Sunday, July 31, 2011

Old Friends Not Always on Facebook

I finally joined Facebook a week ago, a momentous event in our household. Michael has been on for a while, but I’ve never been much of a joiner, and so I held back until last Monday. A frenzy of fervid friending followed – former workmates and classmates, new friends, old friends, former students, neighbors, nieces and nephews.

I looked up old boyfriends. (Admit it: you’ve done this too.) Some I really don’t want to find, but others came into my life at a time when I needed something they had. Maybe they helped me find confidence, or introduced me to new ways of thinking, or helped me understand something about myself and the universe. Sergé was one of those people – a generous man who taught me to value myself, a free spirit who helped me break out of tight boundaries without harm. He wasn’t on Facebook, so I tried Google. What I found was an obituary from two months ago.

That made me sad in an odd, distant sort of way. This is part of getting older. My ex-husband died five years ago. Old boyfriends have passed on.  When Michael and I talked about that sadness, we remembered another difference between us and other couples, a result of our older woman-younger man pairing.

It’s this: I had more significant relationships before we met than he did. Divorced for almost two decades when we met, I had more time to date. He had less, and therefore fewer significant others in his life. If that means something, I’m not sure what; it’s just a fact we recognize.

But as the actuarial tables start to catch up with my age group and Facebook shrinks distances, I might find I feel that odd sadness more often.


  1. I too, am married to a younger man, by 12 years. We met when I just turned 40 and he was 28, and we just celebrated our 13th Wedding Anniversary. We both had been briefly married before, but just like you, mine was 20 years before and his was just 5 years before.

  2. Anonymous – Congratulations on 13 years together! Many of us don't live the cougar life but just happened to fall in love with a younger man. Hope you have many more years together. Sheri

  3. I can identify with being sad 'in an odd, distant sort of way' although not necessarily from an obituary of an old friend/flame but in viewing current photos. Makes me realize time is passing. Although I see my own reflection each morning somehow it is brought home when I see the changes time has wrought on those friends from the past whose memories I have are frozen in time.

  4. From your photo you certainly look like the Sheri Venema that I worked with at Northern Plains in Minneapolis in the 1970's. We even occasionally jogged around the pond in Loring Park and played on the same softball team. If I've got the wrong person I apologize, but if you're the same person, then this is a big hello from the past. At the very least I'm having a wonderful time recalling a part of my past that I had totally forgotten!
    Karin Abromaitis

  5. Hi Karin,
    Yes, it's me! I moved to Missoula in 1992, long after you did. I looked around for you there -- I remember that you went there to work with the Children's Theater and you also had a boyfriend named Dexter. But I never found you! We were there (except for a four-year break in Arkansas) from 1992 to 2007; now in Baltimore. Message me on Facebook, and let's catch up! Thanks for finding our blog!