Is age really just a number? Opinions solicited.

  1. I don't like to 'air out my business', but I would love to hear the opinions of the diverse and wise group of women here. I'm 21 and am considering embarking on a serious relationship with a man that's considerably older than I (he's been pushing a little while).

    In the time we've dated, however, differences between our lifestyles have caused problems. I'm an unmarried undergrad student and he's divorced with two kids, the eldest a year apart from me.

    I care for him a lot, but part of me suspects that I'm just wasting my time by going down this road with him. I'm just so confused, and don't know what to do.

    Of course, I have to make this decision for myself, but I would love to hear what ya'll think about partnership with a significant age gap, either philosophical or from experience.
     
  2. i'm sure that someone here will have a story of a relationship like this has worked out, but i have to say that, in general, it's not a good idea. just for reference, i'll be 21 in about a week.

    you say that differences in lifestyle have already created a problem, and that's no coincidence. although i'm sure you feel like an adult (i certainly do), there's so much that someone our age has to experience before we have the kind of maturity that is necessary to date someone with a previous marriage and children. also, you have to think about yourself and the kinds of things that you want to get out of a relationship - someone to commiserate with about school, someone that can hang out with you and your friends, etc. i've dated someone that had already graduated (granted, he was only 5 years older than me), but he had the tendency to look down on my problems and concerns as a student because he felt that his real-world issues were more important, and that certainly didn't make me feel any better.

    little stuff like that is what is really important in a healthy, supportive relationship, and you probably can't have that with someone that's so signficantly older than you. more importantly, you probably can't have it with someone that's in such a significantly different life situation. don't miss out on what being a student offers you.
     
  3. I too want to say go for it..BUT IN ALL HONESTY..I doubt it will work out.Ive been there.My first marriage was at a VERY young age(20!)....to a man 12 years OLDER than myself...it didnt take me long to figure out it was a HUGE mistake either.Its not just maturity cuz to this day.I know I will always be the more mature person than him.But its alot of differnent issues at hand.Family differences,age gaps,etc...Cant even begin to describe the multiple hurdles youll have to overcome.You will always feel strange too ..around family and friends..especially as YOU MATURE.Trust me..I know!
    I wish you the best of luck and hope it works out.BUT age is a huge issue and always will be.his being divorced with kids..you just starting out and sooo young!!!
    Dont let me talk you out of it..Just know I have been there and its something to think about!~
    Good luck-I wish you all the best!
     
  4. My SO is 11 years older than me, and in all honesty it has never been a problem. Our backgrounds our different, but our personalities are very similar. Compromise has always been a priority. At the same time I didn't have to contend with children from a previous relationship. That is a whole different ballgame and you need to ask yourself whether or not you can handle that kind of responsibility because a relationship with him means a relationship with his kids. I think that you need to ask yourself want you want right now. Good luck!
     
  5. Thanks for the advice, all. amanda, jill, you both have well articulated, well thought out responses! Part of me knows that the lifestyle differences is a really huge barrier, but the other part of me hopes that our similar interests can overcome that.

    fire_eyed_freak, his kids aren't really that much of an issue with me, as I have a little one myself. It's good to hear that your relationship is going so well. The age gap between this man and me is approx. 30 years. I wonder how much the size of the difference is also a factor.
     
  6. Me and my boyfriend are 11 years apart. well actually 10 years and 11 months hahaha. And we've been together for a while. Everything is better than I imagined it ever could be. We hardly ever fight, our first fight was almost a year into our relationship. and like fire_eyed_freak said, our backgrounds are completely opposite but our personalities are very similar. This is the first relationship i've been in where our age gaps are so big but I must say its the best relationship i've been in.

    Personally i dont think its that much of a factor. Why bring other people into the relationship and worry about their opinions? the relationship is about you and him, and you and him alone.

    At first i was a little awkward going out in public because we're so different, but i got comfortable with it and said F&*& it, its my life. and i'm happy with this.

    my 2 cents.
     
  7. This may seem premature, but I think you also need to consider not only the age difference, but also the difference in what the two of you are going to want in a relationship. He may feel as if he has raised his kids, and he's done with that phase of his life. Do you want kids? These are the sorts of potential problems I think you might run into further down the line if things do get really serious. I think if you want to date a person who is that significantly older than you, it has to come with the understanding that the other person has much more life experience than you do, which in turn might mean that he's unwilling to do things you want to do either because he's settled in his ways and life, or because he's already tried something and decided he doesn't want it. You may have to compromise some things you want out of life because of his considerable life experience.
     
