Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Finding Love in Later Life--or Whenever Venus Is in the Neighborhood

Article © 2010-13 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Authors Note: I promised Radical Readers some relationship material during this foray into Flashbacks and Insights in honor of Sun in Libra. While this article focuses on love on or after the Chiron Return, I think you'll find what I've learned about love, packed into this post, to be ageless wisdom synthesized from the pain and pleasure of being a Venus Girl.

This is the first article I wrote at the request of someone from the Cool Insighter community. Reader JuliaAna asked me to write: *

… a flower essence article for those of us who are older, but have never found the great love of our life and are now, as older women, looking at what is wrong with us and our energy, our projections, etc. … that has kept us from attracting that love we always wanted and still want in our lives. I have never been married, born in ’51. I’m a total romantic, but I have never found a true or great love.

This idea intrigued me. I feel eminently qualified to write it, since I did not reunite with my childhood sweetheart until I was almost 50. Turns out, he was “still the one,” as one of my favorite songs goes, and there is definitely a lot of learning I can share on how that happened for me—and for us. Tim had never married; I was single for most of my adult life, though married previously. What I learned about relationship in-between my first meeting with Tim at ages 12-14 and our reunion, 36 years later, could easily fill several books—and probably will someday. As it stands, this will be a longer than usual post, just to share the key points.

I’ll get to the flower essence question last, but first, I’d like to address some of the issues in JuliaAna’s request.

What’s Wrong with Me?

How many times I asked myself that same question as I, too, longed for the right relationship. This question needs to be balanced with reality and the clear vision of someone who has worked on him- or herself. Are your other relationships good—with friends, colleagues, bosses, and family? If yes, it’s probably “not you.” If you’ve looked deeply into your issues with intimacy, that usually means your Mom and Dad stuff, and feel you’ve done a good job healing them: there is nothing wrong with you.

One thing we often forget to examine is where relationship fits into our priorities. If you have kids from a prior relationship or a high-pressure job, you may need to make space for “romantic” love to enter. This happens on an energy level, and it can be also cured there.

Spend a lot of time envisioning how the right relationship would fit into your daily life. In advance, create the space for it. Nature abhors a vacuum and will fill it. Don’t let other activities take up your relationship space. It may take time to manifest it, but a relationship cannot enter a life with no room for it. You may actually have to allow yourself to feel lonely at times. I don’t mean you literally have to set aside two hours a day where you do nothing but wait for Mr. or Ms. Right… but have time set aside to do things that you can be easily downscale or let go when love arrives.

Being a romantic, in and of itself, can be a handicap in assessing your own role in keeping love at bay. By its very nature, being starry-eyed is not conducive to clear vision. If you work with astrology, we are the Neptune types (I’m one of them) who see the world—and love—through rose-colored glasses. That topic deserves its own section; it is such a stumbling block to finding a mature, lasting relationship.

Gauzy Vision and Other Romantic Handicaps

If you were born between 1942 - 1957, you have a particularly thorny issue with romanticism. We are the Neptune in Libra generation. When we were born, Neptune, which rules projections, dreaminess, and addiction, was in the sign of Libra —relationship, romance, and especially coo-some twosomes. We crave relationship like mother’s milk, but frankly, many of us are bad at it!

Why? That lack of visual clarity and the tendency to project what we want in a man or woman onto every passing could-be lover. More often than not, this results in harsh disappointment. We fall in love with what we think the other person is--and with what could have been between us—if s/he actually were that person. My own pain with just such a relationship took decades to get over. I just couldn’t give up who I thought he was and what we might have had … and I still occasionally catch myself wondering how our strong chemistry might have alchemized each other with more time together. I finally got over him in writing my memoir. I had to face, in black and white, that he was not good to me or for me. I had downplayed his cruelty and inflated his “loving moments”, often barely disguised manipulations, for 30-odd years. There’s a hint here.

