Why Women Seek Other Women (Not Men!) ​As Life Partners As They Age

I want a kind, trustworthy human to share the rest of my life with — their gender is irrelevant.

Last updated on Apr 10, 2024

best friends laughing while at lunch MilosStankovic | Canva

One of the most convenient words today is "partner." When used in the context of gay marriage, it removes the awkwardness of having to use heterosexual terms, such as wife or husband. And while wife and wife, and husband and husband, are valid, those terms are based in a heterosexual world and may not have the same appeal to a gay couple. Or, maybe they do.

I used to think "partner" was inadequate, sort of a passing phase word that could be used simply because there was no other way to describe one's mate, married or not. "Partner" seemed like a cold word, suggesting business, and "partnership" felt downright office-y, like, "Hey, I made partner at my law firm."


But time came around to perfect the word "partner," and now it seems to be the very best word ever. No more having to explain and no more demoting your loved one to the ever-awful "significant other." Significant other? Why not "considered a participant in love arrangement"?

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We've been searching for the perfect word because "significant other" is just way too much of a stretch. Significant other seems like it would come with an implanted microchip and an identifying numbered tattoo on the lower belly: "Yes, that's my significant other. Check her belly."


I want a partner; a partner is the only thing that makes sense to me. And guess what? I don't care if it's a man or a woman. I want a human — a kind, trustworthy human to share the rest of my life with. I'm not bisexual, nor am I heterosexual. I'm just me, this really interesting and talented woman who has existed on her own for many years and is now ready to be open to the idea of a companion.



I remember years ago when Cybill Shepherd announced that she'd be interested in having a relationship with a woman. She was old enough to know her mind, and when she declared her interest, everyone went nuts. It was as if the entire world, en masse, immediately pictured her in bed, all night, all day, while holding up flags that said, "I hate men!"

When you say you want a companion of the same sex, everyone automatically jumps to the sex part. It's as if there's nothing else we do with the people we hang out with if they're our partners.


The beloved Susan Sarandon made a similar statement, saying on live TV that she'd consider a woman as a partner for the future and that she wanted a companion. So, what does the world do? We stamped her with our "new sex-crazed woman" stamp, and we didn't listen to anything else she had to say. She was no longer a person of great experience who may have a handle on what she wants in this life; she was now afloat on a cloud of gossip, where it was our duty to misinterpret her to the best of our ability.

Because Susan Sarandon can't just be a lesbian, or bisexual, or finding herself, or knowing herself, or even asexual and wanting a mate to share the world with. She has to be seen as the older woman who's sick of men's ways and has decided to try women in reaction. Because that's all women do, right? React off of men?

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I wouldn't expect people to understand Cybill or Susan — not until you're a woman in your fifties, such as I am. When I see these and other women walking into the third act of their lives, as Jane Fonda calls it, I see that intimacy is not the driving force for women wanting to be with other women in the latter part of their lives.




I won't speak for men because I'm not one and have no experience of being one but I assume they have their version of openness to their gender after a certain age ... or not. What I do know is that women crave affection and soulful friendships.

We women have never been hindered by the societal programming that insists men must be crippled, in terms of how much affection they can devote to one of their gender. We don't have the macho restraints to keep us frozen solid when it comes to hugging another of our sex. Women seeking women are readily available for tenderness, cuddles, kisses, and yes, heart-to-heart talks.

In my third act, I do understand the Cybills and Susans, but I could only understand such a concept after living so much of my life.


Choices like this are made based on experience; I've been married, had my child, lived on my own, and had my affairs with men and women, but always — and I mean ALWAYS, throughout it all — the only thing that lasted were my women friends. And so, why not be open to the idea of a woman as my life partner?

I'm open to a male partner as well and I'm working on trying to get my mind off the high standards of having a Viking lover. I don't want to set the bar too unrealistically high. The only thing about a male partner that turns me off is that he's probably going to want to be intimate — and that I don't want. This is what's kept men away from me all this time.

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My chances of living the life of my dreams are so much more likely to happen with a woman, being that men don't exclusively understand how mechanical sex just isn't my number one interestDo you know what is attractive to me? Sharing a bottle of wine with someone, snuggling in the candlelight, and then kissing passionately. You can do this with a woman. But this can rarely be done with a man without it escalating into stripping down.


So, here I am. A bi-romantic, on-again-off-again asexual, with a desire to move into a committed relationship with a man or a woman of substance, imagination, and character ... who doesn't want to get it on all day.

We women of the third act — it's not that we crave sex with other women as we get older; it's that we crave companionship with people who get us. If men got us, great. But they don't seem to. Who gets us? Other women.

Susan, I look forward to your call.

RELATED: Woman Explains Why A Man’s Biggest Competition In The Dating Game Is Not Other Men

Dori Hartley is primarily a portrait artist. As an essayist and a journalist, she can be read in The Huffington Post, ParentDish, YourTango, The Daily Beast, Psychology Today, More Magazine, XOJane, MyDaily, and The Stir.