I sure wish there’d been someone like you around when I was young! Can you help me now? I realize my problem may not make interesting reading, but please take pity on me and give me your advice! I am 45 and I just can’t stand the dating market. I am very attractive, have no kids and I’m lots of fun. Men RUN AWAY from me. I have the TEMERITY to want a man my own age in similar good shape…can you imagine?? I guess it’s another one of those damn double standards, because the old guys adore me and I can’t stand them. My question: do you know of a chat room or support group for women who have given up on relationships?? I will probably live another 40 years if I don’t get hit by a bus and I’m wondering what to do with myself. I would imagine other women have been faced with problem of passing the time in intelligent pursuits, sans partner.
Keep up the good work, chicky!
For the chats, maybe try ivillage (you can even suggest your own topic). But stick around here long enough for — speaking of temerity — my very bold statement. The “older guys” adore you because you’re …feisty! The men your own age flee you because you’re … scary! If you approach “the market” with the same “Poor me, I’m not worth it … hey, screw you for not liking me, loser!!! … aw, f*ck this whole thing!!!!” attitude … well, there you go. I’m not saying, “Hey, Kath, just try and be PERKIER, okay, hon?” And I’m sure that you are “lots of fun” in real life; I will allow for the fact that yes, breakupgirl.net is where you don’t have to put on Date Face. But try this gearshift: you’re the bus, Katherine. Slow down. Put the brakes on those foregone conclusions. Let the sarcasm idle. Don’t dare people to like you; trust that they will. It’s different.You will not explode. And they will not dive out of your way.
I’m dating a guy nine years younger than me. The problem is that he doesn’t know how old I am, and I’m scared to tell him. We’ve been dating about seven months now, and I’m beginning to feel guilty because he has started to mention the forever-together word. He has never come straight out and asked me my age, but I do look younger than I am. I really don’t want to tell him because or the past actions past boyfriends have exhibited once I told them my age. I really don’t care that I’m wasting time with somebody who might not accept me for who I am, because I’ve already been married, had long term relationships, and don’t really care about long term or commitment anymore. Do you think I should tell my boyfriend my age?
Regardless, here’s my concern: this hasn’t come up? In seven months? What do you guys talk about? Never mind that he hasn’t outright asked, but it hasn’t just come up? As in, “Actually, I was an infant, so no, I don’t remember what I was doing when John Glenn landed. The first time.” — ? Nothing? For me, that’s the oddest thing going on here.
So I’m guessing that he somehow already knows and doesn’t care, or doesn’t know and doesn’t care. But there is a talk you guys should have, even if it’s not about how many times you’ve been 29. Because if he’s making together-forever noises, and you’re still withholding basic facts — and/because you’re not concerned with long-term commitment — then there’s a gap here that’s not measured in years. You might [by default] lie about your age, but at least act it.
I met this guy in ICQ, didn’t expect to ever have real feelings, but we do. The thing is I sent him a picture of another person, a knockout! And told him I was 10 years younger than I am. I know I have to tell him the truth, but I just know our friendship will end. He really wants to meet and get to know each other in person. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
— Troubled in Oregon
Oops. Yeah, you kind of do have to own up. And here’s the thing. If he doesn’t want to be friends (or more), I betcha it won’t be because you’re not that X-10 knockout. It would be because your pictures messed around with his feelings. So in order to save face, you’re going to have to speak the thousand words that that picture didn’t: tell him you sent it before those unexpected feelings became real. Now that the feelings are real, so too will you be.
And while you’re at it, ask yourself this: why didn’t you think the true you was young enough, cute enough, brave enough? Next time you meet an IC-QT, don’t send a snapshot until/unless you’re psyched to send the real one.
Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:49 am
In a relationship, is a big generation gap inherently icky?
My answer: You tell me.
As in: is your age difference an element of the relationship, or is it the defining factor?
Like, is the core draw that he is a George Michaelicious Father Figure? Or that she is super-Mrs. Robinsonic? Or the other way around?
