General Question

strawberrypomme's avatar

I'm ashamed of the guy I'm seeing, am I right in thinking like this?

Asked by strawberrypomme (206 points ) October 15th, 2011

I’ve been seeing a man 16 years my senior for a few months, and so far I’ve told my friends he’s only 8 years older. I think I’m afraid they’ll judge me or think I’m crazy for dating someone who’s almost 40 when I’m in my early twenties.
There’s also the physical aspect where he’s not my usual pretty boy type; I love him for his personality and find him attractive but only because I know him, if I saw him on the street I probably wouldn’t look twice whereas I’m the type of girl who always gets attention from strangers.
I think maybe the imbalance in conventional attractiveness and the age difference is making me feel insecure and I can’t imagine how I’d introduce him to my friends. I guess I find this upsetting that we’re not the usual couple, but I couldn’t bear to leave him because of it.

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39 Answers

marinelife's avatar

You need to figure out your feelings. If you love him, then you are not ashamed of him. You would be eager to introduce him to your friends.

What are the things you love about him? Concentrate on those. Mention those things when you talk to your friends about him.

Don’t tell anyone how old he is although you had better get straight with it in your own mind if you plan on a future with this guy.

Search you heart to see if he is really the guy for you. If not, if you just can’t imagine introducing him to your friends, then there is no future, and you should break it off.

snowberry's avatar

You are not wrong for (Edit) feeling strange for dating him, but you need to move past this. My daughter eloped with a guy twice her age. He’s 8 years younger than I am. 13 years later they are divorced because of his mental issues.

What I have learned from this is that there are hidden issues in a relationship such as this. Some of them could be that if you ended up having children by him, you’ll be taking care of an old man and little children at the same time. Your friends will not easily mesh with his friends, etc. If there are children, you will really want him to take out a hefty life insurance policy if/when he dies. It’s not necessarily an easy life.

strawberrypomme's avatar

@marinelife I think if we became really serious, moved in together or whatever then I guess I could tell the non-accepting friends to go to Hell. It’s just an odd time right now where we’re just dating and there are now opportunities for the friends and boyfriend to meet that I’m feeling anxious.

@snowberry I’m sorry to hear things didn’t work out for your daughter. I try not to think about how I will inevitably outlive him, and he has enough money to take care of me and our children if we ever get to that stage. I think in the bigger picture my concerns are weak and irrelevant. Thank you for helping me realise!

gm_pansa1's avatar

If you feel ashamed, then he might not be the one for you.

snowberry's avatar

In addition, as he gets older, his energy levels will understandably decline, while yours will still be very active. That is one of my daughter’s problems with her ex. When she wanted to do something with him, he was not into the activity level she was. She got to feel very frustrated.

Coloma's avatar

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but, this situation does not sound healthy.
I question a “man” in his 40’s that wishes to be with someone 20 years or more his junior.

In my opinion this usually means he is inadequate in being with women as equals, and may lend itself to control issues and his need to be seen and adored by someone young and inexperienced.

Of course, there is no way to be certain, but, odds are it’s not going to last and I seriously questions HIS motives.

linguaphile's avatar

One thing that came to mind… Maybe it’s hard to tell your friends because your values have changed, your world-view has changed and you’re not sure how to break that to them because you know they’re in a different place than you? Or, you know they’ll not approve and they’d be right?

Figure out what’s going on under the Love—whether it’s a crush, authentic love, or running towards something lacking in your life. If it’s real love, then you’ll know who your friends are at the end.

I do agree on the most part with @Coloma, though, about the age difference, but there are some relationships with age differences that do work.

bkcunningham's avatar

If you pursue a committed relationship with this 39-year-old man, do you think he will be interested in hanging with your 20-something year old friends and vice-versa?

snowberry's avatar

Agreed with the above. It is possible to have a good marriage/long term relationship, but also consider that in many respects you’ll be alone in your problems. You won’t have much company with other friends doing this. This is not a problem, but you’ll have to sort some things out on your own. I have a friend who did a similar thing, essentially married right out of high school, and had 5 kids with him. He’s ready to retire now, but his wife said, “You can’t retire now! Walter is only 4 years old!

These people are fairly well to do, but they don’t have enough for her to make it alone with all those kids without significant hardship.

blueiiznh's avatar

The thing about your feelings is that they are yours and nobody else can tell you they are right or wrong. They are yours.

Ask yourself some questions and ponder the answers:
Are you happy?
Do you long for something else?
Does it really matter what others feel based on this versus how you feel?
Ponder life without him.
If you are really concerned about the age thing, then ponder what you may think in 10 years, 20 years.

Yes, letting go is hard no matter what. This is your life and life is full of choices.
Make one.

