I should start this by saying not all older men are dangerous. And really, dangerous is a bit of an exaggerated word.
Perilous and thorny are probably better words to use when describing a romantic relationship with an older man.
To give you a bit of background knowledge, I recently ended a pretty serious relationship with a man, we’ll call him Eric, that was/is a solid 20 years, 4 months, and 21 days older than me. That puts him at 44 years old while I’m sitting at a perky 23 years.
Now everyone’s definition of older is different. Some may consider 5 years as older, while others may not starting using that term until there’s at least 10 years in between.
For point of reference in this, my definition of an older man is any man that is old enough to be my father. Logically, Eric definitely fit into that category. In fact, my father is only 6 years his senior.
Which brings me to the first point.
The first peril you must be leery of when pursuing a romantic relationship with an experienced (see what I did there?) man is how your ages relate to each other.
When I was born, Eric was already 20. He had already been in the Army for about 2 and a half years. He was already married for the first time, with a child.
When I was 8 years old, I was just reaching my prime in 3rd grade, winning spelling bees and dominating the Honor Roll. I really did win the spelling be in 3rd grade. The deciding word was ‘measurement’, and after that I went on to Regionals, where I misspelled ‘jazz’ (don’t judge me, I was wicked excited) and got eliminated in the first round. Anyways, when I was 8 in 3rd grade, Eric was already 28, exiting his first marriage, now with two children, although only one was biologically his.
Fast forward a few years,…
I’m 15, marathon-running down a path of destruction with no end in sight. He’s out of the Army, 36 years old, in the middle of his second marriage.
A couple more years….
I am a reformed, responsible 23 year old woman, and he comes crashing into my life at 43. He’s at the end of his third marriage, 4 kids (2 biological), and the man of my dreams, at least for the time being.
As you can see, there is a lot of room for weirdness and awkward thoughts when you compare your ages side-by-side and realize that had you met him just a few short years prior, things could get real sex-offenderish right fast and in a hurry. This does not add any kind of excitement, whatsoever. As a caveat to this, be careful when considering something with someone that has a greasy mustache or a mullet. They normally either like thinking about you as a ‘yoooooung woman’ or have a hoard of pets. Neither one is a good sign.
The second peril you should be aware of when getting involved with someone who reminds you a lot of your father at times is how much baggage he comes with.
What I mean by baggage is anything that predated you (no, I’m not talking about the bad tattoo he got at 17). In my case it was three failed marriages and a lot of internal struggles that he never really dealt with.
Let me sidetrack for a moment. This isn’t a blog entry bashing my recent relationship, or the man I was in it with. I loved him with all of my young heart, and I always will. He is a wonderful man, and I never judged him for anything in his life, including his three failed marriages. They each had their own story, stories that really aren’t my place to divulge out here on public cyber-space.
Baggage is a dirty word to describe someone’s history, but in most cases it’s usually pretty accurate. With that being said, you can classify anything as baggage, to include but not limited to:
- Psycho ex-girlfriends (or boyfriends, depending on their specific cup of tea)
- Outstanding warrants that they or may not have a good excuse for (bonus points if it’s a restraining order)
- Living situation (this can be applied to those that still live with their mother)
- Weird friends (you know the weird ones. They always hang out on your man’s couch and usually smell like onions. Or they stare at you like this)
The list goes on. And I think you’re catching this crazy girl’s drift.Onward!
The third peril is having to explain yourself to others.
Now this one is kind of a touchy subject. What I mean by having to explain yourself to others is that when I told people I was in a relationship, and the oh-so-required question of “Who is he?” followed, I always felt the uncontrollable need to explain that he was older. I don’t know why, it’s not like I was embarrassed of him or anything, but I always seemed to get crazy looks when I introduced him to anyone. It almost felt like every person I introduced Eric to squinted their eyes in curiosity and started counting his gray hairs after realizing that I had none. I’m sure that this wasn’t the case in all instances, but I always felt like it was.
Another addition to this peril is having to explain yourself to others that are HIS age.
A really bad stereotype that normally gets attached to relationships like this is that the woman, or the younger person is a Gold Digger, And honestly, sometimes that is, in fact, what it is. But for people like me, who have absolutely ZERO (zilch, nada, non, nein) interest in how much money someone has or what they can “get out of” that person, this poses a pretty serious problem. Enough of a problem for me to grow fangs and want to pounce when I’d get the ‘hmmm, wonder how many of her bills he pays’ look. The answer is none, a-thank you verrrry much.
On the flip side of the same coin, he risked receiving a collection of odd stares as well, most of them with the underlying meaning of ‘who does he think he is, Hugh Hefner?’. In all seriousness, I am the FARTHEST thing from Playboy material.
There are so many more things I can list on here as potential problems for gapped relationships like these, but this would get entirely too long. I had a million examples, all pulled from mine and Eric’s ill-fated conjunction, but that’s another story.
My ultimate point of this is that each and every relationship is different, and age really doesn’t matter until you realize it doesn’t. I am not trying to convince any of you that it isn’t worth the risk. I personally believe that falling in love, no matter what the result, is worth every single salty tear you snot into your body pillow after the breakup. I’m a serial relationshipist, I do this often. But I want to warn you that when you insert a gap of ages as significant as our’s was, you open doors to all kinds of problems. Sometimes those problems can be a killer. Like, Christian Bale in “American Psycho” killer. But again, that’s in any relationship. Only, with these Kayne West inspired associations, you have to work twice as hard to meet each other in the middle because when you have generations to cross and decades to bridge, a lot of things get lost along the way. In our case, he was more open with his feelings, where i was really closed off. A lot of that had to do with the soul-deep different ways that we loved.
To make this really easy to digest, look at it like this. Everyone has their own style of love, and most of the time you can directly relate them to music. Bands to be specific.
My style of loving is like…..Avenged Sevenfold and Aerosmith.
Eric’s style of loving is like…Journey and Chicago.
They’re all really great bands that coexist on the same iPod, but they really don’t belong on the same playlist.