Thursday, May 31, 2012
Difficulties of partnering in the later years
Given the large number of older widowed and divorced single people in society, the topic below is an important one to broach so I am reproducing the article. I do think the author has a point. It is the lack of passion that is the central difficulty. Women respond very strongly to emotion and a lack of it is deadly.
So how come that at the time of my 60th birthday I had THREE girlfriends? Real ones. I am no oil painting, I have been old-fashioned since I was ten and am no stud. It is because I do have passion: Not physical passion but a passion for ideas. I believe strongly in things and articulate that. And it's a magnet to brainy women -- who are all pretty conservative (as I am) by the time they get to that age anyway. Caring deeply about things is what matters. It gives purpose and meaning to life at any age
I have some confidence that I could fascinate the woman writing below in 5 minutes -- but I have no need to. I already have a good partner on my journey now that I am on the brink of my 70th year -- JR
Ever since my partner died eight years ago, I have been looking for another life companion, someone exciting with whom to walk into the sunset for our remaining years.
So far, this special man has eluded me. And I am far from alone in this. So many of my female friends of a certain age are searching for love, on the internet or elsewhere, and coming up with precisely zero.
It’s not that we don’t meet available men — we do. But somehow they are not what we are looking for. They all end up disappointing us, and we have had endless chats, lunches and drinks bemoaning that fact.
Time and time again, we ask ourselves and each other: what’s the matter with them? Why do older men make such dreadful partners?
It has led me to conclude that though ever more of us are looking for true love in our later years — in fact, dating sites aimed at the over-50s are the fastest growing among all age groups — the fact is very few of us will ever find it.
I wrote an article to this effect for this paper a year ago, but it turns out it wasn’t just me being cynical — psychiatrist Dennis Friedman backs me up and has some answers to boot. He is the author of a new book, The Lonely Hearts Club (his first work of fiction at the age of 88), which is closely based on his decades of clinical experience and research into what really goes on inside relationships.
Dr Friedman tells the stories of about a dozen men between 50 and 80 — all but one divorced, widowed or never married — who are composites of his former patients, and investigates why there’s such a cavernous gulf between them and their female peers. He wants to explore why, despite the fact that more of us than ever before are finding ourselves single later in life, we are incapable of pairing up with each other.
Friedman’s male characters are discontented and disorientated, wondering where they have gone wrong, and whether they can put things right. Above all, they agonise over whether they will ever again be able to find happiness in an intimate relationship.
They may be partly fictional, but they certainly ring bells with me; they are all examples of the kind of standard issue, unattractive older men I come across all the time.
Perhaps one of the most incisive points Dr Friedman makes is the fact that older men are often totally incapable of opening up to new women. Over time, they have forgotten — or maybe they never knew — how to fall in love properly or even begin to inch closer to someone.
Dr Friedman says older men suffer these problems because they were brought up differently from younger chaps. They may have been able to form relationships in their youth, but the world was less touchy-feely then — men were left to be men and weren’t required to talk of emotions.
‘Nowadays, there is a lot of emphasis on bonding, hugging and kissing babies, but in the past, boy babies especially were left to tough it out, far more than girls,’ he says.
one of the most incisive points Dr Friedman makes is the fact that older men are often totally incapable of opening up to new women.
One of the most incisive points Dr Friedman makes is the fact that older men are often totally incapable of opening up to new women
‘So, if they have never experienced affection, how will they be able to give it? These men simply don’t know what a close relationship feels like and, of course, it’s very late to learn.’
He adds: ‘I’m not saying every single man is like this, but because of their upbringing, older men are likely to have learned how to button up their feelings.
‘Of course, men can fall passionately in love when they’re older, but it is less likely because there is less spontaneity and less emotion at this age. There is also less of a reason, less need to form a relationship, especially after their children have grown up. So even if older men are looking, it’s not with the same urgency.’
