Mrs. Obvious is a mother, wife, and mentor. She used to own her own groom shop called Puppy Love and was self-employed for nine years.
To Love or Not to Love; That is The Question
When I was 25 years old I met and started dating a 43 year old man. Two and a half years later we got married. Why, you ask? Why not?
I was a single mother of two little boys, ages 3 and 18 months old. I had just gotten divorced from the boys' dad, and he was a "player", to put it kindly. I decided that I was done with younger guys and their games and that I would date some older guys that hopefully had time to grow up. I was thinking originally of dating in the 30-35 age group. But when I met Paul, I was smitten instantly.
Paul and I met playing softball for a church team. He was assistant coach and it was my first time playing in years. We soon found out that both of us had a passion for softball/baseball, and I invited him and his two kids, ages 10 and 12, over to my place for a barbecue. The ironic thing was that I didn't even have a barbecue to cook with. I figured I'd just cook some steaks on the stove and call it good. Well, he accepted my invitation and very quickly after that we were inseparable. We laugh to this day about me asking him to come for a "BBQ" and not even having one! We found a lot in common in our routine, parent type activities. For instance, neither of us had laundry facilities at our apartments, so we started doing laundry together every Sun. I was having a lot of mild anxiety attacks because of my oldest son's mental illness, (which brought a lot of chaos to our home) and Paul would help me by throwing everyone in the car and going for long drives through the countryside to help me relax.
Paul is a man's man without being macho. He is kind, easy to talk to, and easygoing. Nothing seems to phase him. He doesn't lie or cheat on me. Paul was very stable at his job, always had his bills paid, and is a helpful church-going kind of guy. He encouraged me, and became my biggest fan. He is always telling me things like, "honey, you can do whatever you set your mind to." He still calls me his "girlfriend" sometimes, even now that we've been married for three years. It is an ideal relationship for both of us. He loves that he is with a younger gal. He welcomes the idea of raising my boys with me. He loves my entrepreneurial spirit and how I encourage him to be the best that he can be. He finds me entertaining, and that softer touch in life that he needs in raising his kids. We are best friends, and great partners, and we truly look forward to seeing each other at the end of our busy day. That's not to say that we don't have different opinions on parenting and discipline, or that we never argue, 'cause we do. But we work through it, and don't let our differences affect how much we love each other.
We may not be the ideal age for each other, but sometimes age is just a number. There are so many other factors that make a relationship great. Honesty, faithfulness, loyalty, kindness. These are factors that will make or break a marriage. Loving your mate for who they are and what they bring to the relationship is far more important than age. My ex was only one year older than me. He cheated, lied, was addicted to porn, and was bad at handling money. He didn't value me, I was an object, one that all too often got in the way of his fun. Now I'm not saying that all men under a certain age are like that. I just opened my mind to the idea that maybe maturity would bring me a guy more ready to settle down and be the family man that I so desired. Another point to mention, and a huge factor for me in marrying an older guy, is that I did not want to be pressured to have any more children. In fact, when I first met Paul, I had made an appointment to have a tubal ligation, and I asked him point blank, "are you okay with not having any more kids? Cause I'm having my tubes tied next month." He was a little shocked at first but said that was fine with him as he did already have children of his own. I was relieved, and made another mental check mark on my list of "man requirements".
Life has been interesting since I met my new husband. People do give us weird looks sometimes. We know that people are wondering if we are "together" or just standing in a group. We don't like people to be uncomfortable around us and prefer to make it easy on them. When we meet people who don't know us, Paul introduces me immediately as his wife, or I will introduce him to people I know. People seem to be much more at ease and accepting when they know right away what they are dealing with, instead of being left wondering. Especially since my I don't look my age. Most people say I look eight to ten years younger than I really am. My husband looks a few years older than he really is because of his rough past. With those two factors against us, we are very upfront about our relationship. People who don't like it usually don't say anything to us. If they do say anything, it's usually to congratulate Paul with a "you dog!". My husband laughs and goes right along with it. My friends who have children don't question the relationship. Everyone knows how hard it is to be a single mom, and how it can be even harder to find a new husband when you already have kids.
I have a few other acquaintances who have large age differences between them, but the average is roughly seven to twelve years. We are eighteen years apart. One friend of mine told me that of all the couples he had ever met, only the ones who were eleven years apart or more had lasting relationships. Obviously this is in no way scientific evidence, but I believe that it's true that age differences in married couples do have some benefits.
For me, my husband is my rock. He keeps me stable through my ups and downs. He allows me to be who I want to be and values me above all else. I feel safe and loved. For him, I think I am his link to technology. (He doesn't know how to use a computer at all!) I make him feel young and encourage him to keep growing. I am a take-care-of-business kind of girl and keep him motivated. I could list all the good and the bad of the relationship, but I would rather keep it private. This isn't a tell all biography, I just wanted to share with you our story as an example of why people choose mates that are not in their age group.
