Getting married to an older man
Marrying an Older Man - Older Man Younger Woman Relationship Story
At 7 a.m. on a recent Monday, I sat in a beige waiting room surrounded by back issues of AARP The Magazine and pamphlets on gastrointestinal health. “Is anyone here for Jack?” a nurse asked. I raised my hand, and she searched my face for the word she needed.
“Husband,” I filled in for her.
“Right,” she said, eyebrows raised. “Your husband’s colonoscopy is done and he’s nearly ready to go home.” She walked me to where Jack, still loopy from anesthesia, chatted merrily with the surgery center staff, his naked butt exposed in his backless hospital gown. He made the nurses giggle with slurred jokes about Snapchatting his experience in the endoscopy ward—funny, because Jack's never used Snapchat.
“He’s such a hoot!” one of the nurses said.
Couples like us, with an age gap of 20 or more years, have a 95 percent chance of divorce.
Ten years ago, I couldn't have imagined settling down with a man 20 years my senior, “hoot” or not. There’s the biannual colonoscopy to sit through, because at 52, Jack’s at that point in life. There’s also the social stigma, the difference in career phases, the fact that Boyz II Men brings him no childhood nostalgia whatsoever. Our differences, experts say, give couples like us, with an age gap of 20 or more years, a 95 percent chance of divorce .
Given the statistics, why do women like me yoke ourselves to men old enough to be our fathers?
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Popular theory suggests gold-digging is in effect, since older men presumably have greater financial security. But three years into my marriage, I’m still (happily) driving a 2004 Honda Element with 160,000 miles and a back door held shut with my German Shepherd’s leash. While I’ll admit that it was Jack who introduced me to the joys of bottled wine over boxed and hotels over hostels, my husband is a guy who invests most of his money back into his business and his community—one of the reasons I fell for him—and I work hard to bring in my own. Besides, recent research suggests it’s millennial men who are most likely to marry for money . With more than 40 percent of American breadwinners now female, I'd argue we're looking at the rise of the sugar momma .
Harder for me to write off, according to scientists, is another unflattering explanation for May-December romances: the dreaded daddy-issues theory. While an American Psychological Association study debunked the hypothesis that younger wives are compensating for lousy father-daughter relationships, the research didn’t address women like me, whose dads have been caring and present and normal. Could we be the ones subconsciously attracted to a ::cringe:: daddy-husband?
“The short answer is ‘yes,’” says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., AARP's love and relationship expert and best-selling author of American Couples . “A woman can have a healthy relationship with her dad and still be looking for that father figure in a spouse. Someone who can protect them and teach them—someone who has taken on the world, and who can help them take on the world, too. It’s not that these women are sexualizing their dads, but the things that a dad represents.”
Initially, Jack represented nothing for me but a job. When we met eight years ago, I waited on his table at a fancy restaurant in a small New Jersey town. I was a graduate student studying journalism, and I knew Jack (who was on a date at the time) was the owner of a local publishing company. Between taking an order and delivering a check, I pitched myself as a writer-for-hire.
A gig wasn’t in the cards—his company wasn’t hiring—and neither was a romance. Jack would tell me later that, although he’d found me cute in an overly eager, naïve sort of way, I wasn’t his type. His celebrity crush is Martha Stewart, and I have neither her bone structure nor her flair for miniature fruitcakes.
A woman can have a healthy relationship with her dad and still be looking for that father figure in a spouse.
But a year later, Jack stumbled upon a blog I wrote and sought me out to offer me a job. It felt thrilling to finally be working in a real office with real business cards and a real mentor. When I needed an apartment—tough to find in a resort town with sky-high rents—Jack offered me a room in his house, which meant we frequently worked late before coming home to split a bottle of wine. It was here I discovered Jack’s bleeding heart for animals, his passion for restoring vintage typewriters, and his talent for narrating dull car trips with an uncanny Sean Connery impersonation. Somewhere between copy-editing and cabernet, we became great friends...and then more.
