by Michael Lubell- “The Onion Peeler”
Factors That Affect Relationships
Most dating sites implore applicants to describe themselves and their interests on their profile. There are patented essay questions and fill-ins. It works reasonably well as a start, but after the first few dates, the criteria changes a little. The question then remains: Is he/she/they a Keeper?
Humor is as subjective as can be, but it is essential the person you date “gets you”. If you find yourself saying, “Just kidding, don’t take it so seriously….” often, beware. If you find you laugh at the same stuff, it can be a great “Get Out of Jail” card, or welcome relief from the droll or intensely serious. If you don’t share a similar sense of humor early on in the relationship- or at least appreciate each other’s, it’s not going to get much better.
Levels of Conversation
If you tend to belabor a point, you need to be with an adept conversationalist. Please consider the distinction between breadth and depth here. Going into detail is also very different than getting at the essence or root of problems or situations, which I call “onion peeling”. Ideally, both parties have an interest in talking and listening about the same amount over the course of a chat. I like good listeners, but I need to know my listener is following and interested herself. Eye contact essential for me, and I return in kind.
How people like to spend their free time usually involves hobbies, pastimes or sports. It’s great to have some in common, but not everything. Not even close. It’s great to share some of these interests, but it’s important to have the space to continue to do the other things you love to do. If you are an older adult who hasn’t yet figured out how to play golf or tennis, tour museums, go to musicals and plays with friends or alone, you put way too much emphasis on needing a lover/life-partner for this. One of the activities my partner and I enjoy together is Scrabble; she beats me too often, but it’s still a positive component of our relationship.
Propensity to Argue
If you are in the early innings, and find the two of you argue about everything ranging from a good fly-swatting technique to Covid, you are definitely fighting an uphill battle. If during your time together you touch on formerly controversial topics and finish the conversation unscathed, you are more likely to get along when the “infatuation/newness” stage ends. Low propensity to argue (LPTA) is high on my list as a senior. Love and Peace.
Respect and Trust
These qualities should grow over time, not diminish. Is your date coming from the heart or putting on a show? Once, I went out with someone who swore she wasn’t a big spender and that shopping was boring, but salivated when we got close to a mall. How important is money, as in the more the merrier? There’s no way to really know a person after only a date or two, but even the best actors/actresses show their true colors over time. When actions and feelings are proven genuine, you have a great boost and a solid foundation for growth.
We all have faults in varying degrees. There are untidy people and there are abject slobs. And there are faults that seem innocent at first, like snoring, that transform into major issues over time. The point here is more about “character weaknesses” than incidentals. For example, what if one of you keeps up with the news religiously, and the other ignores it and wishes you did too? Will that work? Each person must decide for themselves if the “fault” is something they can live with or not. If your own demonstrable faults early on don’t produce sneers and glares, and don’t alter conversation greatly, you have a better chance
Independence/Time Apart Quotient
This is an important factor. There are men and women who need to be attached at the hip and those who need lengthy alone time. It’s best to be on the same page here. The origins of this preference are fairly deep and inalterable without extensive work.
Attraction to others
Even with a decreased libido that some of us experience in this phase of life, most of us notice attractive people. It happens sometimes even when we are in a relationship. I remember flirting so hard at a bar in Germany when I had a partner back home that it hurt. It was a cry from within I wanted out. We may still notice others when happily coupled, but not feel tempted to do anything about it. When out with your partner, know that staring as opposed to glancing and re-focusing your eyes immediately back to them is a critical distinction. Right now, I am at the “barely notice others or care” stage in my relationship. Take your Temptation Temp. If it’s frequently high and hot, expect severe thunderstorms.
Your Partners Family
This one is tricky. If you want to plug in and play into his/her family and he/she wants that – you are golden. But, let’s face it, if you are 50Plus and want to hang with the other’s family, you are the exception and not the rule. If you want to primarily do your own thing because, well, the kids are on their own and the grandchildren are colicky, that can work as long as you and your partner have similar views. The key here is to agree on how much time you want to spend with each other’s family, and if you do, you have a long green light to proceed.
Gym rats don’t belong with couch potatoes. I’m not saying that gym rats belong in the SAME gym- but that whole endorphin experience is better shared or equally disregarded as foreign by partners. I believe in fighting the good fight with aging. Exercise and diet are two things we can do to at least slow it down, even if we don’t win in the end. I cannot be with someone who just wants to curl up on the couch with donuts and coffee without engaging in some type of cardio. But, I must say, if I was doing the Dunkin’ Dozen and washing it down with some beer, I would probably prefer a like-minded partner. Sweaty spandex would kill my appetite.
The bottom line
Relationships proceed much more smoothly when partners share the same views on these ten factors. No one wants to drive through a bunch of yellow and red lights on the way to happiness with a honey. Keep your eyes on the road and plenty of gas in your tank.
About the author:
Michael “The Onion Peeler” Lubell
Following an NYU MBA, Northwestern BA, a modest business career with practically record-setting job changes, Michael left the world of sales and marketing for the freelance creative side to write in 2018. No longer beholden to the whims and politics of the corporate world, he found solace and satisfaction writing for Next Avenue on subjects as diverse as Latecomer Comedians, Zoom Reunions, and Bi-polarized Friendships.
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