THE UNIQUE CHALLENGES FOR MATURE MEN SEEKING A 21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIP
50 years ago a man was most likely to be married or seriously committed by his mid-twenties and a father by his late-twenties. But the sexual and social and economic revolutions pioneered in America in the late 60’s and 70’s caused Americans to rethink the entire family institution causing the past 50 years to become a true experiment exploring its alternatives. This meant the dissolution of thousands of years of tradition in which men were married at 16-20 years, fathers at 21 and grandfathers by their early 30’s; and expecting to pass into the ages by their late 40’s and 50’s; my how the world has changed. Coupled with advances in modern science men are living longer and staying single longer, it’s a new day.
Ironically mature men live in a world that is still primarily focused on the issues of younger men and it is quite apparent that the realities of men 40 and older are quite different from those of their 20 and 30 something counterparts. One of the most critical issues that somehow eludes the attention of sociologists is mature dating and relationships. A young man has an optimism time can afford but a man who has already lived half of his life expectancy simply does not have time to waste through attrition with unlikely potential. The problem is determining where there actually is potential, which theoretically should be a skill set an experienced man in his forties or older should have developed. But alas the world is just not as perfectly balanced as the glass of Bourbon I sipped only a few seconds ago. Many, not all mature men are overworked, overburdened with financial, health and social responsibilities and will honestly admit that the past 20-30 years of relationships have been a blur of misfit trials and experiments each time depositing them into a new seat of the same terminal of bachelorhood again. After weighing out the good and the bad a mature man might conclude the only place of real peace has been the single life. As the years gather themselves a single man has ultimately to think about his ability to manage his life against variables bought about by age.
Growing older can be a potentially desperate prospect for a mature single man because he has to assess his ability to continue to mange his affairs. He has to consider whether he desires to find relationship only a security measure to ensure he has someone to support him as he grows older or whether he wants to continue to search for a soulmate that will serve his functional and aesthetic needs. Married to either of these choices is the social dimension. As we grow older though we are mentally better equipped to manage most emotional issues love and the stress of a relationship, (whether it is one of love or not), tend to bear more heavily on our psyche. Troubled and tumultuous relationships, breakups, etc., tend to age mature men faster than they do younger men not only because older men have less time to manage them but because their emotional investment is much greater. Mature men generally have more psychical/emotional as well as financial/physical resources at stake and like most things that affect older people the process of regrouping after a cataclysmic breakup opens old wounds that are now slower to heal.
Sometimes mature man get to a point where they figure it isn’t worth the trouble to start a new relationship that could potentially end up in failure, better to quit while they are ahead. Others are so fearful that a breakup in their golden years will tear them apart emotionally spoiling their hard-earned peace, scarred by past experiences; they will face loneliness rather than open up what they see as a Pandora’s Box.
Sometimes mature men are able to focus their optimism figuring they should be far better equipped to manage anything that a new relationship sends their way with their life’s experience under their belt. These men remain open to change and pursue the potential of a new relationship as an objective experiment, taking into account but not obsessing about financial and emotional obstacles perhaps planning for both success and failure pulling only the positive lessons from the past. These men approach new relationships the way they marvel at a virgin sunrise understanding there is only so much preparation one can make for the unexpected and therefore staying open to the promise of a new day.
Written By: BIGDADDY BLUES