Write about your relationships. Make a relationship history journal. Talk about hot flashbacks and cool insights! Patterns will leap off the pages. You’ll discover whatever you’re doing that’s not working with crystal clarity

The Time Factor

It is crucial to uncover as early as possible whether or not a love interest is real or a projection of your own mind. Most romantics don’t like this reminder, but here it is. To know someone takes time. I think it takes a minimum of a year—often longer. I suggest you consider not moving in with someone or commingling assets until a deep trust is established and you have cycled through several of life’s seasons and challenges. Then you’ll have a track record together and know how you both fare for better or worse before you say it—and seal it in ink.

One advantage: If you’re a woman 50 or older, you’re past the ringing alarm on your biological clock. In today’s world, there are few good reasons to hasten marriage. There’s no shotgun in sight. Allow yourself to grow through all the phases of relationship till you’re both ready to take the next natural step. Don’t worry. Don’t hurry. Be happy. And if it turns out in this process you find you’re not with the love of your life, don’t hesitate to move on.

There is more romance and sex going on these days in many senior housing complexes than on many high school prom nights.  Love knows no age limits.

Think you’re running out of time? There’s never any good reason for rushing in, given how painful a wrong decision and the wrong person can make your life.

The Addictive Factor

You don’t have to be born with Neptune in Libra to be a love addict. There are many more astrological signatures and people so inclined, whatever your year of birth. If you can’t live without a relationship or your longing for one makes your life miserable, it’s time to detox. It may take therapy. If it’s a full-blown sex addiction, it may take Sex Addicts Anonymous. It is unwise, unhealthy, and untenable to live a life where you cannot be alone. When you’d rather be in situations that are personally harmful than to be by yourself, please seek help. Even if you think you’re more compulsive than truly addictive—you could really stop if you just break the knee-jerk habit—the sooner the better.

Another sign of an unhealthy relationship to relationship is “trying too hard.” Relationships are like a handful of sand on the beach of time. The more you squeeze (want a relationship desperately); the more it runs through your fingers. The more you can live without it—the cooler you are way with being either single or partnered—the clearer your energy is for the right someone to pick up on your true self. See Your Cosmic Tractor Beam for more on how this energy dynamic works.

Let’s also talk for a minute about what squeezing sand feels like from the other side. Perhaps you’ve experienced someone who is so intensely “into” you before you even have a chance to decide whether you’re that interested. It feels icky and invasive. Too much, too fast, too soon—not conducive to good long-term relationships. Desperation makes would-be lovers run in the opposite direction at break-neck speed, as well they should. You’re in love with love. You don’t even know them. You’re cheating on them emotionally already.

Astrology has helped me more than any other tool to understand my own love addiction and to overcome it. More on that next …

You First, Us Second

If you’ve ever read my post, The Converse Golden Rule, you know I am still in the process of learning to make my needs as important as serving others. I have a lot of Libra planets in my chart, and I speak from the trenches of overcoming the malady, bit by bit.

It was working with my astrological passion, the centaur planet Chiron, when I first “got” why it is so important to become a fully realized individual before stepping into relationship. In the zodiac, the first half of the signs and houses from Aries (1st) to Virgo (6th) are about personal development. In Libra (7th) and Scorpio (8th), we bond with one other. In Sagittarius (9th) through Pisces (12th), we are developing our relationships with many others. (See Wholeness and the Inner Marriage.) You cannot give your Self in relationship until you fully become yourself. Until then, you don’t have your whole self to give.

The best relationships come from two whole people who walk the path of life together. Then, when they give themselves to relationship, they create synergy. The whole is more than the some of its parts. But relationship needs both its parts—two budded individuals.

How I Manifested My Man

1. I followed inner guidance, particularly in a very literal dream that predicted a reunion with Tim.

2. I was at a point where I had accepted I might be single for the rest of my life, and I was OK with it. Tim was in the same place. Consequently, we were both broadcasting the energy of our true selves, which made our energies clear to one another.

3. I had made affirmations recently about what I wanted in a relationship. I was quite specific. I wrote them down, put them in a corner of my office where I could look at them occasionally, but for the most part, I just let go, figuring the universe would handle the details.

