Cruising Past Seventy: The Inner Journeys: FINDING A LIFETIME PARTNER IN 10 LESSONS: Part 2

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

FINDING A LIFETIME PARTNER IN 10 LESSONS: Part 2




This is Part 2 with Lessons #6-10. Last week's post featured Lessons #1-5.

The turning point happened when my sister passed on from cancer in 2003. She had been estranged from her husband for years and her only daughter had died the year before, also of cancer. I didn’t want to die the same way, alone and lonely. Besides, at the time my three children already had careers of their own. It was my time! I wanted to cook, teach, travel, write, and, yes, love a little.” 

The last one would have been impossible in Manila. When I became a high-ranking government official, the annulment of my marriage became easier to obtain, a usually long and expensive process. Even then, I found out that all the good ones were already taken. Since two of my children had left the nest to emigrate to North America, I followed them and learned these five lessons.  

Lesson Number 6: “Projectize” what you want to happen.

“Finding Him” was to be the most important project in my life. First, I clarified my goal and drew a description of the kind of person I wanted to marry. He must be college-educated, five years older, and five inches taller. Learning from Lesson Number 1, I cast my net wide. I thought there must be someone meant for me from the seven billion people in the whole world! The task was to find him.

It may not have been that popular then but today most relationships fashionably start online. My sister who had already been “shopping,” put me on Match.com. Voila! The letters came and cheapskate me didn’t have to pay a single cent. From the “candidates,” I zeroed in on a naturopath from Texas. We shared one passion (Lesson Number 5): helping my sister beat the dreaded C. Good looks, good profession, and a voice like Frank Sinatra’s drew me to long chats with him.

 

Lesson Number 7: Go for more than long-distance relationships.

When I got to Seattle, he came to visit me and immediately popped the question. Having waited for 20 years to be asked again, I readily said yes. After the wedding, he nursed me back to health (I was a mere 101 pounds, utterly burned out when I entered America) and soon I bounced back with energy. But after a long road trip to Virginia and another to California, he dropped a bomb: he was tired of travel. 

The unwelcome truth that he lied to me before came just as a life-altering event happened. After 4 sisters, 3 daughters, and 2 granddaughters, I wanted to go to Calgary to take care of a grandson about to be born in Calgary. My ex-husband did not understand a grandmother’s heart; worse, not a Filipino heart! Against his vehement objections, I puffed my last cigarette, threw the unfinished pack away, flew to Canada, and filed for divorce.

Yes, long-distance relationships can hide parts of a person.

Lesson Number 8: Consider all 7 Qs.

I may have been an experienced project manager, but I clearly had no clue about how to get to know a person enough to marry him. When another grandson was born in Seattle, I went back to the US to take care of him. I told myself I could try again but I had to choose better this third time. Perhaps it would be a charm.

While volunteering for SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), I was invited to teach at three institutions of higher learning. Babysitting during the day, my nights and weekends were spent teaching. It was another burn-out waiting to happen. My concerned sister “advertised” me on Match.com again.

Soon I had many dates. When I had narrowed down the search to two, one for a Friday evening date and the other for Saturday evening, my then nine-year-old granddaughter cried foul and said, “Mama, if you don’t choose Bill, I will never speak to you again.” My family had recognized he had the superior EQ (emotional quotient), the most important of the 7Qs. It is a framework a late psychiatrist-friend suggested to me. I put it to good use. Please see Part 3 for the details.

Lesson Number 9: Change the circumstances.

Finding him is only half the story. Keeping him is the other half. Bill and I met late in life with deep-set habits and cultural, gender, and individual differences. In 2013, after a series of conflicts, we decided to give space to each other. Bill left me in Seattle after New Year’s Day and proceeded to his son in Boise. 

When he came back on Valentine’s Day, we realized that we had to change our circumstances. After RVing for eight years in North America, he had gotten tired of all the driving (I don’t). We needed to reboot. We still shared a passion for travel (Lesson Number 5), the first secret to a lasting marriage. We bought a home, sold our RV, and bought four months of timeshare to travel the world.

Lesson Number 10: Stay with commitment and respect.

Bill had a twenty-nine-year marriage that ended only because his wife passed on due to cancer. My first marriage ended after nine years; my second, only two. His constant plea was for me to view the totality of the relationship and its long-term nature, not any specific situation and certainly not just the moment. He showed me how the commitment to stay together is the second secret.

I discovered that this is easier (unlike with my first husband) when there is a deep respect for the other. We came to accept that we would probably never have worked out as a couple at the height of our careers when we were very competitive. But at the age we met, our past accomplishments were the source of that deep respect for each other. This is the third secret.

Next week: Using the Net and the 7Qs




















82 comments:

  1. This is Part 2 with Lessons #6-10. Go to the previous post for Lessons #1-5!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am sure that RV life tested your relationship. I like Bill’s view of looking at the totality of the relationship and having a long term view. And having a matching soul that wants to discover new things will keep you moving forward together.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am sure that RV life tested your relationship. I like Bill’s view of looking at the totality of the relationship and having a long term view. And having a matching soul that wants to discover new things will keep you moving forward together.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am glad you are so happy with Bill, every relationship have up and down, staying together and sticking around is the key differentiator between a successful and failed marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Fantastic lessons learned and an inside look to the trail and errors and effort it takes to make a successful relationship work with compromises on both sides.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very great lessons! It's great to hear tip from someone with such a successful relationship. I really have been enjoying this series.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So glad you found a great partner and learned how to travel well together. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned!

