He looks at me with those eyes that have seen so much, and I feel held. I feel safe.
Not physically, necessarily, nor even financially. At this stage, I can pretty much look after myself. I don’t need a father figure or a knight on a white horse—although from time to time, it can be nice to know he’s there.
What I want is to feel held emotionally, energetically. I need to be seen for who I am and appreciated for the journey I’ve had and will continue to have. I appreciate what I’ve come through and who I have become as a result—and I appreciate others who can see the value in that.
I’m in my mid-forties and at some stage in my late thirties I realized I was no longer all that attracted to younger men, or even to many men my own age. It wasn’t that I didn’t find them physically attractive—I’m as happy to admire a beautiful body or face as anyone else.
But my own values had shifted. I was beginning to feel as if I had travelled a long journey. I had a child and a troubled marriage at the time, and I was digging deep into my own stuff, finding out who I was, what I really valued and needed, and what I wanted from life.
And as I looked around, I found myself meeting the eyes of older men, seeing a reflection of their own journeys and what they had become as a result. I was attracted by the depth I saw, the understanding and ability to accept life with all its ups and downs. I felt an understanding from them that was missing in so many of those younger than me, and in many of my peers.
Not all older men, of course.
Some had closed down and retreated in response to the hurts they’d had. Some just weren’t interested in looking inward. But my radar was set for those men who had lived a bit, explored life and their own inner world and who had come to a deeper understanding of themselves and what they valued about life.
I felt like I’d discovered a new world, come over some kind of threshold and was suddenly privy to another dimension I hadn’t realized was there. The secret initiation for my entry into this world of mature men was that I had done some of my own work. As I tuned in more deeply to myself, I discovered that I was tuning in more deeply to others—and my frequency seemed to be lining up with older men.
It’s not that this depth can’t exist in a younger man, but there is a wisdom that can come with years (what a cliché), which can’t be faked.
Men who have a few decades of adult life under their belt, and still manage to be open to what life brings them, come with a guarantee of sorts, if such a thing exists. A guarantee that they won’t fold at the first sign of trouble. A guarantee that they can weather a storm and still find a smile. A guarantee of having been road-tested.
In the same way I’ve been road-tested—and I’m sure some of those who were involved in the road test would consider me to have failed miserably at times. So I like being able to compare battle scars with a man. How many have you got? How have they healed? How have they made you stronger? There’s no pretense at being perfect.There is an understanding, though, that we’ve both learned from our journeys and have a deeper awareness of, and compassion for, ourselves and others as a result.
It can be fun too, laughing over the highs and lows of previous decades. As a woman who has cried, laughed, loved, given birth, worked her ass off, dreamed, soared and flunked through a few decades, how could I feel fully held and seen by someone who’s barely had a full decade of life under his belt? Perhaps it’s possible, and the odd time when I get disenchanted by the complexities of older men I do entertain the idea of a younger man. But it never lasts long.
And then there’s also the greater appreciation for what we have while it’s still there—the physical passion, the shared love and even the simple friendship. All this seems to be more intense as you realize it won’t always be, and hasn’t always been, there. I’m not sure when it hits, but certainly at some stage in my early forties I became acutely aware that my body wouldn’t hold up indefinitely, that I mightn’t always have a willing sexual partner available, and that time was marching on. Strangely, though, this lends an edge to experiences—a desire to fully savor life while we can.
And of course there are still other elements—the way a man looks, speaks, and moves. There’s our shared interests, values and his passions. The love that can flare up between two people regardless of age or apparent compatibility. It’s not all about age and I readily admit that.
But I have to admit it. I have a bias. I prefer mature men.
And if you’d rather just date no one, take a Walk the Talk with Waylon Lewis:
~Editor: Lori LothianPhoto: Hernan Pinera/Flickr~
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