A Catchy Tune and Musings on Keeping Relationships Fresh

pina colada pix

Too many guys have dating profiles that are predictable, uninspired, and sometimes just blank. So it’s always a pleasure when a guy’s profile is a little bit different and even better when it slyly reveals something and/or gets you thinking about relationships.

Join me in a delightful Caribbean black bean dish that I made the other night while we discuss.

Mr. K’s profile on Plenty of Fish referred to the piña colada song.

pina colada pix 2

At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of his opener. It had been awhile since I’d heard that song. A quick trip to YouTube pulled up Rupert Holmes singing Escape, which is the name of “the piña colada song.” Watch the performance or read the lyrics to get the most out of this post.

You’ll find that Escape is about a couple that is a little bit tired of each other. Thanks to the personals column (remember those), they rediscover each other and learn they like some of the same things – including piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.

I imagined that Mr. K appreciated the nuances of the lyrics – that you don’t know everything about your partner and if things start to get stale you need to find a way to discover hidden shared passions that might restore the passion in your relationship.

Of course Mr. K may have simply liked the song’s melody and needed an opening line for his profile.

I often think about the unknown aspects of a partner’s thoughts and personality, whether I’m reminiscing about the end of my marriage or the relationships that came after. I recall several “aha” moments when verbal or body language clues showed me what was really going on in a partner’s head.

I’m okay with the realization that you cannot know absolutely everything about someone nor can they know all about you. With a bit of luck, you’ll know the most important things and you will feel secure in a partner’s love.

Related to the issue of knowing your partner (as much as possible) and feeling love and security is finding a way to keep things fresh. As the Escape lyrics say, long-term relationships can start to feel “Like a worn-out recording of a favorite song.”

The challenge to maintaining desire in a committed relationship, according to couples therapist and relationship expert Esther Perel, is reconciling security, predictability, safety, and permanence with the human need for mystery, adventure, novelty and the unknown.

Which brings us back to the personals ad scenario in the piña colada song. In lieu of placing an ad or signing up for a dating site, you might need to have an adventure with your partner or simply observe this person in his or her element.

As Perel says, “Because sometimes, as Proust says, mystery is not about traveling to new places, but it’s about looking with new eyes. And so, when I see my partner on his own or her own, doing something in which they are enveloped, I look at this person and I momentarily get a shift in perception, and I stay open to the mysteries that are living right next to me.”

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.




Desire in Long Term Relationships

Esther Perel

Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

Fresh Eyes, Andy Grammer


blog pix birthday

I’m late with this post but I have a good excuse. I was celebrating my birthday. I looked up celebrating to be sure that word still works for me at my new older age…and in the broader sense it does, so I’m keeping it.

Let’s talk about birthdays in this age of uncertainty: uncertainty about revealing your age, whether in fact you’re happy about getting older, and any related existential questions. And since fish is good for you as you age, check out this excellent collection of fish recipes from Positive Health Wellness while we chat.

I celebrated my birthday with relatives – including my children, siblings, and their significant others. We ate too much, I opened presents, and we caught up with family news. It was a lot of fun and I felt loved and appreciated…but of course there can be a dark side to birthdays.

For one thing, I was dreading seeing my age change on all the dating sites and apps. I already feel that I – and all women – face age discrimination on these sites. This is evident not just from receiving fewer messages from men as I get older but also from reading profiles.

Many men on dating sites say they don’t want to meet women their own age. Think 5 to 10 years younger and perhaps 20. A matchmaker I consulted (but didn’t hire due to cost) felt that I might do better offline where guys wouldn’t judge me based on a number. But I don’t seem to meet eligible men in real life so online I stay.

So far I have resisted lying about my age online even though I have seen many cases of men fudging their age. For the most part, pictures don’t lie (if they’re current) so the gig is up as soon as I meet someone and see that “no, he’s not 62, he looks like 75.”

What do you think of when you use the word young to describe an “older” person? To me, being youthful is more than just about appearance. Of course that is a factor and one that is fueled by a healthy lifestyle (not to mention clothing). But energy, attitude, and personality are key.

Is this person open to new experiences – individually and with his or her social network? Is she interested in learning and growing? Is he open to new ideas? Does she embrace life and follow one or more passions? All of these things make someone young.

Another indicator of youth: a purpose-driven life. Having a sense of purpose is important at all ages but can be lifesaving as you age. Research has shown that older adults with a sense of purpose are less likely to develop certain diseases and have a greater chance of living longer. For me, this blog provides a sense of purpose and I encourage anyone with an interest in writing to start one.

If I think about the positive aspects of birthdays, I recognize that they provide a chance to review any life lessons learned. Sometimes there’s regret that you didn’t learn those lessons earlier! But when you’re an experiential learner like me, there’s no substitute for learning through trial and error. And that takes time, which equals aging.

One life lesson learned: seize whatever positive opportunity presents itself no matter what your plans are. Presented with an unexpected chance to be with your children? Yes, go for it and let the blog post wait another day. Received a late in the day invitation from a match? Put on fresh makeup and pay those bills later. You get the idea.

So on your next birthday, remind yourself that yes, you may be older, you may have another wrinkle or two but you also may have a better sense of what’s important in life and an appreciation for what makes you happy.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.