Monday: 10.April.2006

Finding love in your 40's

Spending lots of time with new friend, developing the new relationship, meeting her family members. We all had dinner Saturday nite at Tutto Mare (Newport Beach) for her folks' wedding anniversary. (I ordered my favorite: pasta puttanesca.)

You recall how fun it can be .. in the early stages of a relationship .. when everything is shiny and new. The days seem brighter, the grass greener, sky bluer. It has been a long time since my sky was this blue.

Over the years, I've accumulated much experience in this area (maybe too much), having learned a thing or two about the dynamics of romantic relationships (most of it, unfortunately, the hard way.)

An observation: I've noticed that the agreeability of women tends to decrease as you get older. Not always. And sometimes you get lucky (like I did)..

.. but as a general rule, I've found that women wax cantankerous as the years pass (particularly if they've never been married).

continued

Friends speculate this is cuz older women have had more opportunities to engage in relationships where they become embittered & resentful when they don't work out.

It's no secret that the 40-year-old woman is more likely to have been burned (romantically) than the girl who's still in her 20's, particularly if she has never been married.

You might also argue that the good ones get snapped up earlier .. like properties in a seaside community .. or bargains at a garage sale. Again, exceptions abound.

It's also speculated that women sometimes feel obligated to take out their frustrations from past relationships on current ones (read: on you & me), cuz there's often nowhere else for it to go.

This is why the first question I ask any new prospect is, "How was your dad?"

If they respond with something like, "I hope the bastard rots in hell," .. uh, that's usually not a good sign .. cuz there's a good chance they'll eventually transfer some of that anger to you (me), since it can't be directed where it ought. That anger-vent-path is closed.

It's not intentional, of course. But deep-seated anger & resentment has a way of pushing its way to the surface, one way or another. The toxic pressure will keep building until it finds an alternate vent-path.

Maybe you've heard the saying electricity follows the path of least resistance. The same can be said for emotional distress.

By virtue of sheer proximity, you're likely to make a convenient lightning rod for negative emotions. And if you happen to look like hated-dad, or (worse) a krappy old boyfriend, then the projection of anger becomes too easy. Irresistible.

This is precisely the kind of thing that was discussed at last week's co-parenting class. The instructor (PhD) explained how anger and resentment "create an energy". (I've never heard it put that way before.)

He continued to explain that it becomes necessary to process ("siphon off") this negative energy .. thru some safe outlet (therapy, exercise, massage, journaling, etc.) or it will build up, like a volcano .. until it explodes, spewing emotional vomit on whoever happens to be closest (primarily the partner). Seems unfair, no?

I remember the instructor saying, "The ability to identify your emotions, and *express* them .. is HUGE." The statement continued to ring in my ears. Huge. This was never a skill I was encouraged to develop. Rather, the opposite was true.

Speaking of identifying and expressing emotions .. today I feel cared for, I feel appreciated, heard, understood, comforted, welcomed, desired .. things I haven't felt for a long time.

I'm certainly no expert - far from it - but I have learned a thing or two about what NOT to do. Similar to my dealings with computers, I've learned a lot about what *doesn't* work.

Some of us are slow learners. Takes us a while to catch on, to find our groove. I have more to share on this topic, but we'll save that for another day. Again, my views are based on first-hand experience, from personal observations, gathered over the course of many years.

Anyway, Miss Julie said, "My mom really likes you." And as you know, the mom-hurdle is the biggest one you need to get over in any new relationship (.. cuz girls listen to their moms). This is especially true for me, since I now live with mom. =) What a wild ride it has been.





Posted by Rad at April 10, 2006 11:36 AM

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