True Story: I’m 10 Years Older Than My Husband

What's marriage like when you're 10 years older than your husband? Click through for relationship and dating tips and one woman's story!

What’s it like to be 10 years older than your husband? Awesome? Weird? Are you exhausted by never-ending Cougar jokes? Today, Melissa shares her story.

Tell us a bit about yourself! 

I’m Melissa.  I’m a former high school English and AVID teacher born and raised in Sacramento, California. In 2011, I’d been teaching for nearly a decade and was looking for out-of-the-box ways to raise money for college scholarships for my students.  

I started selling the jewelry I was making—chunky wire-wrapped rings with encouraging, affirming notes to accompany them.  This idea grew into Compliment.  

In 2013, I left the classroom to pursue this business full-time—sending tens of thousands of “gifts to uplift” to women all over the world, while continuing to raise tens of thousands of dollars for under-served girls in my community.  I’m 38 years old and for fun, I like to sleep (I have an almost one-year-old and am due with my second baby in about 8 weeks).

What’s your husband like? 

My husband Nick is not your average human.  Even his family says that when he was a kid, he was always known as the “old soul.”  His grandma tells me a story about how when he was around seven years old, the family was watching a sports game on TV.

When the game was over, everyone in the room was debriefing what happened during and Nick chimed in with stats and in-depth knowledge about the players the adults were discussing.  They asked him how he knew, and he said he’d been reading the ticker at the bottom of the screen during the game.  

That’s so indicative about the kind of person Nick is—he’s hyper-aware and observant, and really quick-witted.  He’s thorough and thoughtful and loves people.  No one ever guesses he’s 28. He is a meditation coach and a Community Outreach Manager for a local Urban Farm.  

He is very self-assured.  He comes from an awesome, big, loving family, which I think has given him a sense of inner confidence.  He’s very ok in his skin. He worries very little, if at all, what others think of him—and not in a overcompensating arrogant way.  

He’s sure of his values and how he wants to live his life.  He’s very well-liked and is a genuinely good person.  That’s what I love most about him. His goodness.

Growing up, did you have any specific ideas about what marriage would look like for you?

Yes, I definitely thought about marriage.  My parents got married at 20 and 21.  All my aunts and uncles were married by, like 23, so I just thought that’s when people got married.  

I had a boyfriend all through high school and college, and I suppose I assumed we’d just get married young and start having kids right away like everyone in my family.  

That didn’t happen.  But, kind of close.  I got married at 25 to a guy who I actually knew from high school, though we didn’t date until after college.  We dated for three years and were married for seven.  He was a teacher at the same school I was—the same school we graduated from when we were kids.

And then, one ordinary Monday night after I’d cleaned the dinner dishes, he told me he didn’t want to be married anymore and that he was selling our house and I should find another place to live.  

Our relationship was far from good, but (and I know this sounds crazy) but I didn’t really realize it until I was out of it.  I just kind of wrote off our problems (which were massive in hindsight) to “all marriages go through rough spots,” or “all couples argue.”  

I never in a million years thought I’d ever get divorced.  But there I was—32 years old. Divorced.  It happened really fast and was not amicable at all.

But now, having gotten to the other side, I see that period of my life as the greatest gift.  At the risk of sounding trite, it led me down a very unanticipated path and to my soul’s true mate.

How did you meet your husband? 

Nick and I were friends for 2 years prior to my divorce and another year before he ever asked me out. I met him when he applied to be a tutor for the program I was teaching. He was in college and was considering getting his teaching credential.  So he was sort of like my assistant or my student teacher.

During the group interview when I was hiring our new crop of tutors, I asked everyone around the table what they saw for themselves in the future.  All the interviewees mentioned things like finishing their degrees in order to attain their career aspirations.  

When the question got around to Nick, he said, “I’m still not sure what career I want, but my biggest goal is to be a great husband and father.”  I remember it so clearly.  I rolled my eyes and scoffed and thought, “Come on, dude.  You’re laying it on so thick in front of these cute girls who are interviewing.  Take it down a notch.”

(What’s so funny, is that now that I actually know him, he wasn’t exaggerating or flirting in the least.  His life ambition is to be of service to the people he loves.  That includes being the best husband and father, and son, grandson, cousin, friend.  He meant it.)

The rest of his interview was good and I ended up hiring him.  Over the next two years, as we worked together, I got to know him better and found that he was super smart and funny and really cared about the students he worked with.  

Our whole team loved working with him.  He and two of the other tutors became part of our teaching team.  We were all great friends and worked together to get the best from our students.  I respected Nick for how seriously he took his job as a role model for our students.

older than husband

How did you respond the first time he asked you out?

