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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why married men at fifty plus start hitting on other women

This is a mail I got from a very dear friend a few days back. I am sharing some excerpts from the mail.

The dinner is progressing well and  Ravi's ( her husband- name changed) friends wife has just been showing us photographs of her children, both in their early twenties. We make a cozy foursome, sipping decaf coffee and  bonding over shared concerns such as aging parents,empty nests syndrome  and flighty maids. Ravi's  phone rings and he excuses himself to take the call. The friends wife also gets up to go to the washroom. In all this pushing back of chairs I don't even notice when the friend gets up and comes to me and ever so casually and sincerely, hugs me and pronounces me to be 'such a lovely, open person' and does a 'God Bless' too. My first reaction is : this guy just hit on me. The second is: oh! he couldn't possibly have done so- he is such a doting father and a loving husband. The third is : did I encourage him in some way? The rest of the evening passes in a blur and it is almost midnight when they leave. I am confused whether to tell Ravi or to keep mum. The confusion continues as I change. just then my phone beeps- a message at this time? The message is from the friend thanking me for the lovely dinner and inviting me 'if I am ever his side of the town' for coffee.  The confusion clears. I tell Ravi about the hug . Ravi doesn't say anything. I know that he feels I am reading too much into the whole thing ; that his friend doesn't have a dirty mind; that I am too old for anyone to make a pass at me; that we should just go to sleep.The messages continue the next day. Nothing in them  can be pinned down as offensive or sexual in nature ,apart from the  fact that this 55 plus alpha male feels an  urge to communicate with his friends wife , and not his friend....

The mail is a long one . The upshot is : why did this man who has everything going for him, including an attractive,intelligent,confident wife, a prosperous career and children he evidently dotes on hit on another man's wife? More disturbing was the thread of guilt running through the mail- the 'did I , in some oblique,obscure,manner encourage him to hit on me'? This is what I wrote back to my dear friend.

The predator in your story is going through a mid life crisis.  MLC  can  hit men anytime from  their late 30s to their fifties, or even early sixties. For many men midlife is a time for looking back at their lives. For some people that can be a life changing exercise. Midlife can generate a sense that time - so generous during their youth - is starting to run out, that their youth has drawn to a close and that the image they will see of themselves will be of thinning hair and a fattening middle.  The end of youth provokes an identity crisis in which the middle-aged man (and sometimes woman) fights against being middle-aged. Hitting on women, in the hope that at least some will respond,  is one of things a man in midlife crisis does as he panics about aging, loss of youth, identity and masculinity. Men in midlife crisis become extremely selfish. They develop a huge sense of  'I'. Even if a man has been a doting husband and father for umpteen years, once he goes into crisis he will feel that absolutely nothing matters except himself and his needs and desires.  For a man in MLC, it's suddenly all about himself.
 Ravi's friend is obviously trying to get back to his youth. You have absolutely no reason to feel any guilt. I am hundred per cent certain that he extends the same 'warmth' to other women. The only way to deal with men like him is to ignore them, keep them at a distance and, as far as possible, steer clear of their beat.  

1 comment:

  1. 'Cos, It's time men desperately need love and affection...