The reality is that they are dating a man 23 years older than you
By Skylar Jones
When I was younger, I would have gagged if you had told me that I would fall in love with someone much older.
Growing up, I witnessed many of my aunts and uncles who were in relationships with large age gaps struggle to maintain a happy relationship, even some who had been married for over 40 years.
I learned that even though you may be in the same place at one point in your life, sometimes when a person seeks to change to suit their goals or interests, it can cause a lot of problems.
Simply put, while the younger individual wants to maintain their youth and continue to walk as usual, the older individual may no longer care about these things and become a homebody.
Even something as simple as a family dinner can turn into a fight. You don’t always want to leave your spouse and do something you know they might not approve of because it upsets them, but you also don’t want to selfishly miss out on experiences you’d love to have. Life is too short.
But lo and behold, I found myself in a relationship with a man 23 years older than me.
While I have seen some of the issues my relatives have experienced within my own relationship, I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily the same.
This could also be because my boyfriend and I are much younger than my relatives now, or because we share a lot of interests and hobbies and have similar personalities.
Our relationship was as normal as any other I’ve been in, except my boyfriend respected me much more as a woman. He made such an effort to always make me feel important to him, to not push the boundaries and to make me feel good.
He made our relationship a priority in his busy life and was not ashamed to be seen with me despite the negativity surrounding our age difference.
I’ve noticed that when we go out on dates, people sometimes stare at him because he’s honestly old enough to be my dad. I heard odd comments from time to time, but he didn’t seem to let it bother him.
Instead, it makes us feel safe and confident. There was never a moment where I felt embarrassed about how other people made me feel, he always reassured me that I had nothing to worry about.
We would do things like a normal couple: go to the movies, have dinner at home and have a night out, have crazy and passionate sex on rainy Sunday afternoons, and have legitimate conversations about the future with the intention of staying together.
But there was one important thing that affected our relationship that eventually led me to learn something important about dating.
The shift in priorities was different in our relationship. While we were both workaholics, we both had different reasons for doing so; I was trying to establish myself financially, while he was trying to earn money for his family.
He was a father of five and grandfather of two, also at different stages of life, and in the end I wasn’t sure how my relationship with him would have worked if they were as involved in my life as they were in his.
Obviously one’s children are the most important thing and I will never let you forget that.
I would be fine if you had to cancel or postpone dates to see your kids, or if we couldn’t do something for a week because your kids have activities you need to attend. They needed their father and I will never stop him from being there.
However, since her children never knew I existed, it was very difficult for us to form a relationship, and it would have been difficult for me to fit into their lives.
Our relationship eventually ended because of his children.
While we got along really well as a couple, we just couldn’t move forward because he had kids and we both knew he wouldn’t accept her.
His two children were older than me and we knew they would be disgusted if they knew their father was romantically involved with someone younger than them.
Our relationship wasn’t worth risking your relationship with your children. That’s why we called it quits, regardless of how happy we were together.
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If her children were younger, maybe things would have turned out differently and there would have been less fear of their rejection. Even if my boyfriend was 10 years younger, things could have been completely different.
I wasn’t afraid of him because he had children and being a father never deterred me from him. It just didn’t make sense to continue when we both knew his kids would never approve of me.
Their relationship will always be more important to him than I could ever be.
I wouldn’t say that this relationship kept me from getting into another big age gap relationship again, but it taught me a lot of lessons that having a family will always affect your relationship.
I also learned that sometimes you feel limited in living your life the way you want because your partner is less interested in returning to that stage of life again.
So anyone who doesn’t claim that age affects relationships should think again.
Skylar Jones is an author who gives women a voice on the topics of heartbreak and relationships. For more information, visit his author profile on Unwritten.
This article originally appeared on Unwritten. Reprinted with permission of the author.