Judi's avatar

You say that “you couldn’t bear to leave him because of it.” Is that because you don’t want to appear shallow? If it really is a big bother to you, you really are in a pickle. You are worried about how it would look to your friends if they knew you were with an older, less attractive man, and you are worried about how it would look to him and maybe yourself if you broke up with someone because you were ashamed of his appearance and age.
All I can tell you, is, that your feelings are valid, even if others don’t understand. You have to decide which feelings will dictate your behavior.

blueiiznh's avatar

P.s. Sorry you are feeling this way but it is good you are wanting to deal with it as opposed to ignoring it.
Searching within your heart and head now will allow for one of two things.
1). Fully embrace it for all it can be and shine in it.
Or
2). Deal with a heart ache sooner versus later.
Whatever you choose, know you will be ok and supported in your choice by people that care about you.
Good luck. Prayers your way.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It’s too bad you’re ashamed because a man this age might one who will actually try harder to please you. A lot of “older” men have had time to examine their 20’s and 30’s and fine tune what they really want out of life and out of a partner. Oftentimes they see a younger girl as their chance to “do it right”, basically get the girl of their dreams if they passed her up before or to treat the girl the way they wish they’d treated other women in their pasts. You never know.

plethora's avatar

Pay careful attention to @Coloma ‘s comments. There are issues with him whether you know it or not. Further, there are aspects to this “relationship” that cannot even enter your mind because you yourself have not had enough life experience. The money you say he has? How do you know it would come to you and your children with him? Has he been married before? Does he already have children? How do you know that money won’t go them? Worse has happened. Listen to @Coloma

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m with @plethora and @Coloma on this. Think about this honestly for a minute. If he earned what your friends were earning, would you be dating him? If you were not “attractive” would he be dating you?
The choice is yours. He will gladly date you for another 5 years – as long as you both still sleep together.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Here’s something else I can pass on to you as far as perspective goes. The 40+ men know they’re aging and so they feel a push to make the most of their fleeting youth, try to enjoy the youthful women while they can or if they are divorced, one more time. The less than 40 men don’t see themselves aging, they feel there is no rush for them to have serious relationships and so they play until they’re bored.

This sounds like gross generalization but I’m a female in my mid-40’s now, I’ve seen it up close and personal.

Sunny2's avatar

If you are ready to settle down and have family, and he’s the one you want to do that with, your life will change. You will have new friends. Your base will be your family, not your friends. I’ve known several couples with that age difference who have successful marriages. Of course, one woman is now coping with Alzheimer’s. But things can happen that are equally life changing even if you’re young. . . .a car accident and sudden paralysis. The question may be, are you mature enough to accept a different life than you have with your friends?

plethora's avatar

@Neizvestnaya You are exactly right. @strawberrypomme Very good advice here.

thesparrow's avatar

@marinelife Being afraid to introduce someone doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t love them. I still get nervous when my BF comes over for dinner just because I can’t anticipate how he will behave (my parents are very traditional).

dubsrayboo's avatar

My husband is 12 years my senior and he is also disabled. We’ve been married eight years and he is wonderful. It’s been difficult at times because of his health, but I don’t regret my decision in marrying him one bit. He’s very good with my children (yes they but heads at times) and he has helped me mature and grow.

I know this isn’t what you were asking but for all the comments, I wanted you to see that marrying and older and non-typical man can be a great blessing. I also was embarrassed to introduce him to my friends because of their judgements at first, but that has gone by the wayside because I truly do care for him and love him.

Buttonstc's avatar

You mention the possibility of moving in together and living with him.

Why on earth would you even consider putting yourself in a precarious situation like that ?

If he truly loves you he should commit to marrying you. Living together is just fence-straddling on both your parts.

You need to do some soul-searching. As others have mentioned, either embrace your mutual love with gusto, marry him and let the chips fall where they may regarding your friends. The true ones will remain and the rest will fall by the wayside.

But if you can’t do that or he is unwilling to commit to you (merely living together is NOT a commitment) end it now and bow out gracefully.

Living together in this situation is merely fence straddling. At his age he should be mature enough to realize that he needs to step up to the plate. If he is not, that’s a very bad sign.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

Are you sure you’re not just looking for a “Daddy type”, an older man who is emotionally mature and whom you can depend on? With all due respect, that’s what it sounds like to me.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

As a “marrying type” of girl, I’m going to back up what @Buttonstc wrote about living together. It is a kind of fence straddling and if you’re a “marrying type” then take my experience for what it’s worth and don’t spend more than a year waiting for his proposal, it’s plenty of time for a grown man for know his heart and mind.

rooeytoo's avatar

20 years may not seem like a big deal now but when you are 50 – 70 and upwards, believe me, it is a BIG deal.

That doesn’t mean it can’t work, just means it is a lot of work.

