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27 year difference between my SO and I

(31 Posts)
RunningStill Thu 18-Jun-15 22:34:40

There is a 27 year difference between my SO and I. We've been dating for 1 year and 5 months. I love him very much and am thinking about marriage. He very much fits into the "list" of things that I looked for since I can remember. We have many similarities, I enjoy being with him, and I am passionately attracted to him.

Many of the "stereotypes" that people think of when they think of a OM/YW relationship are not true in our case. His wife was the one to cheat on and ultimately leave him. For many years he did not look for someone because he wanted to be there for his son. I hold a Master's degree and make more money than him. He is supportive of my career and even has his own personal career goals.

Even before I met him, I did not want any children. I had a large share in raising my nephews and decided years ago that I did not want any of my own children. I work at a school and expect that after I marry him I will become a grandmother. I like that method, have fun with the kid, and then hand them back to their parents.

It also does not scare me that I may someday have to take care of him. My parents have one of the most loving relationships that I have ever seen. (On a side note, I am not looking for a substitute dad. The dad that I have now is one of my best friends). My mother became sickly at age 35, she has several different illnesses and many of her family members who have the same illness that she has died in their fifties. My sister is also clinically depressed and has been struggling with severe mental health issues since she was a teenager. I know that illnesses can happen at any age and that when problems arise, families stick together to face them head on.

People that I am closest to have voiced their concern about my relationship with my SO. Personally, I am very sure that this is the man that I want to marry. Some of their concerns is that he will not be able to have a fully sexual relationship with me or be able to physically protect me. I know that there are other ways to be intimate Additionally, I think of people that live with their brothers or sisters or friends all their lives and are happy. As long as I have my best friend and partner at home I can see myself being happy even if we are no longer able to have sexual relations. As far as not being able to protect me, I think I would be safe knowing that he could always pick up the phone if I were hurt.

Still, their concern sometimes causes me to pause and think. I have always looked to their guidance and I know that they want the best for me but the reasons above are truly what I know in my mind and heart. I do not think I am being naiive but rather I am going about this rationally. Does anyone have experience along these lines that they'd like to share?

mrstweefromtweesville Thu 18-Jun-15 22:45:36

I knew a man who was 27 years older than me. We didn't make it official. He's now 85. I'm not. It makes a difference.

Artistic Thu 18-Jun-15 22:46:42

What is SO?

GiddyOnZackHunt Thu 18-Jun-15 22:54:25

Significant Other Artistic

Artistic Thu 18-Jun-15 23:00:43

Thank you Giddy! I am enlightened, haven't seen this much on mumsnet.

goddessofsmallthings Thu 18-Jun-15 23:05:34

I know that illnesses can happen at any age and that when problems arise, families stick together to face them head on

How old are you now? When you are 50 with more than 10 years to go before retirement age, he will be 77. In the event that his health deteroriates in old age, what family will you have to 'stick together' and face it 'head on' - by which I take it you mean that others share responsibility for any physical care that is required?

Given that you don't want children, why are looking to marry someone you have only known for 17 months and do you intend to live together before tying the knot?

Of course it could be other way round - you may develop some debilitating illness where you need full-on care which may be too much for him if he becomes frail through old age.

GiddyOnZackHunt Thu 18-Jun-15 23:06:43

MrsTwee is right and probably says what's going through the minds of people who love you. My dad is 26 years older than me. He's mentally sharp and still working in his 70s but there's no doubt that he is beginning to fail physically. It is very limiting and worrying for those around him. He in turn can be irascible when he feels poorly.
On one level you'd be more able to care for him but it does strike me that if you didn't want the daily grind of your own children then the daily grind of caring for an older person could be hard. Whatever romance you have is great but there is a big difference between say 65 and 75 in most cases.

Purpleboa Thu 18-Jun-15 23:10:42

Hi Running. While it's not something I can personally relate to, I believe that if you have met your soul mate, have assessed the risks and are going into a relationship with your eyes open, then it should be nobody's business but your own. My colleague's husband is 25 years older than her, she's 36. She definitely doesn't want children and wants to focus on her career. They recently married and she is so happy.

