There is more to the story of my locker room friend described in the previous posting, another lesson he taught, another lesson I learned.
I asked him what had happened to his second bride, the company librarian we all admired. She is still living, he told me, but he hadn’t seen her for many years. She wouldn’t know him, anyway. Soon after they married, she sank into the abyss of dementia and needed constant supervision. Her sister in Pennsylvania agreed to take care of her on the condition they divorced so she could get the Social Security benefits.
When couples marry late, he explained, they have no background to share, no common memories to enjoy together—of rearing children , of struggling for success at early jobs, of moving to new locations. The whole point of a late marriage is to start fresh in a new life, away with the old, travel, develop new friends—but when that does not work out, there is nothing else. The blessed tie that binds is an illusion.
It may sound selfish and even cruel. However, it is reality. Late marriages are different than young marriages with their creation of new families. Late marriages are about adapting to established families, grown children who owe you nothing and often question your motives. Everyone is polite, but there is no basis for any solid bond.
The long-term commitment so important for young parents has no point in a late marriage and often becomes a bitter trap as one becomes a 24–7 caregiver. Both partners are betting heavily on a rejuvenating adventure that often fails. A casino gives better odds.
Thanks, old friend, for this second lesson. I would not marry again. (Oh, maybe fool around, though . . . heh, heh.)