Dr Friedman also highlights the fact that many older men harbour outdated, chauvinistic views — an attitude unlikely to find favour with modern women, even older ones.
One of his characters says, without any irony, that a woman’s place is looking after her children and not having them brought up by a nanny. And Dr Friedman is sympathetic.
He knows such views might sound rather old-fashioned, but is unrepentant. ‘All children secretly have a wish for their mother to be in the home, to have the sort of security an old-fashioned housewife used to provide,’ he says.
‘Men tend to hark back to when they were children. So though women now have more freedom, men will always prefer the traditional set-up.’
It’s certainly true that there were more incentives for women of my generation to move with the times — after all, the changes that came with women’s liberation benefited us so much. Meanwhile, many of our male peers stuck their heads in the sand and remained culturally fixed in the Fifties — only to find that when they wanted to re-engage with women later in life, there was a huge gulf between them.
Dr Friedman explains that underneath this apparent inflexibility lies fear. It is fear more than anything else that prevents men relating to women properly in later life.
Older men are afraid of new, unknown women, afraid of trying to access their feelings, which have become buried over the years, and afraid of branching out into the ups and downs of a new relationship — and this attitude only increases the chances of it all ending in tears.
Personally, I think it’s their inability to talk about their feelings that makes them so unsatisfactory.
Recently, I was having a candid chat with a successful property developer in his 70s. We were talking about his lonely childhood, and just as I thought we were touching on something real and interesting, the shutters came down. ‘Well, I suppose I’d better get back to earning money,’ he said. That was a matter he did understand; feelings, on the other hand, were too complex.
A friend has had similar problems. She started a relationship with an older man, but grew frustrated by his constant avoidance of anything vaguely personal. Whenever she tried to pierce the surface of why he is as he is, he would reply: ‘That’s a conversation for another time.’ They just don’t get it, do they?
At the moment, I have three rather persistent admirers — one is a friend of my late partner and I met the other two through mutual friends — but there is no rapport or chemistry between us.
When I asked one of them what he had to offer me, he replied: ‘Well, nothing really.’ On another occasion, he asked me whether I loved him. We have known each other for seven years, but feelings haven’t deepened in that time — so I told him so. He replied plaintively: ‘Can’t you lie?’
Is it any wonder I would rather be on my own than with old-timers such as these?
Dennis Friedman has been married for more than 60 years to novelist and playwright Rosemary, and they have four daughters. The secret of their long marriage is that they are both hard-working professionals who continue to have a sense of purpose.
In their home, they each have a study (and his and hers stairlifts!) and keep set hours of work. Dr Friedman also still sees patients.
So many older people looking for partners have absolutely nothing to do, and that is another problem. They are advertising for a woman to accompany them on cruises and holidays because they have nothing constructive to fill their days.
The danger with meeting a retired person is that they may want to spend every minute with you, which is something that does not happen when you are young and working or bringing up families.
All THE men Dr Friedman writes about are retired or semi-retired, with loads of time on their hands. Though this means they can sit and chat endlessly to each other in cafes, they remain lost souls outside the group.
The end of the book is pretty bleak. All of the characters are just as alone as they were before, in that none has found a new partner.
The final message is that, deep down, older men feel far more comfortable with other men than with trying to embark on a relationship with a new woman, especially when there is no real need and when their overwhelming sexual urges have died down.
Many men have told me that they are basically very shy, but that when they are overcome with sexual desire, this makes them bolder. Then, when that fades away, they become shy again.
The majority of mature men, it seems, are just not comfortable with women as equal companions. When a couple of women infiltrate Dennis Friedman’s Lonely Hearts Club, the dynamics start to change, and not for the better.
As older people, we will chatter more readily and naturally with members of our own sex than with the opposite sex, and this goes for women as well.
So perhaps the final truth is that we think we want a new partner of the opposite sex, but actually we have outgrown this need.
We are entering the realms of fantasy when we imagine we might find someone wonderful, harking back to our lost youth.