You are obviously aware of what this age gap entails - eventual loss of sex and losing him at a younger age than would be the norm. You also seem resolute on the no children thing - that's probably one of the biggest issues in major age gap relationships, I assume.

I think if this man makes you genuinely happy and you'd rather have him in your life than not, then run with it! Even if you're the same age as your partner, there are no guarantees about who will be around. Take happiness where you can find it, if you're lucky enough to have found it.

AllPizzasGreatAndSmall Thu 18-Jun-15 23:22:56

How old are you both now?

I actually find it a bit weird that others are worried about whether he will be able to have a full sex life with you, if I was your friend/family that would not be my concern.

ImperialBlether Thu 18-Jun-15 23:29:43

What I would do is to look around at people at work or amongst friends and find a woman in her late fifties whose looking forward to retirement in a while. Then think of this woman with a man in his mid 80s. What do you think her retirement is like? And be realistic, you say you're not scared of taking care of him, but that involves not just physical care but not going far from the house. Virtually everyone in their mid 80s is confined to the house for a large part of their time - yes, they may go to the shops every now again or even to visit a relative, but the rest of the time they're at home.

Now that man in his 80s could live another 15 years, which puts the woman closer to 70. When he dies, her time for travelling and making the most of her retirement is dwindling.

It's not that now it's a problem, it's that if you make promises about forever with a man so much older, you will live the life of an older person, too.

sykadelic Fri 19-Jun-15 04:01:02

"You regret the things you do not do more than the things you do".

My parents had a 40 year age gap. My father passed a few years ago and my mother is now alone with no more children in the house.

In the end my father went into care, when my mum was 50. She celebrated their 30 year wedding anniversary in the nursing home with him, with his mind sometimes remembering who she was/is.

Prior to going into care he lost control of his bodily functions, as well as going missing around the house. It was stressful for her and extremely upsetting.

All of that though doesn't really matter if you love someone, which she and we did/do. They lived a good life together. Many kids, grandkids, careers, businesses etc.

Do what makes you happy smile

LobsterQuadrille Fri 19-Jun-15 09:35:11

Hi OP, my niece is married to a man who is 29 years older than she is and they have been together (I think - they purported to be friends) for 10 years. She is academically brilliant and he is caring and supportive. She has said that she would far rather have fewer years with someone whom she loves completely - she went into this with the knowledge that she would most probably outlive him, although obviously nobody ever knows what's round the corner.

I believe that we should grab happiness when we find it and also that no-one else can understand what we're looking for, and therefore we're the only ones who can tell when or if we've found it.

ImSoCoolNow Fri 19-Jun-15 09:44:17

If he makes you happy, who cares? You obviously sound like you're going into this with your eyes fully opened to the difficulties that MIGHT lie ahead. Your time with him may be shorter than 'normal' age differences in couples, but it reminds me of the saying 'better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all'

I have a 15 year age gap with my DP and there are people who judge us. However, I'm the happiest I've ever been and those closest to me (and him) see that and accept our relationship 100%. I married a man who wasn't right for me and lived in misery for 10 years prior to that.

Do what makes you happy. Good luck

ImperialBlether Fri 19-Jun-15 10:34:26

I think this plays into the romantic myth that there's just one man for us and once we find our soulmate we should stay together. There are tons of men out there that would suit us and we'd be mad to settle with someone who is more than a generation older than us.

I don't know whether your man is older or younger than you, ImSoCoolNow but very few relationships with a massive age difference have a younger man and I think that's because they don't buy into this myth.

teatrailer Fri 19-Jun-15 10:49:18

My dad was 23 years older than mum and he died young at 53. She then went on to have a long and happy marriage with my step dad.

She always believed that you never know what tomorrow will bring, just live for the present. Sensible really, do what makes you happy now.

