Thanks Mary. Here are some things to consider, and keep in mind I am referencing my own situation and doing my best to draw some broader conclusions, so take everything with a very large grain of salt.

First, where there is a big age difference, inevitably you will have experience and perspectives that he doesn’t. He hasn’t earned them yet. And he may never. HIs path is his alone, as is yours, and you can’t do his work for him. I run into the same things with my BF. Every so often he’ll intone something with great gravitas and I have to bite my tongue (oh puhleeze, I learned that decades ago). He doesn’t care. It’s new to him, and he’s trying to be helpful. It would be rude for me to slap that down or diminish it. After all I chose someone much younger. It comes with the territory.

On the other hand, if he is doing something that causes you pain, harm, anger then as with my BF it requires the kind of line in the concrete, not the sand, that says this isn’t working for me. This is part of how we learn to live together. Another way to see this is to ask whether or not you’re being rigid, or if this is feedback about a part of you that you need to look at. Either way there’s an opportunity to negotiate. People either listen or they don’t, they accommodate or they don’t. Cohabitation requires giving up something. Sometimes big things. If that’s required to hang onto someone, then you get to answer the much larger question of How Much of Me Do I Have to Give Up To Be Loved By You? If you have to forfeit your character, morals, way of being, lifestyle- big rocks- then you’re the one who has to decide if another heartbeat in the house is worth it.

Small shit- and most of it IS small shit- isn’t worth dumping someone over. You have to decide what’s big shit. All of life is compromise. There are pieces I don’t want to compromise. However, and this is my Great Big Rock, the BF is slowly and surely coming around on the affection piece as I have recovered from recent shoulder surgery, gotten vastly more busy, stopped asking him for affection, and am now so engrossed in my own stuff, including getting back into superb shape, that he’s now having to chase ME down. That was the answer to that. Fine by me. That was a superb lesson in overwhelm for us both. The difference is that I am more likely the one to observe, notice, take in the lesson and remember it because that’s my nature. That doesn’t make me right and the BF wrong. It’s where we are, who we are, and a function of how much personal work we’ve done.

Ultimately I do want my house back, or else we need to find a place that’s big enough so that his messes and chaotic way of being are far enough away from, me so that I’m not affected. That really does impact my life in ways that undermine my mental piece. For him, that I am up three hours or more prior to dawn likely do exactly the same thing. He understands that I am doing my level best to be extremely quiet, move around in the dark to reduce light, and ensure he can sleep. But we are who we are after long decades of alone time. As you asked, are some of these blisters big enough for a blowup? No. They deserve attention, discussion, and accommodation. After a while I realized that having a few of his things strewn here and there simply became part of the landscape. However, the larger question you posit is what’s worth dying in a ditch over? You and I are supremely fortunate to have men in our lives at this age when so many are widows. A price needs to be paid for that. This is a very important life lesson. To get A, we offer B in return.

So I might ask you this: would you give up great sex, fun company, and a whole lot of other advantages that many women don’t have at this age because of a blister here and there? I wouldn’t. Periodic inevitable disappointments are part and parcel of all connections. I keep asking the question whether it’s worth giving up everything else because this thing annoys me. When I shine a brilliant light on that thing, it’s usually because I have an issue that needs eyeballing. I can only speak for me.

I hope this answers your question.

Written by

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store