It complicated everything. I fretted for months over revealing my new relationship to my traditional parents, who were surprisingly alright with it. I worried that already living with Jack would torpedo our chance at love. And I worked extra hard at my job in order to show the small-town-gossip set I wasn’t some floozy with a fetish for baby boomers. So the implication that falling for Jack could have been a ploy by my subconscious to secure a daddy figure who’d make life easier? Cue the explosion of my feminist head.
My raised hackles are to be expected, sociologists say. Although society is trending toward greater acceptance of individual choice, there still exists the idea that by marrying older, a woman has turned against her gender (i.e., she’s perpetuating the fallacy that men should be providers while a woman’s value is as a trophy). One friend told me he’d lost all respect for me when I committed to someone so far my senior. And when Jack and I married three years ago, acquaintances placed bets on how long it would last.
“It’s a paradox,” Schwartz says. “In many cases, the more progressive a woman’s friends, the more likely they are to raise their eyebrows at a big age gap. Often, it’s not that there is anything wrong with the love or desire between the individuals, but with the way it works in terms of placement in the world—she may get a lifestyle upgrade or an intellectually potent guy, but it often displaces the woman more than the man.”
Case in point: Shortly after we started dating, I’m the one who quit my job. Since Jack’s life in New Jersey was already established, I also reimagined my five-year plan, which had involved moving to a bigger city with a larger network of young professionals and fewer early-bird specials. I can see how, on paper, the power dynamics of my relationship look ripe for judgement. And that judgement is not entirely unfounded. In addition to his lumberjack good looks, I am attracted to Jack’s intellectual potency, his worldliness, and the unwavering way he protects the things he loves—all idealized “daddy” qualities (albeit ones I’d also find attractive in a 20-something).
(Image credit: Getty Images)
There have been times—like when we started having sex—that I’ve happily let Jack take the lead. After all, he’d been doing it longer than I’d been alive. You would think his considerable experience would make me, a relative prude, feel self-conscious about my lack of sexual savvy, but it did the opposite. I’d spent my adult life pretending to be comfortable with physical intimacy, trying too hard to be sexy and desirable. Being with someone so seasoned in the sheets—coupled with my desire for an honest relationship with this great guy—allowed me to relax and let Jack teach me. (The lesson: I should be enjoying sex, too.) The double orgasms I started experiencing made it easy to laugh off friends who said they didn’t “get” my relationship, as though it were a word problem from high school algebra. The 2011 book Getting Intimate: A Feminist Analysis of Old Age, Masculinity and Sexuality , details several studies indicating men become less selfish in bed as they age. In it author Linn Sanberg, Ph.D., quotes a Swedish verse: “With the older man you need not worry. He does it thoroughly; he’s in no hurry. But younger men, they are just shit. They barely get there before ‘that’s it.’”
For every sexy advantage, there’s an unsexy obstacle: Jack’s idea of classic TV heaven is Gunsmoke; I’d rather binge Gilmore Girls. He bemoans the entitlement of the, ahem, millennial generation over dinner. And my innate millennial thirst for adventure often clashes with Jack’s desire to protect a wonky ankle.
left']Jack’s idea of classic TV heaven is Gunsmoke; I’d rather binge Gilmore Girls.
A recent ziplining fiasco comes to mind. After accidentally zipping half-way back, Jack was left spinning forty-five feet above the ground in slow, dizzying circles, spewing four-letter words that echoed through the aerial course I’d harangued him into trying. Later, while laughing about his rescue over a beer, he told me what had run through his mind while swaying in the breeze: “I’m too old for this shit.”
Then there’s the greatest practical disadvantage to marrying older: the worry that you’ll spend a chunk of your life feeding him Ovaltine through a straw before ultimately dying alone. Last year, after Jack contracted Lyme disease but before we received a proper diagnosis, I convinced myself he was dying and that the thing everyone had warned me about, the relatively short shelf-life of my marriage, had come to pass. If Jack had been in his 30s, I’m not sure I would have made the leap from “strange symptoms” to “certain death” so quickly.
So, if it’s possible to argue that marrying older wasn’t in my best interest, in whose interest was it? My hypothetical children's.
