LATER LOVESWomen of a certain age holding out for happily ever after
Because some of us cannot accurately size up a potential partner, and others may sense danger and be attracted to it. We weren’t brought up in happy, emotionally secure families. We may have spent our childhood in enmeshed, addicted or avoidant families, or any combination, and we never incorporated normal reactions of self-preservation and healthy behavior. We need to spell it out for ourselves. I certainly do.
HOW TO SET BOUNDARIES ON OTHERS…
For expert how-to advice, glance through the book reviews. Research shows it’s never too late to learn these emotional skills. We are wired for them neurologically, and we can acquire them, at least to some extent, at any age.
… ON OURSELVES
We can learn how we have incorporated unhealthy reactions to and unhealthy behavior copied from unhealthy role models. As children, we learned what we saw, and even if it was unhealthy, we will mimic that behavior. We simply lack a better repertoire, and it is not our fault. If a hammer is our only tool, we will hammer our way through life. Awareness is the first step in setting limits on our bad habits.
… AND DEVELOP MORE POSITIVE INTERACTIONS
The challenges can be immense. Not only do we have to understand the root causes of behavior that is detrimental to relationships, but then we need to replace it with different, better behavior. We may not even know what that behavior looks like. Don’t you wish there were a manual? See the Experts section for some really good suggestions.
“Mansplaining” has entered the mainstream lexicon, filling a need to define the male habit of indulging in slow and patient explanations to women because of the extra effort required to help us overcome our intellectual challenges. If we protest that we already know...