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Fred's Blog

Who's The Boss?

After speaking with hundreds of boomer age singles, itís apparent to me that one of the most important issues determining the possible union of two people today is the question of whom might be in control.

Many people have been single for years (maybe forever). Many have had numerous marriages and serious relationships. Most wonít change their status unless they have a very, very good idea what that new relationship will look like. Forget about those naÔve years so long ago when couples thought about being ďONE,Ē true partners, inseparable, who melded their wishes, hopes and dreams together. Todayís mature couples, if they are to be a couple at all, will more likely have highly staked out and defined territories. They will each know what they can expect from the relationship, or they will not commit to it. And, each will have distinct areas that they believe will be under their own domain, their control.

If this sounds overly pragmatic, hard-nosed, or self serving, you are right. Iím not saying that romance doesnít or wonít exist. Iím just saying that, for most of these people today, romance tends to be tempered with a heavy dose of reality. And, whether people confess to it or not, taking care of oneself is of very high priority.

Consequently, dating, which most assuredly was more carefree and natural when we were younger, now is more likely to be a series of qualifying interviews. Women are liberated and earners. Men are independent and risk adverse. Women look for security and protection. Men want a steady sexual partner and a supportive ear. We all want something, and sooner than later, we usually make it clear to our dates what will work for us.

Iíve gone on dates that very quickly got to the essentials. Before I could place my appetizer order, Iíve been queried about my financial status, life style and spending habits. Iíve been asked where I live (for the purpose of determining the value of my home), what kind of vehicle I drove, and which hotels and restaurants I frequented. Iím often asked whether Iím retired (they're obviously ready for a three month cruise). I fain hearing loss by answering, ďTired?Ē† There is nothing wrong with seeing whether you are compatible with someone. Itís just a different script than the one I heard 20 to 30 years ago.

The womenís liberation movement of yesteryear did wonders for most women. It certainly helped raise their self-esteem, create more personal freedom, and opportunities to excel in virtually any field.† But, once many women saw themselves as a manís equal (or even their superior), it created an unintended consequence; how hard might it then be to become a true partner in a relationship, or even allow one to be subordinate at times. Once empowered, itís often quite hard to give up control, not to be the boss!

So, todayís older singles want many things from a relationship. For most, they will either get them, or else theyíll stay put. Of course thatís not so terrible. Do you remember the line about the devil that you know versus the devil that you donít know? Iíve met scads of people who have created such an unrealistic wish list that it seems to me that they have predetermined their inability to have a relationship. The bar is set so high, that virtually no one can cross it. Thus, they self-fulfill their failure to have a meaningful, long-term relationship. They content themselves with the notion that what they have is pretty darn good, far better than risking their peace of mind on another person, especially one that they canít control.

One by one Iíve seen contemporaries opt out of ďtraditionalĒ dating. Equality, meeting someone half way, being capable and ready to make compromises, and God forbid, occasionally subordinating your wishes to your partnerís, is not part of their mindset. Self-determination, risk avoidance, safeguarding oneís assets, and protecting oneself against emotional hurt has taken on top priority. When so many today need or want to be the boss, itís a wonder that any two people can make an intimate relationship work.

|  Posted on: 2011-07-01 02:18:08  |  0 Comments  

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