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Evolutionarily, "women who were attracted to older men fared well and produced healthy offspring, since older men tended to have resources," says Darren Fowler, M.S., a Halifax-based clinical psychologist and the co-author of the aforementioned daddy-issues study. "These types of sexual preferences have been molded into our brains.”
In prehistoric days, “resources” would have included a good network of hunters, better equipment for spearing saber-toothed tigers, and generally more caveman knowhow. Today, “resources” refers more to financial prowess—a diversified portfolio or a job near the C-suite—but the general idea is the same: the guy who's had more time to accrue these things is presumably better equipped to help care for a child. The fact that I’m not even sure I want children? Doesn’t matter, Fowler says; I could have been nudged by my subconscious.
But everything's a tradeoff. Coupling up with an older man compounds the pressure to have children that’s placed on all women; I can hear my biological clock ticking louder whenever I picture Jack coaching little league at 65. All the studies confirming links between aging sperm and high-risk pregnancies don’t help. The danger is so great, scientists in New Zealand have spent $345,000 studying the sexual habits of zebrafish in an attempt to pinpoint the biological drive that compels human women to choose older mates, despite the hazards.
While I’m not sure I care to know what a fish has to say about my life choices, I understand the fascination with age gaps. Determining our comfort zone (5 years? 20? 40?) is an interesting litmus test for our personal moral framework and an opportunity to reflect on the social constructions within that framework. I’ve spent some time thinking about this well-argued piece by Heather Schwedel, in which she calls women like me traitors to our generation. Schwedel refers to an especially large age gap as “everything that’s wrong with our sexist, youth-worshipping, male-privilege-run-amok society.”
Honestly, I don’t know where I stand. Maybe I am a traitor. Or maybe Schwedel’s belief is informed by the same mercurial zeitgeist that determines when shoulder pads are out of fashion and wallpaper is hip again. Maybe we’d all do well to dress and decorate and marry however the heck we want. Isn’t it possible two mismatched people get together simply because they hit it off, no complex sociobiological equations required?
“The ultimate thing is looking at this person to person, marriage to marriage,” Schwartz says. “Sometimes, there’s no accounting for the psychological bond between people." And sometimes, a few failed ziplines or dates in the endoscopy ward are a small price to pay for that bond.
(Image credit: .)
I Married an Older Man. Here's Why I Regret It. — Best Life
Emily, 40, and Albert, 62, first met through mutual friends when he was 44 and she was 22, and got married just a couple of years later. "I don't think anyone thought we were going to get together," she says, "but we were attracted to each other and had a lot to talk about."
Today, they've been together for 18 years, have two beautiful children, and in many ways have what would be considered to be a "successful marriage." But, in private, Emily often wishes she'd married someone closer to her own age. Read on to find out why—and to hear the reverse, read about how This Man Married a Younger Woman and Now Regrets It.
When 22-year-old Emily first told her family and friends that she was marrying a man twice her age, they were not happy.
"He was twice my age, and my parents had major issues with it, not least of all because he's only a year younger than my mom," she says. "But what helped was that pretty soon after we got married, we moved to a place where no one knew either of us, so people were more accepting of the fact that we were together."Shutterstock
There's still a lot of social stigma surrounding age gap relationships, and that the judgment isn't always coming from the older partner's peers. In fact, one study suggests that younger people are more likely to assume that couples with a significant age gap have a transactional relationship (i.e., sex or companionship in exchange for financial reward). Given that Albert was much more established in a stable profession than she was, this was something Emily had to grapple with.
"I'm a very type A, career-driven person, and I feel like sometimes people look at me as someone who married a sugar daddy," she says. "There's this assumption that it has to be exploitative. People nowadays always say 'You do you,' but I don't often feel like they feel that way about this kind of relationship."
Emily and Albert were united on the fact that they wanted kids. But Emily also believes that, if she had married someone younger, she might not have ended up having children as early as 24.
