When you are of a certain age and in a new relationship, some funny and uncomfortable things are bound to happen. My husband and I have been married for under two years. We found each other again in our middle-age years. A whole lifetime of relationships had occurred between when we broke up thirty-some odd years earlier and when we reconnected. I had been married for over twenty years and had two teenage daughters. The Ass had been married as well with a wealth of bad ideas in the interim fifteen years between his divorce and our reconnection. This brings us to what we like to call, the ‘The Costco Incident.’
Going into a relationship when you are older means you have to forgive quite a bit. An interesting piece in the New York Times recently looked at why we marry the wrong person the first time around. I do think a bit of it held true for me. Beginning a new relationship in your middle years means you have to forgive all the previous relationships. You have to not be jealous of those relationships and realize that time has allowed you to grow and change and be ready for the relationship you have now. Sometimes when I hear the stories that The Ass shares with me, I laugh at his judgment. However, I am sure there are days when I recount some of my past that he really questions what I was thinking as well.
On one particular day we went to Costco. The Ass figured it would probably be a good thing to add me to the Costco membership so that I could come by myself if I needed to restock the freezer or buy six blocks of aged cheddar. We went to the customer service counter where a very nice young man, twenty-five maybe, greeted us. The Ass showed his identification and let the young man know that I had permission to make changes, then he walked away to empty his bladder. He shared with me later that as he was walking he had a moment where he thought this might happen, but oh well, he figured I could handle it.
The young man asked a couple of questions and when he got to the place to add my name a look of panic came across his face. He clearly looked like what he was about to say was going to be extremely awkward to get out of his mouth. His face contorted into a very uncomfortable shape. He really would have rather been dangling over a pool of hungry sharks than bringing up the issue at hand.
“There is someone else on the account,” he said quietly.
“Pardon me?” I heard him just fine, but his uneasiness made me giggle inside because I had a good idea where this was going. Call me cruel. I know it wasn’t his fault, it just really was a bit entertaining seeing him squirm.
“There is another woman on the account.” He couldn’t look me in the eye and kept his gaze fixed firmly on the computer screen in front of him.
I decided to be very direct. “Her name wouldn’t happen to be Kara would it?” I put a major emphasis on Kara.
“Yes, it is,” he stammered, his shoulders rising above his ears out of an instinctual fear that I was about to lose it and take it all out on him.
I smiled, “Just remove her please, don’t worry, we have all had bad ideas and Kara just happened to be one of his. We are old enough where other relationships are bound to have happened.” He relaxed and finished changing the membership, genuinely looking relieved that his head wasn’t somewhere on the floor separated from his shoulders nearby.
The encounter just brought to the forefront that when we are dating and in a new relationship post the age of forty we need to keep in mind that life happened. Turning forty or older and being single does not mean life needs to end and we are meant to live a lonely existence. We have a right to love should we go forward and choose to. We can choose to be alone. No matter what we choose we need to accept the life we had before each other. We need to see that the journey that brought us together involved other people that helped us to grow into who we are to be ready for the relationship we are in now.
We are no longer twenty-five year olds who get jealous of each others recent paramour and then begin all kind of drama. Thank God those days are over as I don’t miss that at all. I often tell The Ass I wish I could thank the bad ideas for not appreciating what they had when they had it. After all, I am the lucky one who gets a life filled with the humor, love, generosity, and everything wonderful. It took a good part of a lifetime to be ready for that, and it’s okay. I think I can get used to it.