So let’s back up a bit.  I ended up leaving the school where I’d been teaching because I didn’t want to work with my ex-husband after we divorced.  It was ugly and I couldn’t stand having to face the heartbreak AND be colleagues at the same time.  

I moved to a school across town and started the school year there.  Nick was finishing his degree about an hour and a half away.  While I would still consider us friends, it’s not like we were hanging out at all.

The last half of 2012 was a blur.  From June through December of that year, I’d gotten a divorce, moved homes, moved schools, and lost three family members unexpectedly under  pretty tragic circumstances.  I was beyond heartbroken.  I couldn’t get off my couch most days. I left the Food Network on 24 hours a day to keep me company. 

I had posted something on Facebook about being heartbroken after my Uncle passed away, just four days after Thanksgiving, and Nick reached out in a private message.  He invited me to a meditation workshop.  It definitely wasn’t a date, but it was, unbeknownst to either one of us, kind of the beginning of a deeper friendship.

 I went to the workshop. I cried pretty much through the whole thing and Nick was so compassionate and not weirded out at all. After that day, he texted me periodically to check in on me to make sure I was okay.

And then, the following summer 6 months later, when he was home from his last semester in school, he asked if I wanted to meet up for coffee.  That wasn’t necessarily abnormal.  But coffee lasted 3 hours and he asked me to dinner.  

I looked at him kind of confused. “I’m not hungry right now.  So probably not.”

“No,” he said.  “I mean on another day.  Like, you and me, and I pick you up and take you to dinner.”

And as he describes it, I paused for a second or two and then covered my face in my hands and said, “Oh my God, you have a crush on me?! Noooooooo! I’m too old for you!”

He said, “If by crush, you mean I think you’re pretty and I like hanging out with you, then yes.”

I said no a few times more, but he was convincing.  He said, “Look, we have fun together.  We just spent three hours laughing over coffee.  Why not?”

And you know, I was so sick of being sad.  I had been grieving for such a long amount of time.  My whole life felt different.  So I said yes.  What the hell?  I’ll go.  And of course, we had a great time.

When you first started dating, did you see your relationship going anywhere?

When I was in the moment and really not thinking about the perception of others, I felt how different this relationship was than any other I’d had.  I felt fully me.  It felt easy and fun and like we were our best selves when we were together.  

But then, I’d get all in my head and pushed him away and thought, “I’m crazy. He’s a decade younger than me and everyone is going to think I am a weirdo and this is probably going to be an awesome story that he’ll tell his buddies over beers at the bar.”

Do you think your age difference affects your relationship? 

Now that we’ve been married for two and a half years and have a kid together with another one the way?  HA! Yes.  Our age difference does affect our relationship because he currently has more physical strength and stamina than I do. Whether that’s because of his age, or because he’s not the one who is pregnant, I don’t know.

Other than that, I never feel our age difference in the way we relate to one another.  Part of that is because our parents are the exact same age, which means we were raised with similar pop-culture references from our parents.

Also, because I have a decade more experience working, I’m further along in my career—simply because of me being older.  But that doesn’t play that big of a factor in our day-to-day.

How do people react when they find out you’re 10 years older than your husband? 

Ninety-nine percent of people I meet have no clue.  I don’t think you can tell just by looking at us.  When other women find out I’m older, most give me a high five and a nod of respect that I was able to snag a younger man.

But when people really know us, they see how happy we are together and what a good fit we are and don’t really make a big deal about it.  

I did get some weird reactions from my friends when I first told them we were dating.  One of my friends asked, “What happens when you’re really old and maybe get dementia? Is he prepared to take care of you?”  I was like, “Ummm… what if YOU get dementia? Is your husband prepared to take care of YOU?”  Like, who is ever ready for that?  No matter how old you are?

What has surprised you about this?

I have been surprised that some of my most “woke” friends, initially, have some big biases when it comes to an older woman with a younger man.  Culturally, we wouldn’t blink an eye at a guy who was married to a woman ten years younger.  But it’s still somehow so taboo.

What have you learned from this that ANY of us could apply to our daily lives?

I think many of us face situations where we make choices that please others at the expense of our own well-being.  I was very close to telling Nick that this was never going to work, even though when I got really quiet with myself, I knew he was my absolute perfect match.  

I think it’s no accident that my whole life had to fall apart to reach the “eff it” point where I started saying yes to opportunities that felt good, despite what others might think.  There’s a saying floating around the interwebs that says, “The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.”  I like that.  

My marriage with Nick is among the greatest blessings of my life and I thank God every day for him.  We are both so happy to be building our lives together that if people feel the need to scoff at our age difference, it doesn’t affect us at all–a total non-issue.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Melissa! Are any of you significantly older than you partner? 

