April 4, 2016

An Older Man & a Younger Woman: Why I Love You but Can’t Live with You.


You used to love me all the time. Now you are too busy for love.

While you are thinking of how often you can do hot yoga, building your business, training for a triathlon and seeing the world I am thinking of your legs, your laughter, how impossibly cute you are and how your used panties placed intentionally under my pillow are a healthy alternative to Viagra.

You can’t be bothered to return a text, and I can’t possibly not send one.

We ignored, even celebrated the age gap between us, but it’s not entertaining now. When we considered moving in together I knew that I was done with all that and you had yet to begin.

I am free to think about you, and you have to be thinking about you too. So both of us are thinking only about you.

I can live with that, but there is a communication problem too.

It goes like this: when you are high you are very, very high, and when you are low it is awful.

The high part of you won’t even say “hello” to the low part of you. I find myself in a horror movie yelling, “Don’t open the closet.”

In the closet is you when your manic world falls away, weeping and not daring to come out. I could live with that, we could even arrange the closet so it was comfortable. But there is a problem, your highs are so high and your lows so low that they never communicate.

I attempt to bridge the gap between you and you, but peace talks break down before they get started.

I can’t live with you because I would be living with two people, the high and the low, and though I love them both I don’t dare mention one aspect of you to the other. If I slip up then you ignore me for days, even months and I am left lonely loving you just the same.

You aren’t hard hearted, just human, with work you need to do and your own world in which you need to do it. Watching your struggles makes me want to save you from the inevitable lessons of the decisions you make when high and the consequences of those decisions when you are low.

With my own children there was never a question they needed to learn their lessons. And they did. But when you are my kid, which is when you hurt the most and my compassion rises, I want to save you. You bristle imagining that I am your mother. You wouldn’t move back in with her for too many of the same reasons you can’t move in with me.

Watching you crash has me wanting to throw in the towel, to stop the beating you are giving yourself. But that is encroaching on your world, and I love you too much for that. And we would run out of towels!

We can’t stop me from loving you, but I can’t live with you either. By now we should be living together and married, but we can’t do it. I don’t have what it takes to sweep up your broken dreams once more.

If we never got out of bed we would be fine. If there were no banks, deadlines or a real world we could live a fairy tale— happily ever after. I would kiss your lips from morning till night, and never let go.

We have done a lot of that, living outside the world, with lips locked. But that isn’t the only thing we came here for. We came to this obstacle course named Earth to learn to navigate it. And I can’t get in the way of lessons you must learn.

To live together requires a common world to live in. We don’t have that. You are always on your way to Europe, India or a life of success. I just want to watch you brush your teeth, hold your hand, share a sunrise and sheets with you.

I don’t know why I love you so much; it could easily be because you are just the way you are. I have always been a sucker for innocence. I dig your magical world, and I dig you—I just can’t live with you.

You represent youth to me, a temptation and a drug of choice. but I teeter dangerously close to being addicted to you. I want to live with you but we simply can’t. You don’t know that we can’t, you know we will when you are high, that we never will when you are low.

Love doesn’t care about all this, but the logistics of living together does. The mess we would make would occupy my remaining years and you don’t yet know you are mortal.

Yes I love you, yes I wish there was some way to do this, yes I would do anything—except we simply can’t live together.




Mindful Offering:

A Book about a Different Kind of Love.

Author: Jerry Stocking

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Flickr/Rennett Stowe

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