities and I’m not opposed to someone being a bit overweight… but I won’t be with someone that is detrimental to my healthy lifestyle or who is lazy or requires a pharmacy to get through the day.  It’s hard enough to encourage myself.  I’m hoping to find a partner who would inspire and encourage me even more in my quests, not someone who will tempt me or encourage me into an unhealthy lifestyle.  So, if they’re not into eating healthy gourmet food but have to have their Southern-fried meat and potatoes – you’ll go hungry.  If they’re not into regular exercise, or opposed to participating in outdoor activities and exploration– they wouldn’t be good for me. They don’t have to be maniacs and run in marathons, but they do need to be active.

· Sex – I definitely love a strong man, and I’m not talking about physical strength. I like a man of a strong mind, independent thoughts, confidence (that’s the sexiest trait in a man).  However, I want a man in physical shape so we can have great sex. He doesn’t have to be perfect (I’d really like it if he still had some work to do), but his health should be important.  I want a sensual, strong, and sexy man.  I plan to have lots and lots and lots of sex.  He’ll have to be able to physically and emotionally handle that. But sex can’t be the most important thing to him.  His health and happiness should be first. If he’s healthy and happy… the sex will follow.  Also… my heart follows my body… not the other way around.  I’m not interested in being a FWB, or in a casual, polyamorous, or  swinger relationship. I’ve tried to apply those concepts to myself and failed miserably, because it’s just not who I am. I don’t judge those lifestyles, I just happen to be a faithful, monogamous, heterosexual, one-man woman.

· Clever Mind/Sense of Humor – I can’t tolerate ignorance, bigotry, or hate.  I love independent thinking, individuality.  I don’t mind strong opinions, even if they differ from mine, as long as they’re genuine.  I don’t like mouth-pieces, people who only repeat what they’ve heard but have no clue what they’re talking about - repeating party lines, quoting scriptures out of context, or regurgitating talking points.  I hate hypocrites – people on a crusade to make others just like their ideals, yet they themselves don’t follow their own agenda.  I’m a woman of faith, but I’m not religious.  I’m educated and understand the basic elementals of business, politics, and government, but I’m not a mission to save or convert the world.  I just want to be happy. I want to smile. I want to laugh.  I really love a man who can make me giggle, especially with witty, pithy, and clever comments. The stronger original opinions he has, the more I’m impressed.

So, opposite or twin,  this bachelorette over 40 is hoping she’ll find that balanced partner out there someday.  In the meantime, I’m still taking wild adventures, seeking thrills through extreme activities, and making crazy moves on my own.  I’m happy and content with who I am and the life I now live.  It’s taken me a long time to get here, but it’s so worth it. I’ve made lots of mistakes, but I’ve also made lots of great memories and met some really great people.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray


  1. Deep and interesting article, TL. I definitely see myself in some of it. (Daddy issues, anyone?) and it's the most personal piece I've ever read from you, so bar. What you're seeking is out there. I've seen it myself, but wasn't interested in being happy at the time. So seek and ye shall find. Just remember you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the prince.

    1. Anonymous3:08 PM

      I have been and am still happily married now for over 44 years. If I found myself single and looking for a relationship I would want what you have to offer. I think your ideas are reasonable and I commend you for being honest with yourself. I hope you find what (who) you want. Well written and not overly stated in my opinion. Joe P. Attanasio but posting as anonymous because I don't seem to fit the choices.

  2. Anonymous2:35 PM

    very helpful and useful dating article. I really liked it
    I have found my love here