“How to love a 50-year-old man”

April 21, 2009

healthy-interdependence-for-blogis  an interesting Google search that got somebody to this website, but it left me wondering how loving a 50-year-old man is any different than loving anyone else.

So how DO we love another with enough closeness and distance and acceptance of our differences?  The first question is WHY we love any one else.  Is it only because they fulfill some of our needs?

Or because we find new and interesting parts of ourselves by hanging out with them?  Or simply because we feel good being around them.

When I first met Mike over four years ago now, we both immediately felt seen and appreciated in ways neither one of us had ever experienced before.  We also felt understood without much explaining necessary.  The best way I can describe it is that we created a unique energy field between us when we were together.

There was absolutely no question that we  completed each other in some very essential and yet indescribable ways, like we had been searching our whole lives and yet never really expected to find such a safe place to be in the same space with another human being.

How do we love each other?  By caring enough to notice everything about how each of us are feeling moment to moment.  By being sensitive to when we really need to be alone with ourselves, and when we need to be together to experience true connectedness.  By telling the other when we’ve had a bad day and crave extra attention and love.  By taking full responsibility for ourselves and our actions towards each other.

I now know more than ever that mature love is defined by being more concerned about the health and comfort of the one you love than yourself, but in a healthy way.  It’s called healthy interdependence instead of co-dependence.  I believe it is the highest level of human connectedness, feeling strong and loving enough within yourself to have something to offer others.

It’s probably best to think of learning to truly love yourself as your basic training ground for learning how to love others well.  How do you know when you are loved?  How do you feel about yourself right now?