By Teresa G. D’vall
Usually a book of Stephen King’s short stories is a distraction that cures any unsettling emotion but I’ve put it down twice now in favor of my stylus. Trying to sort out how I feel by writing is an exercise I’ve engaged in for years and never failed at, till now.
I have found myself in the peculiar predicament of accidentally and unexpectedly, falling madly in “something” with a man who I’ve known for less time than I care to admit here.
I’m happier than I’ve ever felt with anyone but also, terrified. And, a little frustrated, at deviating from my carefully crafted “Die alone” plan.
How is it possible to feel so good, and so confused, at the same time?
Falling in love at 48 is both exhilarating & exhausting, certain & uncertain, it’s the best feeling you never thought you’d have again.
I was married a long time & survived a bitter divorce, raised 2 out of my 6 kids & just became a Grandma for the first time. I finally reached a point of complete satisfaction in my life, even though I wasn’t in a relationship.
Then, the other shoe dropped.
Steve keeps telling me that the feelings we’re having are destined to be ruined by a shoe. His theory is that people tend to hide their worst qualities in the beginning of a relationship then they surface slowly, over time. This is when “the other shoe drops” and you decide if it’s something that can be worked through or not.
I believe that at our age, we’ve tried on enough shoes to know better. I’ve always been genuine and would rather confess all my flaws immediately. I stand in front of the fridge with the door open while I sip seltzer. Never made a meatloaf the same way twice. My toothpaste looks like a maniac squeezed it from every end.
Steve likes to hunt, fish, play cards & have more than one beer during a football game. I grew up around all of that & laughed at the notion any of it could be a shoe.
He and I have been looking for this shoe a blissfully short time, wondering why we feel like lovesick teenagers. We’ve both experienced enough in past relationships to know what’s not real. When there’s no chemistry, conversations struggle or you just don’t click, it’s easy to understand how you feel.
We’ve been talking & laughing effortlessly from the moment we locked eyes on one another. A recent text between us went like this:
Me: When do you want to get together again?
(Even though we just parted after spending time together every day the previous week)
Him: Tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday…I want to see you every day. I can’t explain it. I won’t try. I’m happy when you are with me.
He keeps saying everything I feel, which is making it difficult to convince myself that there is a shoe to be found. I am so unbelievably happy with Steve that I actually started googling things like “falling in love to fast when you’re old”
Surprisingly, this has not been helpful. If anything, it confirmed what I already suspected. Falling in love is easier when you’re old. Damn it.
Larry Carlat author of “Why Middle Age is the Best Time to Fall in Love” says this about older love:
“The best way I can describe it is that it feels at once effortless and rock solid, unbearably light with unfathomable depth, surprising yet richly deserved, like we first met and have known each other forever.”
Jackie Pilossoph, Editor in Chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, and author of What It Is Like To Fall In Love After 50 says:
“It was so totally unexpected, but the new relationship had all the components one needs/wants for love: respect, trust, likability, attraction, chemistry and a lot of laughter. I felt like he just got me, and there was something about this whole thing that felt very very right. Over 4 years later, those same components are not only there, but they are stronger.”
I say, the hardest part about falling for someone fast when you are old enough to be wise about it is that you want to be together all the time, but can’t. And that feeling sucks.
We both established our lives long ago, own a house, have kids with routines who are still in school. Even though it feels like we’ve been together a long time, we haven’t, so living together is not an option yet but saying good bye at the end of the day makes both of us..sad.
Missing someone who’s rekindled feelings you thought were lost forever is both wonderful and frustrating. Still, we both agree that looking forward to seeing someone again is a feeling we want to hold onto.
I don’t know if Steve and I will find a shoe but if one exists, I’ll do whatever’s necessary to make it fit.
It remains to be seen whether the smile that keeps appearing on my face as I drive alone in the car or shop for groceries will be around forever.
One thing is certain, spending the day smiling at the thought of seeing someone again feels good at any age.
Waiting on forever has never been more exciting.