Typically narcissistic blogging.

“She’s how old?”: A Rant.

I am robbing the cradle.

There is no question about it. No leeway. There is no math that turns it into a socially acceptable age difference (she’s old enough to drink, I swear I am not a pedophile). I have a hard time even saying it out loud, sometimes, but that’s mostly because of the reactions I get.

Turns out it’s annoying as hell to tell people about your dating life only to feel judged and receive completely unnecessary lectures.

Turns out, it’s annoying as hell that people forget that you are a ridiculously intelligent and mature adult the moment you explain that the person you are all twitterpated about is some absurd number of years younger than you are.

And while a handful of my friends are quietly letting me make my own mistakes or even being supportive (thank you, either way), a larger number of people have taken it upon themselves to inform me of all the bad things that come with dating younger people. Within this group there are:

  1. The people who continue lecturing me about it even after I’ve made it clear that I am aware of the potential issues (because apparently the fact that I don’t jump up to dump her when their wisdom has been shared is a sure sign that I am blind to the danger no matter what I say).
  2. The people who are passively suggesting I preemptively dump her.
  3. The people who are actively suggesting that I preemptively dump her.
  4. The people who feel the need to tell me, “she’s going to break your heart.”

Many of these people haven’t even met her, yet. Many of these people forget that my last girlfriend was nearly twice her age (and had half the maturity and discipline of the woman I am dating now, no joke). All of these people have forgotten that the odds of my getting hurt or fucked over by somebody closer to my own age aren’t lower. As it happens, people will fuck you over at any age.

So friends (Romans, country…folk)? I get that you are trying to be loving and protective, but seriously: Stop it. Just. Fucking. Stop it.

If you can’t be happy or supportive about the fact that I’ve found somebody I get to be excited about, even if it ends tomorrow (which it won’t, because I promised her BBQ on Sunday), then at the very least, keep this negative bullshit to yourselves. She may very well break my heart. So could anybody I decide to date. I don’t fucking need you to tell me it could happen when I am trying to share something good with you. Something I am guardedly happy about. Something I am enjoying. I was well aware of the danger when I asked her out, and I didn’t stop being aware when I realized I was more serious about her than initially intended.

But I also know that if I don’t give it a try, I’ll never know what might have been. I know that everything I have seen of her thus far is worth the risk. I’ve never been about playing it safe when it comes to relationships, and I am not going to start, now. And if I get hurt, y’all can say “I told you, so,” but hopefully you will be more concerned with the fact that I am hurt than with the fact that you were right. I guess we will see.

Here endeth the rant.

34 responses

  1. Age is just a number. I’d hate to think that anyone could pass over the potential love of their life because of a number! Good for you. :)

    March 8, 2012 at 5:03 am

    • Her future as the love of my life is as yet murky, but yeah, I am not going to pass up the chance over age.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:27 am

      • Love of your life or not, passing someone over based on a number isn’t fair. Hope it all works out for you!

        March 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm

  2. Tre Witkowski

    My husband is 19 years and 5 months older than me. I got all the same crap for the first 4 years we were dating. (Who am I kidding, I still get it.) Here’s the bottom line: Yes, she could break your hart, so could anyone your own age. Yes, she could be do something crazy and run off with someone her own age, so could anyone at any age. Yes, there will be awkward moment of generational gap oddness, but seriously what relationship doesn’t have it’s awkward moments. Yes, you could fall happily in love and die many years before her, but as a dear friend of mine likes to remind me – you/she could be hit by a bus tomorrow.

    So really, who gives a fuck? Have fun, fall in love, don’t do anything preemptive unless you want to. When people give you crap, give them the bird and make-out with her as rudely as possible.

    Just my 2 cents.

    March 8, 2012 at 5:54 am

    • A lot of people are coming out of the woodwork after this post to tell me that the age difference between them and their committed/married/?? partners is considered on the extreme side. It helps.

      As for falling in love…I guess we will see.

      March 9, 2012 at 9:47 am

  3. Miska

    considering the fact that I got something similar when I started dating someone that was over 2000 miles away from me and now I am married to them, try to take it with a grain of salt

    granted I just did the ageism thing at work when a 20 year old CEO (of his 3rd company) came into our office, and I was a little gobsmacked and more than a little impressed that someone so young could have their shit together (and how UNLIKE them I was at their age) so it was more being a bit jealous than anything I think.

    What I am also want to say is congratulations – glad that you have found someone that makes you excited and smile

    March 8, 2012 at 6:04 am

    • Thank you. And I agree: ageism is tempting. It is easy to say, “she’s mature for her age,” when really I ought to be saying, “she’s mature.”

      March 9, 2012 at 10:00 am

  4. I add my congratulations to MIskas, and with them a small story.

    When I was younger my brother came to stay between university terms. He announced that he had met the woman of his dreams and while he was 21, she was 40. An accomplished translator and WOMAD organiser, she was not what we had envisaged for our little brother.

    We were sheltered, and shocked; we disapproved, and made our disapproval clear. We heaved a sigh of relief when they broke up, and sulked when they could not bear being apart and got back together.

    They married: and as I speak, he is now not far off 40, and they live in a windswept fisherman’s cottage on the west coast of Scotland, as much in love, if not more, than they were then. I have learnt that when one is truly in love it is too much of a sacrifice not to be with the one person who is designed to light up your life.

    March 8, 2012 at 6:11 am

  5. RJ

    Happiness is where you find it. She’s old enough to buy you whisky; what else is there?

    Oh, right: people who are giving WP grief about this, please to STFU!

