If you are over 40, you probably remember how a 50 year old person was seen when you were growing up: old. Fifty evoked grey hair, sensible shoes for women and sweater vests for men. Fortunately things changed in the last decades. One of the propellers of the change has been medicine and lifestyle improvement. It is undeniable that nowadays we not only live longer, we can also look younger if we take care of ourselves. Diet, routine exercise , vitamins, skincare, hair color, plastic surgery in extreme cases, dermatologists all help us maintain a youthful look that was almost impossible 50 years ago.
Add to lifestyles choices and scientific advancements the fact that many 50 year olds find themselves single again, after one or two failed marriages. What’s one to do, give up and stay home knitting or playing board games? Or go out and have a good time? Most 50 year olds are done with child rearing. Their kids are either in High School, College or in the workforce, no longer living full time with their parent. The new 40-60 year olds have a lot of time in their hands-and a lot of time to travel, have fun and enjoy life.
Most people do want to find a new relationship. Fifty is too young to be alone when you have at least 3 more decades of life ahead of you. In order to meet people, middle aged folks need to go out to parties, events and bars. In the Washington DC metro area, there are many older singles who get together regularly to party, a phenomena unheard of in the past. They are not white-haired folks having a “senior” dance to the sound of a waltz. They are young and fit looking people who can easily pass as 30s and 40s in many cases. They dress fashionably, have fit bodies, the women wear their hair long, wear sexy dresses and listen to the same songs 20 year olds do. They are looking for someone their age-not much younger and not much older-that shares the same lifestyle. Most want to find someone they can grow old with when the vulnerable period in life arrives.
When you live in an area as diverse as the Washington DC suburbs, you are used to seeing all kinds of nationalities, ethnicities, groups and languages. The one thing that calls attention to some nationalities is how they live within their community, without interacting much with the “typical American”-as rare as they might be now-, unless it is professionally. When it comes to socializing, religion, celebrations, traditions and even dating and marriage, many cultures look inward. The most notorious ones are the Indian community and the Chinese and Korean cultures. With their focus in the family, they often live within their communities. That extends to doing business within their group as well. Therefore, just like the Jewish community has been famous for “protecting each other”, these other groups also help each other with jobs, business deals and favoritism.
Another group that lives within themselves is the burgeoning Hispanic community. Hispanics constitute the fastest growing ethnic group in America, and after decades of immigration are now advancing in every field, especially in the small business sector. Hispanics prefer to speak their language, even if they have lived in America for decades. They have their festivals, their music, their dance and their foods. Even the new generations keep the traditions alive. The Vietnamese and Russian communities are also examples of self-protective communities. The old comrades help each other especially when it comes to business ventures. Groups of Middle Eastern extract, such as the Afghans and the Iranians also live pretty much into themselves. Religion obviously pays a big part in their sense of unity, since in America they are a minority that is not viewed favorably.
Many of these groups protect each other because of real or perceived racism. They know that their exotic look still attracts negative perceptions and stereotypes. They know that the only way they will be accepted is to succeed-whether in business, medicine, engineering or other prestigious professions. They have little representation in politics, whether Congress or local politics, so anyone from their community who breaks through is celebrated (Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, etc.).
Then there are the Brazilians. Such a large country, such a disintegrated group outside Brazil. Many times when a Brazilian meets another Brazilian in stores or parties, they give each other a once over and ask themselves: “what is he/she doing here?” There is a slight competition and envy if the other is doing well. Since Brazilians come in different shapes, colors and sizes, they are less stereotyped by Americans. Brazilians can be white, yellow, brown or black. They may have Brazilian friends, they may listen to Brazilian music and eat “pao de queijo” at home, but essentially, Brazilians try to amalgamate to the American culture and blend in. Many women marry American men and raise their kids as Americans. For a long time Brazilians who grew up in Brazil followed and admired American culture. Just like other countries, but to a higher degree. Brazilians have always admired and envied the American quality of life, the movies made here, rock and roll, fast food restaurants (yes, believe it or not!), the big houses and cars.
How does that affect “helping each other”? Brazilians simply don’t favor or help other expats. They compete. They do protect their own family-children, cousins, parents, siblings. And it stops there. Just as Western Europeans who come to the US, there is little group formation. One can suspect that the more developed countries and the ethnic groups that are more “white” in the American eye are also the less self-protective when it comes to expat communities.
