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And being the good daughter that I am, I asked permission before posting on this issue because even at 40 years old, she’s still my mom.
I never pictured helping my mom navigate the world of internet dating, talking about s-e-x, and how to recover after heartbreak.
Helping my mom, or either one of my parents for that matter, date was never a topic I even considered when I was growing up. When my father passed away from cancer after 35 years of marriage, my mom was only 55 years old. That’s SO young! I fully expected for my mom to date at some point, but “when” was completely up to her. About three and a half years after my dad had passed away, my mom nervously broke the news she met someone. While I was extremely happy for her, I think I was more shocked that she met him on an internet dating site! I had met guys in “chat rooms”, remember those and if you don’t trust me it was awful, but quickly decided meeting guys that way wasn’t my thing. Thankfully I met my husband in college and never had to dip my toe back in to the world of internet dating. However, things had changed a lot since my mom was out in the dating world almost 38 years ago. Being the resourceful person that she is, and her having a sister who was already out there swiping it left or right or whatever these crazy kids do these days, she figured it out! Dave was a sweet guy who really adored my mom, but sadly he passed away from cancer after they had only been together for nine months. I hated that my mom had to experience loss again so soon after losing my dad.
The crazy part about all of this, I have friends my age who are also in this world of internet dating at the same time my mom is and spoiler alert, it is no different no matter what age bracket you fill out. The same struggles about past relationships and all the emotional baggage that comes along for the ride. There’s kids, but for my mom the kids are older and there are grand kids in the picture too. Then there’s the topic of s-e-x, I’m sorry she’s still my mom and while I know she’s a grown woman and so am I, she’s still my mom ok? Although for the sake of “field research”… I do ask questions because inquiring minds want to know and I’ve seen plenty of the little blue pill commercials to know that there’s a reason for little blue pill commercials. We’ve collectively come to the conclusion, that God has a sense of humor. When you’re my age, knee deep in raising kids, and your sex drive is more like “sex parked”, but then you get older and you’re finally ready to put that puppy in gear… well, there’s a reason for the little blue pill commercial. Catch my drift, God has jokes for days.
The heartbreak I think is the hardest for me to see my mom experience. She didn’t ask to be back in the dating world. We’ve definitely had the hard conversations about how, how in general, women and men are different when it comes to the approach of dating. That there’s a difference between wanting a relationship vs. wanting companionship.
Don’t even get me started on ghosting, which one would think once people reach over age 50 this type of behavior would go away, but it doesn’t. At least tell people “I’m sorry we’re not a good fit” instead of “I’ll talk to you later tonight” then nothing for days and you can see that they’re still active on things like Facebook. (While my mom has taught me many things in life, the least I could do was teach her the fine art of Facebook “stalking”. Don’t act like you’ve never done it.)
When talking about closure, we decided that sometimes you have to just have to accept and move on, when all you want to know is “why”. Side note: Wouldn’t it be nice if you could send someone an exit survey like those customer satisfaction survey’s companies send you? “If you were not happy with your recent experience could you explain why” or “how likely are you to refer this person to a friend”, or even “do you have any friends over the age of 50 who are not currently in need of the little blue pill, that is looking for a committed relationship with minimal excess (freaky) baggage, that will be upfront and honest if the said committed relationship doesn’t work out?”. Does’t hurt to ask right?
I’m a hopeless romantic that my mom, and even my friends, will find the committed companion they all deserve and desire. I do feel like there are plenty of decent people out there who are searching for the same thing too. Sometimes you just have to deal with some real toads before you find your Prince Charming.