    March 8, 2012 at 6:45 am

    • Ha! I guess I should let her buy me a drink sometime just to prove it.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:01 am

  6. It’s whatever! Do what you do. When I was 18 I was dating a 32 year old, and, aside from some serious weird issues, it was fun and healthy (contradictive much, me?). You’re right about people fucking you over at any age. I married someone 10 month older than me, which is pretty much one of the smallest age differences that I’ve ever had in the relationship world. It’s all about “trying people on for size”. Good luck to you!

    March 8, 2012 at 8:17 am

    • Thanks! It just seems that if I hold out for somebody who appears perfect, I’ll be a crazy cat person within a decade.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:04 am

  7. Gwendolyn

    There is no safe way to love. Opening your heart always involves risk. I think its wonderful that you are out there, taking that risk and hereby offer to buy you a whiskey next time I see you.

    March 8, 2012 at 9:22 am

    • Sorry, I know you said something deep and interesting, but all I can remember is you offering to buy me whiskey.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:13 am

      • Gwendolyn

        No worries, WP – boiling things down to the essentials is an excellent super power to have ;)

        March 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm

  8. Ms Lois

    I completely believe in erring on the side of regretting things you have done, rather than regretting things you were too chicken-shit to do. I end up not regretting much at all that way. And personally I think all the epic good starts with taking a chance.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:27 am

    • It’s the whole gambling metaphor in action: can’t win big unless…

      March 9, 2012 at 10:15 am

  9. Cat

    Glad you found someone you’re excited about. You could be hurt by someone no matter what their age is, so that shouldn’t matter.
    I wish you and her together the best!

    March 8, 2012 at 10:54 am

  10. Fuck ‘em. I had a relationship for about a year, when I was 20 to 21, with a woman who was 32-33. OK, it didn’t last forever or anything, but it was valuable to me, and it was fun, and she’s still a friend. It’s nobody’s business what consenting adults do with their hearts or their bodies.

    March 8, 2012 at 11:25 am

  11. Go for it!

    March 8, 2012 at 11:46 am

  12. I say Jump, Jump head first. Wring every ounce of love and laughter out of life that you can. And I also think I know you well enough to know I need not say any of this because you get it. You do gobble up life’s joys hand over fist. Nae sayers be damned. Love, Josh

    March 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm

  13. John W

    I was going to point out that she is probably just after you for you money; as soon as she gets tired of jetting off to Hawaii for the weekend and all your gifts of cars and jewelry, she’ll drop you faster than a Republican toetaps away heterosexuality in an airport bathroom (NTTAWWT), but I am not sure I can quite pull off the tone properly in text – as an engineer I have the writing ability of a squirrel before his first cup of coffee in the Spring. So I’ll skip that and just give you my opinion, which you explicitly did not request but like everyone else I tend to act like a jerk online.

    I would point out that anything less than a 0.8 on the Woody Allen scale* should be considered entirely socially acceptable for creative sorts like you. And you could point out to naysayers that even the most successful in love tend to have failed in literally every single relationship except for their current one. (Wait – the polys ruin that line. Damnit. I better skip the patronizing atta boy and link to a giant dog hugging a duckling picture and just quit while I’m behind.)

    *A one on the Woody Allen scale = older person is 2.7 times her age + 1.0 times being her defacto stepfather. (So if she is 21, I’d consider it a bit odd if you’re 46 and her aunt on her father’s side.)

    March 9, 2012 at 7:06 am

    • John W

      Your. In the first line it should be “your money”. Double damnit I’m going to get coffee.

      (Err, another coffee. If I hadn’t had my first coffee I probably would have gone with “you’re money” – just goes to show that their our even worse errors than a typo dropping of an are.)

      March 9, 2012 at 7:11 am

      • I wish she were after me for my money, because that would mean I wasn’t completely broke and in debt. Also, she makes more money than I do.

        I am neither 46, nor her aunt, nor her stepfather. So I guess in those respects I’m golden.

        March 9, 2012 at 10:32 am

  14. I’ve dated many people 10+ years older than me. Have I fallen in love with any of them? Obviously not, since I’m still single. Did I have fun with them? Of course! Who cares what anyone thinks. Screw people and their unwanted two cents. That of course also includes me!

    I’m glad you’re trying to creepy perv thing out for a bit. I’m glad that if I do date an older man again (I can’t remember the last time I didn’t–Oh yea! When I got my heart smashed and stomped all over at 18 by the guy my age), I can use your term “grave robber.” As if I’m not awkward enough in my language and aesthetic. Now I can really keep those I never wanted to know at a distance longer than arms length.

    March 11, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    • Ha! I like “grave robber.” Now I know what to call her when I threaten to shake my walker at her.

      WRT perving creepily, I find it interesting that only one of my friends has even glanced at the other side of the coin: the potential power imbalance originating from my age and experience, which which I might try to manipulate her. And he only went so far as to comment that he knows me and finds it extremely unlikely that this is something I would do.

      March 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm

  15. a1sauce

    One of my closest friends is now dating someone twice her age (22) and I have absolutely no doubts that it will end poorly. She know’s there is a problem in experience levels and life and maturity, but is so hypnotized by his attention and pocketbook that she has admitted she doesn’t even want to think of the future or the high possibility that things will end in heartbreak. I can tell from conversations they’ve had that she’s relayed to me that he’s mostly interested in her looks, though she won’t see it. Not to say this is you or that the situation is at all analogous, but don’t paint too rosy a picture with such a broad brush of these kinds of things.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    • 1. I’m not sure which post you read, but there is no rosy picture—just the fact that nobody knows what the outcome will be just because of age.
      2. Thanks for the great advice. From now on I will be sure to take in all possible anecdotal evidence from all possible readers before writing my blog posts. That’ll be so helpful.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:46 am

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