Hey Wendy,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. It would be fair to say that in some cases, and it genuinely depends, it can be sadder while in a relationship (as was the case with this last love of mine, and that’s too long a discussion to enter into here) because this particular man turned out to be verbally abusive and downright toxic. It would also be fair to say that in many ways I would love to have company. We are in many ways designed to hang out together. That said, the person who complements our idiosyncratic nature can be elusive, especially those of us who have rather out loud personalities, and who live particularly out loud lives. On one hand, this last gentleman, for whom I waited ten very long years, at one level liked those parts of me which were energetic, enthusiastic etc. when he moved in, those were the very things he attacked. We are all at some level a bit messy, and those are the things which demand growth.

I live close to Denver, Wendy. It’s a very active area. I’ve had mixed results and that’s particularly because I’m drawn to a type. As a student of human behavior I’m fascinated by the apparent assumption on the online community that once a woman goes past sixty she loses all her attractiveness, her energy, her lifeblood, sexiness- we become damned near invisible. If there is something “sad,” that would be it. My type is about fifteen years or so younger, athletic like I am, and doesn’t spend his time discussing his various illnesses. My experience on line is that those men I’m attracted to are typically attracted to women half my age. Is that true for all of them? No, but most. At 66, I might as well be invisible, and my age alone sends people running for the hills. That is what’s sad.

Would I like company? Yes. Once in a while. Unlike you, Wendy, I don’t feel that desire to have someone around all the time, and I actually love coming home to an empty house, because it’s very full in other regards. This doesn’t make me right, it makes me different. Would I love someone around every so often? Of course I would. Whether that’s going to happen again is a crap shoot at this point. I’ve certainly put plenty of time in to try to make that happen, working up to three online dating sites at any given time.

It sounds, based on your choice of words here, that a woman alone is sad. You may not intend that, but that appears to be the message. That’s societal conditioning, to my mind. I have spent endless hours assessing, questioning, challenging, and looking while inbetween. What I’ve come to realize is the lie that anyone who is alone is either sad or to be pitied. Rather, there is a genuinely beautiful opportunity to be with ourselves, and those times offer all of us a chance to simply learn to be in life. Nobody is guaranteed a partner, except with the Self, and whatever that is that is sacred that dwells within us. I draw experiences to myself that are there to teach me gratitude for the simply gift of being here. There isn’t someone out there who completes me, as I am complete as I am. While I would appreciate and enjoy good company, it’s not guaranteed, nor is it a terrible thing if I don’t have it. Perhaps ultimately that’s the opportunity here: to be truly patient with whatever process we are in at any given time.

I am of course well aware that there are younger men who like older women. Since that’s been my preference since I turned, thirty, with respect, Wendy, it would be fair to say I have a good bit of experience with that kind of guy. However it would also be fair to say that when women begin to enter a particular age range, the “older woman” piece shifts, because of the societal assumptions around granny age women. That this doesn’t even in the slightest apply to me and my life doesn’t seem to matter. When I meet folks in person, it’s not part of the conversation whatsoever. The prejudices are striking on line. We tend to judge instantly given an age- I admit to doing the same thing myself and have to stop myself in mid stride-and most guys that I’d like to meet politely tell me I’m way too old.

At this point in my mid-sixties, Wendy, the unfortunate message that I get with online dating is that I have stepped over an age boundary that the majority of men find final. They do not envision themselves with a woman my age. You haven’t hit that boundary yet. It’s been highly instructive. My looks and health notwithstanding, we are a society that is terrorized by the aging process and that number appears to frighten the holy shit out of the men who interest me.

This last man wasn’t at all put off by my age, but we met back when I was closer to your age and he was 38. The dynamics are very, very different right now. Are there people out there? Of course. Am I on line now? Of course I am. However, as I do my best to navigate those waters again, it’s both a painful reminder of American ageism as much as it is a very powerful reminder that I need to be very, very happy in my own company first and foremost. Nobody owes me company. I owe myself deep and abiding satisfaction in my own.

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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