I have been lucky enough now, to have been in a wonderful relationship for just over two years. We are, as a couple going from strength to strength and both see our long term future being together.
Now I am not writing this in order to brag, even though I feel a tad justified in doing so. The reality is, that rightly or wrongly our society expects relationships to progress in certain ways.
It is inevitable, that questions begin to emerge regarding the direction of your relationship and where it is heading in the long term. If I am honest I feel that it can be a healthy thing to be self appraising of your relationship.
For the most part this self appraising is quite simple, "Do I love my partner, Do I see us together for the long term and Am I happy?". I think we are all aware that open communication is crucial for any relationship and ensuring your expectations are the same is part of that communication.
Obviously for any long term relationship to work, you both need to be on the same page regarding your future together. Do you want to move in together, Do you wish to get married and even if you would like children together are all things that will need to be discussed.
All too often your family and friends will make assumptions based upon their own personal beliefs regarding these issues. Many will assume that you intend to marry or that you will move in together.
So it is vital that couples discuss these things with each other before facing the barrage of questions and expectations from friends and family. My partner and I have of course discussed such matters and found, not to our surprise, we are in total agreeance.
Even as someone in his 50's, it would appear that many, if not most people, assume our relationship goals would include cohabiting sooner rather than later. But in our case this is something which we are in no rush to be doing.
Make no mistake, I absolutely love spending every possible moment with the woman I love. Some of the best times as a couple are the little moments of domesticity, things like sitting together watching your favourite TV programs, eating breakfast together or sharing a mid afternoon coffee.
However, having your own homes does not mean you cannot share these wonderful moments together. In fact it makes the times you do so, all that more special, so by not living together we do not take these moments for granted.
We spend a lot of time together, weekends, some evenings and Public Holidays for instance and we make the most of those times. However the more mundane times, the times that we are not at our best or most sociable, we can spend in our own space.
As we both live alone, we have all the benefits of living alone, coupled with all the wonderful aspects of being in a loving relationship. We live about a 30 minute drive from each other so it is no issue to jump in the car to offer a hug or shoulder to cry on if needed or simply call in for a coffee and chat.
I do shift work with 12 hour shifts, when on days I wake at 4:40 am, when on nights I stumble into bed at 7:00am, long days such as this see me at best, non-sociable. As a teacher, Fi works at home most week nights and often until quite late.
Now because of my shift pattern, I can get away with being non-sociable on work days because I live alone and have a 6 day break between working weeks. Whereas Fi can work at home without feeling as if she is ignoring me and gives her the opportunity to focus on all her work tasks. This allows us to give our undivided attention to each other when we are together.
Neither of us are ignorant to the fact that from a fiscal perspective, living together and only paying one mortgage and set of household expenses makes a lot of sense. However, at least for now, this is of lesser importance than our building a relationship with a strong foundation and ensuring we will be spending the rest of our lives with each other.
So do not allow societal expectations to dictate how you conduct your relationship, instead do what you both feel is the right thing for you as a couple. And remember, when it comes to your living arrangements, the question may well be "Your place or mine?", but the answer may well be Both!
Just before turning 50, I met and began dating a wonderful lady and now, upon looking back over the past months of our burgeoning relationship, I can clearly see a change in my activities and interests.
Well, kind of. The past few months have seen me partake and experience things that I have always found interest in but never really been willing to fully indulge.
I have always been of the opinion that a healthy relationship be it old or new, is a partnership that takes the both of you in a new direction. Each of you have been traveling your own unique pathway, however as you enter into a relationship a new path with influences from the both of you emerges.
To continue down your own path would require your new partner to relinquish all of what makes them an individual and in doing so would result in an unhealthy, dangerous and ultimately doomed relationship and of course vice versa.
My new shared path has been one which, alone I may have caught glimpses of from my own trail, but certainly not one in which I would have wandered down alone. Naturally I am finding this new shared path a beautiful place to be and as I stroll down it hand in hand, I yet again find I am learning more about myself.
New experiences are part of your journey of self discovery and even at 50 there are things to learn. Part of what I am learning is a new found interest in things that I never really allowed myself to indulge in, as well as interests that I had long forgotten.
I am of course the very same person, with the same likes and dislikes I have always had. However, what has changed has been the order of preference.
Rarely would I indulge in the luxury of going out for breakfast, however my new path has me working through a list of local places that are known for their breakfast menus. As someone who enjoys quality food, I have always liked the idea of going out for breakfast more often, however previous circumstances in my life did not lend itself to doing so, now however I do so regularly.
So what changed? Well the answer to that is that I am now very happily seeing someone. Someone for whom going out for breakfast is not unusual. So now the question is, Am I blindly being led along, joining her as she continues to walk down her path or have we forged a new road of our own, one which has formed through compromise and mutual likes?
The truth is that I am now able to indulge my wanting to eat breakfast out more often due in part because it is a mutual interest. I should add that my new found interest in eating out for breakfast has seen my lovely lady breaking her routine and eating breakfast out more frequently and at differing places, so it is safe to say we are walking down a path of our own making.
My new relationship has not been all about stuffing our faces with breakfast goodies. Whilst I have always had an untrained interest in the Arts, going to small gallery exhibitions was something I would very rarely do.
Not so much through a lack of interest on my behalf but rather a lack of an interested second party. As a result, such cultural exploits were generally further down my list of things to do. Now however, I have a partner with very similar interests we have been to several exhibitions both large and small.
I must say it has been a great joy to see and discuss varying works of art together, regardless of whether we like it or not or even fully understand and appreciate it.
I was lucky enough to recently see an exhibition that I rate as one of the best art exhibitions both large and small I have ever seen. (For those of you in Perth W.A. I highly recommend going to "Revealed Exhibition:New and Emerging WA Aboriginal Artists" at the Fremantle Arts centre, whilst it is on)
This was an exhibit that I would not have seen before, aside from the fact I rarely went to exhibitions, we were unaware it was on and simply decided to go and see if there was anything on we would like to see. Again, something that alone we may not have done but together we did.
The point of today's blog is not to brag about my new relationship or how cultural I am, but to emphasis the point that with any new and healthy relationship it is normal for you to seem to change a little. A new relationship will bring aspects of yourself to the surface that may have been forgotten, whilst other things, once a big part of your life may be pushed to the background.
It is all part of the ride and learning process. Not only will it strengthen your relationship but it will allow you to experience life by walking down a different and more interesting path than you were before.
Divorced and nearly 50 I rediscovered who I was.