Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

PollyOR

Advice for my daughter who is dating an "older man"?

Recommended Posts

My 20 year old daughter didn't date during her teen years.  Guys her age didn't seem interested.   Last year she had a year long friendship which morphed into a dating relationship with a young adult who was about six years older than her.  The differences in religious beliefs were too great so we weren't too worried about marriage.

 

A few weeks ago, 20 yodd went to her oldest sister's house and met one of their friends.   20 yo and this young man hit it off and they are now dating.  They enjoy being together, they have similar interests, and they share the same religious beliefs.

 

The sticky part?  He is 10 1/2 years older than her.  Yep, he's 31.

 

Assuming this relationship continues, what are some issues my daughter needs to be aware of in the future?  I've read on the boards before that older husbands can start to slow down in middle age which can sometimes cause friction.  My daughter is a low energy person to begin with, so hopefully that wouldn't be an issue.

 

He lives in the same building as his brother and sister-in-law though he seems to have his own bachelor pad.  I'm not sure if he does his own laundry, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't have much advice except if she has career goals that might interfere with starting a family, to discuss that early in their relationship. He may be looking to settle down and she might not be ready, but that's very individual. My husband is nine years older than me and I married him right before I turned 20 - we match beautifully, much better than I ever did men closer to my age. It can certainly work. But having matching goals and expectations of the relationship is important when there is such a big experience difference.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One risk might be some level of immaturity. A common reason for dating younger is feeling more at ease psychologically with someone younger -- they may be physically in their 30s, but mentally and emotionally they're still 20somethings. If she shares a similar attitude, this isn't necessarily a problem, as they can be "young at heart" together. If she doesn't, one day she might find herself also in her 30s, and wondering why he never grew up.

Edited by Anacharsis
  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dh is 13 years older than me.  We started dating right after I turned 21.  We've been married for more than 20 years.

 

The big thing as with all relationships is keeping the lines of communication open.  Dh is high energy and I'm low-energy so it's usually been me trying to keep up with him.  

 

Health issues and insurance could be a problem for your daughter and her bf if they continue down life's path together.  

 

It can work out very well.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My parents were 9 years apart. I know it was tough in middle age when he was heading toward retirement and she was not in that headspace at all. He did slow down earlier than she. She also spent a lot of her 60s caretaking his final illness (4 years). Of course, this could have happened at any age. They had a good marriage, but the later years were tougher than the earlier years with regard to the age difference. I have a friend who is in her late 40s with a husband in his late 50s and she is beginning to experience some of the same tensions.

 

I don't think these are reasons to get married, but are issues to expect and prepare for mentally.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I married my hubby @ 22 when he was 33. We are very compatible and have been married for 17 years. We both of us have yet to slow down! I hated the petty drama of guys my age at the time. He was a grown up and I appreciated that!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My hubby is 8 years older than I and we are a good match, having been married for 33 years so far.

He's Catholic; I'm atheist, but we have similar morals and work ethics.

Advice?  Leave them alone.  She won't listen to you anyway if her heart is telling her what to do.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm married to a man 8 years my senior. I was barely 19 when we met. There haven't been any insurmountable problems, but I do now believe it is not the most ideal scenario. Close age match is better, IMHO.

 

I had wanted to have more kids, but, now that I am 45, I can better appreciate why DH didn't want more kids past 40. I was only 32. But he was 40.

 

You tend to arrive at different philosophical eras at different times and that isn't necessarily ideal. Grandparents are also aging and/or dying on different timetables, though that could happen anyway and may or may not be a relevant factor. But it is sad that our kids didn't know his dad.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advice?  Leave them alone.  She won't listen to you anyway if her heart is telling her what to do.

 

Yes, you are right. :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why wouldn't he do his own laundry? That seems like a random addition to your post lol

 

Yep, random. ;)  I should have left it out.

 

I guess one of the things I've wondered about is if his sister-in-law is taking care of him.  How independent has he really been?  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why wouldn't he do his own laundry? That seems like a random addition to your post lol

 

I don't want to speak for the OP, but a lot of the older men who dated college-age women when I was in college tended to be the Peter Pan-type.  I knew one guy who took his laundry to his mom's every Sunday and she'd wash and fold it for him!  Couldn't even boil water to make spaghetti, that sort of thing.  He basically dated to find a second "mom" to take care of him.