"Being with an older man definitely pushed me to have kids younger than my demographic," she says, adding that she feels like people often "look at [her] askance" for having her first kid at a very young age. "Even when we moved to Washington D.C., where people are relatively open-minded, I felt like people gave me looks that said, 'Don't you know how to use birth control?'"Shutterstock
Emily says that strangers don't often make the assumption that Albert is her father, possibly because they've lived all over the world and—outside of America—marriages between an older man and much younger woman are not as uncommon or stigmatized as they are here. But she does say people often think he's the grandfather of their children, which can "be a little uncomfortable for them."Shutterstock
Many women who marry older men also complain that their partner's libido wanes just as they hit their sexual prime, which is very much the case for Emily.
"He definitely has some erectile dysfunction issues, and I know that younger men have them too, but it becomes more prevalent when you're older. And I definitely would like to have sex more often than he would," she says.Shutterstock
Many couples in happy age gap relationships say that that your mental age matters more than your chronological age. But Emily says that looking back now, 17 years later, she feels like she was a lot more emotionally immature than she thought at the time.
"People always told me I was very grown-up, so I thought I was really mature. But our first year together was not super great, and sometimes when I look back on it now, I feel like I was acting childish and I just didn't realize it."Shutterstock
"Albert is more 'old school' in terms of male/female roles than I would guess men my age are," she says. "My mom says he treats the kids like a grandparent rather than a parent by being overindulgent and not as great with discipline. He makes a lot of of the big decisions because he's 'the man.' And he was already established in his career whereas I was just starting out; I followed his career for nearly all my adult life, which didn't make it easy for me to build something of my own."
She does note, however, that there were some upsides to being in a marriage that was not altogether egalitarian, such as the fact that she never had to feel like she was carrying the burden of financial responsibility. "I've always lived in a nice place. I've always had money to travel. I never went through that phase of living in a one-bedroom apartment and eating ramen."Shutterstock
While Emily may feel like she might have been happier with a man closer to her age, she also isn't planning on divorcing her husband anytime soon.
"Marriage for me is very important as institution, and divorce just isn't an option for me because of my beliefs," she says. "But I have had to come to terms with the realization that I will spend a good part of my life as an older person alone…or at least not with my current partner." And for more on the realities of an age gap relationship, check out these 25 Things Only Couples With Major Age Differences Know.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to follow us on Instagram!
Should I marry an adult wealthy man? Rules for a successful marriage of convenience and other secrets of a happy union
Psychologist and Gestalt therapist Maria Brazgovskaya, on the air of the “This is not Freud” program on RTVI, answered burning questions about modern marriage. Should a woman get married to be successful? How long can you live in an arranged marriage? And why are happy unions the exception to the rule?
Can marriage be a pretext for leaving the family of origin?
Maria Brazgovskaya: “Yes, but not only. Marriage can be a way to get away from unresolved issues. Or from the desire to satisfy your need for recognition or affection. Or trying to plug a hole in the heart with a husband/wife.”
What is behind a woman's desire to get married urgently at a certain age?
Maria Brazgovskaya: “To answer this question, you need to ask yourself several others. “And what in the current moment prompts the desire to get married right now? How is this different from yesterday or a week ago – what happened? But in general, it is often about loneliness, about the feeling of not being in demand, about the feeling of insecurity, about the desire to get under someone's wing or find someone who will solve my problems.
Of course, a woman is also under pressure from the idea in society that marriage somehow speaks well of dignity. And the woman herself can say, “I am worth as much as my husband. If he's rich, then I mean something. If he's successful, then I can lean on it. Often a woman devalues herself and does not notice that she can do it alone.”
Is it right to marry an adult wealthy man?
Maria Brazgovskaya: “In some cases it is correct, in some it is not. You can't say it's not normal either. After all, what is the norm - this is the average temperature in the hospital, and in fact, any success and any happy family is not normal. Most families are in crisis or conflict. But there are exceptions that everyone is drawn to. These are couples who live together for years, walk by the hand, they have sex and they love each other; they have grown children, maybe they have the fruit of creative labor. But this will be an exception from the general mass of those who came into marriage to resolve their internal conflicts. If women marry an adult wealthy man because they need material support - how can they be condemned for this? If such a couple is aware of what they are doing, then they have every right to do so. Another thing is that in fact usually both or one of them are in illusions.
