About Finding Romance Again in Middle Age

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”*

The old name of my blog was Older Bliss, with the intention that I would wax on, wax off about getting older, finding bliss and renewing companionship, but somewhere along the way I ditched that theme for something more general.  The old theme seemed limiting, or at least that’s how I explained it at the time.

I’d like to go back for awhile to that idea, and dedicate the next several blog posts to getting older and being in love.  Yes, I realize that’s lost me some readers just there, but the rest of you please bear with me.

My children are almost grown, with a 21-year-old in college, a 17-year-old about to graduate high school, my nest is emptying out at an alarming rate.  The test was when the youngest went off to France for three weeks and the quietness of my husband’s and my house was deafening.  It was almost as if we’d had a poltergeist “removal”, and I was left with a middle aged male stranger.

After over 21 years of parenting I’d lost the connection to being a wife to my spouse.  Wasn’t for lack of him trying, but rather me wearing the martyrdom of motherhood like a burka.  That was a year and a half ago, and a lot of work has gone into renewing my marriage with my husband, and facing the changes we’ve gone through.   In 22 plus years of pregnancy, motherhood, four stages of school, and metamorphosing, I’ve gone from a working woman at one of the largest oil companies in the world, to a nonsalaried drudge of my own making.  Martyrdom, especially self imposed, is not as pretty or as interesting as it sounds.

Where did that slim and pretty girl go?  Where did the fun dates, holding hands and peals of laughter disappear off to, and how can I get on the bus back there?

Anyway, for my other middle aged and older women friends in the same boat, I understand now.

The other day a friend stood in my foyer crying because she was so lonely in her marriage it was crushing her.  She talked about being ignored by her husband as he watched television in another room, and I understood completely.  Where did this alienation come from that so many middle aged people experience now, other than the parenting, sleep deprived, just managing to function years gone by?

And how do we engaged our spouses in turning off the iPhones, computers, televisions and spend time with us?  We have all this social media going, sharing photos, videos, thoughts, but we’re achingly lonely for a human touch, a smile, a hug, nevermind sexual intimacy.  All of a sudden we don’t have to worry about a child walking in on us, or overhearing something intimate, and yet so many of us aren’t taking advantage of the situation.  Why?  Perhaps because we’re tired, feeling rejected, aghast at physical changes over the years, or don’t know where to start again with the role of loving spouse, lover, hopeless romantic.

My husband shakes his head at me when I tell him that there are a lot of middle aged women like me who are waking up and want to refind the romance.  He still looks surprised at me when I grab his hand, put my arm around him, or want to go on a date.  Sad state of affairs that I let things between us go this far.

Who are you? He’s asked from time to time.

I answer that I’m the woman he married who’s been asleep for decades, and has finally woken up from motherhood, wanting to be his soulmate and wife again.  I’m the one who adores him, and wants to be his again.

Luckily, he’s funny, patient, and sweet enough to accept this as a gift because he knows I’m crazy.  Crazy thinking inside, but absolutely besotted with him, that is.

*Rabbi Ben Ezra BY ROBERT BROWNING, courtesy of Poetry Foundation. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173031

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