 

I think there's no reason it can't work if they're at similar maturity levels.  And, very gently, if it's only been a few weeks, it seems a bit premature to be thinking about marriage  :laugh:.  

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there's no reason it can't work if they're at similar maturity levels.  And, very gently, if it's only been a few weeks, it seems a bit premature to be thinking about marriage  :laugh:.  

 

I know.  Lol!  In our church culture, young men are encouraged to marry and start families.  Anyone over 25 who is still single is jokingly referred to as a menace to society.  I assume he's dating to find a spouse rather than dating for fun.  Maybe "I shouldn't assume" should become my mantra.

 

I know I need to chill.   :chillpill:

Edited by PollyOR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got married at 18 to someone who was 32. We have been married for over 23 years :001_tt1: :001_tt1:

I don't see an issue with the age either. I was 20 when I met my husband who was 28. Married 20 years. There was nothing to 'look out for' - either you want the same things out of life or you don't and dating is the time to figure that out.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They've only known each other a few weeks. I don't think you need to worry about middle-aged husbands quite yet.

 

My stepmom is 15 years younger than my dad. They've been married 24 years.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DH is 8 years older than I am.

 

My grandparents were 11 years apart and she got sick with parkinsons disease at only 50 and he took care of her and was the caregiver.  He has outlived her by many years and he is the older one...so you can't predict such things.

Edited by Attolia
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This may not be popular, but I'd say that your dd's young age is more of a stumbling block than the age spread between the couple. She still has a lot of growing up to do independent of anyone else. But that aside, she will always be in a different decade than her partner no matter what age and stage of their lives together. They would never, ever have that commonality. It wouldn't be my choice. 

 

Anyway, hopefully they will take 2 year minimum to figure things out, and she'll finish school.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You aren't going to be able to say anything. 

 

I'd watch for maturity and life stage differences. If your dd wants a doctorate and he wants to settle down, one of them may be very disappointed. Or if he's a 30 year old who hasn't grown up yet, I'd wonder if he ever was going to. For instance I know a 35 year old who left his wife and is now living with a 21 year old. As a couple they act like I did in my late teens/early twenties with regard to partying, drinking, etc. He's a guy who avoids responsibility. I'd really be concerned if my dd got involved with a guy like that. At the same time I think it would be difficult to find out some of this stuff. I know about this man because i work with him. 

 

However, there are lots of relationships with a decade age difference that work. Personally, I had two long term relationship before I met dh. one was with someone 6 years older and the other was 1 year older. The one that was close to my age was self centered and emotionally abusive. My dh is 8 years older and we've been married 25 years. 

 

Really, just be supportive of your dd. Get to know the boyfriend. Don't interfere, but be someone she will turn to if she needs to talk (she talks, you listen and not talk unless she asks). 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My parents are 10 years apart. I didn't notice much when I was younger but now, I certainly notice issues not only with my parents but with many couples who have a large age difference.

 

My dad is almost 80 and in overall good health, but he is definitely elderly. Losing hearing, falling asleep everywhere, wants to stay home all the time and can't drive anymore. My mom is 70 and is still full of energy. She still wants to work and do stuff but he cannot and she needs to stay home with him. She has to drive him everywhere.

 

I know another couple and there are serious issues there. He refuses to take care of himself and once he hit 50, he has been in rapid decline. They have young kids so she is on her own concerning their care and everyday activities.

 

Another couple, he's retiring next year at age 54. She is 45 and is not happy about the life he wants. He wants to curtail spending and such (as they should with retirement) but she is wanting to spend more than ever with home renovations and travel (she still works)

 

There are lots of examples I'm sure that others could give, but it has been enough that I have encouraged my kids to try to find people close in age (they are still young so we just chat about these things, not lecture)

 

My dh and I were college buddies and are the same age. Yeah, guys my age were immature, but so was I. My dh and I feel like we grew up together. Soon enough, our kids are all in college and we are so looking forward to the next stage of our life together. We still have so many dreams we want to accomplish together that I don't think would be possible if he was much older than me. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd just watch the power dynamics in their relationship.  Many times the older partner is dominant, and sometimes controlling.  And sometimes men choose someone much younger when it didn't work out with someone their own age, who is more challenging and doesn't accept the same level of being controlled.

