In search for a man with True Grit
By Tom P Blake - Finding Love after 50
Andrea, a spiritual coach, who lives outside of metro Atlanta, is a breath of fresh air. She's outspoken, bold and doesn't mince words. She's single and admits she would like a life partner, but only if he's right for her. She has strong beliefs about what she wants and isn't afraid to state them. We share her beliefs with you today.
Andrea said, "I was born and raised in the south and have lived in a few other places. I possess a lot of traditionally southern traits and yet I am also very different. People who have lived in California tell me I am more of a California type of person, and friends from the north tell me I'm a Yankee in a southern suit.
"My liberal friends call me conservative and my conservative friends call me liberal. What I am is a progressive thinker and a free spirit who even at 55 is very youthful and health-oriented. I'm also in good shape and what some would call very pretty. Add to that intelligence and adventurousness and you would think men would be knocking down my door.
"Not the case. I'm a bit of an enigma for a southern woman. Shouldn't be a problem with a major city that is internationally flavored, right?
"A lot of men feel intimidated or threatened by my bubbly personality, intellect and free spirit. Finding that needle in the haystack has been a challenge.
"I want someone who can keep up with me - physically, intellectually and emotionally. I also want one who makes a really good living. A lot of the men I meet in their 50s are damaged goods (as are a lot of women our age) and can't pony up in one department or another.
"Far too many men over 40 become BORING. Or many 50-year-old men are controlling, insecure or looking for their 20-years-younger Barbie doll. I'm not criticizing them. If that's what they want and they can get it, go for it.
"Many middle aged men in the south are looking for a Christian, God-fearing woman. A church-goer. That ain't me. I'm very spiritual and would like someone I connect with spiritually but that's not the same as religion. People don't get that here. I'm doomed for hell.
"Atlanta is a HUGE suburban sprawl. People, me included, don't want to spend an hour driving just to date someone. The burbs are mostly for coupled people and are also more affordable, especially for a single mom.
"I've been single a long time. I've used internet dating as a means to meet people. Singles should assume that EVERYONE is wearing a mask. The sites I have used with most success are eHarmony, Match and Plenty of Fish. The internet has been quite successful for meeting people. Just not THE ONE.
"It is critical to meet someone early on. No use wasting time on someone you don't have chemistry with or who has an annoying habit that would drive you crazy (like clicking their tongue frequently when talking or holding their lips in a funny position or constantly tapping the brakes while driving on the interstate.) There are also the scammers, who I can now spot within minutes of starting an exchange if I didn't as soon as I read the profile.
"It has been a journey. I've made some nice friends, but I still don't have a life partner. I've learned it's much better to be alone than to wish you were. I like myself and enjoy my own company. The right man for me will just be the icing on the cake.
Open about sex
"I really like sex and not having a partner means no sex for me as I can't be a casual-sex partner. Friends-with-benefits hasn't worked for me. That was so much easier when we were younger.
"I prefer to date men around my age or a bit younger because women live longer and I wonder about sexual function in men who are older. I want to be one of those women who has a husband with whom we are still going strong in our 80s, even if it's only once a day. Or two or three times a week. I think good sex is important in a good relationship and serves to bring you closer.
Expand your horizons
"I would suggest women not close themselves off to outside-the-box possibilities but not settle, either. I've recently had several much younger men approaching me, wanting to date."
Tom's note: Andrea meets these men online, at the gym and at Meetups.
"I've decided that as long as they don't have young children (done with that), I'm going to go out and have a good time. I don't think I would seriously consider a long-term relationship with someone much younger, for many of the same reasons I wouldn't consider someone much older, but who knows what wonderful experiences I might have by being open.
"Men who are older just can't keep up with me and I've even had a couple around my age tell me they think I need a younger man because I would kill them.
Advice to women
"Women should just have fun with no expectations. I have a younger male friend who has chosen not to date for now. His reason: too many women have an agenda and there's too much drama. It's also why a lot of those men are now looking at older women. We're more comfortable with whom we are, we aren't looking for a man to complete us and we want no drama."
Andrea has tried matchmaking services and feels they are a waste of time and money.
"As for, who pays? My perspective as a southern woman is if he doesn't offer, he's cheap and probably not a giver. I also rarely do the asking. It's a different thing once we know each other, but not in the beginning. In spite of those liberal and free-spirited things about me, that's where the traditional woman comes in," said Andrea.
Andrea's quest to find a decent relationship reminds me a bit of Kim Darby's determined quest to avenge the death of her father in the 1969 version (much better than the 2010 version) of the movie True Grit, in which Glen Campbell sang the title song with these words: "...the pain of it, will ease a bit, when you find a man with true grit."
For Andrea, let's hope someday she finds her Rooster Cogburn. And if not, she'll still be happy by living as she describes below:
"I want to be that woman who slides into the final stages of life with a bar of dark chocolate in one hand, a glass of wine in the other shouting "Whoo Hoo! What a ride!"
Good for her.