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.