People ask about dating as a Formerly, and I can’t speak to that from personal experience. So when Karen offered her perspective on love and sex as a Formerly, I was grateful. (Karen actually used to babysit me when I was around 6 and she was 12…remember when that few years was like a generational divide? Now it’s nothing.) Here’s her piece. Enjoy!
Sometime after dreading the inevitable 40th birthday, I felt the onset of a strange optimism, a renewed confidence. It was just after 9/11. I remember the feeling of helplessness as I watched the tragic events of that day unfold like millions of others from a TV screen. I was living in DC, but as an ex-New Yorker, it was especially painful to not be there to help.
Those few hours would change everything for me; specifically my perspective on what really mattered in life. Time was suddenly precious. I felt as if my new life was just starting and this new outlook affected how I thought about dating. I no longer needed those barriers I had put up that suggested cynicism and insecurity. It was about approaching dating again with the same innocence and excitement of youth, and discarding as a load of crap that notion that your 40’s were considered middle age and all downhill.
What I didn’t anticipate was becoming a mother at 41–a single-mother. Finding myself pregnant with a less than ecstatic prospective father, I resigned myself to parenting alone. I took a deep breath and was thankful that age and maturity would be my guide. Somehow, I would survive as I always had, but never would I have imagined that becoming a single-mom late in life would fill a void—one that apparently eliminated my need for sex and intimacy…for seven years!
Last year, my son ordered me back into circulation with a thumbs-up. The sense of freedom to have a sexual existence again was exhilarating and empowering, as well as a bit foreign. I was 48 by then and had briefly entertained the notion that I might not be as alluring as I had once been as a Formerly Hot twenty-something. These doubts were very soon dispelled. Shortly after posting a profile on a popular online dating site, along with a few of my best photos, I was floored by the barrage of male attention and the extent to which I was pursued (much more so than in my ‘hot’ youth.)
Dating at this age was a revelation. I loved the attention, but didn’t worry about where each date would lead. I learned, among other things, that sex without love could be still be loving and passionate. I knew what I didn’t want and didn’t waste my time with those that fell short. I had always been no-nonsense (clearly my New York upbringing), but something about getting older and the realization that your prime years are limited, force you to say what you mean and what you feel, skipping the mind games altogether. Clearly that aura of confidence showed.
One of the best suprises: Sex had become infinitely better than ever before, because of experience, independence, and frankly, just not giving a damn.
October 4, 2010 at 11:37 pm
wow, really encouraging……a kind of “just go for it” and why not? life is short., and as fun as you let it be………btw, i like part about just not giving a damn…..
October 5, 2010 at 11:28 am
Hey there Karen!
Spoken like a true Scarlet starlet! Being the age that you were when your tiny little blessing introduced himself, I can relate to what you’re expressing completely! Although I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for the last ten years, there was a new sense of invigoration at the turning ‘downhill’ at 40. A sense of wanting to be free and not wasting any time was all consuming. Of course, I directed that sexual energy towards creative genius instead! (-;
October 5, 2010 at 4:17 pm
Good for you! Enjoyed reading your post. Im not yet 40….but hormones have somewhat sent me into ‘that’ way of thinking – ie…realising that life IS too short and what not…and also realising that its OUR life…no rehearsal..so to live it to THE full! I wouldnt change being ‘nearly 40’ for the world. I feel so much more at ease with myself, my life, etc..Okay, hormone imbalances following the birth of my son have spun me around something shocking BUT Ive gotten as far as I have and I feel great. Not sure whay MY formerly will be just yet but Im sure something will jump out at me….! Until then………..!
J X (firstname.lastname@example.org)
October 6, 2010 at 3:34 am
hi again karen/steph. I made an error in my blog address and as shown on the end of my comment. The correct one is :- http://www.womanonthevergeoftheperimeni.blogspot.com J X
October 8, 2010 at 11:37 am
You’re the coolest aunt ever, I fucking love you Karen!
October 8, 2010 at 11:41 am
In my opinion ladies get ‘hot’ after they get a little older and know what they want. It is very refreshing to meet and know ‘older’ women that are a breath of fresh air, can hold a great converstaion, and enjoy life for what it has to offer at that moment. Currently Hot should be the real name of this blog 🙂 !!!!!!
October 18, 2010 at 11:26 am
When I was single again after a long marriage and in the dating world it was intimidating. After my first lunch date I was happy to discover the playing field had leveled a bit because the head in my pants wasnt bossing the head on my sholders around so much. Also having the mindset that I dont really know the person I just met and have no obligation to her other than to try and make it fun. I figured most of the woman posting a profile online were after the same thing I was, deep down.
A soul mate. Someone to trust and love and be loved back.
I had fun with it and would arrange get to know each other lunch dates (Dutch). If it didnt work out at least I got to eat some food with a person of interest. After the “date” there were a few senarios that followed. She thought i was an obnoxious fool and she never wanted to see me again, I thought she smelled and never wanted to see her again, or we both liked each other and wanted a second date. After awhile I was dating 2 woman at a time. And narrowed it down to one. I’ve been with her happily ever since 2004.
October 24, 2010 at 8:07 pm
Very well written with honest insight into what is important to you at this time in your life. I agree, you don’t have to be in love to have a meaningful connection with someone.