4. I gave up wanting to control what this relationship or person “looked like” and figured Spirit knew best. (I had a psychic reading many years ago that foretold my reunion with Tim. I thought the woman was nuts at the time! After several other happy reunions, I was now open to new relationships with people from my past.)

5. I stepped out in faith, took a chance, and contacted him. While I wasn’t sure what the dream meant about reconnecting with Tim—he could be married with five kids—I did “get” that I was to re-encounter my very first boy/girl relationship for some reason. I left the rest up to Higher Power. Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure a man/woman relationship was the reason I was supposed to reconnect with him. I was somewhat surprised when it turned out that way.

I can’t overestimate the importance of Steps 2 and 5. We were both internally in the right place of surrendering a sense of having to have a relationship, but God helps those who help themselves. Tim admits he would have never thought to reconnect with me after all those years. Yet, he was the one who kept all the pictures from our ‘tween-age romance. He was keeping some sort of psychic channel open, even though he didn’t realize it—and it worked!

Once You’ve Got a Hot Prospect

Other than letting it grow into whatever it’s supposed to be—a friendship, romance, marriage, or a brother/sisterly bond—I think there’s a very important question to ask. Do you really like each other?

A good relationship, in my personal experience, is far more about friendship than any other type of love. Yes, I’m a romantic married to a romantic whose goal is to tell me every day that he loves me. Everyday living with its moments of anger, frustration, and annoyance are where you need that romanticism most to remind you why you were drawn to this person in the first place.

I can’t assume because you’re over 50 that you already know this. Physical attraction can so often be mistaken for love. I am embarrassed at how many times I did so in retrospect. There’s nothing like the early months of relationship—hot sex, romance, and your projections going wild all over one another. But basing a long-term relationship on body heat is a big mistake, especially if you don’t bother to find out how you like that person out of bed. With jobs, possibly kids, projects and just the demands of modern life, even people with the world’s biggest libidos are unlikely to spend more than 5 or 10% of their relationship in the bedroom. Why choose a partner based only on that factor?

For some of us, as we age, hormone levels decrease and take the edge off the need to compromise who we are in order to have sex. As a younger woman, I couldn’t count times I didn’t stand up for myself or smoothed over tensions so we’d still “be in the mood” on any given night in any one of my “wrong” relationships. My “loves” were almost always driven by physical attraction first, and everything else second. Hopefully, if your passions haven’t waned even a little, you’ve evolved to the point that the friendship and spiritual aspects of relationship are important to you. That’s when we’re willing to be a lot more discreet about taking that first step into the bedroom or stepping into it anytime later, when things aren’t right between you. Smothering conflict for any reason, including sex, is how you lose your own power in a relationship, bit by bit.

Big hormonal needs as a younger woman took me places I would never have gone with rational forethought. We’re designed that way for perpetuation of the species. But, remember, we’re past child-bearing age. Sometimes, I swear, the oddest combinations of people seem necessary in the short-term for karmic reasons and/or to bring children into the world with a specific genetic make-up. One of the blessings of being over 50 is that there’s no other reason to be in a relationship except for your own reasons. This is liberating!

Help from Our Flower Friends

Because they work on emotions, flower essences are powerful allies in the tricky world of relationship where both head and heart need to be balanced for happiness. Here are some suggestions to match typical issues that come up, especially for mid-life lovers and beyond.

Bleeding Heart (FES) **– Never got over a specific relationship in the past; or having difficulty with a recent relationship that didn’t work out. You haven’t completed grieving. You can’t “move on.”

Swiss Glacier Essence (Ancient Forest) Melts any hardening that has congealed around the heart, great for people who still bear pain and scars from past relationships who want to heal and open up to love again.

Celtic Healing Springs (Ancient Forest)  Helps us awaken from illusion or preoccupation with our own story. Promotes grounding and wholeness. Good for those trying to be less dreamy about love and open to more grounded, life-affirming relationships.

Self-Heal (FES)– Another good one for past relationship hurts when it’s more a question of the cumulative hurt than one relationship in particular. Still, Self-Heal works well as a “binder” with many other essences and would enhance Bleeding Heart or any of the others in combination.