P.S. True Story: I’m dating a significantly older man

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  1. Nikki

    I’m 18 years younger than my husband. We met when I was 36 and he was 54. He was a musician in my friend’s band, and had lost his first wife to breast cancer. When we first started dating, I thought, “eh, this won’t work long-term.” And then we fell madly, ridiculously in love. We’re celebrating our second anniversary in two weeks, and marrying him is the best thing I’ve ever done. As far as the age gap goes, he says we get weird looks sometimes (I never notice), but our friends and family know that we belong together.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Good for you, Nikki!

  2. Ashley

    My grandmother was 10 years older than my grandfather. Other than a few jokes on Thanksgiving, it never mattered to them or to anyone in the family. My grandmother died a few years ago, and while her healthy declined sooner than my grandfather’s, it was not so substantially early that it was difficult for him to deal with (well, other than how dealing with a spouse’s health is already difficult…).

    Love your story!

    • Cheryl Wylie

      Beautiful story. It gives me hope. I am 10yrs older than my husband. Married for 26yrs. We have a biological son, I have 3 children from a previous marriage, I was a widow when I met my husband. Things have changed, the age gap has become very obvious +no longer go anywhere with my husband. I have no confidence +a low self esteem. The comments+stares are taxing on me. I feel an embarrassment to my children, especially the youngest one whose new wife +family avoid me. For my health+well being I feel better alone. I’m thinking of leaving my husband. It has become a struggle this 10yr age gap. ?

      • Carmen

        Cheryl, those things can happen in any marriage, ten years is not such a large age gap. There is a much greater age gap in my marriage (17) years and we are still very much in love and happy. My mother in law is only 6 years older than me and we are best friends !! I have always worked to stay fit and kept up my appearance and it also helps that my husband is very mature, most people think I am just 4 or 5 years older. We play golf together every week !! I have always believed that age is not a factor when two people are in love. Good luck to you !! Carmen


        Hello. I was searching out support for this very reason. I am 10 years older than my husband, we have been married for 22 years, in love for 28 years. He is the most wonderful dedicated man I have ever known. I truly believe if it was not for his determination and strength that I would not even still be alive. We have never had an issue about our age difference until now. I have crossed into a “senior” lifestyle and have found this gap to be the hardest. He wants to and should keep working for 10 more years. Although I have never looked my age, I AM feeling it. I am past the normal retirement age, now only working a day or two at our mutually owned business. I feel my brain slipping and I struggle to get through even a few days of work. I’ve worked for 45 years of my life. I don’t want to work any more, but he still does. The hardest part for me is the sadness I feel that we can not share and enjoy a retirement together. I fear this quickly moving older aging process will widen that 10 year gap between us. I will never change how much I love him. He is doing his best to keep me happy and healthy, he is devoted for sure, it’s my insecurity now that is the hardest part to cope with and is & will be the most evident when you marry someone younger.

      • Anonymous

        I wish you didnt feel this way remember beauty starts from within remind yourself that you are a queen you are beautiful get yourself a makeover put on a semi heel if you can start with some light exercises that will help you to look better and feel better. And remember the fact that God has given you life to breath to love to feel that is to remind you that you a re special. Stay with your husband. God Bless.

    • J

      its same story im older more than 11 yeears for my husband now its hARD TO MANAGE.

  3. Anonymous

    I’m 23 yrs old and I’m dating a man who is 48 yrs old for 6 months. He is divorced and has two daughters (20 & 18) and he is living with them. He is asking to marry me. I have two issues. How will be his daugther’s acceptance me as step mom and how am I going to explain to my mom. (She is also 48 yrs old).
    Please advise me and Help me

  4. Sharon

    I lost my husband of 40 years to cancer to six years ago. Two years after his death, my daughter decided it was time for me to start dating again. She said I need to start living again instead of waiting to die. She made me a profile on a dating site and we waited for the emails to come. After two months I got my first response. It was from a 19 year old boy. I thought it was a joke. He was cute. He didn’t smoke. Why would he be interested in a 66 year old woman who smokes like a train? My daughter convinced me to write him back. After 4 weeks of writing each other and talking on the phone, I agreed to go out with him. Last month, we celebrated four years of marriage. He is the love of my life and I’ve never been happier.


