Mars and Venus Revisited April 15, 2016
By Tom P. Blake
In April, 1992, John Gray published “Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus.” Gray used the metaphor comparing men and women as being from different planets to explain the different views they have when it comes to the relationships between them.
The book spent 121 weeks on the bestseller list and more than 50 million copies have been sold.
After I published the newsletter about two guys breaking up by text message, I received an email from Champ Randy, an older single man, which stated, “As I have matured, I have found there is a massive understanding gap between men and women. One would think by this point in life that we would all be ‘in-sync’ but that is unfortunately not true. The expectations and perceptions between men and women are sometimes so foreign to each other, I truly start to believe the Mars and Venus analogy.”
I have to compliment Randy for such a succinct and well-stated email that zeroed in on how senior men and women differ in their perception of romantic relationships. He said, “For most women, a relationship seems to be, a life-long commitment that is prioritized above all else. There may be some understanding regarding whether the partners will live together and/or share resources, but it still comes down to a life-long, prioritized commitment.
“I suspect most men in our age group (60s-70s), who have been single for some time, are looking for something a little less-structured and rigid. They are looking for companionship with someone they enjoy and hopefully some mutually common interests without the sometimes pressure and stress of a ‘formal’ relationship.”
Randy belongs to two social groups where he lives in south Florida. The groups have nearly an equal number of men and women. Randy said, “After reading your “breakup-by-text-message” newsletter, I asked almost all of the men whether they were actually interested in a long term, committed relationship.
“Without exception, all answered yes, ‘If the right woman came along.’Although this sounded pretty encouraging, upon further questioning of what ‘the right woman’ would be, I found that almost all of the men set such high expectations that it would probably take God’s direct intervention to make it happen.
“When I brought this to the men’s attention, all agreed with my assessment and embarrassingly admitted that they really weren’t looking all that hard and never expected it to happen anyway. What they were actually looking for was a comfortable and unstructured relationship, which included someone they enjoyed being with for trips, dinners, social gatherings and sometimes just good conversation.
“Believe it or not, sex was rarely a criteria and monogamy was not really a problem. Companionship was the most-often used term and led me to the conclusion that in today’s vernacular, they were almost all looking for female BFF’s (acronym for best friends forever).”
Randy continued: “I have been in five different relationships since the loss of my wife of 38 years, 10 years ago. All of these women were wonderful and exciting and a great addition to my life and all are now long-term friends.
“With one exception, I broke up with them after a year or two (in person, not by text message) because they started expecting more that I could give. I came to the conclusion in every case, that since I wasn’t prepared to go that extra step, I was doing them a disservice by continuing the relationship and I should free them up to pursue what they needed, wanted and deserved. Most have now found the long-term partners they longed for and ‘now’ they understand the reason for the breakup.
“If I have a point in the above, it is that both partners need to understand what the other’s definition of a relationship is, and what their expectations are. If these are not ‘in sync,’ each person needs to examine the relationship closely and determine whether to move on to avoid heartbreak and the resulting bitterness.
“There are millions of us lonely people out here searching for our soul mates. With a little honest communication and understanding, many of us can still find for what we are searching.”
John Gray had it right in 1992. To this day, the way men and women view relationships hasn’t changed much.