Dating Older Men: My Boyfriend Is 27 Years Older Than I Am
My boyfriend and I have a 27-year age difference… *gasp*. Now look away in horror and say it ain’t so. Well, my friends, it is so and it is so not as disturbing as you may have convinced yourselves it is.
I have to start with the disclaimer that I certainly don’t believe relationships between older men/women and teenage partners are healthy. I am simply talking about a woman in her 20s and an older, handsome, fit, genuine man as her partner. I don’t have daddy issues, I wasn’t violated as a child, I didn’t come from a broken home, and I am not a gold digger. I know I have you in pure suspense at this point wondering what in the world is wrong with me because something must be, right? Wrong.
Image: Rachel Francis via Literally Darling
The truth is that my boyfriend is the perfect man for me and that is the only reason I date him. At 21 years old, when I began dating him, I had just gotten out of a 10-year on-again-off-again relationship. When the relationship finally ended nine years past its due date… I craved maturity. I wanted so badly to have a conversation with a man: a full- blooded, successful, independent man. Unfortunately, I was 21, and the pickings for established fellow 21-year-olds was, well, nonexistent. The only guys I knew were frat boys that got drunk and peed their beds once a week—not man material. Then walks in this handsome, older guy with a mysterious glow to his eyes, a raspy sultry voice and, really, ladies… I couldn’t resist.
My least favorite question that I get asked is “What do you have incommon with someone 20-plus years older/younger than you!?” Well, I don’t see my boyfriend with a big neon sign blinking his age across his forehead every two minutes. I have more in common with this man decades older than me than anyone else on this planet. To name a few (just to appease the skeptics): Our humor, our beliefs in religion, politics and family, our love for seasons, vacations, books, pancakes (very important to me), success, business and learning.
Image: Shivonne Du Barry via Flickr
Yes, we have differences: He is an adrenaline junkie who skydives every weekend, and I get nervous looking over the second floor railing at the mall. He claims that rules don’t apply to him and I have a panic attack running a yellow light. We do have oddities that we don’t see eye to eye on, but we certainly don’t have any issues holding a conversation, debate or wrestling match.
The Judgment Hurts
One evening after we started dating, I was trying to win his heart over by showing him my impressive ability to down copious amounts of booze and still remember every word to Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” during karaoke night at the local dive bar. After my performance, as I was trying to decide what my next tune would be, a woman came up to me and my boyfriend. She looked at us then looked me in the eyes and said, “I bet your mother is so embarrassed of you dating this man.” Then she walked away and even with the music and clattering of drinks around me I could hear my heart break as it hit the floor. I couldn’t help but take this stranger’s mean words to heart and wonder if I was an embarrassment to my family.
Was my relationship causing the people I love pain? Would this one part of my life define me? Would my dad give me his blessing to marry my boyfriend should he ever ask? Would my parents come to my wedding? Would my family keep him a secret to avoid judgment? It took me three and a half years, many talks with my mom, and tons of endearing moments with my man before I realized that the judgmental people of this world don’t define me. My parents are proud of me, they respect my decisions and they stand behind me. My friends love me and are always supportive of my life, especially when I am spending it with someone who makes me so happy.
My boyfriend shows me love every single day and it is in these moments that I am reminded that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I have found that as long as you give those you love a chance to acclimate to your situation, they always come around. The people who truly love you will never leave you. When they talk about my boyfriend and me they talk about how we bring out the best in each other, how we laugh constantly and how we fit perfectly together—not about our age difference and that is exactly how it should be.