Up until eighteen months ago I had been a woman with two marriages and two divorces and a long-term live-in relationship behind me. It had been nine years since the previous relationship and I had not begun to consider the possibility of a relationship in the future – after all I was 53 years old, too old for a new relationship? Right? I was just arriving at menopause – was there life after this?
I felt I had ‘burnt out’ with relationships - and I was ‘burnt out’ in life too, in that I had been a ‘career woman’ striving for success since I was 17 years old, had studied hard and was always on some mission or another.
My body was tired and depleted. I felt vulnerable and fragile and I knew this was a time for me to get to know myself, and truly recuperate. Through the support of Universal Medicine and Esoteric Women’s Health I was able to feel the way I had been living my life to that point, and over the next eight years I learnt a lot about life, and myself as a woman. I then spent fifteen months living with two women friends and during this time I continued to learn a lot more about myself in the company of women. I was discovering what it was like to share a living space with others and participate in the unfolding relationships between us. In that time I never really considered the possibility of a relationship with a man.
Then one day, I saw a man whom I had never met, and for the first time in nine years I stopped in my tracks – he felt beautiful. Was it okay to feel like this? Wasn’t I too old? What then happened was interesting, as I actually thought that during those nine years when I had not been in a relationship with a partner, that I had healed all my issues about men! Not so! I realised then and there I had undealt with issues related to men, and I suddenly found my head had hundreds of questions – was this man married? Did he have children? What was his current situation? Where did he work? How old was he? Where did he live?
The list was endless like some over active chatterbox in my head, so here it was, the ‘handbag list’ - a list of questions like I was going to go and interview this man!
When we actually did meet we chatted together a little at that time. Then for a few months we didn’t speak at all by phone or meet (as we lived in two different countries), we just shared emails where we naturally and without judgment started to share our relationship histories and issues we still felt we each held about relationships, sex, being a man or being a woman, our life stories with our families and our preferences and loves about life.
This was a deeply loving process, and took the time it needed – some days we exchanged more emails than others, some days none. We chipped away, supported one another, and learnt a lot in the process, not just about ourselves and one another, but about relationships and intimacy too. It felt like this opened up the space between us. For the first time in my life I felt revitalised about relationships … we both did!
Some months later as the emails continued, I realised that I adored this man, and even though we lived in different countries and I had no idea what lay ahead, I needed to express this. A day or so later I received an email back that confirmed what I felt and we both agreed to commit to a relationship, on the basis that it was about learning to develop a true evolving relationship, and we would learn all the way together, and that the bigger picture was that if the relationship were to gather momentum it was for humanity and not for us exclusively. This felt like something new, and I kept pinching myself ‘was this for real?’ Was it okay to have a sense of such intimacy, to adore another, and to feel joy and playfulness? And we hadn't even begun a physical relationship!
Whilst I felt over the moon, along came a new wave of un-dealt with issues that I hadn’t considered up until that time.
I hadn’t been to bed with a man in a decade, no one but the practice nurse at my clinic had seen my body naked (for a pap smear), and I hadn’t had a bikini wax during that time period.
A mountain of questions came up, this time about me – I didn't know if I snored while I slept, I had self worth issues whereby questions came up for me e.g. Was I good enough? Did I even know how to kiss? Did I need to invest in some new underwear? And in the following weeks even though I was feeling vulnerable, by talking things through openly with this man, by phone and email, I developed a deeper relationship with myself, and with this beautiful man.
The first time we met physically I was pretty nervous. We met at a hotel – was it crazy in our mid-late fifties to be doing this? But, it felt different from any other relationships I had had – this one where fragility and vulnerability and sensitivity were okay. Because we both felt that way, it supported a delicate, tender unfolding process over the months that followed. This was the beginning of a deepening intimacy in relationship with myself, with my new partner and with everyone around us.
Each time I let my partner in more deeply I realise I have let the world in more deeply, each time I allow his tenderness in I allow the tenderness of all men in, each time I feel more fragile and more sensitive I am like this in the rest of my life, and each time I deepen my expression, I deepen it with everyone around me.
The learning is brilliant - from feeling the tender touch of a man, to physical intimacy that is deeply tender, from feeling joy and silliness, to realising the responsibility we have when we are with another. Whatever we do, say or think has a ripple effect way beyond our relationship. From feeling my delicateness as a woman and beginning to learn to be able to surrender to the tenderness of a man even in the most fragile or vulnerable of moments, to feeling how connected we all are in the world even when we are not physically in the same location is magical. There are times in our day when we both feel something – and we may be hundreds of miles apart physically – and when we talk in the evening we realise that we both felt it at the same time.
We went swimming together for the first time and we swam naturally side by side like two dolphins flipping in the water – we knew innately how to swim side by side without the fear of banging into one another. More and more we find that others want to spend time with both of us – as we bring a quality of a relationship that others in our lives enjoy.
Both of us have our own rhythm and we have a rhythm together too, which we continue to learn about every day – and both of us are finding our own expression in the world including the way we each dress or have our hair cut, or in the work we are each doing. Every day is a learning.
I am aware I still have issues about relationships and men to let go of, and I am enjoying the learning process. If anyone had said to me a relationship of this quality was possible at any time of my life, let alone at the ripe age of 55 (which I now am) I would have doubted it was possible.
Yet, it is possible, absolutely so. And it is absolutely okay to begin to develop and deepen intimacy, to explore a physical relationship, to learn the difference between having sex and making love, to feel fragile, vulnerable, or sensitive. This all came for me in the dawning of my elder years.
Jane K., UK