Question: Dear Luise: I was wondering if you would comment on what a large age difference can mean in a relationship. Do you have any experience with that? I’m 22 and the man I’m interested in is 41. I’d appreciate your thoughts. Thanks in advance. Lynda P.
Answer: Dear Lynda: I’m in a relationship with a man who is 16 years older than I am. So, yes this is a familiar situation for me. However, I didn’t make the leap when I was your age. I was 62 when I married a man who was 78.
It would seem to me that one of the biggest issues would involve whether you want children or not. I know of a situation similar to yours where the husband, now in his 70s, is dealing with two teen-agers. He’s doing very well, so far, but I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. He’s retired and their income is diminished when they need it the most, too. Things to think about.
We are all so unique. Some young people are extremely mature and some older ones are very young at heart. Such combinations often work out well.
When there is a big age difference the chance of the younger spouse being left alone needs to be faced. It might not happen but the odds are strong that it will. You may forfeit nearly two decades later on if you jump that number of years now.
You see more relationships where the man is older, but the reverse is becoming more common. I think people are still more prejudiced toward the older woman/younger guy combination, though.
If you have any doubts why not do some counseling together and look more closely at what is going on. Some younger women are looking for a “dad” and some older guys are trying to retrieve their youth.
For me, it was a matter of the heart. My guy is 94, now, and still a very active and viable partner. Yes, we missed the years of striving and child rearing together, but we have had 16 “golden years” that I wouldn’t trade for anything. One bonus is we love each other’s families and they love us.
Also a younger partner can help an older one in many ways that a partner of the same age might not be able to…like my taking over the driving when my husband’s vision started to fail. That’s a real plus for us. Blessings, Luise