Even so, I don’t think I will give up quite yet.... you never know.
Marriage is still the 'gold standard’ in relationships
A new survey shows – contrary, perhaps, to expectation – that young people regard marriage and the raising of a family to be more worthwhile than a high-flying career or the acquisition of material wealth. Indeed, the research, carried out by care home charity Friends of the Elderly, revealed that a lasting marriage was the leading aspiration among every age group, including 18-24 year-olds.
Earlier this month, when Coleridge established the Marriage Foundation, an independent charity dedicated to championing marriage as the “gold standard for relationships”, Left-wing commentators were highly critical. In return for raising his head above the politically correct parapet to reject the canard that when it comes to bringing up children, cohabitation is the equal of a legal union, bar the paperwork, he was branded reactionary.
But now it would appear that he was reflecting the mood of the nation. While no one disputes that cohabiting parents can be as loving and supportive as married couples, the incontrovertible fact is that their relationships are less stable – they are almost three times more likely to break up by the time their children are seven. And the long-term consequences of divorce and relationship breakdown on children are clear: they are more likely to play truant, take drugs, abuse alcohol, commit crime or self-harm.
Coleridge, who presided over the bitterly fought divorce of Sir Paul and Heather McCartney, blames 50 years of “relationship free-for-all” for the spread of “divorce on demand”. The resulting fallout – or “broken home”, to use the now unfashionable phrase – damages not just the children, but wider society. “The Marriage Foundation is not going to be a cosy club for the smug and self-satisfied of Middle England,” Sir Paul told an audience at London’s Middle Temple Hall, “but, we hope, the start of a national movement with the aim of changing attitudes from the very top to the bottom of society.”
Cohabitation rates reached 2.9 million in 2010; the same year there were 241,000 marriages (very nearly a hundred-year low) and a total of 119,589 divorces in England and Wales. One in three marriages now ends in divorce, and of those divorces, 20 per cent of men and 19 per cent of women will be divorcing for at least the second time.
As PR campaigns go, flying the flag for marriage is a challenge; at a time when we’re in thrall to celebrities, they haven’t provided the best role models. The absurd Disneyfication of the wedding day à la Katie Price, about to marry for the third time, creates the notion that marriage ought to be an extravagant, frothy fairy tale – no wonder couples struggle to adjust when real life kicks in.
“There is a creeping, insidious erosion of marriage taking place which is damaging our society,” says Richard Todd, a leading divorce barrister. “On the one front there are social changes which mean that marriage isn’t supported; and on the other, government policies have worked against marriage, such as the loss of a married person’s tax allowance and the removal of child benefit for the wealthy.
“When someone’s unhappy in their marriage they go for a drink with their best mate, who immediately says: 'You don’t have to put up with that, you should leave.’ That’s usually bad advice. In previous generations, the couple would have received support to work on their relationship and the marriage would have survived the rocky patch.”
Divorce lawyers claim that no one walks out on a marriage lightly. But the modern world is an individualistic one, focused on self-fulfilment. Following their lavish nuptials in India, Russell Brand and Katie Perry have gone their separate ways after just 14 months. The model Heidi Klum and singer Seal, parents to three children and her daughter from a previous marriage, announced in January that they had “grown apart” and were separating.
“As a society we have grown to feel entitled to have our needs met, and to be happy,” says Charlotte Friedman, a psychotherapist and founder of the Divorce Support Group. “Thirty years ago, people stayed in unhappy, lonely marriages and repressed their emotions because they felt there was no other option. Would it really be better to return to those days?
“Of course, it’s better for children to be brought up in a loving home with two parents. But if they have to separate, and they can do so amicably and resist the temptation to recruit the children to one side or another, it isn’t a bad thing.”
According to the Office of National Statistics, the average length of a marriage in Britain is now 11.3 years. A cohabitation is likely to break up in three years if the partners don’t marry.
