Is True Love More Likely To Happen When We’re Older?
I mean, all things Bennifer are really starting to heat up.
It went from romantic walks and dinner dates in Miami, to a potential video remake of the iconic Jenny from the Block video, to a ‘BEN’ necklace, to a steamy Instagram official photo from JLo herself.
It’s been a whirlwind of rekindled romance and I for one, feel blessed to be witnessing this moment in history.
It’s not often that we get to experience the true satisfaction that is beloved Hollywood couples getting back together and seemingly, more in love than ever?
A Hollywood insider told PEOPLE magazine that the pair “are madly in love” and “the loves of each other’s lives”, and honestly, we believe it.
When we’re young, we’re taught that love is pretty much the purpose of life, especially for women. Finding someone to love, who loves you back, defines our success as people and as adults. Not only does it confirm that we are, in fact, loveable, it also sets us on ‘the right path’ that has been carved out for us by societal structures that existed before we were born.
Over centuries, marriage has evolved from being a crucial financial transaction to being a symbol of security, prosperity and even wealth (still), and now increasingly a choice, that we can choose not to define us independently, or as a couple.
But despite our increasing acceptance of relationships that look different, there is still this looming pressure to find ‘the one’ while we’re in our prime.
Who’s to say our prime isn’t when we’re in our 50’s?
I don’t know about you, but I was absolutely not ready to commit to anyone by 22 – the age that my mum was when she got married. Not only had I not met a single person that I could see myself being with for the rest of my life, but I knew next to nothing about myself as an individual. I had no idea what love felt like, I’d never experienced heartbreak and I’d most certainly not learned how to ask for what I want.
I spent the majority of my late teens and early twenties having complicated relationships with people that didn’t treat me well. While that may have seemed concerning to an outsider at the time, I learnt so many invaluable lessons about love and about myself.
Even still, when I was in that period of my life, there was always this niggling feeling that I needed to find someone to truly love me and commit to me. There’s this pressure to “find love” to “complete” yourself with someone else and although that didn’t sit right with me, there was still a part of me that wanted it desperately.
When I eventually realised that I didn’t want to be in a relationship and I wasn’t ready to recognise true love and be open to it, I relaxed into single life and decided to make the most of it.
I know it’s cliche, but I think we really need to learn to be alone with ourselves, before being with that ‘right’ person really clicks.
Lyndsey got engaged when she was 27, and she was proudly the first of her friends to do so. When the relationship ended and her engagement broke off, she felt like a failure.
“I felt like something was wrong with me. It really messed with my head and my sense of self-worth because I felt like I couldn’t make it work, even though I knew that we wanted different things.”
This feeling she describes feels super familiar to me. I think, as women, we feel this shame so often when relationships don’t work out how we think they’re supposed to. For some reason, it always feels like our fault, regardless of the outside factors that contributed to the demise of the relationship.
I’m not even just talking about breakups, I remember feeling that sense of shame or like I’d failed, simply when guys I was dating wouldn’t text me back. I think it’s because we’re taught to measure so much of our success—especially as women—on the validation of a man.
I have a theory: this feeling of shame always leads us to date the wrong people, because it makes us feel safe. For example, we’ll date guys that we know are a**holes because we know they’ll let us down, so we can pre-empt their behaviour and be in control.
“After my engagement ended, I began a pattern of dating just really sh*tty men, because I felt like those relationships were easier to explain my way out of,” Lyndsey explains.
“I could say ‘he was an asshole’ as a reason for it not working it out, and it didn’t feel like the blame was on me.
“I think I was ultimately trying to protect myself from the pain of a broken relationship, but I just opened myself up to a decade of being treated like sh*t by men, who frankly, didn’t deserve my time.”
It’s so relatable and I think we’ve all been there. Even JLo, the most divine creature on the planet has been there. JLo isn’t without her fair share of toxic relationships and although I won’t speculate about the details don’t really know (A-Rod’s affair, cough cough), she has been super honest about her struggles in past relationships, most notably with her ex-husband Marc Anthony.
Lopez wrote a book titled True Love, which was published in 2014, where she talks candidly about relearning how to love yourself and redefining what love looks like, detailing her journey through marriage, having kids and divorce.
Both splits from Marc Anthony and her latest ex Alex Rodriguez were plagued with cheating rumours, which given the evidence, is hard not to believe. Who could cheat on JLO, you ask? Yeah, I’d like to have a word with them too.
But what I find extraordinary, is seeing her back with her ex-fiancé Ben Affleck, with whom she was with from 2002-2004. We only get paparazzi shots and small insights from social media presence into what the relationship is like, but I think it’s safe to say that you don’t get back with an ex-fiancé publicly unless you’re pretty damn sure.
‘Bennifer‘ seem happy and in love like true adults. They’re not making a big thing of it (everyone else is doing a fab job of that), they’re just calmly going about their everyday lives, happily in love and making arrangements that bring their lives together once more.
As far as celebrity relationships go, this might be one of the most genuine love stories I’ve ever witnessed – and I think it has something to do with their age.
“During my years of destructive dating, I think I crucially needed to learn to be alone,” says Lyndsey Rodrigues, The Latch Entertainment Editor, about the time after her engagement ended.
“I got comfortable with the idea that the whole “love and marriage” thing might not happen for me. It was difficult, as unlearning ‘norms’ and changing perspectives can be, but I think it helped me appreciate the relationship I’m in today.
“I may have not given Alex (my current partner and love of my life) a chance, had it not been for the a**holes I allowed into my dating life previously.
“He was so many things I wasn’t used to. He is very quiet and shy, a bit of an introvert and takes his time to make decisions. It took him a while to feel comfortable enough to open up to me, to a point where about 2 months in, I was really questioning if we should continue dating.
“I decided to give it time, something I would not have done previously, and within two weeks I couldn’t believe I’d ever considered walking away from him. We’ve gone from strength to strength ever since.”
Lyndsey goes on to say that she wouldn’t have appreciated a partner as sweet, thoughtful, funny and kind when she was younger because that wasn’t the kind of relationship she thought she should be looking for.
We’re always taught that we fall in love it makes us feel crazy and lustful and sick to our stomachs, but when you think about it, which part of that sounds fun? Literally, the only fun I ever had was being able to relate to an entire Taylor Swift album.
The conclusion I’ve come to is simple: there is no right time to fall in love.
You will fall in love in different ways throughout your life and everything will happen for a reason. Sometimes, you’ll invest your love in people who aren’t ‘the one’ for you, but that’s totally okay because you’re absolutely going to learn from that experience in some way.
I think that more love stories of people falling in love later in life should be celebrated in mainstream media and in films and TV. These love stories are between people who know how to be alone, who really know themselves and have learnt some of the tough lessons that life has thrown at them, and through all of that, they’ve chosen each other.
Now I think that, is a love worth waiting for.