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People who are in a marriage with a 30-year age difference.....

Tagged as: Age differences, Family<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (7 April 2011) 5 Answers - (Newest, 7 April 2011)
A female United States age 26-29, anonymous writes:

I'm really REALLY in love with a man 30 years to my senior, but I worry about our age difference. I have done so much internet research and found so many similar cases with a biiiiig age difference, but none of them really answered my question.

I really want to know, especially in marriage, don't you worry that your partner will pass away a long time before you do? Or lose attraction when he's in his 70s and you're in your 40s?

Also, how did you let your family know? How did they react? And all other relevant info please, I know for SURE my family would NEVER allow this so our relationship has been a big secret for years (they'll probably disown me or threaten to suicide if they found out), and I really DO worry about the life and death thing (although he has no apparent health concerns but neither do I)...

I'm really starting to think breaking up is the only solution to our situation..... but I really don't want to let him go....

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (7 April 2011):

I too was involved with a man 25 years my senior. The advice these two are giving you is well founded and, at least from my experience, sound and true. Please take this to heart.

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A male reader, macdubh712 United States +, writes (7 April 2011):

When I was 20 I had an intimate relationship with a woman that was 48. It only lasted a year but I think about this: if we were still together she would be 59 this summer and I am 30 now. I recently found out that she has heart problems and although it is not severe at this time, chances are that in a few more years it will be. I am 30 and I am still in the prime of my life. She may have been young at heart (may still be) but that does not change the fact that I could be in my 30's giving care to a woman that has one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel.

Another thing. I am a man and I have a particularly high sex drive. Were I still with her and she went into a state of health that required a lot of care and made her ability to have sex practically non-existent I would have to go get some lovin' somewhere else. Saying that might make me sound bad but I am being honest with myself and with you. I am a man and I need sex like everyone else.

Then you have the complications of family to worry about. Your family is most likely not going to accept it. Is it worth it to cause such a rift between you and your loved ones? He may be gone in 10 years, give or take, and most of your family will still be around.

Basically, to be involved in such an emotional affair is not a good idea, I think. HOWEVER, I am of the opinion that if 2 people with such an age difference want to have a strictly sexual relationship or only just be friends but have sex, I'm all for it. Were I single and met a woman in her 50's I found attractive, and she wanted to do the damn thang I'd sure lay it down on her.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (7 April 2011):

I have a friend who is 64 years old, I am in my thirties, when I went out with him, my friends said we looked odd and I saw people staring at us. And he is only a friend, people assumed that he was my man. I could not believe the looks I got, he said because I was attractive, I do not believe him as I have never got as many looks as I got when I was out with him. Your man is now 50 years old so he is ok, but when he is a pensioner would you still feel the same.

However, one must live their life as they wish. If he makes you happy, are you in love with him?

I find that I do not have much in common with my older friend, as in clothing, going out, music, tv, movies.......

My friend is a good friend and I benefit from his wisdom and I respect him. However, he gets tired and is stubborn and set in his ways.

Would you not want to go to nightclub? he may feel too old to go along.

At the end of the day it is down to you, what you want out of life.

I agree with Tem, when I was 20 I dated someone 13 older than myself. 30 years is a big gap.

I am sorry for my opinion, but I personally think Tem is right.

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A female reader, TEM United States +, writes (7 April 2011):

TEM agony auntI have had some experience with this - not personally, but through friends. You are about 20, and he is about 50, right now, I take it. Are you thinking of getting married?

I know of two cases, where they actually got married. In one case the couple had a child, in the other they didn't. As of this writing, both of my friends have now buried their spouses. Both actually died just last year. The good news is that my friends are still young enough (in their forties) to start over, but too old now to have children with someone else. The bad news is that the last ten years of their marriages were Hell. There was sickness in each case.

The younger spouse became the caretaker for the older one, much the same as if they had elderly parents. Which by the way, they did. So, the younger ones ended up taking care of their parents and their spouse. The role of caretaker is not a pleasant one, but you do it out of love.

It is hard for someone in their forties to watch their spouse, age, fall sick, and die. Their married life was over. The fun part of their life had been over for quite a while though. Both told me they had ten good years before the marriages started to go downhill. They told me the trouble started when their much older spouses retired - when they hit their 60's.

My friends would cringe if they knew I was writing this, but I believe, after twenty years of marriage they started to become embarrassed to be out in public with their older spouses. They were tired of everyone assuming they were out with their mother or father, instead of husband or wife. Also, they were very much into their careers when their spouses retired. They didn't have much in common anymore. One was slowing down while the other was just gearing up.

So, those are just some of the problems that lie ahead for you. In my column I talk about something called the Half-Your-Age-Plus-Seven rule. This is an ancient rule for determining the proper age for a spouse. It states: "if you halve your years then add seven, you'll have the youngest decent age for a partner; if you double your years then subtract seven, you'll have the oldest decent age for a partner.” So, in your case, at 20, you should be with someone no older than 33. Your boyfriend, at 50, should be with someone no younger than 32.

As far as telling your parents, they're not going to be happy for many reasons, but the most significant is most likely that they wish you a happy life.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (7 April 2011):

I dated a man 28 years older than me. (I was 23, he was 51). We dated three and a half years.

I think I got a lot out of the relationship. He was wise and I learnt things, he was good in bed. I thought age didn't matter. We respected each other, had a good relationship. But ultimately the age gap did become a problem later down the track.

It's not so much the age difference, as the "stage in life" difference. And it's possible to both be at the same stage of life and "in synch" for a while. I was 23 and partying. He was 51 and divorced after a long marriage and also partying (his girlfriend at 19 had got pregnant and he married her but wasn't really in love with her, and didn't separate until the child was grown up.)

However people move in and out of different life stages.

ie) stage of partying

ie) stage of wanting to travel

ie) stage of wanting to settle down

ie) stage of wanting to have children

ie) stage of building career

ie) stage of retirement

ie) stage of old age / becoming senile

At different stages, people want different things, and have different capacities.

Personally after three and a half years, I was still a young woman of 26. He was by then 54. The wrinkles and lines were showing on his face. He never wanted any more children after his experience. I did want children one day. He wanted to party. I had 10 years already of partying. He was looking at retiring soon. I was just starting out on my career.

I have a female friend, we'll all her "A" for anonymity, who married a man 30 years her senior. They got married when she was 25 and he was 55, and now she is in her mid-fifties and he is in his mid-eighties. They were both creative people / artists.

So from this I can answer some of your questions.

- She did worry she would lose him early, and they have a child together. He has had several heart attacks, and been hospitalized, and nearly died.

- Her family didn't approve, but after a while (and a child) they were better with it.

She has told me in confidence, that although she adores him, if she could live her life all over again, she's not sure if she would be with him due to the age gap.

She said she underestimated it at the time, what a big thing it would be.

She says she still feels very fit and energetic and likes catching up with friends and zapping into the city, and he is an invalid. She said it is like taking care of your grandfather. They have no sex life now. (He's not able to due to his medical conditions, related to age.) He can't get about without her and is wholly reliant on her, and is quite grumpy.

She still adores him and they have a beautiful child.

But my advice to you would probably be to break up with this man who is so much older, and go off and experience life. Date some people closer to your own age. If however many years down the track you still think you want to be with him then you can go back and try. But don't under-estimate the views you have read and the experiences people have had.

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