Can Men and Women Be Better Friends After 50?

Posted August 21, 2012 7:50 AM

I asked Brett Newmeyer, a 55-year old single friend of mine, to tell us what he thinks about male-female friendships.  Here are his thoughts:

After a rather unpleasant divorce a few years ago, I vowed to embark on a journey of self-discovery. My primary objective has been to answer the long-buried question: "Who am I, really?"  When left to my own devices, what do I "look like?"  Some of the answers have been surprising, others not so much.

One unexpected discovery: I enjoy cooking. Who knew?!  I’m also quite good at growing herbs to put in the meals I make. Being self-sufficient for the first time since my 20’s has been both enlightening and challenging.

Fortunately, my life-long love, respect, and admiration for women emerged nearly unscathed. Oh sure, it was battered and bruised for a while, but over time the scars are nearly gone. Not wanting to get back into a committed relationship has granted me the freedom and "permission" to develop meaningful, platonic friendships with some truly remarkable women.

One of the first is the Midlife Crisis Queen Laura Lee Carter. She has offered more support and encouragement for my desire, really my compulsion to write, than all of my former English teachers put together. When I haven’t submitted anything for a while, Laura nudges me out of my complacency by teasing me with a seemingly simple, yet complex subject (like this one!), and like a moth to the flame, I’m back at the keyboard. This has been one of the most challenging, rewarding, and humbling learning experiences of my life, and for that I am grateful.

Another is a dear friend I knew back in high school. I hadn’t heard from her for years, and thought we had lost touch altogether. Then, out of the blue, I got an email from her, which led to phone calls and finally a visit to Georgia a few months ago for a week of catching up. It was like old times!  Ultimately, I joined her marketing group, and it looks like that will provide for my retirement.

Closer to home, I have become good friends with a woman who is smart, ambitious, and funny beyond words. We have many things in common, and in spite of the fact we go to concerts, have dinner together, and go for walks, she never fails to remind me "This is not a date!" Well, that’s a relief!

All in all, my life is richer and much more fulfilling because of my friendships with these, and several other wonderful women.

While I may not yet be the "best" man, I’m certainly a better man than I was. Thank you, ladies!

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Laura Lee Carter, MA Counseling Psychology, is the founder of MidlifeCrisisQueen, where this post originally appeared. The blog is dedicated to helping others turn their own midlife crises into important opportunities for personal change. Besides working as a psychotherapist specializing in Midlife Psychology, Laura Lee writes for national magazines and has also authored books on love and midlife change. Follow her on Twitter: @midlifequeen.

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