The number of couples getting divorced grew by 5 per cent last year to 119,589. This was an increase of almost 6,000 on 2009, and the first time the divorce rate had risen since 2003. Divorce charities say that the combination of rising unemployment and the increased cost of living have created a “pressure cooker” for many relationships. “It’s no surprise that the divorce rate is rising given the pressures that couples and families are under,” says John Loughton, of Relate. “In fact we are seeing more people than ever coming to us because of money worries.”
Money worries are a major deterrent to marriage in the first place, says Anastasia de Waal, of the think tank Civitas. She believes that the success of Sir Paul Coleridge’s crusade for marriage rests not on gradual social change, but government policies.
“The best way to encourage marriage is employment. We know there’s a clear correlation between low employment and low marriage rates,” she says. “If your partner doesn’t have a job or a house you are less likely to want to make them your lifetime partner.”
Whether it be through government policy or a social shift, we all have a vested interest in creating and sustaining happy families; not least because family breakdown costs us £42 billion a year in monetary terms, while taking an incalculable toll on the children involved.
If, as Sir Paul suggests, society is being unravelled, its warp and weft disintegrating with the ever looser bonds between couples, parents and children, can anyone really argue against the championing of loving, secure, stable marriage as the best environment in which to raise the next generation?
Conservative Minister urges Leveson Inquiry not to meddle with media laws as he makes passionate defence of Britain's free press
Michael Gove yesterday warned Lord Justice Leveson that he risks creating a ‘cure’ for newspaper wrongdoing that is ‘worse than the disease’ of phone hacking. The Education Secretary repeatedly clashed over freedom of speech with the judge running the media standards inquiry.
He challenged the entire basis of the inquiry and insisted that existing law is sufficient to police the media and prevent wrongdoing.
Mr Gove argued passionately that anything else risks undermining free speech and warned that previous public inquiries that have imposed regulations on other industries have made things worse not better.
His outspoken defence of a free Press seemed to rile Lord Justice Leveson, who insisted new rules were needed to curb excesses even as he claimed he would uphold freedom of the press.
Mr Gove, a former leader writer for The Times which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, also refused to copy other senior politicians by distancing himself from the media tycoon. Instead he described the media mogul as ‘one of the most impressive and significant figures of the past 50 years’.
It emerged yesterday that he met Mr Murdoch and his senior aides on 11 occasions between the general election in May 2010 and July last year. But he denied that they discussed the News Corporation boss’s business interests.
Mr Gove said journalists were ‘exercising a precious liberty’ when they wrote articles. He said: ‘I am concerned about any prior restraint and on their exercising of freedom of speech.’ He said it was impossible to prevent newspapers causing offence to some portions of the population and that attempts to protect one group would ultimately undermine the ability of the media to hold the powerful to account.
But a clearly irritated Lord Justice Leveson said: ‘Mr Gove, I do not need to be told about the importance of freedom of speech, I really don’t.’ He said he was ‘concerned’ by Mr Gove’s view that behaviour which is ‘unacceptable’ has ‘to be accepted because of the right of freedom of speech’.
But Mr Gove was unbowed and said that attempts to stamp out wrongdoing could make things worse. He said previous inquiries had led to regulations that were ‘applied in a way to be a cure worse than the disease’.
CAIR Official Elected Delegate to Democrat Convention
The Executive-Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Greater Area of Los Angeles Area chapter, Hussam Ayloush, has been elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. CAIR was labeled as an "unindicted co-conspirator" by the federal government in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a charity shut down for financing Hamas. On July 1, 2009, District Judge Jorge Solis upheld the label, ruling that the government provided "ample" evidence tying CAIR to Hamas.
On April 29, Ayloush announced on his Twitter page that he was elected as a DNC delegate for California's Congressional District 42. The California Democratic Party's website has the results of the delegate caucuses, confirming Ayloush's victory.
