by Bard Lindeman
At age 57, I’m currently dating a wonderful woman who is 29. She was in the same high school as my younger son, but several classes behind him. All this aside, we truly like each other and for three months now have been very happy. Incidentally, I’m divorced.
Is there any advice you can offer that might help us build a life together as husband and wife?
A. Advice to the lovelorn is not a specialty here, but I can report on another affair of the heart where the husband was old enough to be father to his youthful bride.
But first, some general comments on living as partners:
Among my favorite quotations on the subject of romance and love is this, from Blaise Pascal (1623-1662): “The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.” Meaning, very little of what surrounds true love makes sense to others.
Living contently with another adult is an enormous challenge, one that never gets any easier. My wife and I concur: Separate bathrooms helps - a lot.
After the third day under the same roof, it’s said both partners have sufficient grounds for filing for divorce. The trick then is to keep finding reasons to stay together. Put another way: Work at it, buster. Work on your marriage every day.
Understand that not everyone is going to celebrate your being together. In particular, single older women who live alone - and can you blame them? Moreover, alliances where the ages “don’t fit” tend to make news, to turn heads and provoke comments. For example, “Do you and your daughter want another round?”
Instead of being embarrassed, or humbled, take pleasure in your relationship. Author James Salter writes: “There are few things more gratifying than being in the company of someone younger who admires you for your knowledge and is avid to have it shared. If you are lucky, it is a woman.”
Further, on the subject of older/younger lovers, he adds: “The glory of walking in with a young(er) woman … she is a pardon, a second chance.”
Now, lastly, a personal story: Twenty-two years ago, I married Janice Still-Lindeman, my junior by 26 years. The first-born of my three adult children, Leslie William, has said: “Age is an interesting component, but it’s not a defining one. You and Jan are different in many ways, but differences can describe any relationship.”
For his summary comment, he volunteered: “Your bottom line is your love … a mutual love.”
There you have it, friend. Go for it. May you both find your bliss, remembering always that love becomes more precious because it is fleeting.
- “You can get too old to enjoy life. I never got that old.” This was the oldest American, Verona Johnson, of Worthington, Ohio, having fun with Time magazine. The onetime Latin teacher is 114.
- Fact: There are 50,000 centenarians in the United States today.