The Grass Isn’t Always Greener.

This time 30 years ago, me, my ex husband and two kids (which included a 3 month old) sold everything and went to start a new life in Australia. It wasn’t ever a dream of ours, it was just that the opportunity came when my ex was offered a job in Melbourne so we decided to sell up with the intention of never coming back.

At the time the job was offered we had a two year old and I was expecting a second child, and where my husband’s new boss was sympathetic to a degree, he wasn’t prepared to wait for months for my husband to start his new position so I was left behind for a few weeks trying to sell a house and keep everything going until he came back just before our second child was born. Three months later we were on our way.

Luckily for us my husband’s firm put us up in a rented house for three months while we looked around for our own place to buy, (we called the police one night when we thought we had burglars but it was just a possum on the roof, yeah, that didn’t go down well) which eventually we found in a place called Sunbury, a small up and coming town which was a really nice place with most of the houses very similar to the ones seen in “Neighbours”, large bungalows with huge gardens ideal for families. So there we were, ready to start our new life. One of the first thing’s I did was to get my older child into a nursery just so he could make new friends and have some sort of routine after dragging him away from everyone he knew and of course he loved it, which left just me and my girl all day everyday, so in order to go anywhere I learnt to drive but never had the confidence to drive very far, in fact I’ve not driven for 25 years and never missed it.

What I hadn’t bargained for was the wildlife. If it walks, swims or flies in Australia then it bites, even if it’s not poisonous so the spiders became an issue. I did used to have a fear of spiders but living there cured me of that as we have absolutely nothing here compared to the so many different species that can harm you there. Unfortunately all the snakes in the area we lived were poisonous so there was no way I was prepared to let the kids play out in the garden, and there seemed to be plagues of things that only lasted a couple of weeks but you just felt like you were getting attacked from all angles.

Before we emigrated I had heard that Australia was a bit behind the times when it came to how they treat women but I wasn’t convinced of this until we decided to go out one Saturday night. Where we lived there were three pubs in the centre of town (c’mon how many do you need?) so we got a babysitter, got dressed up and decided to try them. Believe it or not I wasn’t allowed in two of the pubs because I was female so we tried the third. As we walked in it was obvious that the ladies didn’t really frequent the pubs where we lived, as it was full of men in vest tops, shorts and flip flops, to say that we stood out like a sore thumb was an understatement, we didn’t even finish our drinks before we decided to leave and that was the one and only time we ventured into the bright lights of our town centre for a night out.

I tried, I really did but I was becoming really homesick. I missed my friends, my social life, my job and as much as I’d made a few friends in Oz I was never going to adapt to going to the odd  tupperware party as the highlight of my social life, so although I understood why my ex didn’t want to come back (it is a man’s country) he could understand why I couldn’t stay. We came back after two years but there’s no regrets, I’m glad I went even if it wasn’t for me and I would say to anyone that if it’s what you want then go for it.

The grass isn’t always greener.

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Blocked For Being Brutally Honest.

In some ways older dating is different, but in other ways it’s the same as everyone else except maybe for some of the expectations from a few of the guys I’ve spoken with. A blast from the past popped up a couple of weeks ago, a guy I’d been chatting with when I first started online dating (but pied me because he fancied his chances with someone else) messaged to ask why was I still single? Well Alan, that’s the 64 million dollar question but I soon found out why he himself is still single.

I know what I’m looking for and have accepted that there will probably have to be a couple of comprises, (tall dark and handsome has gone right out of the window) but Alan said that he was looking for someone that not only ticked the right boxes but would also be prepared to start a new life in Spain with him. He wants to retire there but isn’t prepared to start a new life there on his own and maybe find someone, he’s hoping that he’ll find a woman here who’s prepared to leave her family and grandchildren behind (if she has any.) Not fancying his chances there to be honest. But he’s not the only one who’s told me this, remember Colin, the 64 yr old I was grappling with at Piccadilly Gardens bus stop? He said exactly the same. He’s lived in Spain before and would like to go back but not on his own, so he’s also hoping to meet a woman who’s up for it. I understand that at our age the road ahead is shorter than the road behind so it makes sense to try and do what makes you happy. A last ditch attempt to try and start a new life somewhere while you still can, I’m all for that (I’ve done it for god’s sake) but I certainly wouldn’t expect a new partner to be on the same page. That’s a hell of a lot of pressure on someone and to be honest I like to think if a woman wanted that herself she would have gone and done it.

But it’s all about waiting to meet someone before starting the rest of your life. So many people (especially older people) won’t go on holiday/out to dinner/even the bloody cinema on their own. They’re waiting for someone before they make any plans for the future which I find is a sad way of thinking. I said the same to Alan which infuriated him. “What? So you think I’m sad?” Well yes as it happens. ” I think that people who put their life on hold while waiting to meet someone are sad, yes. You are expecting far too much from a potential partner to fulfill your life, in other words you’re relying on someone else to make you happy. That’s a lot of pressure on someone. You need to realise just because it’s your dream doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same.”

And then he blocked me. Blocked for being brutally honest.

In other news I’ve been chatting with a guy who I thought I recognised and after he’d asked me out on a date I remembered that actually, we’ve already been on a date. After I pointed this out he said he thought I looked familiar but couldn’t actually remember the date.

Not sure how I feel about that.

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Long Distance Love.

One of the things unique to older dating is the difficulty of a long distance relationship, as there are usually a few reasons why this won’t work out so whenever I get a message from someone who lives too far away, I say right from the start there is no point pursuing it. This never seems to put the guys off though, even when I say I don’t drive  they always say that they wouldn’t mind doing all the travelling, there are trains etc, but I know that eventually it will all end in tears because none of us, in the end, will compromise.

When you’re young it’s not such a big deal to move to another town or city for whatever reason, University, career, or a love interest as it’s easier to make a new life when you’ve got the confidence, plus, you’ve always got the safety net of being able to go back “home” if it doesn’t work out. Fast forward 30 years and it’s entirely different, as a lot of obstacles have appeared that weren’t there before such as leaving children and possibly grandchildren behind, old friends, a job, a house,and a life that has slowly been built up over the years so it’s understandable that for most women, when it comes to it, it’s hard to make that leap into a new life where you’ve moved to another town/city to be with a new partner so it’s easier not to.

For most older men the reasons are different. A man will quite happily embrace the idea of a woman coming to spend the odd weekend with him and while he’s making noises about how he’d relocate and up sticks to live with you he would probably prefer it if you bought a house on the next street, so that way his life can carry on in the same routine and he wouldn’t have to get rid of the pet budgie. Old dogs, new tricks. At the end of the day, the longer you’re on your own the harder it is to compromise on some things, but a move to somewhere new is probably not going to happen for a lot of older daters. I must admit though I would probably make an exception for someone who lived in another country, preferably hot, like Spain, where I could visit whenever possible and then when it came to moving I could claim that the language barrier was a problem (even though he’s English) but think how many holidays I could have…

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