Lifestyle & Culture

Late Dates #8: True Love?


By Grace Cooper

“And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.”

Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare 

I RECONNECTED with a dear friend at a party she hosted the other night and as the last guests were leaving, she pulled me aside to talk. Last year, two years out from her husband’s death after a long illness, she asked me to teach her how to date. We discussed the pros and cons of online dating, but when she finally decided to give it a try, I helped her choose flattering photos and edited her expository essay as well. And then she launched herself into the fantasy universe of Match.

Periodically the two of us would get together to share stories about mostly disappointing dates, but it became awkward between us when we realized that we’d been dating the same men on more than one occasion. At that point we agreed to stop discussing men, but it left a hole in our friendship to have to dance around that fun topic.

So when I saw her the night of her party, she was practically bursting with excitement to tell me that she’d met “the one.” I held my breath when she revealed that he lived 500 miles away! They’d met sailing, at a marina in a town on the seashore where both owned summer homes. Over the course of a few months of dating, they’d both fallen “in love,” or more likely in a state of limerence and lust, but who am I to judge? 

Rather than weigh in on the psychology of long-distance relationships, I simply listened as she bubbled over with happiness and excitement, noting that her very physical appearance changed the more she spoke of their plans for the future. Then she said this, “the only fear I have is that he’s so much older than I am.”

Ah, the fear that love will die is so ingrained into our psyche by this stage of life. She has experienced the angst of ushering her husband of 35 years through a long painful illness until he finally passed. Yet, the desire to live and to love again must be honored. So rather than throw cold water on the embers of romantic passion, I encouraged her to throw herself into the flames. 

“Go for it! I’m so happy to see you so happy!” I said with all the encouragement I could muster for a friend who deserves all the happiness she can wring out of these last years of whatever time any of us have on this Earth. 

The French have a wonderful term for that intimate relationship that jumpstarts the heart and brings one back to life —un coup de foudre— the bolt of lightning. Limerence, lust, or love…whatever it takes to fill your sails, dear heart. “May you have fair winds and following sails.”

—Grace Cooper (a nom de plume) left her long marriage a decade ago, and with it went all sense of her identity—but not for long. Now 67, she has begun chronicling her tales of looking for love in all the wrong places, and unexpectedly finding herself.

3 thoughts on “Late Dates #8: True Love?

  1. Ejs says:

    So there is hope. Lust, limerence, hopefully love. Wonderful!

  2. Nancy G says:

    Lovely story. And so hopeful.

  3. Maureen says:

    What a wonderful story!! I’ve had a similar story though my romance is with a man younger than I. He doesn’t seem to worry about that and all is very well. Love is blind they say — to many things…including age!!

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