 

There's something called the wheel of power and control that can help you identify when a relationship is abusive.  Make sure she's familiar with it, because age is one way of having more power in the relationship.  That said, if she doesn't recognize any of those patterns, and she knows what to look for, I'd let her go ahead with it.  As a home schooled woman, she's probably naturally more mature than most young women her own age.  As long as she's not too sheltered to know when to create a boundary and demand she be treated well, I'd let her know you approve.  And more than that, are proud of her for choosing someone who treats her well rather than settling for someone who doesn't.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My sister and her dh have the exact same age gap and they have been married eighteen years. Her dh did insist that they honeymoon in Europe so that she would have been there to have that in common with him, she would have chosen Australia, which she still hasn't seen, but mostly they are very compatible.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ram Man and I are 14 years apart. We didn't become parents until we were 30 and 44. Sometimes I call him an old fuddy duddy, but for the most part we get along well and are well-matched energy wise. He talks about the old day occasionally, i.e. music, movies, famous people he remembers, athletes, etc, and I have no clue about whom he is speaking, but hey, that's what google is for!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

dh is older than me, and I was younger when we married.  we've been married 34 years.  he's actually healthier and more energetic than I am.  (though I recently switched to NDT and I'm feeling better than I have in years.)

 

lifestyle is a much better predictor of health than age.  what's his lifestyle?

what does he do for entertainment?  culturally, there are things that are different/different generations, but they can be overcome.

 

why would you assume he doesn't do his own wash?

 

dh and 2sil rented a house together when we met.  he did his own wash, and cooking.   he's also always been much neater than her.

 

 the most obnoxious thing I had to deal with in the beginning were the people (re: former bff's mother,  my grandmother, several others, but they were the worst) who tried to convince me he was "too old for me" and break us up.   1sil was  wondering what dh was thinking about marrying me - until she met me and decided it was ok.

 

I'd be looking at - is he gainfully employed in an area that will support a family?  is he in school to be so?  what are his long-term housing plans?  mostly - the same type of things you'd look at if they were closer in age.

iow: if he's not acting independent  (at 30???), THAT would be a raise concerns.

 

 

Edited by gardenmom5
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know a few couples with a large age spread, and two or three are in my extended family. I knew one happily married couple where the wife was the older one by about 7 years vs. the man being older. Their marriages have had different challenges, but I would say those challenges were simply different, not "more." So, my comments will be about differences she might want to keep in mind. BTW, since this is the second older guy she's been involved with, I don't think you're rushing to ask questions--she might always prefer older men even if she doesn't marry this one.

 

The difference in age doesn't feel the same for everyone. A five-year difference can feel like a huge gap to one person and a small one to another. Same with ten or even 20 years. 

 

One thing I didn't see mentioned: "other couple" friends--it can be a little harder to find couples to hang out with that have the same dynamics. If they are both people who have diverse friends, this is probably not a huge factor. It's not like finding other couples to hang out with is always easy anyway, particularly if you are out of step demographically with other couples your age for other reasons.

 

One couple I know was 20+ years apart--I am pretty sure the husband had children older than his (second) wife, but they stayed married, happily, until he passed away. It was hard as he aged, but she is young enough that it was a phase of life to take care of him for a while, and now she is able to move on to another life stage independent of that while she's relatively young and healthy (she hit this stage at a place in life where most couples are facing an empty nest, and they did not have children together). She is now really good friends with a woman married to a much, much older man. 

 

If she's open to advice, she's open to advice. If she's not, she's not. Most people find something later on that makes them say, "I wish I'd known about this." In some cases, it's just as much, "I wish I'd realized this was important when it crossed my mind." :-)  Most of us have surprises later in our marriages one way or another.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our retired horse trainer is 14 years younger than her dh and it didn't matter a bit for many years. And then he got old, and she wasn't. He was gracious about letting her do her thing (traveling to shows all over the place) and he kept down the home front. I noticed this summer that she's decided she's old too, though she's younger than I am. They're snow birds, so mostly hang out with people her dh's age. 

 

My pils also had a 14y difference, and again, it didn't matter for years. She was looking for a daddy to take care of her, so it worked. She started a writing career late in life, when he got old. 

