Jake and I met 39 years ago.
I was delighted to note that my relationship with Jake ticks all the important boxes, in a a book about sexual relationships put out by Gwyneth Paltrow. She recently became engaged and enlisted a panel of experts to talk about what makes relationships last;especially how to keep relationships solid and vibrant. Jake and I are living proof of this as we are still going strong and in fact, stronger and stronger.
Many people say I was lucky. Piffle. I really wanted a man like Jake and set out to find him. This was the late 70s and way before the Law of Attraction and Manifestation of one’s desires. I wanted a man who was rich, clever, sexy, into becoming more conscious, good looking and a couple of years older than me. I set my intention. At the time I was reading a book by Ken Keyes, ‘Handbook to Higher Consciousness’ in the Open University refectory where I was doing a PhD. A girl I did not know, walked past and was arrested by the cover. She wanted to know all about it and was interested in the fact that I was a psychotherapist. ‘Ooh,’ she said. People in my commune, especially my boyfriend would be very interested in meeting you’ and invited me over. Yes, you guessed it her boyfriend (after some tricky sorting out) became the love of my life. Jake’s girlfriend was into polyamory and I became another in a line of 3- way relationships. I put my foot down and said I wanted him to myself! (read all about it in Sexy at 70)
The first thing the experts say is ‘if a couple does new activities together, within their comfort zones, it strengthens their bond and connection.’. This has happened throughout our 39 years and definitely worked for us. We ran couples’ psychotherapy groups together and then Enlightenment Intensives. These were spiritual Zen type groups where the aim was to have a direct experience of the truth. We loved them, both as participants and leaders for over 25 years and trained others. Then we ran an Energy Efficient business together (National Energy Services). We sold that and bought our present piece of paradise.
Jake and I started going to parties and raves together. We dressed up, flirted outrageously and had a ball.
Now we are delighting in being smallholders together. We are self sufficient in fruit and vegetables , all organic and wild and look after a dozen chickens.
Gwyneth asked an expert ‘Do people have to nurture that erotic connection over time?’
‘Yes,’ she answered. ‘All the time. Be intentional, wilful, conscious about it. Laugh, tease, flirt. The erotic connection doesn’t thrive if left alone.’
This is so true. Jake and I thrive on our erotic connection and do everything to keep it going. A day does not go past without him telling me I am beautiful or me telling him, how sexy he is. Mind you, at times he will say, I look really old and tired and sometimes I do. But I value his honesty and I believe him when he says the positive stuff.
We touch, cuddle and make eyes at each other most of the time. These sexual “injections” as the expert says, ‘are the lifeblood of intimacy’. I am a firm believer of this. If the erotic connection is lost, Jake and I spend time sorting out what went wrong. We make it top of our agenda. This requires fierce honesty and courage but is always worth it. Many couples allow stack ups- things that don’t feel good but feel too trivial or too scary to say. We have 39 years of experience to know that anything in the way of intimacy must be faced. Our erotic connection must be reignited because that is what keeps us going. At the grand old age of 65, I started doing sexy dances for my husband. I can’t believe I waited that long. Now it is an opportunity to dress up, be alluring, seductive and erotic. And my husband is mega appreciative.
All relationships fall foul of unhelpful dynamics or habits, part of baggage we all bring. We make some of our trips into games for example, Jake can be quite a bossy-boots, and me, a doormat. We often act out this dynamic by Jake getting up on a chair and wagging his finger at me obviously in a n attempts to coerce me. We end up laughing at whatever problem it is. In fact, we laugh a LOT. I remember a saying from ‘One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest- ‘you lose your footing when you lose your laugh.’
They say opposites attract. This has been so for us. Jake was quite serious when I met him and I was a bit of a giggly airhead (still am some of the time). But now Jake has become a lot less serious and is quite hilarious and I have even been known to thread together a serious conversation. We have taught each other a lot. Jake learnt quite early on that I love his funny faces, so now he makes them all the time. He especially likes creating a caricature of his aging self and acts out like he is 90. This is so hideous and so funny at the same time, I am sure it is preparing us for a time when we will be that frail and hideous.
I think my biggest message on our 39 years – is to try and find someone to be with when you are old. It is just too dire otherwise. We really understand each other’s creaking bones and love to have a bit of a moan about them. But most of all we are enjoying entering the winter of our lives together.
I asked Jake what he wanted to contribute to this blog.
- Always say the truth
- When you are wrong, own up. When you are right, shut up.