“Great passions are mortal illnesses. What might cure them makes them but more dangerous than before. So, lively brisk old fellow, don’t let age get you down. White hairs or not, you can still be a lover.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Goethe, a famous German author, had a slew of relationships up to age seventy-four. Many were triangles and often with women married and older than he. His sex life, interestingly, did not begin until he was thirty-nine!
He did not marry until he was fifty-seven and only after they had lived together for fifteen years. He died at age eighty-two, in 1832.
So what did he learn about life and love? A lot.
He got to ‘yes, dear’ finally, and so do most married men.
They may start out as full individuals and often successful, competent people, but in marriage they crumble and do their wife’s bidding. Why?
Well, my theory is that it is, in this case, the mother’s fault.
As children they seek her approval and know that to go against her brings all sorts of bad things; from mild disapproval, maybe never even said, to outright physical abuse, in some sad cases.
So they learn to ‘please’ her no matter the cost to themselves. She can make their emotional life a living hell, and worse yet, a lack of feeling secure and loved. Don’t think this ever goes away. It doesn’t The woman then becomes the holder of their peace, and often, happiness. This is transferred to all women they become really involved with. It’s there for life.
In order to connect with another woman men have to ‘give up’ their feelings for their first and most powerful connection; their mother. It is easier for girls to give up their fathers and move on to other men as the father was not the primary source of satisfaction for them.
Now the males that rebel and work it through as adolescents, appropriately, have a better chance of finding an equal and mature relationship. The ones that really rebel become the tyrants in their relationships and they are still fighting off their mothers in anger.
It is so much easier to avoid the displeasure and aggravation by just saying, in any form, ’yes, dear.’
Look at all the men trailing their wives, doing their bidding and going along with whatever, just so they are not harassed or given the ‘eye.’ We have all seen it, and over time it just becomes habit and they lead perfunctory lives. What a waste. Is it really easier in the long run? I don’t think so. The price to the self is steep. They become scared rabbits, where she is concerned.
A real woman wants a real man and they both accept the areas in which they disagree or express their needs that may indeed be different from one another. There are many areas in which couples have different points of view, needs, or wishes, and the trick is to compromise. No one should always get their way. It is a shared experience. In some instances one supersedes the other and at times it may in fact be a hundred percent on one side but hopefully there are other times when the pendulum swings and the other one gets one hundred percent. It is never always fifty, fifty!
What is especially interesting today are the new forms of meeting people and the ways in which people decide to form a committed relationship.
The Internet has changed mating patterns. In the 1950’s young people had cars and were out of the parents’ home but the chauvinistic patterns were there and the real personality did not necessarily come out before they married.
Now with changes in women’s lives, education, careers, and sexuality it’s even more difficult to get to the authentic self before marriage. Choosing a partner is still a crap shoot in many respects. There is no test to insure the future or if he can get to ‘yes, dear.’ Of course not every woman wants that. Many women are looking for equality in their personal lives. Today people and relationships are too often expendable. The role of marriage has changed. We all have hidden layers and there is no crystal ball. Would we even want it were it possible?
Maybe Goethe was right to have a lot of experience and age under his belt; maybe not. Courtship seems to be a dying experiment, and everything today is ‘instant. ‘We must each take the biggest gamble of our lives when we fall in love and or decide to be with another person. Even if you are not a gambler the dice will roll. If you want guarantees buy a car battery!