A Midlife Romance” — a title can say a lot, can it not? The romance part presses all our dopamine buttons. Valentine’s Day is around the corner — hearts and flowers and romantic dates, maybe something fun after…
What kinda of buttons does “midlife” trigger?
I’m over the hill.
I’m no longer seen.
I’m too damn busy and tired to care.
Midlife romance is a contradiction in terms!
I wrote “A Midlife Romance” series to both acknowledge and challenge these assumptions. Midlife is complicated because we have grown into complicated human beings. We’ve experienced joys and traumas, success and disappointments. We’ve built or acquired a set of relationships and responsibilities that can alternately be loving, exhausting, sometimes even damaging.
I would argue midlife also often begins a time of existential questioning:
Am I enough?
Have I done enough?
Have I veered so far from my childhood dreams and essential values to ever get back on track? Not surprisingly midlife can feel scary and isolating.
A Midlife Romance explore these feelings and questions. The protagonist — a newly divorced mother of two teenagers — genuinely suffers when her seemingly “perfect” life implodes. What she is left with, though, is unexpected time and space to re-examine what really matters to her, and where and why she pushed those thing aside.
I also wrote the books to explore another big question: Is lasting romance even possible when potential partners are already struggling to raise kids as single parents; trying re-enter the work force or hold down jobs; for whom a new relationship requires juggling a new set of complications especially if their love interest also has kids and their own history and set of complications? There is no doubt about it, romance in midlife is complicated, fraught… and also, potentially, the source of a rich emotional journey.
Finally, these books explore a sexual awakening and erotic love; some scenes are explicit. I did this in part because, in my experience, our sex lives are so often neglected in midlife.The goal was not to be pandering or salacious. I set out to explore whether a certain kind of sexual relationship — one that causes someone to challenge their fears and insecurities; that makes someone feel both vulnerable and safe; that opens a person to unconsidered possibilities; that brings success, even if that means simply allowing oneself to experience great pleasure after a long time of being denied for denying oneself that — can bring out all kinds of other strengths and confidence. In other words, I imagined a sexual journey that is thrilling, but, most importantly, is transformative.
I wrote A Midlife Romance because I believe that protagonists in midlife had been neglected by the romance genre. Having finished the books, I realize I still feel passionate about exploring the journey that is midlife.
How does it feel to recognize you are likely more than half-way done?
Do you rest on your laurels? (Do you have laurels to rest on?)
Have you been true to your core values? (Do you know your core values?)
Is life still too busy?
Can you make the time to regroup, make changes, begin the journey to a clearer, truer vision of yourself?
Can this be done without rocking the boat irreparably or hurting those you love?
So I have started a blog: Our Midlife Stories (https://ourmidlifestories.blog). It is not meant to give expert advice (I am no expert), but to create a space for sharing stories and to build a community. I hope you will check it out and join the conversation!
A Midlife Romance: Book 1
Publication Date: November 4, 2022
A Midlife Romance Series. Friendship and passion, lost and found again by chance. Lori, an affluent wife and mother, has sacrificed her career for the sake of her family and the expectations to build a “perfect” family. Brandon, an FBI agent, is smart, committed, and protective of the women in his life, but struggles as a single parent. Despite living on opposite coasts, and the competing responsibilities that accrue in midlife, Lori and Brandon take a shot at romance.
Author Lisa Battalia is an attorney in the field of gender equity and a writer. She is the mother of two newly launched young adults; a lifelong east-coaster who recently launcher her own new life on Whidbey Island, WA.