And you thought you have it bad. Why do people settle for relationship train wrecks
By Tom P Blake - Finding Love After 50
Last week's column about breakup signals and the importance of effective communication between couples resulted in a variety of responses.
Perhaps there were areas within the column that tapped pent-up feelings individuals have wanted to express for some time. Here are some of the more poignant comments, each followed by a remark by me.
Lee, "Many people, apparently mostly women, are deluded into thinking people in our age bracket can change easily, this is not the case. In many instances the man is listening, but we are too set in our ways (to change).
"Regrettably there are things about myself I'd love to change but can't seem too, and my present relationship, now going on the second year, has made me aware of this.
"Sure there are little things I can (and do) change, but the core of who I am I cannot change at 54. And apparently neither can my partner. We must accept this or leave the relationship.
This is what is referred to as settling for a situation instead of communicating to improve it. Also known as relationship train wrecks.
"I visit NY every year as part vacation, part family. A huge fight developed because my girlfriend's perception is I don't spend enough time with my mom. She's never met my mom and doesn't understand my family's dynamics.
"I don't believe she is correct in scolding me or imposing her family value structure on me. And when I told her my mom purchased me a $200 gift, she scolded me on how I shouldn't allow that.
"This from a woman who was fiscally irresponsible a number of years back in assisting a deadbeat boyfriend and who now uses a daughter's credit card. I didn't throw that back at her but you can bet I was thinking of doing so."
Comment from Tom: Sounds like a relationship train wreck. One to die for. A bickering couple. What I can't comprehend: why do people who don't like each other stay together? Why do people settle for relationship train wrecks? Why does Lee settle for less than he deserves?
Irene differed with Lee's stance on our ability to change: "We can change no matter what our age. We can keep growing. We just have to have the desire. We are not a finished and refined product merely because our hair is silver. Here's to giving our best right to the end."
Comment from Tom: As Lee said, we can change little things. But major dalliances embedded in our character generally won't budge-like being involved in a fantasy football league on Sundays-it's simply addictive and in our blood.
Some who respond request anonymity because they fear their husbands, mates or significant others might read this newsletter, or my columns in the newspaper, and recognize themselves. And because they don’t communicate about their issues, they just hide behind not using a name.
That could be good if it would bring to the surface a problem that's been festering for years, forcing an honest discussion. That being said, here are comments from two people to whom I promised secrecy.
Anonymous I, "Since July, I have dated a widower of three years who consistently talks about his deceased wife and others he has dated, which is a huge turn off. He always walks as though he is running a marathon, and I have struggled in my high heels to keep up with him.
"One time, he was almost out of the restaurant before I left the table. I swore if he ever did that again, I would wait until he came back to get me. He's usually so busy talking, I don't listen anymore, as it's usually a one-sided conversation.
"Needless to say, this friendship is going nowhere fast, but I feel I have given it my best shot."
Tom's comment: Sounds like a relationship in serious need of a gut check. This falls under the category of settling for relationship train wrecks. He is so oblivious, he doesn’t even get it.
Anonymous II: "I look back to time-after-time when I have told my husband what my needs were, and only saw them ignored. It brings on hurt and frustration. One guy and one woman learning something new from your column about responding to their mate's needs would be great."
Tom's comment: If only we could get her husband to read today's column. Otherwise, she is in one of those relationship train wrecks.
Roger shared, "I recently met a new lady. It was just a casual cup-of- coffee thing. A first-time meeting. She was quite cute, in her 60's (a few years younger than I) and perked my interest.
"We were together 30-40 minutes talking over coffee. During that time she received about 30 calls on her cell phone. Needless to say, I didn't pursue another meeting."
Tom's comment: If she had 30 calls in a half hour, that didn't leave much time to get to know each other. Roger's right, leave the friggin' cell phone turned off when you go out on a date, especially a first date. She had no clue and lacks senior dating etiquette.
Regarding last week's message, Larry said, "If I had listened and she had spoken louder, I would still be married to my wonderful first wife."
Tom's comment: Larry's got to be one of the few ones who holds a living ex-spouse in such high esteem. I wonder if she knows.
That's it for this week. The comments from last week were diverse. That's what makes all of you so darn interesting. Avoid those relationship train wrecks.