Lucky in love

August 29, 2016

lucky-in-loveLooking out at the timelessness of the Montana landscape, the majestic mountains and the massive clouds that dominated the infinite sky, I couldn’t help but think of love. After all, my husband and I had just celebrated our 7th and 44th wedding anniversaries. And of course, the retrospective view from this age allows me to assess my life –and my loves–more fully.

Here’s what I concluded: on the whole, I’ve been lucky in love.

What, you’re surprised? Because I’m divorced a few times?

Yeah, well, here’s how it worked for me:

My decisions in the romance category weren’t always, well, the wisest. Or the most practical. But one thing I can say for sure is that each romance taught me a little something. Or a big something.

Still, I’ve loved some wonderful men and they’ve loved me back. Sometimes that love me back thing was more than I loved them and sometimes I loved them in a different way than they loved me.

Sometimes they weren’t worthy of MY love, even if they loved ME. Can you relate?

(I was always worthy of THEIR love though, right? Well, maybe not always. Yes, that’s a joke.)

lucky-in-loveAnd whether it was for a reason or a season or, as it turns out now, a lifetime, I’ve been lucky in love. But I don’t look at love the same way some others might.

My second and third husbands were there for a reason. One was the knight in shining armor who swept me off my feet, out of my sadness over my first divorce and loved me back to life. I appreciate what he did for me even if I didn’t appreciate the way that relationship went south. I’m good with its ending, though: I was never meant to stay. Sometimes divorce is not such a bad thing: it’s the only thing.

I was single a long time after that, and then my third husband appeared, again for a reason. I can’t thank him enough for what he gave me during our long season together, even if I couldn’t love him in the way he deserved to be loved. He was my teacher in many important ways and I look back on our years with only happy memories. Sometimes, relationships run their course. No one teaches us that because it doesn’t fit the fairy tale idea of romance. But it’s true. We just have to have the courage to admit it.

And of course, there was my inamorata, who proposed at the Trevi Fountain in Rome — something every woman should have happen to her. We weren’t meant for forever, but the gift of love he brought was beautiful. And fleeting. Some relationships are like comets that appear suddenly out of nowhere in a big flash and then burn out. And that’s ok.

Then there’s M, my lifetime love. Not so traditional, either, since we took a 26-year break. But I’m good with that, too. We married so young that it’s unlikely we would have had the staying power to make it all the way through. But what a joy to have it now, in the autumn of our lives.

Relationships are hard. They really are. As songwriter Dan Fogelberg once sang, “It’s never easy and it’s never clear/who’s to navigate and who’s to steer/So you flounder drifting ever near/the rocks.” I think that lyric has more truth in it that a thousand June/moon/swoon lyrics. The traditional view of love and relationships is, well, unrealistic, for the most part. That’s what I think, anyway.

But then, I’ve never been all that “traditional” — in love or in anything, really.

lucky-in-loveI didn’t set out to be different, but my point of view on most things has never aligned with convention. Just like other Baby Boomers, I was infused with the traditional family messages in TV shows like Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver and others of the era. But how well did that work for us? Or more importantly, for THEM?

It’s inevitable, though, that we Boomers would feel a pull toward that traditional model that we grew up with. I felt it, too. Still do, sometimes. But the fact is that I’ve never really liked being tied down in any way.

Relationships come with a lot of “shoulds” and many don’t match the reality of two disparate individuals trying to live together 24/7.

So as I look back over my 65 years, I see that my way of dealing with that reality worked for me. It might not work for you, but it worked for me.

If you’re older now, and thinking about relationships, I’d encourage you to REALLY think. To not buy into something that doesn’t work just because you think you “should.”

I’m interested in your approach to relationships…feel free to just riff on the subject. Like I just did. Because what’s in your head is, well, fascinating to me. Just is. All the different ways we think and process love.  So thanks!

34 comments on “Lucky in love
  1. It’s interesting to have this kind of perspective Carol as I observe my very loved nephews and son live their lives, and forge their relationships. Time does heal a lot of things, although at the time, you think you’re going to break in half. I love that you look back, not with regret, but with gratitude. Thanks for the lovely start to the day.