What is the future of a family based on commodity-money relations?
Maria Brazgovskaya: “Honestly? Beautiful! If we look at the whole experience of civilization, we will see that marriages have long been a pure bargain. When the bride and groom did not know each other. But on the other hand, there was a clear understanding that both were going into this marriage in order to solve their material needs and love was not provided in principle. If it arose - fine, if not - then few people were not sad. If two understand this, then the prospect is excellent.
But that doesn't mean that you have to get married for convenience. If a person has a need for love, then marrying for convenience, he will feel unfulfilled, he will be cramped, something will be missing all the time.
For more details, see the program "This is not Freud".
those who married men much older, you do not regret it?
my father died at 47, older than my mother by 19years, I still don't remember him
Something abnormal is going on.
guest 9002 Feeling like peers. Most of my peers are pot-bellied and swollen look worse than their husband. My husband doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, runs every day.
This is evidence of very deep degenerative processes in society.
In general, the trend with old people is already, as it were .. As it were, already very eloquent. Porn magazines with "older" models are already coming out. .
Something abnormal is going on.
Author, confess, what's the difference between you? If up to 10 years, then it's normal, if more then, of course, everything will be at random. 20 years difference is nothing. You are young 50 years old, and he is 70 ((([/quote. The difference is 10 years. Married 11. I am 30, my husband is 40. Both have a first marriage. Two children, 10 and 7 years old.
don't you want to be young now? how long are you married? do you feel the difference in age? and how?0042
Such pluses can be found without much difference, but the minuses, of course, are significant, and even sex ends quickly. (
We are 6 years apart and I think that's a lot. In general, I notice that in relationships with men who are much older, a woman herself becomes older than her age, something changes, and the look becomes completely different ...
Golden Vera Vladimirovna
Vyacheslav is rich
Certified practitioner. ..
Nidelko Lyubov Petrovna
But they are so small -caliber ... ((
I am infuriated with my children and grandchildren ...
The man immediately warned that everything was warned that all property is registered on children
This salary - I don't want to work
Lies 22 years long. How to destroy?
Husband left, 2 months of depression... How will you cope if you are left all alone?
2222222 Come on, 60 looks 35??? You flatter yourself too much. ..
No, I just confirm this. Koreans, Vietnamese look young for a very long time. But they look like toys to me. There is not enough solidity in their men.
Here are a couple of examples.
One friend married a man 22 years older, a good, caring, well-to-do man, at first everything was fine - but after 3-4 years she began to cheat, and then she completely left to live with her lover, not having time to get a divorce. But she has such an incendiary character, outwardly bright, loves sports, dancing, parties. And her husband is educated (teacher), so sedate already, where should he dance at 50 years old.
The second example is a shy girl, a good boy, outwardly inconspicuous, diligent in her studies, a little boring. Her husband is 15 years older, she does not look at others. She says how good it is to have a caring husband, quiet family comfort, etc., she doesn’t need anything else.
Now married to a man 2 years younger, happy again ))
The answer to the question is no, I don't regret it!!!! I have never regretted that I married BM.
CRULAL to mom?
I don't want to get married, I want to travel
What about him? My husband stopped helping around the house
Signs that my husband is sleeping with someone else
My husband called me a simpleton?
8 years difference, 10 years together. Feeling like peers. Most of my peers are pot-bellied and swollen look worse than their husband. My husband doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, runs every day.
6 years old? Are you kuku? I don't believe you, I'm married to a sucker, probably
He's 33, I'm 27, and in my opinion, none of us has been a sucker for a long time :) We just have slightly different life stages. What he came to a long time ago is only now opening up for me, and what interests me now is a past stage for him. And sometimes it’s a pity that we don’t go through this together, but each at our own time. If we were peers, we would walk together. And this is only 6 years, that is, relatively little. And I generally keep quiet about the difference of 10+.
9000 #41 9000 9000 23 23 23 23 23 August 2013, 19:34
Somewhere on the forum I read that the age difference should not be more than 5 years that people should fall into insanity simultaneously.