    ReplyDelete
  8. So glad you found such a great partner and learned how to travel together. Thank you for sharing your lessons learned!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Such Fun you all are having and seeing so many great sites along the way! This is what life is all about!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Such a beautiful story. Life in an RV is a great lesson for a relationship. It teaches humility. It's hard to withstand together on small spaces 24/7. During my 8-month RV trip, my relationship has grown a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  11. So far, I'm a devoted solo-traveller - on the road and back home. However, let's see what life has in store for me over the next years ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I projectized it once ๐Ÿ”‚ decided I didn't want to go solo!

      Delete
  12. You're lucky to get a great partner to enjoy your RV life. There were up and down along the way, the experience would be great and impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for these wonderful insights, Carol. You are an inspiration that I may yet meet my next and final life partner.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Picking a partner is such a task and it’s important to think about a lot of things when doing so. Lifetime travel partner being one of them so thanks for the lessons!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is awesome! I love your story and your tips!!
    You seem so happy :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Some very handy relationship tips Carol. It's very difficult to find a life mate and congratulations to you both on how well it's worked out.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Some great and important lessons for relationships here. I especially loved your point about commitment. If you're truly committed to each other you can weather a lot of storms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most definitely. Respect and love of travel helped a lot, too!

      Delete
  18. This is such a heartfelt post. I love the relationship advice in there, you both look so cute together! To many more journeys together..

    ReplyDelete
  19. How amazing! Super happy for you to find a partner to share travels with and life.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am, for now, a solo traveler, however this post had really good points for when I do find someone who I want to travel with, and it’s a good reminder that not everything is smooth sailing 24/7 :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am, for now, a solo traveler - however this post had really good points for when I do find someone I want to travel with, and it’s good to remind myself that not everything is smooth sailing 24/7 :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. The picture of you guys at Mount Rushmore is sooo fun! There you have four fellows ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. There are so many insights I learned from this post. I agree that relationships have it ups and downs. The strenght of the relationship is on how you get up again and mend the broken piece togther.

    ReplyDelete
  24. We love that you are so committed to each other. We are approaching the 40 year mark of our marriage and know that it takes work to get to this point. As they say, "Good things don't come easy".

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think RV living must have tested your relationship - the fact you have survived it is a sign of strength!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Travelling with anyone certainly tests the relationship and helps to make or break. Such a lovely post to read and see partners with a passion for seeing more of the world together.

    ReplyDelete
  27. "All couples disagree, about small things and big things". I agree with this so much. I honestly don't know why I assumed that at older ages, people just figure out relationships and don't have any conflict. I can see that that was naive of my to think. But yes, travel has a special way of bringing up things to disagree on doesn't it? Anyway, I love this series so much, again it warms my heart hearing how you found your forever travel partner and love!

    ReplyDelete
  28. We've been together 40 years but I think the space we've given each other to pursue our own interests as well as physical space has contributed to that. I am pretty sure we would have lasted about two days living in an RV! :-) Have enjoyed your personal journey story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. actually RV life offered a lot of space if you use it as a sleeping, dining, and restroom area. Entertainment and recreation is the whole outdoors!

      Delete
  29. I like how specific you got with what you were looking for in a life partner. I’ve never thought to get that detailed.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love this second part of your series. The first one was fantastics, and this just built on that.

    ReplyDelete
  31. "Change the circumstances" I love this...I find this very empowering. I can't thank you enough for being such an inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  32. This was such an insightful series. My husand and I have been together for over 20 years, and we've found that having common interests and honest communication are key.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I think every couple should read this series. It really is stepped in wisdom.

    ReplyDelete
  34. dating to me is a game you learn as you go. SOmetimes you have to adapt and other times you have to stand strong

    ReplyDelete
  35. Your post about finding a lifetime travel partner offers insightful advice and personal reflections on the importance of shared adventures and experiences in building a lasting relationship. The tips you provide, along with your own journey, offer valuable guidance for those seeking a companion with whom to explore the world. Thanks for sharing this heartfelt and inspiring piece – it's sure to resonate with travelers who value companionship on their journeys. Keep up the excellent work in sharing your insights and travel experiences!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for reminding me how much pleasure i dรฉrive from writing for others.

      Delete
  36. It's so heartening to know that you are so happy with Bill. I am sure Van life would have not been easy for either of you. But having a understanding partner makes everything easy.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I have never experienced what it is like to have a van for a house. Plus doing it with your partner is heaven.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Finding a lifetime partner is difficult. I thought I found mine many years ago, but it was not to be because she passed away 17 years ago. I think your tips make sense.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Inspirational story! Your journey of self-discovery and prioritizing respect in love is enlightening. Thank you for sharing your valuable lessons and experiences.

    ReplyDelete
  40. It's the ultimate win to find lifetime partner and these are very cool lessons to learn from. Thank you for sharing them!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Very valuable and important lessons. Having a partner for life is the biggest blessing one can get. Everything is easier shoulder to shoulder with your partner. Lyosha

    ReplyDelete
  42. I love reading about real happy and long relationships. It is very inspirational! Thank you for sharing with us.

    ReplyDelete

Leave a Comment