I Waited Too Long to Leave…

I didn’t admit it until now, until I read a great love story. Even though it had a tragic ending, he loved her with all his heart and she him. She was loved back.

I spent over 47 years with a man who was not capable of loving me back, but I didn’t know it. Kept trying to fix it, to make it work, but narcissism breaks their heart, makes it unable to hold love, to feel love. They can revel in possessing you for a while, but they can’t love you. Not truly.

I didn’t know about narcissism, about the backlash of his childhood abuse, of the genetic threads of this disorder that made it impossible for him to love me back.

I did leave…finally. I’ve redefined my life. I enjoy being single. Most days I smile and am grateful for my friends and family. I’m grateful for them at this moment, but I’m so very sad to realize I stayed so long I may have missed the chance to be truly loved in this lifetime.

I know…many will say it isn’t over. I may stumble across the love of my life yet, but they don’t know that I stopped looking for love. In five days I’ll be seventy. A young, active, alert, vibrant seventy, but my age still lands me in an age specific dating pool. If I date younger…I’m shorting both my lover and myself, because in ten years I’ll be eighty, unable to defy the signs that I aged into my jackpot years.

Those of us fortunate to reach our eighties and beyond must let go of being sensual, of turning heads, of hearing someone say, “nice ass”. We’re beyond that, but wow…it’s hard to let that go.

I fear I’m moving into those decades as an ‘older woman’ who waited too long…so long I will never be loved like the women in romance novels or movies whose man values her more than himself, will protect and love her with all he has.

Nope. I don’t look up or look back at men I pass these days, because men in my age appropriate dating pool, the ones that still glance at me as I walk away, want a companion who needs time, patience and persistence to fulfill their waning, but ever present desires.

Without passion, devotion and love, this becomes a job. An expected performance. Any wonder I seek the fun, laughter and ease of going out with girlfriends? Have I outgrown my yearning for love, for a man who too has aged, who is no longer able to physically fulfill or protect me? I don’t need him to provide for me…and these days, the perks are not enough to lure me into the game again.

I’m sad and sorry I waited so long to leave.

This will pass. I’ll muster my resources and again be grateful for my health, my family, friends and the life I enjoy. I’ll be glad I moved into the last trimester of my life with my independence. I did stand up…finally, and it felt good. Still feels good. I’m proud of myself, but…

Sometimes it’s okay to rip off the scabs and be brutally honest. New skin heals old wounds. I am grateful that I’m out, away from the drama, rejection, his tempers and contempt. I don’t regret leaving…not for a second.

I just wish I hadn’t waited quite so long.

2 comments on “I Waited Too Long to Leave…

  1. Well, this just made me sad and a little bit afraid I’m being honest too. I’m 60 and your right the dating pool is so small, I honestly don’t want to be alone, not saying marriage AGAIN. But a friend, lover, partner. You are my hero… I reread your book often please at least tell me your ex is old looking and miserable. Your still attractive and an accomplished author, I call BS on you not finding a special man yet. I know you don’t need a man to define us I know all that. But I want one a good one.

  2. Well…you made me smile. I was hesitant to publish that post when I was a bit down, but reminded myself I promised to be honest with my readers. Leaving, redefining my life, has been so rewarding…new friends and adventures. I do wake most mornings with a smile, welcome the day and its activities. I’m rarely lonely and know we all are at times, whatever our circumstances. But…there are also moments like the one I wrote about, when I have to dive back inside myself and determine what I really want.

    This post came after half a dozen dates with a very nice man about six years older. He’s in great shape, active, took me to see McCartney LOL Great time! Several other enjoyable dates followed…but he definitely had an agenda. I thought this is exactly what I wanted, someone to go out with who would make no emotional demands, just fun and independence, passion, but I realized I’m still learning about myself. I’m evolving as I grow more solid on this journey.

    Without an emotional bond, I’m not ‘all in’. Passion becomes pretend. I began to look forward to him leaving, more than in seeing him again. Once I admitted this to myself, I had a moment of evaluating just where my relationship future was headed…hence the post. I woke the next morning without the melancholy, made plans with girlfriends and am back on a very happy track.

    You asked about my ex…I saw him the end of May at our grandson’s graduation. He looked so thin, older than I remember, and I don’t get the impression he’s deliriously happy. He wanted to talk, wanted me to sit by him, wanted me to walk outside to say goodbye when he left (he hadn’t brought his new wife to the party). I was heartened because I felt no emotional tugs, either good or bad. I was cordial, then moved on to visit with others, was not interested or compelled to engage him personally. Way cool, by the way 🙂

    I’m reminded that my mother married the love of her life when she was 73. They shared 13 happy years together before he passed away. I think all my recent introspection has made me less afraid of falling in love if the circumstances were right. Before, I was afraid of losing someone I loved again. Somehow that fear has subsided. I’d take the risk…but refuse to wait for it to happen.

    I want to be content and happy on my own…and I am. Though I do stumble once in a while (as the post testifies) I regain my balance very quickly.

    I’d like to send my very best wishes to you on your journey. We both need to be proud that we had the courage to tackle beginning again. I totally quake at the thought of ‘what if I was still with my ex’ and that’s enough to make me grateful as hell I made the jump.


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