“My love for my husband was so great that I am having a very difficult time considering another man,” Jean, age 74, wrote to me. “My head knows moving on is best, but my heart puts up a very good fight. Yes, it gets very lonely at times and then, at other times, I appreciate the solitude. I do believe that at this age, finding someone with whom you are compatible from a distance is best. His and her homes with visitations rights, perks, and genuinely being there for one another sounds like a plan to me! Easy to say and difficult to find!”
Jean’s email came at exactly the moment that I was trying to make sense of similar feelings. I had a “date” with a man with whom I had shared an intensely sensual relationship 27 years ago, when I was 40 and he (get ready) was 23. We had enjoyed each other immensely, then both of us had gone on to other relationships, and he had moved many states away.
Suddenly we discovered that we would be in the same city last Saturday. With anticipation and fantasies abounding, we made arrangements to meet.
How lovely, I daydreamed. Here’s a smart, gentle, witty man from my past, who gloried in giving me pleasure, and we were always able to talk candidly. Surely the 27 years apart could be wiped out for an evening of sensual nostalgia, couldn’t it? I needed to rise from grief and rediscover my sensuality with a live person rather than with sex toys. This sweet man could be the one to take my hand and lead me there.
We met, we hugged, we talked excitedly about where our lives and loves had taken us in the past decades. But then… when the time came to kiss and discover… I couldn’t. I felt myself sinking into sadness. His kiss wasn’t Robert’s. His body type wasn’t Robert’s. I pulled away.
“I really hoped I would respond sexually to you,” I told him, “but I’m not.”
“I’m sorry,” he said, cradling my head against his chest.
“I even packed condoms and lubricant, and chose my underwear with care,” I added. He laughed with me at that last revelation. “But it’s just not happening. I still miss Robert so much.”
“Tell me about him,” he said, maybe the sweetest comment he could have made.
I am grateful to my friend for his understanding, although I didn’t know whether to laugh or cringe when I read “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be” on his Facebook page early the next day. I decided to laugh and post the comment, “Here’s to nostalgia.”
So when Jean wrote to me just after my friend and I parted, I had to agree with her sentiment, “My head knows moving on is best, but my heart puts up a very good fight.”