This is the story of my friend Marie (29) who’s dating Mike (49).
How did you guys meet?
We knew each other for a year before we started dating. We met playing pick-up soccer. Now, I must mention that his son played in those games as well (he was 12 years old at the time).
I instantly categorized Mike as “older-guy-with-kid” and therefore, undesirable. Not to say that I didn’t consider him good-looking, I just didn’t consider him. Period. You know, due to the child thing.
Was there an instant attraction?
Initially, I just have to go back to that first reaction. I saw him with his son and although I very much consider him attractive now, it just wasn’t in my realm of comprehension at that time.
Did you ever hear that story about when Columbus landed in the West Indies and the natives were not physically able to see the boats because nothing like that had ever entered their reality before? Well, sort of like that.
Have you dated men who were significantly older than you before?
No, but I suppose I have been attracted to older men in the past. I was the girl with the crush on Harrison Ford while my friends all went crazy over whoever was in the latest teeny-boppers mag (at the time, most likely Joey Lawrence).
I also liked men in positions of authority… teachers and sports coaches (if they were in their 20s or 30s)…. Not ALL of them mind you, but there was definitely an appeal.
Have your age differences created any problems?
Well, not yet but we are approaching a time when our future will take more of a leading role in the decisions we make. For example, he will be retiring long before me and although it’s still a long way off, our savings and where we will be settled at that point are things we need to plan out.
Also, I still have a good 10 years of potential child-bearing in me, but we have yet to seriously think about going down that road. And I don’t want it to be too late for him in terms of really enjoying that child growing up – if we do decide to take that path.
Has anyone hassled you about your age differences?
No one has ever given us a hard time. But do take note that we also live in a small place where I would say “unique” relationships are a little more frequent than average.
Neither of our families really cast a second glance (well, in front of us anyway… who knows what they had to say amongst themselves when we left!). I think it makes a difference now that I’m nearly 30. If I was in my early 20s, I think my mother would have been worried. I’ve done a lot with my life in the last 8 years and I think she knows I can make a good decision.
What are the benefits to dating someone who’s more settled into their life?
Ah, I do like this question as there are so many benefits! Although, these may be due to the person I am dating rather than a function of his age. But anyway, for starters –
I’m not saying everyone who spent their teenage years in the 60’s will pull the chair out for a lady (in fact, I would have assumed the opposite) but after nearly 3 years, I still get the door held open for me almost every time and the words “hello gorgeous!” uttered every day!
2) We don’t have double the melodrama.
I admit I am still a bit consumed by my own selfish concern of where I am on my life’s journey. Thankfully, when I have a panic attack or a hissy-fit, I have someone to show me the bigger picture and level me out. I know I won’t have to counsel him for similar reasons later down the road.
Being with someone solid in his career, with a little more life experience and rationality has certainly brought me down to earth more than once.
I think having the courage to admit that the life-path you are on is not working and starting again is very inspiring. Being with a man who can talk about how he felt in a given situation and what he did to turn it around is not only impressive but consoling and helpful, even if my situation is not entirely the same. It’s much better counseling than the blanks stares I received in past relationships and I don’t feel quite so alone with my problems.
Be it chores, time or the other dish that I wanted to taste at the restaurant we are at, I love to share and I think this is a skill many men develop with age. Or perhaps it’s comes with having a child. Anyway, we have absolutely no issues with sharing the workload or compromising on any issue.
My boyfriend, or partner, (whatever title you like) has made some big relationship mistakes because he didn’t take care of the ones he was with and wasn’t really “present” enough to realize that the person he was with was not the right person.
He learned the hard way and now that he has someone that fits perfectly, he shows me every day! That hasn’t waned a bit in the time we have been together and I have good faith it never will. In return, I show him the same respect and I find it really grows our love every day.
What are the challenges?
Nothing really, other than some of the long-term things that are a challenge to any relationship. Saving for the future, whether or not to procreate… all these pink elephants transpire the age gap! What luck!
I think the real challenge is finding a place that accepts the two of you together. Right now we have that but who knows what a move would bring? I don’t doubt we could be happy elsewhere, but I do foresee an awkward stage of “friend-making” in a place that doesn’t know us!
Any advice to ladies crushing on someone a bit older than them?
If you feel that it could work and you think the sentiments are returned – go for it! And don’t let society’s pressures of “right and wrong” get to you too much.
Hopefully, you are comfortable enough in your own sense of moral and ethical values to be able to judge if the relationship is appropriate or not (for example, I would imagine age can mess with a workplace romance or it could be difficult to date the father of a kid you teach).
However, as long as you are not taking on the role of a mistress or getting yourself involved in some other sticky situation, remember, you only live once and the best opportunities are not necessarily the most obvious ones.
Have you dated someone significantly younger or older than you?