Reflection: Does Love Get Better As We Age?

6112129146_15a26ce164_oRecently, a reader — who is in her mid-20s — asked, does love get better? Love/relationships change. I can’t say they get better because I’m not sure I believe that. I believe they change.

Your mid-20s. This is a delicate time. At this time, you are on the cusp of everything in your life changing…fast. Career is a focus. I’m not sure it should be.

When I was 25, I was dating a 36 year old. We broke up a few weeks after I turned 25 — after a year-and-a-half long-distance relationship. He said something during that break-up conversation that I will never forget, “Oh, you’re turning 25…no wonder.” This was in response to me telling him that I wanted to stay in Chicago (he was in New York) and begin my teaching career; I was just offered the job that I still have today. My first job. My career.

This was extremely important to me at the time because that’s what was expected of me. I was already late to the game, having taken a year off after college to galavant around Los Angeles. Now, at 25, was my time to settle down, plant my roots in Chicago, start my career and find a Midwestern man.

It took me three and a half more years to find that man — and lots of failed relationships. Those years were some of the most depressing, looking back. Alone. Uncertain. Living in my head instead of living my life.

At 25, maybe — just maybe — a career shouldn’t be a focus. What if I married that man from New York and started a family? What if I turned the job down and spent a year traveling abroad? I can’t have that time back.

What I do know is I met some amazing students my first few years as a young naive teacher — many of whom I still keep in touch with today. I was an idealist then, but I was probably a better teacher too; I probably taught them more about life than I can now, test scores and learning targets too much of a focus in education today.

But love. Well, I see it differently than I did at 25, at 22, at 20, at 18, at 16. It changes. Good and bad. I’ll write more about this as this blog continues, as it looks back on my life and my loves. Right now, I’ll just say that as you age, a passion inside you dies. Life — the machine of it — seems to suck it right out of most of us. I can’t explain it, but please let me know if you agree — or even better, disagree. Please, someone, disagree with me. Tell me your secret.

And because the passion is sucked out, love changes. It’s less passionate, less dream-like, less crazy. More realistic. More comforting. More stable.

Again, please disagree.

Does love change as we age? Let me know in the comments!

Image by @Doug88888 (Flickr Creative Commons)


4 thoughts on “Reflection: Does Love Get Better As We Age?

  1. I think that the hardest phase of “Love” is the married with small children phase. Love does change, but finding and keeping a passion should be a goal. Passion won’t look the same as it did when you first fell in love, but it is not about how it looks but how it feels, in your heart. And I feel that as my children have gotten older, we have been able to move beyond just the comfortable place of “love” and into a place of re-finding the “us” in our relationship. And it is easy to lose sight of that in the chaos of parenthood and work and life “stuff”. But, if you keep it a priority, love may change, and passion may evolve, but it will change and evolve for the good. And yes, it does get better.

    • Thank you for this. I am looking forward to the post-small-children phase. I agree that it’s important to find something your passionate about throughout life, that’s why I write, but I still feel I’m not as idealistic and passionate as I was at 22.

  2. Evelyn,
    I have to agree with you. I WISH I could disagree. I was actually just having these same thoughts the other day. When did I become this person? This person who has such a mundane, yet wonderful, life. I used to have such passion for the arts, for environmental issues, for nature. Then I realized…it’s still there, just far too deep to see on a daily basis. Why? Because life changes and the priorities you once had time for, you no longer do! If I didn’t have a job that kept me way too busy for 9 months and a son that I adore and want to spend every waking moment with, that passion would be at the surface. This includes passion in regards to love as well. The reality is…where I once made time for things I am passionate about, I no longer care to. I’m just way too tired for that! I’d rather get a few more minutes of sleep.

    • Thanks so much, Lynne. I’m glad I’m not the only one! The “When did I become this person?” questions happens almost daily for me. Sometimes, I think it’s our job, jobs in general; other times, I think it’s my kids. I’m so focused on both that I feel less passionate about other things. This project is a way back into my true passion: writing.

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