Never Say Never Again

What has age got to do so long as you can't stop falling in love

old couples gazing the view

In spite of our preoccupation, love is said to "make the world go around." Yet, we often tend to miss the point when it comes to understanding what love really means.

Curiously, we have collectively stereotyped love, by sandwiching it somewhere between romance and lust. Age, therefore, may not be a concern in love - as our image of love, sooner or later, assumes sexual connotations, albeit as an expression by itself.

Since we anchor a fixed notion of love, whenever the question of age and love pops up, certain images describing unconventional romantic alliances arise in our mind. These form the basis of our opinion on the subject.

Romance, love and lust

For instance, if we perceive the image of a teenager with a young man, we label the man a cradle-snatcher, and point out that he may be out to harm the kid. If we see a young woman coupled with an elderly man, we most always assume that the woman is after money, fame or position. Just these two cases - they perfectly exemplify our erroneous take on love as synonymous with romance and/or lust.

Why? Simply because when the question of age in love is broached, our minds instantly thinks of love as between a couple; hence, it has a sexual relation.

By this definition of love, age is certainly a matter of concern, especially in case of young teenagers, say below sixteen years of age, who may assume they are "in love," and feel a need to "express their love." Why? Because, the society they live in dictates this idea. If the recipient of their love is older, that is, not a teen, the problem is compounded because it pits innocence against experience. Not many teens, after all, would be willing to allow their love to grow slowly, so to speak, and thus postpone physical intimacy.

Age is what you make of it

At the other end of the spectrum, the sexual connotation that we link love with is of less concern if a young woman or man pairs herself/himself with an older person, since s/he is less vulnerable to feel intense hurt or remorse, if things do not work. However, such couples are often the subject of intense societal speculation. So too are couples that become so only after a certain age, may be at 50, or 60 or 70, depending on the permissiveness of the society they are a part of. Age, then, is a bother if either partner is concerned about "what will people say/think?"

In truth, age has a lot to go with it. Like physical attributes - looks, height, weight etc., If the keys to a good relationship - effective communication, common interests, similar desires and compatible maturity levels - are in place, age doesn't matter at all. If, however, one partner adopts an - "I know because I am older" approach - which really stems from "I've been there, I've done that, so I know that it's [no] good" mindset - age matters a lot. In essence, age is what you make of it, which in turn, depends on how you perceive it.

How young are you?

Nowadays, we are bombarded with messages to "look younger" and "age slower." We are increasingly accepting that age is but a number, and that even though it is an irreversible process, it is important to always feel young in mind. A mind that has accepted this message is less likely to be concerned [read, the physical body], and not perceive age as a barrier to love.

It seems somewhat farcical, but as we broaden our outlook towards life and living, we are coming closer to understanding love. When we see two elderly persons drawn together, we may initially face a mental block to accept the "couple," but logic slowly leads us to acceptance. We reason - love, after all, is also about caring and sharing. It is not just physical relationship.

Love is...

This is the crux of the subject. Age does not matter at all in love, provided love is understood as it really is. Yes, love has been the subject of much verse. Sadly, most of this verse has been romantic and, thus, lustful in nature, assuming sex as the natural outcome of love. Love is not, after all, about caring and sharing. Love is all about caring and sharing.

This outcome of love may comfortably be linked with any of the "forms" of love that we experience - friendship, parental and so on. Teenagers forming a close bond may comfortably love each other, or anyone else for that matter, as friends. Elderly persons caring for each other and sharing their mutual concerns may love each other too.

Our hearts and minds do not register age before loving. Intuition plays a much stronger role in relating to people we love - often for a lifetime. It is only when we harbour wrong notions about love - by coupling love with romance or lust - that we build barriers around it, such as age. Hence, society as a whole tends to impose certain age restrictions as far as love is concerned.

Free love

Another consequence of our misplaced understanding of love is the expression "free love," which refers to free sex, or a free expression of love. Since sex is not the only channel available to express love, the term puts total dominance on the lustful aspect of love. Rightly speaking though, the term should refer to universal love - the feeling - not the physical expression of love.

Truly, our shallow, skewed perceptions have placed far too much importance on the physical expression. Within the realm of physical expression too, we often jump to think of sex. Whatever happened to a good old-fashioned friendly hug, which can convey shoals of love without bringing sex into the picture? No wonder that we have created a special category - platonic love - to define love existing between adults who do not have a sexual relation.

If only we could correct our understanding and equate love with love - an intense positive feeling - age won't matter in love.

The Importance of Being Earnest

You need to make your partner feel important - but, this feeling should not be artificial. It needs to be genuine. For this to happen, you need to be spontaneous and express your feelings to one another. You need to be also consciously aware of each other's fulsome presence - conscious to the point of being two minds that think as one; or, two hearts that beat as one to the same tune.

Okay, wait a moment! Not that your love life is devoid of conflict, or differences. It cannot be - because, the best relationship only thrives because of conflict. It is not difficult though to manage conflict that leads to distress.

  • Try to remember what attracted you to one another to begin with. Remember that affection can greatly help if frequency needs are met
  • Spend at least 15 minutes together every day to talk, hug, caress, or massage each other
  • A little holding of hands will do you good too
  • Touching need not always lead to sex though, but it sure increases intimacy
  • Make a conscious effort to pay attention to, or nurture, something you like, or your spouse likes.

- Team CW

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