A few weeks ago I bought a new car — at least it was new to me. A neighbor was selling his used SUV with very low mileage. I had been thinking it was time to replace my car, but I hadn’t done any research or decided what I wanted. I knew I didn’t want to buy new from a dealer although my last 3 cars were purchased that way. I also knew I wanted a low-mileage car with more cargo space than my sedan, and one that had been well maintained.
This car just sort of fell in my lap. Similar to how many midlife singles want their next mate to show up. They don’t want to do a lot of work to find their next love, but if someone comes along who meets their criteria, they won’t say no.
When a friend recently saw me with the car she asked how I liked it. I thought for a moment, then responded, “I like it but haven’t fallen in love with it yet.”
Boom! It hit me! My car was a lot like some men I’ve dated.
Here’s how new men are like new (to you) used cars.
- There might be a few dings on the outside. Just like a car may have a few scratches or dings, a man’s exterior may not be perfect. But I find a man’s laugh lines show he’s enjoyed life. He may have a few scars from accidents or surgeries, but if it doesn’t affect how he treats you, who cares? (In my car’s case, the exterior was flawless and the interior nearly so, but I don’t expect a man to be.)
- The engine may purr, or may have some dysfunction. Before buying a used car, we can have a mechanic determine if everything is sound. Wouldn’t it be great to get a doctor’s exam before deciding to get attached to someone? Men have disclosed medical conditions to me during the first few dates. However, it’s not required, and they may not know of a medical situation if they don’t get regular checkups.
- You may be drawn to how you think you’d feel with it/him. Some cars help reinforce your self-image. You feel sexy in a convertible sports car, powerful in a full-size SUV, sporty in a Jeep. Men can also reinforce your self-concept. Do you like take-charge men? One you can control? Men with high-status jobs?
- You can fall for attributes that really aren’t that important. You can love the high-quality sound system in the car, or a man’s beach house. But a wise person looks at the more important components — ease of handling, durability and low maintenance in the car and, well, pretty much the same thing in a man!
- Your new acquisition will take some getting used to. You’ll discover some cool options you hadn’t anticipated (my car’s spare tire compartment also has storage cubbyholes, I can open my garage door with a button on the mirror). But you may be disappointed when you realize it doesn’t have the same features you’re used to (the cargo area is smaller than my former car’s.) A man may kiss better than your last love, but may also leave his dirty socks on the floor.
- You may underestimate the costs of maintenance. Gas, service and license may be more than you anticipated, just as a man may require more time or energy than you imagined. You have to decide if the cost is worth the benefit of keeping your new acquisition.
Once you make the decision to “buy,” you are committed. You learn to modify your expectations and behaviors to make the best of it. Isn’t that true for all relationships?
What other parallels can you see of a used car and a midlife man?
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