“How do you know whether you love someone (or not)?” is a question most of us ask ourselves (and others) at various points in our lives. It’s a basic, fundamental, human desire and you’d think I’d know the answer, now that I’m in my 50’s and have been around the block a few times, but I’m not sure it gets easier as you get older. The priorities and circumstances change as your biological clock shrivels up and dies. What I was looking for in love in my 20’s is now very different to what I want now that my children have grown up and are rapidly fleeing the nest. I’m not looking for someone that wants children anymore, I’m looking for someone whose eyesight isn’t perfect, so that he can’t see my wrinkles.
On a very basic level, if my children were to ask me that question, I would ask them if that person made them happy? If all we ultimately want for our children, our family and our friends is for them to be happy, then surely this is what we should want for ourselves?
What makes you happy is different for everyone of course. When my first marriage broke down, I lost the ability to make rational decisions, believing that I was so unloveable that no one would want me. I went through a desperate phase, until I realised that I needed to spend time alone, getting to know myself again. I had no idea what was going to make me happy, other than my children and so I started reshaping my life and doing things differently.
I now have a new set of priorities to consider, but most importantly, I want to be my own authentic self, no matter what. Lumps and all. I’m not looking for fireworks, but I do think that chemistry and passion (and smell) are still an important part of how compatible you are. So is having a laugh together and I’ve realised that very often it’s the small little things that count. The tiny acts of kindness – a cup of tea in the morning (mainly) and an offer to help you with the recycling. In fact, enjoying life and the company of others should be boiled down to the basics. Do you want to make each other happy? If that’s the case, then maybe you’ve found a keeper. I am now looking to keep things as simple as possible (which isn’t easy when there are lots of kids and previous life stuff to consider).
So what is important to you? The questions I would now ask would include the following:-
Does they make you laugh?
Do you trust them?
Do they smell right?
Are they kind?
Do you dance together?
Do you have chemistry?
Do they really listen to you? (admittedly not always easy)
Do they (mainly) remember your likes and dislikes and act on them (ie order the right bottle of wine of an evening)?
Do they work to resolve your differences whenever possible?
Do they stand up to you when required?
Are you compatible when it comes to the intimate stuff?
Do they have a sense of humour? (this question is so important I’m asking it twice)
Are they good at communicating in general?
Are they considerate and thoughtful?
Are they interesting to talk to?
Are you learning new things?
Do they have friends and family who respect them?
Do they deal with conflict well? (ie talk to you rather than send you a list of email complaints on a regular basis?)
It’s interesting to me that I am no longer referencing “must have good hair and good shoes” I must be finally maturing (or maybe I’m settling).
If the answer to most of those questions is “YES!!!” then HOORAY. Jump in. Take that leap of faith.