I was recently saddened and perplexed by a situation that arose in one of my English classes. With one of my groups I was doing a reading exercise and the articles happened to be about love. One of the questions in the book was "do you believe in love at first sight?". I went around the room asking the question to all my students. It's a group of women, most of which are between the ages of 40 and 50 with the exception of one man who is in his 80s. When I got to him he flushed red, looked at his hands and said yes. The questions about love continued and he spoke up about relationship problems and how language can be one of them.
At the end of the lesson he lingered waiting for me to get my jacket on, and we walked out together, he brought up an experience he'd had on a recent holiday. He'd been to Slovenia with an organized tour and he met this woman who he fell madly in love with. He deeply regretted not having given her his address when she had asked for it. She apparently wanted to send him postcards.
I asked no questions, he told me everything on his own accord. He is married and didn't want his wife to find out which is why he didn't give her the address. As it turns out the girl was 20 years old and he was fantasizing about the lost opportunity of running off to meet her after receiving one of her postcards..
It was such a sad thing to see for a couple reasons. One is the fact that he felt that he'd missed an important opportunity. He was deeply upset by the events and wished he could turn back time. Secondly he spoke of his wife as if she didn't exist. Those were his words "It's as if she weren't there". The loneliness that he exuded was very sad. Then there's the fact that my 80yr old student thought that a 20yr old girl would be interested in him.
I don't understand this last thing. This is why I am perplexed. It's mostly a thing that happens to older men. I'm sure it must happen to older women too but I don't see it happening to them all that often. It's blatant with older men though. Where I live, there are constantly stories of older frail and lonely men who need 24/7 care so the family hires a young caregiver. He generally falls in love with her shortly after. The woman is rarely local to this country but they are generally Albanian, Romanian or Ukrainian women and there's often a disaster with either him giving her everything in the will or the fact that they get married or that she asks him for money in secret or some such thing. This generally leaves the family in a difficult situation about money and there is often no legal solution for them. Now I'm generalizing here. It's something that doesn't happen with all the foreign caregivers and there are many who are very good at what they do. But I do have first hand experience with more than one of these situations so I have seen it for myself.
How is it that men get themselves into these situations though? Am I wrong in thinking that a 20yr old wouldn't generally be attracted to an 80yr old? Whatever the gender may be? Would you not have SOME doubts about the legitimacy of the attraction?