Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Changing Expectations in Older Years

They say that it's not the same world that it used to be, and anyone that became unexpectedly single in later years knows this to be true.  We think back to how things were before we were divorced.. or even how things were when we were young.  However, neither of those describe the world's values and expectations. Further, we are not the same... our bodies age, and that happens to everyone.

According to a 1960's article.. BEFORE the move away from marriage that we have seen, the odds of being married in later life was increasingly rare..

"By the time a woman is 30, there is about one chance in two she will ever get married and at 40, only one chance in five. By the time she is 50, the chances she will marry are just one in 16, and after 60, her chances drop to one in 62."

According to the NIH, "Over the past quarter century, the share of men ages 50 years and older who are married has declined from 78% in 1990 to 67.3% in 2015."  So, where did the women go.. not to other men apparently, as that would be counted in married.

We see the answer in two sources.  First, see this chart of marital status by age.  In the chart, you will see that the number or married women tops out in their early 40s and goes downward.  After that point, you see them either listed as divorced or "widowed"... but not remarried and counting in the married number.  Also, this Guardian article in 2021 noted the growing number of women that NEVER choose to be married.  There has been s cultural shift where women are taught to not "need" a man.  So, when you are in older.. non child bearing years... there is less desire for them to be married, especially if they have been single for a while without being so.

So... society has changed, and marriage.. especially in older years.. is not a priority, despite all the media out there that would suggest it IS a priority among women.  You should not be holding onto innocent romantic ideals for a family in years after it is likely that you both ALREADY have had kids with a family... or will never have kids.  That goal is over.

I am applying this to my own life, and I am adjusting my own expectations to match both the culture and my own age.  I am removing marriage as a requirement for my future encounters.  Sex is also something that should not be tied to marriage in these older years, either.  I can and do please myself with fantasies about many, and they can do so themselves.  Since marriage is not a high priority, and many do not want that in their future, interaction becomes about fun and discovering gems in others personality... and maybe that freedom from hormonal or society pressure is the real hidden treasure the aging find as they adjust to the realities that we face.


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