To put it another way: if you two were roughly the same age, would all of the thrill be gone?
Because no, a big age difference is not by definition suspect, unless you are Anna Nicole Smith. Sure, when there’s a True Connection, age difference is downgraded to mere circumstance. And yes, Oedipus and Electra are allowed to play bit parts in your dynamic as a couple.
BUT. Lolita/o is not. AND. When the age gap is the main event, there’s probably something going on there [insert admittedly facile pop-psych blame-the-parents theory] other than — dare I say in place of — actual, equal partnership.
One more useful concept, courtesy of BG’s friend Louise. Depending on what you’re looking for, it’s not how old they are, it’s how donethey are. Done as in cooked. Ready. Steady. As in: sense of self no longer runny. Sense of purpose firm. Toxins [mostly] destroyed in heat of past moments. The key: someone can be warmed through at 25; frozen on the inside at 45. So when in doubt, skip the math; test for doneness.
This week we’ll be looking at the age questions you raised in your letters. Just let me find my reading glasses.
I have been widowed 14 years and have been seeing this widow for 12 , yes, 12 years. At first it was great and we have had great times, but over the years I always felt that my needs were not met and she finds it difficult to talk things out. I’ve made my needs known and quite a few times she would try to change and would for a while, but would then go back to being unaffectionate and not thinking about me and not doing all the nice things I do to her and for her. She cannot share her thoughts and feelings and I never know what is on her mind. If we have a disagreement she puts her head in the sand and thinks it goes away. If I go on a trip I bring her back a little something. The times she’s gone away, she didn’t think enough of me to bring a little something, even like a rock or some dried flowers from where she was. I have had to beg her for any little kindness or consideration, which she has come to expect from me and which she does get.
I made out a form and asked her to share herself by filling it out. It had 4 parts:
#1 What can I expect from this relationship?
#2 What do I get from this relationship?
#3 What can I do to make this a better relationship?
#4 What can my partner do to make this a better relationship?
…may include the fact that he is engaged to a woman 24 years older than him. (I have no problem with this. I just want to know what they talk about.) Still, as our tipster says, “I’m probably hopelessly wrong, but they both seem kind of adorable and unconventional. I’m a sucker for an ‘up yours, world!’ romance.”
As Amy noted earlier, Christian at OK Cupid’s blog recently found, using all sorts of lovely charts and graphs, that “the male fixation on youth distorts the dating pool.” Maybe so, but I have an observation — or maybe a confession — to make: The fixation on youth isn’t just male. While it may be represented as such online, there’s still a whole lot going on offline. Since moving to New York almost 5 years ago, I have, ahem…well, I have developed a habit of dating younger men. Before living here, I mostly dated older men. Why the shift? Is it something in the water?
At the ripe age of 31, while staring into space writing at a coffee shop, I noticed a guy looking at me rather intently. He caught my eye, smiled furtively and then took a swig of his grande. I smiled back and continued about my business. The next time I looked up, his eyes met mine and he executed a rather sheepish wave of his hand. Within seconds he was sitting in front of me and by the time I left, a date was planned. About four dates in, we met up with one of my friends for drinks. Somehow the subject of age came up.
I figured he was younger from conversation and just how he carried himself. I’d also dated a 22-year old the summer I was 29, so when coffee shop guy told me he was 26, it didn’t faze me. What I wasn’t expecting was his reaction to my age. At first it was incredulous disbelief. Had I no proof of identification and a friend to verify, he wouldn’t have believed it. He had guessed I was 24 or 25, but suddenly it clicked. I was confident and self-assured, had lived on my own in quite a few places, and pursued various interests. I wasn’t 25 or even close.
Suddenly he made assumptions about what I wanted: something serious, marriage, babies. Like, with him.By next week. It didn’t matter that we were on date number four or that I was just out of a tumultuous relationship. In his head my age screamed entrapment. Like I was ready to drag the first guy who smiled at me that morning to the altar. Needless to say, our date was cut short and the warm goodbye that ended our previous date was replaced with a very reticent hug.