  2. I still think our generation is always “looking for love in all the wrong places”….

  3. Leanne says:

    I’m a product of the Brady Bunch – coming from a dysfunctional family I wanted all the sunshine and happiness etc etc It’s been quite a wrench to get my head around “near enough is good enough” and it’s okay to not have it all work out perfectly. I love your round about romance and how you ended up where you started, mine’s much more conventional but still weathered its fair share of ups and downs (no Mr and Mrs Brady here I’m afraid!)

  4. Haralee says:

    I love Carol that you speak so openly of your life and in lessons you have learned. I don’t like to travel down the road of regrets or paths not taken but look forwarded enjoy now!

  5. Jennifer says:

    The shoulda of my generation kept me in my first marriage far longer than I should have stayed. But I think the lessons from that first failed marriage better prepared me for my second. My husband and I both agree that if we’d met before our first marriages that we wouldn’t have lasted because we both had lessons we needed to learn from our failed marriage.

  6. Yes Carol, I have loved some great men who couldn’t really do relationships, but they were and are good people. I guess that’s what counts now.If we are all happy now with our choices, we can live on knowing that we did our best in difficult situations…

  7. Grammy says:

    I loved this post! I feel like I’m getting to know you better by each new post of yours that I read 🙂

  8. Ellen Dolgen says:

    Thanks for sharing your unfinished love book…. each chapter helps us understand and appreciate the next. I don’t think the book is done until our last breath. Of course, everyone has a different book to write. That is what makes life so fun!

  9. Mary says:

    Carol, I remember when we first met like it was yesterday (well, it was only 2 years ago). There was a room full of people, but you were standing in the back of the room by the window wearing all black. I was very intrigued when we were introduced and felt a kind of kinship with you (maybe it’s the Italian thing). It has been wonderful getting to know you through your engaging words and the beautiful way you look at life and living. Thank you for sharing you with all of us.

  10. I love how positive this post is, and all the gifts you clearly received from past relationships. The only regrets are have are in not standing up for myself and seeing that I deserved to be treated better at times. But I can also see that those experiences were gifts.

  11. I think at our age we’ve been through a few unless you got married at 16 and never divorced. I actually have a high school classmate that managed that. It’s what makes life interesting.

  12. I didn’t get married until I was 44, so I had the opportunity to work out a lot of kinks. I like to say it’s not that I didn’t make mistakes, I just didn’t marry them. And each “mistake” brought me that much further along in terms of knowing myself and what I wanted (and didn’t want). So when Hubs came along, it was like coming home–with eyes wide open I so appreciate your candor and the great discussions it triggers, Carol!

  13. Andrea says:

    Appreciate this – remember that every story is different 🙂

  14. Skipah says:

    I find it hard to believe that someone as witty and thoughtful as you made a bad choice ever in the “love” department :). Great post and great perspective!

  15. Elizabeth O. says:

    I don’t look at people based on their relationships so I really don’t mind if you’re different from the usual. It’s okay, we do what works for us. I love the idea of staying with the same person for many years, but then reality kicks in and if it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t. I am a hopeless romantic, it’s nice that people never give up on love and instead, keep searching for it.

  16. sue says:

    How lovely that you found each other again – more mature and wiser about relationships. I’ve had two marriages – both with men older than me. The first, 12 year age gap, taught me many things but unfortunately, I grew up and found that I wasn’t happy. He had lived where I was just starting to realise my potential. My husband is 9 years older than me and gets me. He is the love of my life but let’s me be me and free. He likes to stay home where I like to socialise so I do my thing and he does his. However, we both love to travel and spend time to gether so it is the best of all worlds for me.

  17. I love that Dan Fogelberg song! And I feel lucky in love, too, having found the man of my dreams at the tender age of 18 and still going strong. Everyone needs to define luck – and love! – in their own way.

  18. Loved this post! I love how positive this post is!

  19. As they say, it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
    Cheers to you for following your heart! 🙂

  20. Nikki Wayne says:

    You are so brave! I love this. I remember the first time I am in-love.

  21. Nicole Escat says:

    Love is a wonderful thing, It can make or break us.

  22. brenda says:

    oh CAROL lol today I JUST blogged about this DANG!!! Something of a paradigm shift in the atmosphere of our hearts!!!

    MUAH!!! kindred spirit.i adore you

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