Multiples on this, Kris. At a time when so many of my peers are either dealing with late-in-life divorce, widowhood or loneliness, I installed my BF in my basement. You’ve inspired a story or two. Very late-in-life love- I’m 65- with someone 17 years my junior is a fascinating process. We’ve been off and on for going on eleven years. In that time I’ve been through the fascination, preoccupation pieces. We are now learning how to be friends, which is the one piece we never had the chance to build since lust (considerable) has been such a sideshow. We still have the lust. We are now working on the very hard bits. A week after he moved in I went through an awful surgery which he saw me through, and now he’s going through an awful time at work. In every single way I embrace those very experiences as we are learning each other’s character, backbone, and commitment. The idealized notion of love doesn’t exist. This is hard damned work. But by the same token, walking each other through the various disappointments, letdowns, and life’s vicissitudes forces us to watch, observe, appreciate and occasionally disappointed by each other’s humanity. What it’s done is solidify what was already there while also building out greater appreciation for new discoveries. I heartily agree with your point that we find each other in the valleys. Without them, we have no clue who our partner is. I heard someone claim that everything was SO GREAT “because we never argue” and thought, that’s gonna be a problem. My BF and I don’t argue per se in the traditional sense of the word, but we do engage in what can be exquisitely uncomfortable conversations about how one or the other of us has shown up. The willingness to listen, consider rather than deny, take into account and respect each other’s viewpoints and process through those differences is what builds trust. Without that there is no love. By definition, any piece of steel that hasn’t been trusted is not part of the foundation. Great article.