Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Love is Ageless

This a comforting thought for people who tend to hesitate to entertain the possibility of love after reaching a certain age. When does the possibility of enjoying a special relationship based on mutual caring stop in deference to a number? Does the day a person turns 50, 60, or 70 usher out loving connections with the opposite sex?

Evidence gives the lie to this point of view in the actual experience of people over 50. In fact, the latest boomer trend is to use the Internet to find a special someone via technology. According to a recent AARP poll in the last three years there has been a 39% jump in people over 50 seeking companionship through the Internet. The category most clicked on the AARP website is the love and relationship forum.

Literature tells stories of later life romances. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson is a recent, delightful story of a retired British Major and his attraction to and pursuit of Mrs. Ali. Neighbors in the small inbred village in rural England judge the match to be unsuitable. This tale of modern love between mature adults befuddles his son who is as uptight as the neighbors about this “unusual relationship”.

What attitudes can get in the way of accepting oneself as beautiful and desirable? Why do we think wrinkles, a double chin and gray hair are barriers to a relationship? One of the benefits of having added some years is that we stop being dazzled by face and figure, and look instead at the love-filled soul that gazes ardently back at us. There appears a new wondrous possibility - a possibility of feelings that goes far deeper and can be more powerful than the draw of the physical. Love and passion when one ages, can potentially reach levels of depth that younger people rarely discover.

Of course there are the necessary precautions to consider as you pursue a romantic interest. Age isn’t a protector; the same advice given to younger people holds true for mature adults. To protect you and your partner, use condoms. According to the National Institute on Aging about 19 percent of all people with HIV/AIDS in this country are age 50 and older. Because older people don't get tested for HIV/AIDS on a regular basis, there may be even more cases than currently are known. Getting to really know a prospective partner cannot be underestimated and is the first step, a prelude to healthy intimacy.


Photo: "Inseparable"Painting by Aubrey Cummins

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