While looks have something to do with attraction to the young and virile/fertile, maybe the reason per Christian’s data that “the median 30 year-old man spends as much time messaging 18 and 19 year-olds as he does women his own age” is not only about physical attraction. What might also be at play is what those men want at the moment and what they perceive rather than just cut and dry looks. People seem to think that once women hit a certain age, we’re on this warpath to the altar or the birthing center. Yes, we have a time limit with reproduction, but we already know that and a lot of us make peace with it one way or another. However, we don’t have an expiration date when it comes to love, lust, spontaneity or enjoying life. We also don’t want to marry and make babies with everyone we go out on a few dates with. While we are more likely to be looking for a real relationship, we also like to meet new people and explore our options. What we don’t want is a constant reminder of how old we are and questions like “shouldn’t we be finding that special someone soon?”
For me dating younger men has been an eye-opening experience. At first I found myself drawn to them because they are cute and fun, but that’s not all they are and that may be a common mistake when going younger – the seriousness factor. The men who are choosing younger women are potentially not doing so at a disservice to older women, but possibly as a disservice to younger women.
When I dated a 22-year-old at 29, I embraced the experience. Surprisingly, fitting into each other’s worlds wasn’t actually that much of a stretch. What I was surprised about was the reaction from my friends, particularly my female friends. A lot of them voiced some concern because 22-year-olds wouldn’t want to get married anytime soon. That was just it. At the time, I wasn’t ready to get married. I was running far away from commitment and wedding freak-outs. Dating a 22-year-old was safe.
In terms of OK Cupid’s data, I would like to see a chart comparing what exactly each person is looking for – like are the 30 year old men who are messaging 18-19 year olds looking for a relationship or a “playmate”? Odds are, they are not looking for a life partner. As such, young women as a whole may be getting the short end of the deal in terms of their interactions with much older men. They may not be taken seriously or seen as viable long-term partners. Maybe the disparity between men and women’s dating habits with regard to age in the OK Cupid data is just as much about emotional age as it is about physical attraction. Hell, if those men need convincing that older women can be as full of fun and energy as a younger woman, then maybe older women don’t want them anyway.
My point is we often date people we think we might not get serious about when we are not ready to be serious –- which is fine, but we should also be open to the possibility that someone will surprise us. What I’ve learned as I’ve returned to a place where I am ready for a relationship is that men of all ages can be both fun and serious, thoughtful or thoughtless. Internet dating eliminates nuances as it makes us all check a box, but it’s only reflective of what we as a society already perceive. It’s time older women and younger women alike get as much credit for their whole person and not categorized by stereotypes of age and gender.
It’s the twentieth anniversary of Say Anything (#iamold), and while some now confess to having replaced Dobler with Donaghy, his In Your Eyes triumph will always be in our hearts. And now, thanks to a tipster, we’ve succumbed to the charms of Marit Larsen, who here comes pretty close to a boombox moment of her own:
“The enthusiasm for the ‘Wild Kingdom’ analogy is a sign of how strange and hysterically funny the idea of energetic female sexual desire is — whether it’s in the form of 34-year-old Drew Barrymore, who has cheerily referred to herself as a “pre-cougar” or “puma” because she’s dated men a couple of years younger than her, or 50-year-old Madonna, who recently dated 20-year-old Jesus Luz,” writes Rebecca Traister at Salon.com. “How sad and backward that we have to give it a nickname, animalize it as if it’s outside the boundaries of civilized human behavior, make it a trend, pretend that Demi Moore invented it. That’s not progress, and it’s not a step forward for women.”
P.S. While we’re on the website, props to Oprah for addressing abuse in relationships. Say what you want about her weepy (or jumpy) couch confessions, or Dr. Phil, you can’t deny that when she talks, people — including people with something they need to hear — listen.