  8. I'm a divorced mother of 2 and my partner now is 9 years younger than me. At first I did think there was no way this would work out but we've been together nearly 7 years now and are still going strong.:yes:

    I think each case is unique and although there are all the obvious differences that an age gap (especially one as big as 30 years) can throw into the mix, I think ultimately it's the same as any successful relationship - it takes a great deal of commitment, a little compromise and a whole lot of love for it to work.

    If you have serious doubts then there's no question that you have to put yourself and your child first because you will be the one who has to pick up the pieces if it all falls apart.

    I wonder how he feels about the situation, I'm sure he must have his concerns and doubts too. He may feel that he is the one taking the bigger risk because if it all went wrong you’re still young and have a whole lot of living ahead of you whereas he may feel wary of starting all over again.

    They say love conquers all so if you are meant to be together then I really believe that it will all work out. Either way I wish you happiness. :flowers:
     
  9. 30 years is a huge difference, not like most of us who have 10 years.
    You are only 21 & he's 51, around my age. You are barely getting started with life. And he's an AARP member - I'll be one next year. (none of us are old the way our parents were, but there are/or should be huge differences in how a 21 & 51 year old think.) The kids thing could be an issue, if you want more. How does his kids feel about you? And believe me it does matter! Does your child like him? And the problems you have had so far, can you work them out? Just some highlights to think about.
     
  10. JMO I feel like you are the one taking the bigger risk. This is your youth, you can't get it back. (His 20's are long gone) I've seen so many woman get married young & then divorce thinking " well now I'll have the fun." Doesn't work that way. The innocene is gone.
     
  11. I think you are too young to consider this. A friend of mine married someone 10 years older than her when she was 30. By the age of 30 she knew what she wanted. You have your whole life ahead of you take it slow and enjoy everything it has to offer.
     
  12. I totally agree with everything that everyone said here about why you should not jump into this relationship. As a mother of two girls, I dread the thought of them in the unfortunate situation of falling in love with a man 30 years senior (not just 10, and not even 20), AND with kids (more headache than you can imagine). As I told my girls many times that I would not object them going out with guys of various types (race, profession, wealth, etc., etc.) unless I see something detrimentally wrong. If my girls were dating someone 30 yrs senior and with kids, my mother's protection instinct would definitely tell me to interfere!

    Why go into a relationship that has a very slim chance of sucess and many roadblocks ahead? In about 20 years, he will be in his wheel chair, and you will be in your prime. How much love, energy, and patience will you have taking care of him like an infant for the rest of your life? More importantly, you need to experience life yourself. With a 50-yr old man, you will never experience your life to the fullest.

    Another important thing is children of your own. With him being in his 50's, what is yor chance of you having children, especially healthy and normal children?

    My daughter just told me something during our lunch date at Cheesecake Factory yesterday. She said, "Until I realized that my former bf was not right for me and that I met XX later, I never realized that there could be someone so wonderful like XX." Take it from her. Go out and meet someone else. I hope you are destined to have a much better marriage and love life than what you are heading towards. Do not short-change yourself!
     
  13. See, that's another problem that has been going on a while, but has pretty much has faded now. I first met him at 19. For a long time, he's acted really suspicious of me--- he put me through 'tests' to see if I was after money, etc. (my friend tells me I shouldn't have put up with that, but I was already into him). While he no longer seems to think I'm gold digging, he still acts sometimes as if he believes that I'm going through a 'phase' and will dump him for someone younger all the time. Now it seems as id he's in a rush to 'solidify' things between us, and I believe he wants me to get pregnant (which is just NOT an option at this point for me, as I need to finish school).

    I'm not foolish enough to rush into anything, but at the same time, I do want him to know that I care about him seriously and I'm not just going through youthful 'experimentation.'
     
  14. He has been keeping me away from his older son (who's 20); I suppose I should be offended, but I'm relieved, to be honest. I've spent some time with the younger boy, but I don't really know how to act and what to say in front of him. And he ignores me (he's 11).

    My son is almost 3 and doesn't really know what's going on.
     
  15. My mother is very angry and upset about our relationship. We were just getting close but I feel this has put space between us again. :sad: