Late Life Love: Pleasure not Pressure

Researchers at Michigan State University advise us that settling for ‘Mr. Right Now’ is the evolutionary strategy humans prefer over waiting for ‘Mr. Right’.

The researchers found that human nature — traced back to our earliest ancestors — takes the safe bet when stakes are high, such as whether or not we’ll mate.

People who “hold out to find the perfect mate run the risk of coming up empty and leaving no progeny.”

Well, we already knew that, didn’t we.

It’s why so many younger singles settle for Mr. or Ms. Okay — someone appropriate and attractive who checks the boxes for providing and supporting progeny and fits in with family and social expectations. And then they just get on with it.

Until the evolutionary and family obligations have been fulfilled.

Second marriage, anyone?

Progeny produced, evolutionary imperatives satisfied, safe bets played and won, pressure off, we’re free at last to be selfish, to insist the second time around on nothing less than Mr. or Ms. Perfect For Me.

No relationship comes with a guarantee of course but the stakes aren’t nearly so high later in life and there’s more to win than to lose.

This time around, the only boxes to be checked are the ones we choose for ourselves. And they’re often very different than the ones deemed important for pleasing others and co-parenting.

Religion and ethnicity may no longer be important factors. But willingness and ability to travel and enjoy new experiences could very well be a requirement.

Companionship and compatibility? Probably paramount. Chemistry? Desirable but not necessarily a deal breaker. Later in life, we likely value a partner’s kindness, patience and generous spirit more than status, income, hotness or genetics.

It’s kind of like embarking on a second career after middle age, graduating from striving for achievement, success and wealth to doing something that’s gratifying, gives back and nourishes the soul and spirit.

Really lucky couples have found all that they need and want in each other the first time around and get to spend a lifetime of love together. Others are thrilled with the second chance and selfish choice that age and experience may offer. Still others may delight, later in life, in the liberation from expectations and pressure to be partnered or to produce progeny and revel instead in adventure, accomplishment and the love of family and friends.