 

I have a dd with a gap of 10 years with her dh. Doesn't matter now, but if they're going to have kids, they should probably get on it in the next few years. He can retire from the Navy in a year!

 

Man, did I feel old last night. We were at a friend's for dinner and I had the "adults" in the group in K! It happens all the time, since we had kids so late. I was talking to a friend the other day, bemoaning a mutual acquaintance's behavior, and I realized I could be the guy's grandmother--not just his mom...  :lol:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone is all calm and collected in this thread. I'm over here like oh my gosh I wouldn't be comfortable with that relationship at all. I guess thinking from my own experience as a 20 yr old. I was still a virgin and quite inexperienced in life. I don't think much good would have come from trying to date someone that much older than me at that age. But that's just me. I would worry about things moving too fast (ie. hey you want to move in with me?). And that's not to say the same couldn't be said about a younger man. I don't know if I'm making any rational sense here. This post made me think of the movie Shopgirl. But that may have more to do with the particular characters than their age gap. I'm actually happy to hear so many people say things worked out well with age gaps. I know one couple where it did not work out well and another that got married a few years ago and I wish them the best. I do wonder how the age gap will affect children, but I didn't ask.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They've only known each other a few weeks. I don't think you need to worry about middle-aged husbands quite yet.

 

My stepmom is 15 years younger than my dad. They've been married 24 years.

 

Gosh, I hope 31 wasn't my middle age or the start of it.  

 

Gotta go look at my bucket list and get cracking if I am already well into middle age.   :lol:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will admit that I would feel uncomfortable with it IF the relationship turned serious or marriage was on the horizon.  I will also admit that my reason for feeling ill at ease with it are at least mostly fuzzy and illogical.  And if not for 11 year age gaps in some couples, I wouldn't be here.  Literally.  My paternal grandfather was 11 years older than my grandmother.  My father was 11 years older than my mother.  

 

So I guess I am saying that I agree with the voices of reason on this thread and the reminders that many relationships work with an age gap BUT I do empathize with your concern over it.  She's your daughter.  You are a mama bear.  You are going to have some concern over who gets close to your child (adult but still your child, right?!) especially if they are from a different background.  

 

I would get to know him and try to reserve judgment.  I definitely agree that you don't want to make her feel defensive about him because he could perhaps be the one she marries OR he could be a dud that she would end up staying with for longer than she otherwise would if she is feeling defensive.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i noticed the 'travel thing' has come up.  I know several similar age couples where she travels, and he doesn't.   sometimes that's just how individual people are.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be thrilled if my daughter met someone older, established in a career & could definitely provide for a family. My dh & I are the same age & though he had big ideas when we met & got married, really didn't have the motivation to prosper those ideas & life was nothing like I pictured. My dd says she doesn't wany kids, so meeting someone older might be perfect in some cases.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gosh, I hope 31 wasn't my middle age or the start of it.  

 

I was not saying that 31 is middle age.  I was echoing the words of the poster, who stated

 

 

 

 I've read on the boards before that older husbands can start to slow down in middle age which can sometimes cause friction.

 

If 31 is middle age, I'm way over the hill.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know one couple with an age difference like that and it ended in divorce.

 

He started getting curmudgeonly and stuck in his ways for certain things and she was not in that place. He was young at heart, up for an adventure but at the same time if she was outside gardening or chatting with me and it was meal time he would come out and ask her when she was making lunch. He did not appreciate my suggestion that he was a capable adult and could make himself a sandwich.

Which is not to say it can't work just that at certain times of life there will be different challenges.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting thread. Most of the challenges people have cited are not exclusive to age-gap relationships. In ANY marriage one person can be more adventurous or more curmudgeonly or more sickly or more miserly, and these qualities can ebb and flow through different seasons.

 

Dh is almost 11 years older than me and we're well suited for each other.

 

I would be more concerned, like a previous poster mentioned, at the fact that she is very young and inexperienced (and the relationship very new). But maybe that's just me thinking back to choices I made at 20. **Shudder**

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some posters are wondering why you're jumping straight to marriage thoughts and encouraging you not to worry about that. However, in your post about your church culture it sounds like you may be correct in expecting a fast moving relationship that leads quickly to marriage. I think overall compatability and maturity are the most important things for success.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...