Opposites Attract in Middle Age???

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2010
Opposites Attract in Middle Age???
Fri, 02-14-2014 - 4:06pm


Thanks to Facebook, I have gotten back in touch with a woman who was briefly my girlfriend in summer camp. I was 15 and she was 14 at the time. She is now a 49 year old divorcee. Her last serious boyfriend seemed like a good match--but he didn't want to advance to the next level. It has now been over 3 years since that last relationship ended.

Although her mother died in the terror attack on September 11, 2001, she is a committed pacifist, working for peace and understanding with Muslims. Pacifism is an active endeavor for her. She is otherwise a staunch liberal and supporter of gun control. She is serious, but not traditional, in her observance of Judaism.  She is from an upper middle class family and works in art and music therapy.

She is starting to be involved with a Catholic man who works as a prison guard, is a NRA member, and loves hunting and guns. He also loves to eat pork.

 I myself don't see how this relationship can work. Of course, I do realize how hard it is for women over 45 to find someone suitable. Anyway, what do others think? How could a relationship between two such different individuals succeed?

I am not currently in a position to say anything to her--but I am curious if others here agree with me.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 02-17-2014 - 12:09pm

I think for a lasting relationship, you don't need to have someone exactly like you, but if you are with someone very different, it's a lot more difficult.  I remember visiting a marriage therapist w/ my ex and he said something like "those differences that first attracted you to someone can drive you crazy later on."  So maybe it's good if one person is better at managing the finances and the other person is better at some other task--that's helpful.  If one person is a little shy and the other one is more outgoing, the less shy person can maybe help the other one to come out of their shell.  But just one example--if you have one person who wants to go out every weekend and stay out late and have a lot of friends around and the other person would really rather stay home all the time, sure they can compromise but maybe both of them would be happier with someone who just liked to do the same things.  There are degrees of differences for everything and I just think if you are very different on the major things it causes a lot of unhappiness.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2010
Sun, 02-16-2014 - 7:10pm

sabrtooth wrote:
<p>If the only people you can have a lasting relationship with are those who think like you, eat like you, behave like you, play like you, be entertained like you, worship like you, and, I'm sure, look like you, how boring and insular your world must be.... No Rodney, I guess we CAN'T just all get along.</p>


Hi. There are differences and there are differences. If my old friend took up with say an African-American left-wing community activist, that pairing would have a decent chance of success, IMO.  BTW, my wife is a native Spanish speaker who grew up in South America and has mixed ancestry. We get along well, because otherwise we do share things in common.

Marriage or a marriage-like relationship is the closest association you can have with another person. If two people are too far apart, particularly on matters important to them, it just won't work. This isn't about being politically correct or not.  It's about knowing what is likely to succeed or fail.


Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 02-16-2014 - 11:43am

If the only people you can have a lasting relationship with are those who think like you, eat like you, behave like you, play like you, be entertained like you, worship like you, and, I'm sure, look like you, how boring and insular your world must be.  All your conversations must be mutual admiration daisy chains. 

This mind set is at the heart of what's wrong with the government here today, and the world at large.  Apparently neither education, nor evolution, has improved enough of us to appreciate the fact that we all drink the same water, and breath the same air.  The ability to see validity in various points of view & philosophies, has been lost, and along with it, the art of, and necessity for, compromise.  No Rodney, I guess we CAN'T just all get along.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2008
Sun, 02-16-2014 - 10:56am

Like some of the others, I believe she may feel that she has limited options, just as most of us over 40 do.  She may feel she has to give anyone halfway feasible a chance, or, as others point out, there may actually be a strong attraction. I hope the latter is true, because at least in that case she won't feel so much that she is settling.

I believe many older women are choosing to "exit the market" than settle for some of the dismal options out there (way older, chronically  under- or un-employed, obese and unattractive.).

And Trenner, did you happen to see Matalin on the Bill Maher show a few weeks ago?  She came on there totally trashed, slurring her words and being very inappropriate.  Her husband was there also and looked totally embarassed. Perhaps this marriage has seen better days.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2010
Sun, 02-16-2014 - 3:48am


Thanks for your input. So, a whole range of opinions here--with Floridagirl52 and Themaharishi seeing things similar to me and Sabrtooth strongly disagreeing with me. 