Impatiens (Bach, Healing Herbs) – Impatient about getting a relationship; trouble trusting the universe to bring it to you when the time is right

Shooting Star (FES) – A sense of alienation and not fitting in, perhaps because you’re single and have many married friends or acquaintances. Feeling you’re “too different” to find the right partner.

Sunflower (FES) – This essences is good if you’ve still got dad issues, but it’s also good for “being you,” that essential pre-requisite for becoming part of a dynamic duo. If you’re concerned about losing yourself or feel yourself slipping in a relationship, a round of Sunflower can put you back on track.

Mariposa Lily (FES) – Often called “mother love in a bottle,” this essence also handles any bottled-up, unfinished issues with your mom. When we are not at peace with our primary nurturer, assuming Mom held that job, it’s hard to nurture—or be nurtured—by others in a loving relationship.

The Monkeyflowers (FES) work on fears of intimacy. Try Pink Monkeyflower when you’re afraid to tell someone you’re true feelings or feel too vulnerable to take the risk. Sticky Monkeyflower is better when the fear of intimacy is specifically sexual, whether from fear of getting too close or past traumatic experiences involving sexuality.

Crab Apple (Bach, Healing Herbs) may stave off feelings of fading beauty or not feeling “enough” as you look for love in midlife or beyond.

Clematis (Bach, Healing Herbs) - Good choice, if you’re still too dreamy and romantic and your feet aren’t on the ground. Especially good to take at the beginning of a relationship where you think s/he might be the one.

Love: “Reality, What a Concept!” ~ Robin Williams

While my current marriage certainly has its shot of Neptune and romanticism, it is as real as it gets as far as the gifts of mature relationship. We are honest, loving, faithful, and loyal as puppy dogs to each other. (I shouldn’t have gotten so mad when we were kids and they called it puppy love. Puppies have some great qualities that make love work. And let’s face it, licking someone’s face can’t hurt!)

Our marriage isn’t as wild or heart fluttering as some of the romances of my youth; yet, it is so much more. It’s grounded, real, there for me—and something I would never trade for another one of those high adventures. We say, “I like you” almost as often as “I love you.” We are friends and family to each other.

Thanks to Hollywood, we are sold a bill of goods on what love is. To be truly happy, we have to stop making relationship “our everything” and become more realistic in our expectations. Fulfillment is your job, not your partner’s, although s/he may be part of what makes you happy. Love has many forms, and it’s probably the most important aspect of life where we shouldn’t put all our cookies in one basket. Imagine the pressure of being someone’s everything! No wonder the starry-eyed get dumped.

Sometimes we don’t even know it when real love is staring us in the face. Good example: If you caught the PBS Masterpiece Classics version of Jane Austen’s Emma. Who did Emma end up with? I’ll avoid a spoiler in case you haven’t seen it yet and still want to—but you can be sure it wasn’t the most exciting guy by Hollywood standards, but rather the one she never realized she had slowly but surely fallen in love with. It was predictable from the earliest scenes, yet fascinating to watch unfold. How many of us are missing someone right under our noses?

Speaking of noses, taking your rose-colored glasses off yours, now and then, might be the best thing you could ever do to find true love. This is especially true as you become more mature and more in touch with what makes life joyful. Take notice of people with similar values, looking in the same direction. Just be yourself and go places where you can meet people automatically, instead of in a contrived way. Awaken to those dynamic laws of attraction mentioned in Your Cosmic Tractor Beam. If you do, attracting the right person for you will be nearly inevitable. Less longing, more living. Dating services work for some people, I suspect in direct proportion to honesty and self-knowledge.

And when you know yourself that well, you’re on your cosmic beam. Love would have happened anyway, regardless of the mechanics.


*Note: JuliaAna gave permission to share her name and e-mail excerpt.

** Links to essence manufacturers are made on first mention only.

Photo Credit: HAPPY COUPLE IN THEIR 50'S Creativest... Dreamstime.com

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