I'm seeing someone who is older than me. I’ve met his friends and hung out with them. He now wants to meet mine. I'm kinda have mixed feelings about the whole thing. My friends aren't so big on the whole dating guys who are older. Could it just be paranoia?
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The natural response to your letter is this: what is more important to you? Your new boyfriend’s feelings or your friends’ opinions of older guys? If you are so worried about what your friends think, then your boyfriend needs to reconsider being with you; if your boyfriend is more important, then there shouldn’t be a question: take him to a fun party with your other friends.
Whittsend, you don’t say how much older he is than you, but I’m guessing it would be more than 5 years or else there wouldn’t really be a noticeable difference in age. Ten years or more and it becomes pretty clear. Papabear thinks that relationships with people older or younger than you are certainly feasible, but you should enter them with caution at times. Some people think that “love conquers all” and it doesn’t really matter as long as you love the other person, but a big age gap CAN be an issue.
Age difference matters more when at least one of the parties concerned is younger than twenty. For instance, a relationship between a 15 year old and a 25 year old has a much greater maturity gap than one between a 40 year old and a 50 year old. Middle aged guys rarely fret that they are dating someone a few years older or younger than they are. A teen versus a twenty-something or even older person, though, that’s really not only inappropriate but asking for trouble.
Papabear’s mate is 9 years older than he is. We can talk intelligently about many of the same things, but sometimes I feel a little separate from him. He was a young man of the 70s and I feel my routes in the 80s. Our musical tastes can be different, and he has a lot more life experience than I do. I like that we are not carbon copies of each other and that I can learn from him, but for me, personally, I would not want a mate who was much more than 10 years my senior (or junior, for that matter). After a while, there is just too much difference and it would be hard to relate to him.
A friend of mine in his 50s once got into a relationship with a man in his 20s. Though they liked each other a lot—and the 20-something LOVED my friend very much—my friend felt that becoming mates would not be a good idea. He was already getting up there in years and slowing down some and he didn’t want to burden the younger man with the inevitable effects of aging.
The above are just broad generalizations and guidelines, however, as well as just being Papabear’s opinion from what he has seen over the years. Every situation is different, but do try and stop and think before entering a spring-autumn or spring-winter relationship.
Best of luck,
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.