There was a time when the history
and tradition of a long-term marriage were enough to keep it together "until
death do we part." This is no longer true.
Modern medical science has lengthened
our life spans. There are more healthy ninety year olds than ever
and those who reach a hundred years are an ever-growing group of people.
can still look good long after our fiftieth birthday and many of us feel
like we are just beginning the best years of our lives once we have gotten
However, our current generation
has thrown a monkey wrench into the whole thing. Once more, as a
species, we have managed to foil ourselves.
It goes something like this......
Males hit their midlife crisis running.
It is usually a combination of work burn-out, disatisfaction with goals
never realized, and a decrease in testosterone that finally makes us more
romantic but less sexually driven. Woe unto the man (or his mate)
who experiences all of the above at the same time.
As a result, their need to reevaluate
their lives almost always includes their marriages/long-term love relationships.
The need for a much more romantic approach will be welcomed by an understanding
mate. However, if she is not so adept, the probability of a breakup
is almost a certainty.
In the meantime, women hit middleage
and most have spent their adult years raising children. Keep in mind
that I am referring to a generation where the men left the primary responsibility
of raising children to the women. That being the case, they have
grown weary in well doing and, now that they are freed up from being a
full-time mother, can't possibly imagine having to deal with a husband
who walks around with a bottle of wine and two long-stemmed glasses in
one hand and two tickets for the ballet in the other hand.
The dynamics have changed and, like
an O. Henry twist-of-fate short story, he is now ready to live a life filled
with wonderful romance and she is pooped.
My personal experience with 50ish
women, as a single middle-aged guy, has been that very few of them would
ever consider being married again. Those who have been in any
kind of a long-term relationship find it very difficult to see men as anything
other than self-centered, controlling, and repressive.
One such woman recently expressed
it this way, "Now, when I lay something down on the table that is out of
place, no one tells me to clean it up or put it back where it belongs.
Gawd, I am never going to get married and have to put up with that crap
Do you see where this is going?
This kind of response to the "Will
you ever get married again?" question is common amongst older women.
They are enjoying their freedom and have become wonderfully independent.
Even though their crusade for equality has not yet been fully realized,
the current work culture has allowed them to make enough to be financially
independent as well. Couple that with the relaxed moral standards
of the day and women who have male playmates basically have no need for
a man. From a female standpoint, what could be better than a life
of freedom, independency, financial security, and sexual fulfillment without
some controlling male screwing up the whole thing?
The irony is that so many men who
reach middleage have become much more understanding of how important it
is to cherish a woman; how to make her the center of their lives; how to
truly relate on an equal basis. While the same women are licking
their wounds from a truly horrendous ex-marriage, men are coming into their
own and ready to provide them what they wanted in a relationship in the
He is ready to be the best mate
a woman could possibly ever want or have.
She is totally burned out from having
to deal with an immature idiot who drove her over the edge to believe that
any man could ever actually be a truly nice guy.
Still, people have a way of facing
realities and either dealing with them or learning how to get around them
regardless of the complexities involved.
Men are now marrying younger women
who are still in their child-bearing years. A mature man who is financially
stable is a real catch for a younger woman who is not so concerned about
a wide age difference. Also, men are adopting some of the attitudes
of their female counterparts. Finding themselves divorced and single
again, the "in-between years" becomes a good time to enjoy a kind of second
chance to be young and foolish again. Everything he purchases is
black: black clothes, black furniture, a black sports car, and a big savings
account with lots of black on it, too. Even though males know that
this is only temporary, they enjoy it fully. The idea here is that
they will eventually attract a woman (younger or those few middleaged women
who still want to be married) and settle down again. However,
in the meantime, why not have a good time? So, they do.
On the other hand, many middleaged
women do quite well even though they determine never to marry again.
It is certainly their right. I would be the last one to criticize
or condemn any of them for spending the latter years of their lives as
single people. Conversely, I will not take kindly to any criticizm
from them should I finally take a woman to the altar who is twenty years
My eighty-eight -year-old
mother summarized the whole issue during a recent phone conversation.
She said, "I see a lot of old men where I live sitting all alone on their
porches and drinking beer. They flitted away their middleaged years
and never settled down again with someone to love and live out their lives
with. Don't be one of those men."
I promised her that I wouldn't
© all rights reserved - 10/22/2001--
The mission of this not-for-profit website is to promote clear insights
and toleration regarding the many variations of primary relationships that
exist in our world. We ask for neither acceptance or approval but
hope that each visitor who reviews the pages of this site will leave them
with a better understanding of the numerous cultural, historical, preferential,
religious, sexual, and sociological approaches to coupling that have always
existed and will continue to exist as long as there are at least two human
beings living on this planet. If the effort put into creating and
maintaining this site results in others coming to the realization that
the basic human need to love and be loved takes on many forms which are
accepted by those who practice them, whether right or wrong as determined
by the personal belief system of others, then it will have served it's