BY JULIE SEYLER
I mean, really, at this point, in our post-50 lives, what else is there to say, except, regardless of gender, whether single or married, each of us has, at least once, if not 50 times, given up on the other sex, rolled our eyes in exasperation and thought, in horrid disgust: “Can (s)he be kidding?”
Conversely, I bet it is equally true, that there has been at least once, if not 5000 times, that you have thought: “How could I even consider living with(out) him/her in my life?”
And therein lies the rub and the cliche: “You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them.”
I do not believe there is a solution to this dilemma. Rather, I think one wises up, looks inside, and decides for a variety of reasons: “I am going to hang in there.” Or: “It’s time to move on.”
I know people on both sides of the fence, and some people who seem to be simply straddling the fence, not happy to be in, but too worried and/or stressed about money to move on.
In either case, relationships are not for the weak of heart. They require work and kindness and consideration and empathy and flexibility – not to mention the ability to get angry and withstand anger. The irony is, the thing you get angry over, is the same thing you got angry about last year, and the year before, and the year before that. We are creatures of habit, and I guess in some perverse way, we prefer picking a standard fight to muddle through.
And this brings to mind this new book I read about. It’s called “How To Think More About Sex,” by Alain de Botton. With respect to the vows of love we declare, the author proposes a new pledge:
“I promise to be disappointed by you and you alone. I promise to make you the sole repository of my regrets, rather than distribute them widely through multiple affairs and a life of sexual Don Juanism. I have surveyed the different options for unhappiness, and it is you I have chosen to commit myself to.”
I thought that was sort of a brilliant take on the earthiness of the dyadic dance.
So then one wonders if it’s better to be with someone or not? I guess it’s an individual choice and perhaps with the wisdom that comes with being on the right side of 50, we make those choices with self-awareness rather than fantasy – unless you’re stuck straddling the fence.