It is strange that you are ashamed of him, that would send up red flags for a lot of reasons.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@rooeytoo: There are tests to look for a genetic marker believed to indicate a strong chance of Alzheimers.~

Adagio's avatar

@plethora ” There are issues with him whether you know it or not.”… and the rest of mankind doesn’t have issues?... it would be a rare person who escaped collecting any issues along the path of life.

plethora's avatar

@Adagio There are issues with a 40 yr old man who wants to marry a 20 yr of old girl of which she may very well not be aware because of lack of experience.

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strawberrypomme's avatar

Thank you to everyone, you’ve given me a lot to ponder. I think just 2 months into our relationship marriage isn’t really on the cards, I just know that I have intense feelings for him, and find it very refreshing to be dating someone with a level of emotional maturity greater than a baked bean. I’ve never really seriously dated men my age because of the difference in maturity, and despite the age difference me and my partner now understand each other on a level I have never experienced before, and am excited to see how far it can develop.
Of course I am thinking about the practicality of our age difference, the implications in the future, the obvious sacrifices that I’ll have to make, and he’s gotten older the women he dates have remained the same age. I think it’s natural for men to want to date attractive women, and his money I feel provides stability more for himself than for me, I like that he is independent and not still scrounging off his parents, like most men in their early 20s.
For now I think I’ll take it as it comes, if there are opportunities to show him off to my friends I will, I’ve always been older than my years so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, and I’d like to think they just want to see me happy more than anything else.
Once again thank you for all the different perspectives, it’s helped me realise my heart is truly in this.

rosesofpeace's avatar

hi, listen 1st it’s ok to feel ashamed we all live and make decisions based on what other ppl may think even if it’s unconscious , but one day it came to me that if a friend , a lover , or my family is doing something shameful i don’t care what ppl think about it , bec at the end of the day 2 things matter 1.they are the ones that are really gonna be there for me so the ppl who are disgusted or w/e can just move along if they don’t like it 2. how do i feel about it , i mean really beside being ashamed at first how do i feel about that act , if it bothers me that much i just tell em… i know i’m alittle irrelevant but the being ashamed of important ppl in your life thing is a subject worth talking about..2nd well my mother always said that if a man’s flaw is something you can’t stand or won’t be able to live with then thats it…and u do have to think things through before either of you get really attached to the other… i rampled sorry but i hope this will help you.PEACE

sliceswiththings's avatar

Join the club!! I’m 23, my boyf is 37. Previously I wouldn’t have expected to go for a guy that much older, but he swept me off my feet. I’m not ashamed but rather proud since he’s a very well respected member of our community. He does have a bunch of gray hair though which is the killer. I told my parents he was thirty-something and they took that to mean “thirty.” They’re going ot meet him soon and I think they’ll like him but be uncomfortably with the gray hair.

Be proud that he chose you, and shave a couple of years off if you want but not too many. Think of it as “thirties” rather than pushing forty. So far mine’s the best guy I’ve ever dated by far and I wouldn’t give him up for anything!

sliceswiththings's avatar

Adding more now that I’ve read answers. @Coloma That is not always the case. Some older men are super nice and well-meaning and happen to get a crush on a hot redheaded waitress, for example. Not because he wants to confirm that he can still let laid, but because he’s interested because she plays the accordion or something. Once a woman’s an adult she can date and socialize (the issue with hanging out wiht his friends) with whomever.

thesparrow's avatar

@strawberrypomme Emotional maturity in a younger man is so hard to come by, I agree. I could honestly see the appeal in someone older, someone who could take care of you.

thesparrow's avatar

@sliceswiththings A bit of gray hair is actually pretty hot.

robmandu's avatar

BOO! @snowberry‘s quip (2nd from the top) for stating…

“you’ll be taking care of an old man and little children at the same time”

…in reference to @strawberrypomme‘s beau who is merely “almost 40” and actually several years younger than Daniel Craig who seems pretty self-sufficient to me.

blueiiznh's avatar

@strawberrypomme great idea to let it take it’s course. 2 months is certainly still in the endorphine stage of dating.
I wish you all the luck with it.

Haleth's avatar

“so far I’ve told my friends he’s only 8 years older. I think I’m afraid they’ll judge me or think I’m crazy…”

“he’s not my usual pretty boy type… if I saw him on the street I probably wouldn’t look twice whereas I’m the type of girl who always gets attention from strangers.”

It sounds like looks and peoples’ opinions are very important to you- you seem to be mainly worried about his age not because of a difference in life experience, but because of what people would think. The real question you’re asking here is not whether a relationship with an older man is right or if it can work, but if his looks and his age are deal-breakers for you. Only you can answer that.

Age gaps in relationships can work, but things aren’t as simple as when you date someone your own age. There might be big differences in your lifestyle, values, life experiences, etc, so it takes some work to keep things going. If you wholeheartedly care about each other, working through your differences can be worth it.

How much do you want to be with this guy? It sounds like you might be happier with someone who is younger and conventionally handsome. And if I were him, I wouldn’t want to date someone who was ashamed of me.

snowberry's avatar

Agreed with @Haleth

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