Dateline – Baldicherie, Italy, Friday, May 5, 2016
Understanding relationships: An informative exchange between two Champs
John Gray, the author of Men Are from Mars, Women are from Venus, would be proud of us. Here we are in 2016, still talking about the differences between how men and women view relationships.
In the April 16 newsletter, Champ Randy compared the way the men in his Florida singles club view relationships to how women in his group view relationships.
In the April 23 newsletter, Champ Doreen responded to Randy’s comments. She hoped Randy would ask the women in his group how they feel about relationship expectations. Doreen also wanted to know from Randy what he meant when he used the term, “unstructured relationships.”
I was pondering from Europe what the topic of today’s newsletter would be. It came to me in the most famous and most visited museum (10 million visitors a year) in the world, the Louvre, in Paris. Why there?
Because I saw this painting shortly after I had read Doreen’s questions to Randy. I wonder if John Gray got the inspiration for his book from this painting. It is titled Mars and Venus:
Mars and Venus Claude Poisson 1671
Randy responded: “Thank you Doreen for asking for clarification. At your suggestion, I have talked to two of the ladies in my group and will see if I can get responses from a bigger sampling. I am concerned that they will not be totally open with the opposite gender so perhaps that is something you might explore as well.
“One of my gal-pals offered this insight on forming and maintaining a relationship. She said, ‘Women should initially, attempt to take love out of the equation. Unlike most men at this point in life, women continue to be hopeless romantics who often look at a relationship in terms of what they desire or for what it might become rather than what it actually is. If you can look at a relationship without this blinding emotion, you have a lot better chance of evaluating whether it is working for both parties.’”
Note from Tom: I think the above paragraph from Randy’s gal-pal is brilliant and explains the Mars-Venus issue for people 60+ accurately.
Randy answered Doreen’s second question as well, “As for the term‘unstructured senior dating relationship,’ it would be defined as something between the dating or just hanging out you mentioned, and a conventional relationship that we might have enjoyed when married or living with a partner. Certainly it has nothing to do with being picked up at your house for a date or sharing the check. Being in my late 60’s and coming from that era, I would never consider asking a lady to share the cost of a date.”
Tom’s comment: “I might, depending on the circumstances.”
Randy continued: “Regardless, I can understand your confusion at this term as it is somewhat ill-defined and perhaps even nebulous. It might be easier to explain what it isn’t.
“Too often when partners start dating, the relationship rapidly progresses to what I call an expectation relationship. Instead of one partner asking the other ‘Will I see you this weekend?’ or, saying, ‘If you are not busy Saturday, I would love for you to join me for lunch,’ it goes to: ‘I have made reservations for us next Friday at 7:30 and, by the way, Tom and Judy will be joining us.’
“Perhaps even to: ‘My children are coming for dinner Sunday and I expect you here at 5 p.m.
“It might even incur the dreaded, ‘You didn’t call me this week. Is there a problem?’
“Although there is a comfort for both men and women in having a partner for each and every social occasion, this ‘expectation’ can often cause stress, which in some cases, quickly turns to resentment.
“This ‘expectation mode’ typically occurs after a short period of dating, AND CERTAINLY AFTER ANY INTIMACY. It can cause friction in a relationship.
“I would suggest that regardless of how long a relationship has existed, or how good it is, we should always attempt to have respect for our partner’s independence and time.”
Good job Randy and good job Doreen. Exchanges like that between mature singles can be very informative. I bet when John Gray wrote Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus book in 1992, he would have used this discussion between Randy and Doreen if it had been available..