      Wow…This is amazing

  5. Kepha muthui

    Your comment…My wife who is 5yrs older left me and a son of 10yrs i’m a kenyan 38yrs and will like to sart a relationship with a foreigner between 25 to 35yrs kind regards u may reach on +254722211862

  6. Alyshia

    I am going 28 and am dating a 19 year-old guy, and we’re living together. Honestly saying that my parents just do not approve of the move, for obvious reasons of course, but not saying I agree with them. I have been trying to read up on people’s experiences online, but most of what I found has been on the negative. The thing is, I personally don’t feel that there is anything wrong with this relationship. We keep an open communication and I make sure that whenever we feel like there is an issue, we will bring it out regardless of the time, to talk about it, to talk it through. Yes, he is 19. But no, he doesn’t feel like he’s missing out in the things in life. If anything, I’m the one that likes to experience more. My mum berates that he’s going to change as he is still studying, and that he will see so many things in life. I agree, but I can assure that I can move along with him. If he wants to go overseas, I’ll apply with him. If he wants to go clubbing, I’m down. Anything can be discussed and communication is ALWAYS the key. And we don’t do the “sweep under the rug” thing even with minor issues. I make sure that things are always clear and that all cards are always on the table.
    Sure, there is a problem with the fact that he is studying and I’m working, and we talk about it a lot to make sure that neither of us are bottling anything up. He has taken a 180 from 6 months ago, from the typical 19 year old to someone who is responsible, fairly mature, perceptive, understanding, supportive, and amazingly observant person, who concentrates on growth (yes, apparently it can happen that fast). And I’m seriously proud of him.
    I just don’t want people out there to think that it just won’t turn out well and immediately start rejecting the idea. I’m not saying we don’t face problems, but hell, in the 6 months, we’ve faced enough problems that can last the typical couple 3 years, and we’ve overcome a lot of those. We are going into an era of different mindsets now, we have to make sure that as humans, we are capable of accepting other people’s way of life, regardless of our own beliefs and values. We cannot keep telling people that their way of life is wrong, so long no one is hurt and no life is harmed, it should not be within our perogative to tell others that they should live another way.

    I appreciate the writer for sharing her story. It is an inspiration for me. Thank you.

    • Rae

      Same ages exactly! We can be each others support!

    • Anonymous

      Is it possible if we can talk for support, I am in a similar situation. Would be great to hear your story..

    • Penny

      Thank you for this comment. My boyfriend is 20 and I’m 29. I found out his age after we had already been intimidate and dated for a couple weeks. By the time i found out i was stuck because i loved him. I cried when i found out because “what are people going to think” ughh i hate society and their judgments but this man makes me so happy i sometimes don’t believe him when he says he’s 20. His mind is so mature and the way he speaks to me it’s like he knows me. I fight daily with myself trying to accept him for his age so i appreciate you sharing your experience.

  7. Everlyn

    Age have seen is just a number what most matters is how you carry yourself in a relationship, love and respect and how committed to it,

  8. Jennifer A

    I have to comment my story; my husband is 11 years younger than I am. He’s an amazing person, like Nick in the story, he knows who he is and knows his purpose in this life with confidence. So upon meeting my husband, most would have no idea that he is 24 years old, and might think of him as 30+. He also has a thick beard and gentle eyes, adding to his older appeal. When we met I thought he was my age, and he thought I was in my early 20s. We became friends and for months I went with the flow because, though it’s fun and he makes me feel so relaxed and he’s a great listener, this could not work because of obvious reasons, so I was just having fun. I had a 4 year old from a previous relationship that failed violently, and I was doomed to walk the earth alone because I had chosen the wrong father for her and from now on will be a single mother and get sympathy from everyone for the wrong reasons, and finally my life was just getting back on track, working full time and renting a nice home for us. This just wasn’t the ideal time for me to fit in a younger bf, it would get in the way of my hustle. But the universe, and God, had other plans for us. We got closer and began to date and over the next year he had a few moments where he freaked out, “Im not ready for this,” and the like. But he came right back…And I was reluctant to proceed with our relationship but the facts were there, we loved each other madly. I think those periods were just a normal young man wrestling with what family, friends, and the world tells you is a right of passage and that young men should date and travel and have 100 partners or more and drink and party. So we balanced life, we went out to party sometimes and also built our future and raised my child like grown ups. We got married after 2 years, and now we’ve been together for 4 years, his family has come around, they decided I’m okay and not trying to steal their young son. I make sure he keeps in touch with them and we even moved in down the road. I like that he’s close to his family and he takes care of all of us in his own ways. He’s a blessing and I’m glad they were willing to share with me. Im usualy bogged down with feelings of inadequacy or making sure I’m not looking too old, and I have no idea what that will do to my self esteem in 10 years, on top of that we are TTC even tho I’ve had cervical cancer and had lots of tissue removed, the docs say it’s possible. I’m not sure what will happen if I don’t conceive, that lingers over my head too, but the universe, and God have some kind of plan, I’m just along for the ride I guess. Best wishes to all of us!


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