Another Mid-Life Complication
Yesterday we discussed how mid-life daters take the same unresolved attachments into their dating life the second time around as they did the first time, if they aren’t diligent in trying to understand how the family projection process led them to make those choices.
Mid-life dating, strange animal that it is, features another unique characteristic regarding the family projection process. The projection process from the nuclear family they established in their marriage also comes with them into their post-divorced life.
This injects a a couple unique wrinkles into mid-life dating 1) emotional baggage from previous relationships, and 2) blended family issues.
As social creatures, human beings are affected by the emotional processes of all their relationships. Basically, hurt people hurt people, and unless we’re actively engaged in tending and healing our wounds, we carry them around with us unconsciously, affecting us and those around us.
In the mid-life dating pool, this means we’re not only carrying around our unresolved attachments from our families of origin, but from our broken nuclear family relationships, too. And so are the people we date–a quadruple whammy: unresolved attachment issues from two families of origin and two nuclear families, colliding in a potentially nuclear blast.
Fortunately, knowledge is power, and if you know and remain conscious of the patterns of your own family projection process, you can be thoughtful about how it may be impacting your new love life. If both you and your potential partner are doing this, you can navigate the unique realities a little more smoothly and skillfully together.
Blending families, a unique feature of new mid-life relationships, requires especially skillful navigation, due to the complex triangles that result. A family of five includes nine interlocking triangles. Put two families together and the number of interlocking triangles increases exponentially; the new family includes not only the new relationships but the old ones from our previous nuclear family relationships, the unresolved attachments of which remain active in our psyches. For a simple example of that reality, see my post titled “Dating Wisely 1.13.”
These are truly complex issues that require wisdom to navigate. If we’re diligent and thoughtful, we can draw on the emotional maturity that sometimes comes with age to help us think through the difficult dilemmas of the mid-life dating game.
Tomorrow we’ll move on to Dating Wisely Concept #10 which will address how these unresolved attachments stick with us, and what we can do about that.