Yes, long term relationships between people with sharp, fundamental differences do work on occasion. For instance, there is James Carville and Mary Matalin, who work for opposing political parties getting their candidates elected. However, IMO, if you have a radically opposed worldview, radically opposed life objectives, radically different views about children and/or radically different views and desires as to sexual matters, you shouldn't be in a serious relationship with that person. Trouble is likely to result!!!  Imagine, for instance, if Michelle Obama were to believe her husband was really born in Kenya and that the Affordable Care Act should not have been passed. Her husband gets enough abuse from his Republican critics.

Anyway, thanks for everyone's input. Right now, this strand is still listed as today's hot issue\discussion!!!


You do have a point. If she is just seeking a companion for a while, but not necessarily for life, then giving this guy a chance makes sense.  I remember myself how exasperating dating after 40 can be.


I have absolutely no intention of getting involved here. I was just taken aback by her choice.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Sat, 02-15-2014 - 2:19pm

  Work is in the eyes of the beheld.  There are many such couples and yes there can be conflict.  But that is not nearly as important as them deciding to be together.  it does not have to "work" on any sense but theirs.   


Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Sat, 02-15-2014 - 11:55am

It doesn't sound very auspicious to me either. Liberal, socially-concious Jew with a conservative Catholic? Of course, who knows? But I find that certain characteristics tend to go together, and I would assume if he's all into the NRA, he's probably very conservative in other areas.

Perhaps there is a strong physical attraction. That can keep things going for a good long while. But after that wears off a little, I think differences can become pretty major. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Fri, 02-14-2014 - 11:17pm

Did this woman ask you for your opinion on this?? If not I would probably stay out of it.. They are adults and it could work or it wont work... Those are the odds... In this day and age and yes after 45 people cant be so picky so they might have a shot at this ..

Unfortunately though they are just beginning to date and on their best behavior  for now and we all know the bad stuff doesnt come out for awhile or their true selves wont surface for awhile and  so their differences could affect them down the road.. Well like Music said maybe they are having fun for now.. All we have is now and this moment especially as we age.. So let them enjoy themselves and not worry too much about what might happen or what could happen..

Oh; and if they decide they really love each other  maybe they can work out the differences and details and the negatives. Heck isnt that what compromise is for and adult relationships? 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Fri, 02-14-2014 - 9:24pm

I don't think they are all that 'opposite" or they wouldn't have gotten past the first date.  You say she is "serious, but not traditional" in her observance of Judasim.  So I take it she is not Orthodox, doesn't keep Kosher, & doesn't observe Shabbat.   Therefore, her behavior is not going to be much different than his.  So what if her bf loves pork??   Is he going to rub it in her face?  Force feed her? 

She's a pacifist, and he's a prison guard, & NRA member who loves hunting and guns.  First of all, a prison guard's job is more border collie than pit bull.  99% of them never lift a finger during the course of their jobs.  And they certainly do not get those jobs because they "love" violence.  You've seen too many TV shows if you believe that. 

As for loving hunting and guns...  Someone can certainly appreciate the form and function of a beautifully crafted gun or knife, without being a serial killer.  Shooting a turkey does not mean someone will turn around and shoot a PERSON.  And unless the woman's a straight edge, non-lacto/ovo vegan, she eats something that was KILLED.  They didn't kiss it to death.

One of my dds is an artist, and a HS art teacher, at an inner city school.  She detests pork--the texture, the smell, all of it.  She's into tofu, & falafel.  She's a dedicated Union member, and a Democrat.  Her husband was in the service, works for the DOJ, and has done taxidermy as a hobby.  His father is a Colonel in the Army.  He was born with BBQ in his fist, and is a Republican.  They've been together for years, manage to get along just fine, and are welcoming their first child in a few weeks. 

Your assumptions are baseless.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-13-2011
Fri, 02-14-2014 - 7:27pm

>> her mother died in the terror attack on September 11, 2001,

>> she is a committed pacifist, working for peace and understanding with Muslims

Not going to work. On one side you have a rational person or at least appearing to be rational; on the other you have someone  emotionally charged and detached from reality. Her mother would be proud of her for trying to "better understand" and make peace with those who killed her. Not passing judgment on anyone but I know the type and I could not spend 20 minutes with someone like that on a date. We are not talking Venus and Mars here , which is perfectly ok, but this is Mercury and Pluto. Their thought processes are so , so divergent that it will show up in other things as well, things not of a political nature.