CAIR's roots are in the Muslim Brotherhood, specifically its Palestine Committee that was secretly set up in the U.S. to support Hamas. In 1993, the FBI wiretapped a Palestine Committee meeting in Philadelphia that included two future founders of CAIR, Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad. Also present was Shukri Abu Baker, the leader of the aforementioned Hamas front called the Holy Land Foundation. At that time, Awad and Ahmed led the Islamic Association for Palestine, another Muslim Brotherhood front (according to the Brotherhood's own documents) with extensive ties to Hamas.
The participants in the 1993 meeting discussed how to "support jihad in Palestine" when "this will be classified as terrorism according to America." They discussed the use of deception and word games and the need to create a new organization with less baggage. Ahmed and Awad founded CAIR the next year. That same year, Awad stated that he supports Hamas. In 2004, he refused to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups in an interview with an Arab publication. The Justice Department reportedly blocked a planned prosecution of Ahmad in recent years.
It shouldn't be surprising then that one of the Brotherhood's documents from 2004 lists CAIR and the Islamic Association for Palestine, from which CAIR's leadership came, among its "working organizations." A 2007 court filing is even clearer: "From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists."
Ayloush has been the Executive Director of CAIR's Greater Area of Los Angeles chapter since 1997. In December 2001, CAIR-CA's website published a photo of him with Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, a senior Muslim Brotherhood cleric that styles himself as the "Mufti of martyrdom operations" and preaches in favor of Hamas, suicide bombings and the destruction of Israel. Ayloush views him as an authoritative source. During a discussion about zakat in October 2002, he referenced the view of "many scholars," but only mentioned one: Qaradawi. To date, there is no repudiation of Qaradawi on the CAIR-CA website or on Ayloush's personal blog.
In 2010, Ayloush said, "I cannot think of one Muslim scholar that I know of, that I have ever heard of, who has actually condoned terrorism." Qaradawi's consistent support for violent jihad is well-known to even his most passive observers. Ayloush either is stunningly ignorant of the "scholar" he references or agrees with Qaradawi's opinion of what qualifies as terrorism.
In January 2004, he spoke of the "legitimate right of the Palestinians to defend themselves against the Israeli occupation" and in 2006, he described the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers by Hamas and Hzbollah as a "military operation." The Israeli response, on the other hand, he said was "very reminiscent to the Nazi style of collective punishment.in response to a resistance."
Ayloush consistently depicts the actions taken by the U.S. government against Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood entities as acts of oppression. He ridiculed the government for freezing the assets of the Holy Land Foundation in 2001, saying, "As we see one charitable organization after the other having its assets frozen and its offices closed, you know, the shift from fighting terrorism is slowly happening towards a fight against symbols of Islam or Islamic activism in the U.S."
He even said the closing of these so-called "charities" is an act of genocide. On June 21, 2006, he spoke at a conference sponsored by various Brotherhood-tied groups like CAIR, the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Students Association and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. He said, "And any attempt to close down a legitimate relief organization is an attempt to starve the Palestinian people.Any attempt to close down relief for the Palestinians is an attempt at genocide."
Ayloush also defends some known extremists. He stands by the innocence of Sami al-Arian, a Brotherhood member convicted for being a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. He has spoken at events to raise money for his legal fees. In 2006, he spoke at a banquet for Sami al-Arian, a convicted terrorist found to be a Brotherhood member and leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the U.S. He also stood up for Sheikh Wagdy Ghoneim, an Egyptian Brotherhood cleric and vocal extremist, who was deported.
In a September 23, 2011, sermon titled, "The Best Jihad: Challenging Injustice," he said that the "Irvine 11," a group of students who so disrupted a speech by the Israeli ambassador that it could barely progress, were only charged because of three reasons: They are Muslim, Israel is a "sacred cow' and because they defended Palestinians in Gaza. The goal is to "intimidate" and "silence" criticism of Israel, Ayloush told the mosque attendees.
