Over the Labor Day weekend I read my friend, Suzanne Braun Levine’s, new book about women, love, intimacy and sex in what she calls our Second Adulthood. I enjoyed it and benefitted from it. I wrote about some of this in “Prime Time” but seeing these issues through Levine’s wise eyes were just what I needed—right now. She makes the essential point that “we are not who we were, only older.” We change with ripeness and in many beautiful, profound ways, like athletes who, at a later time in life, try a new sport and discover new muscles they didn’t know they had. The book explores what this looks like in terms of relationships for women over 50.
In the book, Levine quotes another friend, the relationship advisor, Byron Katie; “Romantic love is the story of how you need another person to complete you. It is an absolutely insane story. My experience is that I need no one to complete me. As soon as I realize that, everyone completes me.”
My own relational experiences completely validate this statement. For me, it wasn’t until I was in my 60s that I felt complete unto myself. It took so much time, therapy, intention, reflection… and It was only then that everyone meaningful who came my way completed me and deeper intimacy became possible. Because I have always been challenged in the intimacy department, I think about it a lot and talk about it a lot and, lately, when I have done so, it has often been interpreted as ‘sex’ that I’m talking about. Not. The two are quite different. It’s quite possible to have intimacy without sex and sex without intimacy. One of the reasons that deeper intimacy has come my way (besides that I complete myself and so don’t depend on someone else to do so, as had always been the case in the past) is because I have, to again quote Suzanne’s book, “learned to raise my tolerances and lower my expectations.”
I hope you all had a wonderful 3-day holiday.