CarrotVan Fri 19-Jun-15 14:00:29

My PIL had a 27 year age gap. My MIL is the same age as her stepkids (they do NOT get along, she wasn't the OW). He died after 20 years together after a series of heart attacks. They were very happy but A) MrVan never got over his Dad's death and lived his entire childhood knowing his Dad could have a fatal heart attack at any moment and B) the MIL never got over him and has bounced from rubbish relationship to rubbish relationship picking fault with everyone because they aren't him

A friend married a man 20 years older than her. He got early onset dementia a few years later and she now cares for him full time. She is broken. Their families haven't pulled together because her stepkids can't handle the second marriage or their dad's illness

cafesociety Fri 19-Jun-15 14:32:09

I was convinced by someone 30 years younger than me, that a friendship between us could work. I'm certain as I was then that I will not have another relationship with anyone again so thought we would be ok supporting each other and enjoying weekends, doing days out, having company etc.

This with the understanding that if she met a partner I would take a back seat, still be friends. And understanding she obviously spends a lot of time with people her age...all fine.

So no children involved, no sexual issues, we just had similar attitudes and views on life etc.

However, she has been unwell on and off almost continually, has not met the partner/had a child, has not much drive so is inactive and lethargic most of the time. Whereas I am active, wanting to be spontaneous and make the most of sunny days, have interests and hobbies. You'd think she was older than me.

We have had lots of problems, lots. She was mistaken with her original assessment and as the years goes by is increasingly resentful of me, constantly comparing our lives...and very snappy and unhappy. It's taken out on me. It's worked for many years but only because we don't live under the same roof, and have tried so hard to keep going.

So I know it's a friendship [of 15 years, coming to it's end now] but the dynamics between human beings are subject to similar pressures whether it's a friend that is the SO or a sexual partner.

I kept to my part of the bargain, she hasn't. She is very intelligent but the lack of life experience and blind naivety meant she meant well but couldn't keep it up. Be careful.

pocketsaviour Fri 19-Jun-15 14:48:00

Some of their concerns is that he will not be able to have a fully sexual relationship with me
But you're already having sex, right? so you can assess that for yourself. Physically speaking men keep their libido longer than women do.
If you're not already having sex, DON'T MAKE ANY DECISIONS UNTIL YOU ARE.

or be able to physically protect me.
From what, a zombie apocalypse? Or do you both live in a really high-crime area?

Greta28 Fri 19-Jun-15 15:18:35

Many women can't have orgasm through intercourse anyway. As long as he's happy to pleasure you in other ways, and CARE that you get as much enjoyment out of lovemaking as he does, I don't see a problem

ImperialBlether Fri 19-Jun-15 15:50:03

That doesn't mean they don't want intercourse, though, Greta.

Greta28 Fri 19-Jun-15 15:53:21

Of course Imperial, but if man can't get it up, that really, is not an excuse...

There are many other ways to please a lady, he just needs to be bothered enough.

gabsdot45 Fri 19-Jun-15 16:15:36

Years ago I rented a room in a house owned by a widow. She had married a older man and he had died after only 6 years of marriage . She often told me how much she loved him and how happy they had been. She said she would not have changed a thing and loved the memory of their 6 years together.
I know a few couple with big age gaps. The biggest is a 22 year old woman who married a 58 year old man. Ten years on and they're together with a child. Another friend of mine aged 34 married a 20 year old guy. They've been together for about 15 years, 3 kids, happy.
So if you think you'll be happy with this guy go for it. Marriage is for better or worse. Everyone takes a chance.

VincentVonGogh Fri 19-Jun-15 16:21:10

23 year gap here, DH nearly 60. Married 15 years. One thing I didn't consider and am seeing now is the change in him as he ages. I always imagined he'd stay as he was just an older version but the reality is he's becoming a stereotypical old man. Moaning about politics, catastrophising because bin collections have changed etc.... This aside I'm happy on the whole and love him to bits, just something to consider because I think in a few more years we won't be on the same wavelength any more and it does worry me.

Rafflesway Fri 19-Jun-15 16:24:14

Running sounds like you have a great relationship to me!

Totally agree with the statement Lobster made - grab happiness where we find it.

You could marry someone your own age and the marriage could equally fail/he could die young etc. as unfortunately we see daily on Mnet.

flowers and good luck!

Rafflesway Fri 19-Jun-15 16:27:09

Vincent is your DH turning into his dad like mine is? grin

-Mind you I loved my very clever FIL to bits and still miss him daily after 20 plus years-

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