This is a sharp sharp contrast to how CAIR treats anti-Islamist Muslims like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser that dare to criticize them and other Brotherhood derivatives. Ayloush has "re-tweeted" several condemnations of Jasser and his appointment to a government post.
He is a leading critic of the government's counter-terrorism efforts and tells Muslims that they are part of a systematic persecution. In April 2009, he spoke at a mosque and said that the FBI mustn't be allowed to have informants in mosques. "Our youth, who they [the FBI] try to radicalize are off limits." He claims that the FBI hires informants to "instigate acts of violence to ruin the reputation of the Muslim community."
In May 2004, he said that the U.S. had become the "new Saddam" and implored the country to "end this hypocrisy, this hypocrisy that we are better than the other dictator." In March 2008, he said that in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon, Somalia and other Muslim countries, the U.S. is "supporting occupation, instability, the interests of defense and war companies and the corrupt allies and puppet regimes." He envisioned "an America that can defeat terrorists without having to act like one."
To be fair, in 2006, he told a columnist that he and CAIR rejected comments made by Imam Abdel Malik-Ali in support of terrorism in Israel, saying "The targeting of civilians is a crime that can never be justified, no matter what just cause it claims to serve." And in a recent sermon, he warned Muslims against embracing false conspiracy theories.
His personal blog (which links to Nihad Awad's blog) has some concerning features.
On November 28, he reposted an article entitled, "Those Who Support Democracy Must Welcome the Rise of Political Islam." Political Islam is another term for the Islamist ideology of the Brotherhood
On June 23, 2007, he republished an article arguing that Hamas is better than Fatah. Titled "West Chooses Fatah but Palestinians Don't," it says, "Here in the U.S., Hamas is routinely demonized, known primary for its attacks on civilians." It concedes that both Hamas and Fatah have done "unspeakable" things but that the U.S. should embrace Hamas. "Hamas did not run into Western opposition because of its Islamic ideology but because of its opposition to (and resistance to) the Israeli occupation. Ironically, it is Hamas that is taking the stands that would be prerequisites for a true two-state peace plan," the author writes.
Ayloush gave a speech on May 11, posted on his blog, titled "Don't Forget Palestine." He tells the audience that Arab dictators like Bashar Assad and Israel are "two sides of the same coin" and need each other. Assad justifies his oppression in the name of fighting Israel and Israel justifies its "oppression" in the name of defense against enemies like Assad.
Ayloush accuses Israel of indiscriminately detaining innocent Palestinians for months at a time, including children. Israel confiscates Palestinian homes in order to build settlements and maintains the only Apartheid state in the world, he says. He preaches that there is an "Islamophobia" network in the U.S. that spreads "anti-Muslim" sentiment and promotes conflict with the Muslim world and "nine out of ten" are right-wing supporters of Israel. The goal, Ayloush assets, is to "demonize the Palestinians" and "anyone who dares to speak up for the rights of the Palestinians in order to cover up the crimes committed by Israel."
In another blog post, he links to a statement by has-been Hollywood star Roseanne Barr denouncing Israel as a "Nazi state." In the comments underneath the post, he said his purpose was to highlight Jews "willing to take a principled stand in criticizing Israel's racism and savagery." An e-mail from Ayloush in 2002 shows why he favors her comments. He wrote, "Indeed, the zionazis are a bunch of nice people; just like their nazi brethren! It is just that the world keeps making up lies about them! It is so unfair."
According to Americans Against Hate, he also posted a picture of an Israeli fighter jet with the words, "guilty Israeli terrorists" and has put up photos of a dead Palestinian baby wrapped in the flag of Hamas. Despite all of this, Ayloush is able to style himself as an interfaith leader. On March 20, he tweeted that he's going to speak about Islam during a Sunday morning church service.
If the Democratic Party wants to rebut allegations that the administration is a poor friend of Israel, having a delegate that complains about "ZioNazis" and is a CAIR official, a group tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, is going to be a tad bit of a problem.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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