Dating and Relationships in the 'Middle Ages'
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Claudia Anderson PG Dipl Psych, Registered MBACP
29th April, 20130 Comments
In my recent research, of male members aged 40 - 55, from a popular online dating agency, I was somewhat surprised to see that 75% of those who completed the 'what I'm looking for' category, answered with one word - 'trust' which in my mind illustrated that there are a lot of deceived 'burnt' middle aged men out there. Further research revealed cheating men, in flagging relationships. Others, newly divorced, were happy to date, but scared of an ongoing relationship.
Less people over 40 are re-marrying, sceptical of co-habiting, due to the financial and emotional complexities of the past, whilst others are putting off dating until their children have grown into young adults or have left the nest. For those who are contemplating separation or are divorced, you may have done the right thing for so many years but are now at a second or third stage of your life. It can be a fun, but scary time, as you explore your 'true' authentic self. This new approach affects all areas of your life, not just in relationships, but work, lifestyle, family and friendships too. It is a time to question, all that you have done before, on a deeper, more meaningful level, and an opportunity to re-evaluate your life and discard your 'false' self.
I remember attending a HIV/AIDS awareness workshop in America, many years ago, and spoke to several men, who had once been married, living a 'typical' family existence, but it wasn't until they reached their forties, that they decided to act on the 'psychological' impact of living a dual life. When they reached their 'middle ages' they felt safe and able to live their lives the way they wanted to. Which not only demonstrated their 'inner' soul searching, stripping away the pain, guilt and frustration they felt, but in parallel, their outer world reflected a climate of ever changing social attitudes towards long term relationships and sexuality, providing them with a sense of liberation. Years ago those who were gay or lesbian entered into 'lavender' marriages, because of the constraints of social expectations and norms of heterosexual marriage and commitment. But changes in marital legislation is a celebration of difference in our modern society.
Battling unconscious orthodox patterns and behaviours affects many areas, including religion. A recent female client, aged 54, who had been brought up in a devout Catholic home, expressed the emotional turmoil she was having eight years after being divorced. She had been married for 24 years and was unable to enjoy her new found 'freedom' due to the staunch opposing views of her close-knit community. Even as an adult, she felt like a child, consciously chastising herself for being a divorcee. It wasn't until her sixth session that she felt confident enough to say, 'I'm a single woman, I'm attractive, and want to start dating again'.
It seems that dating in the 'middle ages' is a major time of change, rebuilding the foundations of your life, sculpting and modelling it the way you want to, and challenging the traditional, associations of the past.
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