Everyone has their own criteria for a mate based on their needs, desires, and experiences. Sometimes we make good choices, sometimes bad. But most times all you really need is love, true love, to make it work.
© 2009 Willow Mattox
Willow Mattox (author) from Northern California on November 27, 2017:
Hi everyone. I just wanted to stop by and update you all that my husband and I just celebrated 11 years of marriage. Marriage is never easy, but we are still in love and committed to each other every day! Thank you for all the comments, sorry I can't respond to you all. I hope that each of you have pursued your hearts and found joy in whatever relationships you have chosen. Maybe someday you too can share your age difference story!
BDavidG on September 08, 2015:
Thank you for this article! I'm a 48 year old man considering entering into a relationship with a 20 year old woman that I know at church. We are becoming good friends and we have a great passion for ministry! I have been hesitant to move forward because of the age gap, so I am praying about it before doing anything. At this point, I don't know how to proceed, or even if I should, but you have given me more information than I had previously, so I'm extremely grateful for your insight and greatly encouraged by your story!
Anne on June 28, 2015:
The guy I'm starting to date is 27 and I'm 18. I know it's not a big age gap compared to some here, but I was wondering how you get around dealing with parent's judgement?
mark on September 14, 2014:
there is 9 years gap between me and my girlfriend......she does not know my age......i look very young...she never asked my age...i'm scared if she will reject me if she finds out my age???help???
Willow Mattox (author) from Northern California on April 14, 2012:
To all of you who are wondering about your relationships with large age differences... You have to decide how many years is too much. My husband and I are 18 years apart and that is a lot. We have now been married for almost 6 years, and are still loving each other, but our energy levels are very different and that does sometimes affect regular life. It doesn't help that I am super motivated and constantly taking on new projects!
My point today is that there are so many aspects of life to consider. I have already accepted that I may have to take care of him in his older years, and that he will probably die before me, leaving me alone and starting over in my later years. Each person in these types of relationships has to think about how your partner's aging process will affect you, and how much it will "cost", in financial terms, and in terms of things you will have to give up. Remember, anything can feel right in the moment, but our lives are long enough that things change. A partner who is suitable for the here and now may not be what you want in 10-20 years. These kind of relationships work best with people who know how to love with faithfulness, integrity and devotion, because in 20 years, you may no longer be attracted to how your partner looks. I would not like to be the one to tell someone how many years is too much, but I would honestly recommend not more than 20. Try thinking of it in terms of retirement. If your partner retires at 65 and you are still working at 45, can you go on a month long vacation with him/her and enjoy that time of life together? Similarly, if you retire at 65, and your partner is now 85, will they be well enough (or even still alive) to spend your retirement with you? Retirement is the age when couples spend the most time together, so projecting into the future is an important exercise when considering these types of relationships. Good luck and blessings to all of you!
Tina on April 12, 2012:
I am 18 and my boyfriend is 30. The age gap isn't as big as what others here have, but knowing that you all experience essentially the same thing makes me realize that this IS real. I have heard a few times that my relationship will not last. Another even bet with me that my boyfriend will not be my last. I am not going to stay in the relationship just to prove them wrong, but the true love and success of our relationship will be a testament.
Amy on April 09, 2012:
Iam in love with a man 30yrs older than me,iam 26yrs old and He is 56,he is a widower wit five boys,i hv a baby girl from a previous marriage.We r in love bt i still wnt to hv children for him.i need ur advice pls.
Marty on March 31, 2012:
I want to apologize in advance for my English, but I'm not from English-speaking country.
Your story is absolutely wonderful, I am happy for you! It seems like the huge happiness that you have found true love despite the big age difference. But I have one question because I fell in love with man who is about 27 years older than me. Is it normal? Because 18 years age gap is not too big compared to 27. Thank you for response :)
Kenya on March 13, 2012:
I was born and brought up in Africa where i have met and been in relationship with men my own age but non really seemed to work. I met my husband who is 42 years old and am 26. We dated for 4 years and decided to get married last December. My husband is the most amazing creature i have ever met and i am absolutely happy to have met him. He is my best friend and love him forever. I get looks all the time given that he is American(white) and am African, he is tall and am a little short, and people sometimes think i look too young. All this differences that people seem to see dont bother us at all and we do everything together. What else can i ask for?
tperkins-tyler from kansas on February 24, 2012:
Well..after reading this I now feel some what at ease about the age difference in marriages. My 1st husband was only 1 year younger than me... we had 4 gorgeous children, which I believe was the sole reason God put us together. After the divorce, I was scared, broke, and if nothing else busy struggling 4 kids and my job. I am remarried now to a great guy. How this romance came to be..I'll never know? We met when I was 39, and he was 25. Yes, it was hard for me to get over come the fact that I had such a young Bo. But we are always together. He is my best and only true friend. We've Been married 5 yrs years now, together for 10. Now the only person who still dislikes our relationship is his Mother. Only God knows why? He is happy, thriving and successful. What more could a mother want for her child? He has no children, and has helped me raise mine without truly knowing what it felt like to have his own. My only regret is I am unable to give him a child. But he always expressed to me that children were not desired. So anyway, I love him, he has shown me what a true husband really is. Thank you "T"...you're the best!
Moshi on January 14, 2012:
Death can come at any time to anyone, whether you are old or young. I'm in love with a man 29 years older than me, he is so loving and caring, I've never seen a man respecting a woman like this,he treats me like a queen. What is the use of being with someone my age who abuses me and doesn't respect me? To please people while I'm not happy? No!
Seattle on September 03, 2011:
What a wonderful article! Beautifully written! Thanks for sharing!
I am looking for such a success stories, because I had fallen in love with a man, who is 28 years older than me (I'm 33 and he's 61). When I am with him, I don't feel any age difference, it's just when I think about our future... Right now we are about to make a big changes in our lives and be together. And I can't wait, but at the same time I am scared....
Happy on July 02, 2011:
20 yrs. apart and happily married for 23 yrs. with a large blended family and grandchildren ! Having a time of our lives !
Mrs. Cross on March 25, 2011:
My Husband and I have a ten year age difference and I have never been happier. Best of luck on your future.
larryc46 on September 24, 2010:
I think this article needs to say that "age can be just a number". When I met my current wife, we were both married to someone else and I lived 500 miles from her. I didn't think too much of it except we seemed to hit it off, flirted a little, talked on the phone and became good friends. But, we never crossed the line. Did I mention that I am just a little over 15 years older than my wife? This past April, we celebrated our 18th anniversary and no, we didn't get together until we both were divorced and not because of each other.
Tito Alabi from US on July 23, 2010:
My dear, I totally agree with you. Age is simply a number. I read your article and I see myself in all lines. I had been through a first marriage with my age mate and we had a son between us but I tell you, it wasn't meant to be and it did crashed. But today, I am the happiest. I decided to give myself a go at another marriage and my hubby is 20 clear years older but young at heart. Like yours, I had to bring him up to the computer age and we just blend. Happiness for me is where you find it and not where the society expects you to find it. You know what he says all the time, 'I;m blessed I found you cos you're my backbone'. I looked for true love and I found one in him age or no age. Keep it up girl, you're on track.
Willow Mattox (author) from Northern California on July 05, 2010:
Hi ivy crys, thanks for your comment. I will say that there are some limits to the age thing. Most people really frown on huge age differences, (think Anna Nicole Smith)and there are some good reasons for caution. Being alone at a young age because of the death of your older man is a reality that you have to consider. Also, a guy with grown children the same age as you can have big reprocussions socially for a man. I would tell anyone in a similar relationship to be careful and thoughtful about what benefits you gain and what sacrifices you may have to make because of the relationship. If it balances out, then go ahead! But if it doesn't, proceed with caution, or try to move on. "Puppy love" can be deceiving, and ruin lives, so don't forget to think it through!
ivy crys from KOTA KINABALU,SABAH on July 04, 2010:
i am dating with 46 years old man and im 23 this year..i dun care wat people might said about us,,the most important is He is the one who bright my life,i love him so much..My man 46 years old,widowed with 4 grown up child.
no matter wat i will be with him..
sarah on May 23, 2010:
yeah i thought 4 years apart was bug so thanks for proving me wrong
Mamelody on April 06, 2010:
honey age is nothing but a number. My ex was 16 years older than me and my current flame is 15 years older and am the happiest bunny. I applaud you for being smart and you guys actually look cute together. Screw what society says! If he make you happy and looks after you that all that matters. Nice hub xx
Disturbia on January 05, 2010:
My first husband and I had a considerable age difference which mattered little to us but seemed to bother everybody else. We had a marriage based on convenience for both of us and a relationship that worked. What else matters? I say, live and let live.
Willow Mattox (author) from Northern California on December 30, 2009:
Alexandra, I hope you don't let societies expectations cheat you out of a great loving relationship. Wether this is the guy for you is the important part. If it doesn't work out, you can still date older guys, and I'm glad to know that my hub was encouraging to you!
Alexandra on November 15, 2009:
Yes, thank you for sharing your wonderful story. I'm 20 and am dating a 40-year-old. I've been having some anxiety because I'm getting mental very serious and we're so good together but the age difference scares me, mainly societal impact wise. My parents who are only 2 years apart have been married for 37 years now and they don't mind that he's twice my age. It's nice to know that people are not as judgmental on large age gap couples and moreover are applauded as lasting. I don't like young men my age because I want a family soon and I might have to wait 9 years for a man my age to want that.
Enelle Lamb from Canada's 'California' on November 05, 2009:
What a wonderful story - thank you for sharing your happiness with us!