Older Men

11 Apr

My brother has a girlfriend and I’m going to meet her in a few weeks!  From our cyber space encounters, she seems very nice, down-to-earth, intelligent, and a great match for my baby brother.  She is also 9 years younger than him so…if my brother is a baby, then that makes her….a fetus!

The age difference between her and my brother doesn’t bother me at all.  It was, initially, the age difference between her and I that made me feel a little irate.  This wasn’t supposed to happen!  In my little fantasy world, my brother was going to meet and marry an older woman.  A woman exactly two years older than him so I could be the same age as my (imaginary) sister-in-law.  Then we would be best friends and I would have the sister I always dreamed of!

It’s funny how real life never matches up with my fantasy world…

But that doesn’t mean life doesn’t match up with the way it’s supposed to go.  For example, my own experience with an older man comes to mind.  So I can’t be age twins with my brother’s girlfriend, but we have something in common that that thing is a relationship with a man approximately a decade older.

When I first started dating my husband I was asked several times by several different people, “What’s wrong with guys your own age?” or “What’s wrong with him, he can’t find a girl closer to his age?”

I was also accused of being selfish because short girls of the world are apparently stealing the tall guys.  My mom heard it and I heard it. I bet brother’s girlfriend is hearing it too.  Or maybe tall girls are talking behind her back about how she stole my tall brother.

Before people met my husband, they were very concerned that he was an older man taking advantage of a younger woman. For the most part I was understanding: my friends and acquaintances were just worried about me because they care. And to be honest, I would be just as worried and concerned if any of my 19 year old friends were dating a 31 one year old man.  If I had a 19 year old daughter dating a 31 year old man I might even feel murderous thoughts!

It does seem to be very common: older men with younger women. Or if not common, then at least a more frequent a pairing than older women with younger men. I don’t think there’s any one explanation of why the older man-younger woman paring happens or why it gets so much attention when it does. Most often I feel that the relationships of other people are none of my business. Though I do feel strange or ill-at-ease when I hear about a relationship where the woman is, say, in her late teens/early twenties and the man is old enough to be her father or grandfather.

My personal relationship is with a man twelve years older than I. When I first found out his age, my initial reaction wasn’t, “He’s too old for me,” but rather, “I’m too young for him!” I didn’t see how anyone with 12 extra years of life experience would have any interest in me, a mere child. But as we talked and became friends, I could see that our budding friendship had absolutely nothing to do with our ages. Jason wasn’t after me because I was a young hot trophy…even though I totally am! We had (and still have) so much in common, but we have differences too. Over the years, we’ve laughed about or similarities, discussed our differences openly, and talked about our wishes for the future. Literally, within a day of learning about our age difference, it never bothered me again. However, I do bring up the fact that my husband is an old man because a girl’s gotta have something with which to retaliate against the continual onslaught of teasing and joking.

Even though the age became a non-issue for me, I still had to prove to other people that our relationship was legit. To close friends it was easy because as soon as they met Jason, they could see he was a good and genuine person. Yet there were people convinced I was making a huge mistake.

One person told me that girls who date older men are looking for father figures. That really freaked me out because of my own strained father/daughter relationship. This same person also said that girls who felt neglected by their fathers as children, tend to be attracted to men who resemble their fathers in behaviour and appearance. This freaked me out even more because, uh oh, both my father and husband have beards! Looking back those worries are ridiculous and I can laugh about it because I know how wrong it was in my personal situation. Aside from the beard, my husband and father are as different as night and day. I’m sure some women subconsciously seek out a father-figure, but I know that I was consciously seeking someone the complete opposite.

I never dated in high school because I wasn’t interested.  It’s true that I wasn’t interested in the boys I saw, but I also had no time for dating.  I was too busy with school work and my part time job and I was having too much fun with all my friends.  When I finally did find romance, I found it in the most unlikely place: the Internet. I wasn’t looking for it, but found it anyway. In the second semester of my freshman year I just happened to send a random text message to a fellow IAM member, expecting nothing in return, except maybe an equally random response. What followed was months of correspondence by phone and MSN, then visits, then his moving to be with me, and eventually…marriage!

Maybe some people thought I didn’t give guys my age a chance, or that I should be spending my early twenties out having fun at parties. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything though. I’m sure there are many wonderful men out there my own age that would make a suitable partner, but that doesn’t matter because I found my perfect match. I do believe everything happens for a reason, therefore Jason and I were meant to find each other. Our ages are a non-issue in our friendship and partnership and we both want the same things: a simple and stable life with a family. We’re at the same place emotionally which is why marriage and togetherness was such a logical step. We reached the same place in our respective life journeys at the same time. If he was any younger or I was any older we might not have found each other.  And that is a scary thought.

I’m sure it’s too soon to tell if my brother and his girlfriend are in it for the long haul, but even if they aren’t, they are still good together right now.  The age difference doesn’t matter.  Their life journeys brought them together at this point in time and I’m so happy they’re having fun.

Oh, and I’m no longer irate that brother’s girlfriend is 11 years younger than me.  Though I do feel depressed and elderly.  Maybe this is how my decrepit husband feels when he’s around me?

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