We have all watched the movie or read the book called “He’s just not into you”. It all makes sense, but I think there are other signs that are overlooked when dating a man (or woman) who is simply not into you and who will not be with you in the long run. If people could see these signs early, they would prevent heartache and waste of time when they could be in a healthy relationship with a future. Here are some signs and actions I’ve collected from seeing this situation over and over (happened to me and has happened with others I know):
1) Talks incessantly about the ex-using you as a therapist;
2) Forgets important dates and doesn’t do anything special for you (passive aggression);
3) Doesn’t introduce you to his/her family-because he or she has made it clear to them you are not important, so letting you meet them is awkward;
4) Keeps you away from his or her single friends of the opposite sex-the message is clear here-you will cramp his or her style;
5) Never posts pictures of you two together on their Facebook wall and avoids any mention of you-similar reason to number 4. The way social media affects relationships is very interesting. A man or woman who feels committed will happily announce to their online community that they are a couple;
6) Likes to play deaf and busy by not answering your calls or text messages. A person in love drops everything to talk or respond to their partner-unless they are really busy at work-in that case, they respond quickly but they don’t leave their partner hanging.
7) Lies to you. The number of lies grow in number and intensity over time. They love to lie by omission (not telling you where they were or who they were with).
8) They take vacations without you. Who on earth does not want to travel with their romantic partner? It’s the best thing in the world. A man or woman who wants to take vacations alone sometimes is in the lookout for an adventure or a better deal. Know the difference. Sometimes they are only pursuing a certain interest they have that their partner does not, or they want to travel with their friends of the same sex/hobby (like a golf vacation for men).
9) Checks out other women (or men) when out with you. Also compliments them all the time, trying to put you down.
10) Tries to find fault with you in every little thing. A way to justify their lack of commitment and to justify to themselves why they will eventually leave you.
11) Badmouths you to his/her friends. Needless to say this is a betrayal of your intimacy and love.
12) Goes out to dinners and parties with other women/men and leaves you at home. Justifies they are only “friends” when in reality he is trying to seduce and impress other women.
13) Doesn’t answer phone calls in your presence. That is a no brainer. There IS something to hide.
14) Uses public restrooms as an excuse to go call or text other women/men when you’re out together
15) When the chips are down for you (sickness, unemployment, car issues, house issues, money issues), does not offer to help and disappears.
16) Doesn’t try to spend more time with you. Even if you are available, they establish a date on the weekend and stick to it. There is no spontaneity. They just don’t want to spend more time with you.
17) They don’t call immediately to ask if you are ok when there is a storm, calamity, when your car breaks down, etc. Sometimes they are unreachable because they just don’t want to be bothered.
18) If you have kids from another marriage, they don’t try to engage with them, because they know they won’t be around.
19) They avoid spending any money on you. They don’t take you to dinner (in case of a man) or buy you nice gifts for the same reason they don’t want to invest in a short term person.
20) When you are very upset and crying, they walk away coldly. They don’t hold you or try to calm you down with love and affection.
21) They introduce you to other people as “this is my friend…”. Need I say more?
22) They ask few questions about your childhood and past and their eyes glaze over when you do talk about that. On the other hand, they require your full attention when they talk about their stories.
23) They are essentially physically cold. Or much colder than you. They rarely if ever initiate physical affection like kissing or hugging. You start noticing that 90% of the time it is you. Why is that? Because they really don’t need physical touch with you, since they are already detached.
24) The same happens with sexual interest. After an initial sexual interest in you, their interest and attraction starts to wan. They often use “your behavior” as an excuse when the reality is that they are just not into you!
25) They never make plans with you longer than next week. You have a gnawing feeling that they don’t want to make any future plans, even for the next month, because they want to have a quick escape route.
26) They never refer to a future with you. Ever.
27) They take others’ sides against you.
28) They put their friends and family ahead of you.
29) They never say “I love you” unless they are in the throes of passionate sex.
30) They never call you pet names, because that indicates affection.
Caution: many times these things indicate a person with NPD (Narcisistic Personality Disorder) and also a Sociopath. When you start seeing these signs, run. There are many healthy people out there who will respect and cherish having you in their lives.
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