How old is too old?

I like this guy but I’m worried about the age gap — he’s 15 years older than me! Is this too much?

You’re both adults, says our elder. Give him a chance — but go into it with your eyes wide open.

Dear EWC

So recently, a guy I’m really into confessed that he’s attracted to me as well. I suspected he was but wasn’t brave enough to ask. However, he’s almost fifteen years older than me. I’m 20; he’s 34. Is this okay? I really like him and he’s never done anything creepy or predatory, but everything I’ve been taught says anything more than five years is wrong. What should I do?

Granny-Nora replies

I’m so glad I read your letter! I have personal experience with this, and I hope I can help you sort this out in your mind so that you can make a good decision.

First, you are a legal adult, so you can make up your own mind. If you were a teenager, my answer would be completely different.

Second, you need to go into this with your eyes wide open. Ask questions, and be sure you get the right answers. Make sure he is not married. Find out his history. Is he divorced? Does he have children? If so, are you okay with his past? Are you okay with the possibility of a stepchild should your relationship become serious? Are you prepared for dealing with his ex-wife? Again, go into this with your eyes open. Make sure he is telling you the truth about everything.

Now, having said all that, women mature faster than men. When I was your age, I was amazed at how immature guys my age were. Quite by accident, a couple of older men were interested, and I dated them. I ended up marrying one of them. My husband is 12 years older than I am, and we have been married for 42½ years. I’d say it worked out pretty well. LOL! We married two days after my 22nd birthday, and he was 34 years old.

I can honestly say that marrying my husband was the best thing I ever did in my life. I can also say that age has never made a difference in our relationship. We have four children, and my husband had a son (now deceased) from his first marriage. There were challenges, but every marriage has challenges. There is nothing about our marriage I would change. We have grown into something truly special. Life is not easy, and we’ve been through a lot together. Through all of this, we were a team. We remain a team today.

There is one more important thing that you need to be aware of if you end up marrying an older man. As you grow old together, you will most likely end up being his caregiver. My husband will be 77 years old in September, and I will be 65 in December. He is still pretty independent, but there are certain things I’m beginning to do for him that he used to do for himself. He has a rare eye disease, has two cornea transplants, and has worn contact lenses since before I met him. The last year or so, it is sometimes difficult for him to put in his contact lenses. When he has trouble, I help him. Sometimes I clip his toenails because he has trouble bending when arthritis is acting up. He is a diabetic, and for the most part, he takes care of himself. He is fine organizing all his medication, but he has trouble filling his insulin needles because he can’t see well enough to do that. I fill his needles for him, but he still injects himself. As he ages, I’m sure we will transition even more into a caregiver/patient role. I’m okay with that.

For many years, my husband worked two jobs so that I could stay home with my children when they were little. When I went back to work full-time, he took over a good portion of the chores, including grocery shopping and other errands. He either cooked dinner or directed a teenager to cook dinner and have it on the table when I got home from work. Now, it is my turn. Marriage is a two-way street. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to take care of him because I love him, and because he’s been good tome, good forme, and he’s been a wonderful husband and father.

No, there is nothing wrong with dating an older man. Just remember that whenever you date anyman, you are taking the chance of falling in love. Be prepared for what might happen if you do fall in love with him. Don’t start anything you can’t finish. If you are prepared to deal with whatever his history is, and you are prepared to deal with what he will bring to your future, then go for it. If not, back away now. Make sure you have all the facts before you start anything with this man. Truthfulness is imperative in any relationship. Don’t get into a situation with someone who is married. Make sure you know what his financial obligations are to any previous wife or child. Realize that it is important that he fulfill the obligations he has to any children he has. His children should not suffer because you are not prepared to share in his obligations to them — both financially and emotionally.

My advice is to go into this with your eyes wide open, but if you think this guy has possibilities, don’t shy away from him. Give him a chance.

Letter #: 442855
Category: Dating/Relationship

One Comment

  1. I can relate…my husband is 15 years older (I am 32 and he’s 47). We’ve been together for 8 years. A former boyfriend before my husband was also 15 years older and we dated for a few years. I was 21 and he was 36 when we started seeing each other. I am wondering why you were taught anything over 5 years is wrong? If it’s your personal preference to be with someone around your age that is fine, but there is nothing wrong with two adults wanting to be together for the right reasons regardless of age. I always think of what Celine Dion said of her husband who was 26 years older…”Love is no age.” She dealt with a lot of negativity regarding her relationship with an older man. Even though they were a “celebrity couple” they seemed to be a good couple who worked together as a team and were with each other for the right reasons, which is why I always admired them. I know you may feel pressure from family/friends if they don’t understand that relationships with big age gaps can work, but in the end you must always go with your gut and date/marry who’s right for you and not who’s right for someone else. When I was 21 and started seeing my former boyfriend, my mother was very concerned (even though when she was 19 she dated someone 24 years older). She ended up liking my ex so much she was crushed when we broke up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *