Married Couples with Big Age Differences
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.
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© 2009 Willow Mattox