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Tag Archive 'men'

Apr 25 2009

The Capacity for Commitment: The Fourth Stage Of The Midlife Transformation In Midlife Singles

Published by under Advice

I’m going to claim that the mark of maturity in couples is their ability to communicate. I’m going to borrow a phrase from Bill W., founder of AA, and talk about how mature couples engage in something I’ll call “A Searching and Fearless Intimate Conversation.”
Is it really so desirable that men and women share deeply about their lives?

Let me tell you a story. I was invited to a “salon.” That’s what it was called. It was an evening of culture, conversation and pot-luck at a the house of a wealthy widow. Before dinner and conversation a man who played classical piano gave a small recital. He played one of Satie’s pieces and before he played he gave us a little lecture on the piece. He said, “The composer said that this piece should be still, steady, and reliable, like the ticking of a clock in an empty room.” And then our hostess, the widow, who was certainly a mature woman, said, “Yes. That’s exactly how I like my men to be.”

So there are couples who would rather not have a lot of sensitive communication.

I realize that my own view of maturity comes from psychology. And I do wonder about that. Is it possible that psychologists are just describing themselves and setting themselves up as a model of maturity? I find their case persuasive and grounded in research. You’ll have to make up your own mind. That is the condition of being an elder. You have to think for yourself.

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Apr 25 2009

Men, Women and Dancing

Published by under Miscellaneous

You have to imagine this scene; 500 men and women in sexy, casual dress at a big conference hotel for three days of socializing, flirting and dancing to swing music. This was the annual Boston Tea Party at the Framingham, MA, Sheraton, There are weekends like this all year long, all with the same format: lessons all day Friday and Saturday, dancing all night, until three or four in the morning, more of the same on Sunday.

For the lessons, the huge hotel ballrooms are cut in half by fold-out walls and about seventy five couples are arranged in a line snaking up and down, up and down. Skilled teachers with big personalities and cordless headset mikes lead the crowd through new steps asking the couples to change partners every two minutes. By the end of the lesson every leader has danced with every follower. It’s like non-verbal speed dating.

A good rule for meeting someone interesting is to make the first encounter brief and pleasant. Then, when you meet them the second time, they already know you. They are more open. Dancing with someone in a lesson makes it easier to ask them to dance later, at the open dances. By the end of the days’ lessons, people have had a hundred or so brief encounters. Talk about working a room.

The evenings are for dancing, performances, contests and more dancing. Two different ballrooms, one with old fashioned, welcoming swing from the thirties, forties, and fifties, and the other room thumping with glitzy, do-you-want-to-do-me, eighties and nineties disco music. It’s a study in flirtation.

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Apr 20 2009

Men and Sexual Intimacy

Published by under Advice

Do many midlife single men know what it means to have sexual intimacy, not just sex but also deep affection for and knowledge of their partner?

The title of the article is taken from a question I got in the mail. The writer, Patricia, a woman in her mid-forties, two years out of a rough marriage, and, as she put it, ” older and wiser,” is “looking for the sex that knocks your socks off because you know and care for the person first.” Was this a reasonable expectation? She wanted to know. ” Do men my age even know what I am talking about or are they just rare?”

Do they all want sex first? You can hear her frustration. She wants “the emotional satisfaction of intimacy, not just sexual physical satisfaction.”

She describes her typical dating experience. “Several times a month I meet men through the personals. But we usually just go out once. I think it went nice and I never hear from them again. And they are nice men, not jerks.”

She questions herself. “Is it me? I am conservative and very complex… I also keep my sexual side under wraps, to not give them the wrong impression. Am I wrong in doing that? Do men need to see that?”

She has, of course, described the essence of the battle of the sexes. For midlife women, her question is one of the most nagging: How do single midlife men think about sex and relationships?

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Apr 20 2009

Whadayacallit Relationships in Midlife Dating

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Please help. I’m searching for a good, funny, accurate name for this relationship, so common in midlife dating. It is a relationship with a built in limitation – geography, marriage to someone else, not-enough compatibility beyond sexuality, whatever. Sometimes the limitation is named. Sometimes it’s implied. The relationship always includes sex.

It isn’t casual and yet it’s not a full relationship. It is always limited in some important way. It is always smaller than full out commitment.

Maybe it ought to be called a relation-ette, like dinette or raisonette. I don’t especially like STR, or Short Term Relationship which sounds about as passionate as a financial instrument. And besides, sometimes these relationships aren’t always short term. They can last for years. I’ve interviewed people who’ve had discrete affairs, which have lasted as long as ten years and which included monthly trysts and even “business trips” that were really erotic vacations.

There is a French phrase for a friendship with tenderness, safety, sex and love, Amitie Passion, but I want an English term. I thought about “Limited Partnerships” as a term, but again, the phrase sounds so Wall Street, even though I like it because it captures the idea of intentionally built-in limitations.

These are definitely not casual relationships. We’re not talking about casual sex although the fact that they include sex is central to what they are. If we are bound to be single for many years between 40 and 60 or more, we are still going to want to have a sex life. One woman, recently divorced said that despite it all, she and her husband had a good sex life. “I didn’t believe how hungry I got.”

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Apr 20 2009

Sex and the Midlife Single

Published by under Advice

Elizabeth described herself in her ad as an accomplished, mature woman with excellent communication skills and happy sensuality. She has been exchanging email with Thomas. The correspondence moved to phone calls and they arranged to meet for the weekend. Thomas would stay at her place. She had an extra bedroom but maybe they wouldn’t be needing it. The chemistry was good but Thomas said that he was waiting for “a special woman” to appear in his life and while he liked her a lot, he wasn’t sure she was the one. After the weekend, which included some very good sex, Thomas wrote her a poetic thank you note and she responded with a short note in which she told him how much she appreciated the weekend and she wished him luck in his search. She didn’t write again.

Robert had been a long-time friend of Marsha’s. They both sang in a community choir, and it turned out they both had a taste for weird movies. She invited him over one Sunday evening to see her DVD of Lost Highway, the director’s cut. After the movie they started kissing and when Thomas put his hand on her breast she said, “Where are you going with this?” He stopped and said, “Well, I don’t think there is enough of a fit for a long term relationship but I thought we could at least have some fun.” She said, “Okay but it’s late and if we’re going to do that, let’s make it a whole evening,” And she invited him back for candle light supper on Thursday.

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