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Age gap relationships - what happens in later life?(78 Posts)
I'm 30 and my boyfriend is 50. We've been together for over a year, and things are going really well - we are making plans to move in together sometime in the near future.
We've met each other's family and all has gone well there. My parents are only 6-7 years older than him (although they seem a lot older, as he is quite young at heart) they really like him but my mum is constantly on my case saying that when I am 50 and "in my prime" he'll be 70 which is an "old man", and how is it going to work? She's worried my life will be held back/dragged down if I commit to a man so much older. I used to shrug off her comments but now I am wondering - has anyone got experience of what happens in large age gap relationships when one of you starts getting "old"?
Nowadays 70 isn't an 'old man' if he is generally looking after himself/exercising. Also there is no crystal ball to say that you will be a picture of health at 50. It's really so individual though, some people age well some don't, see what his parents are like and what his lifestyle is and then you can make some kind of prediction.
Mind you, it may be better to give it another year before moving together. Do you know him really well by now? Many couples lose the attraction after about 2 yrs if it all started a bit too intense. Best yto be sure with such an age gap.
It isn't the case that all "old" people lose their health and develop conditions which require 24/7 home care and his dps/family medical history may be reassuring if they haven't succombed to age-related diseases, but it is the case that people of any age can develop chronic medical conditions which require their older (or younger) ohs to care for them.
The statistical chances of him expiring before you are high; it could be that you become a widow while you're comparatively young and any dc you have lose their df at an earlier age than most, but again this won't necessarily be the case.
The fact is that there no certainties in life and, regardless of how many
horror stories you're told about other couples where there is a large age-gap, there's nothing to say that he won't stay fit and healthy until the telegram arrives while you struggle to keep up with him. From what you've said, I reckon he may spend his retirement running around after your dps
There are no certainties.
FIL married a woman a little younger than me. They were together about 25 years. Now they live apart, are still friends, but she instigated the separation when he just sort of slumped into his old age and she couldn't handle it - and he is was always an old curmudgeon. DH has never been sure how she stayed with him for so long!
So you need to work out whether you can handle his dying long before you do or your feelings changing and you wanting to separate. If you can consider it and not be scared/resentful/hate yourself then you can happily ignore your mum.
If, however, she has touched a nerve and made you face something you have been hiding from, then you need to be honest with yourself, do some serious pondering.
Neither reality makes you a bad person. Good luck xx
I wouldn't worry about the age gap.
I would however be a little worried about if you wanted to have kids? It's not just women who lose their fertility as they get older. Have you had that discussion? Also, if you waited a while to have kids, he could be in his 60's when they start in primary school, which could be tough for them.
A lot to think about. I'd go with your gut instinct. That's normally right.
But if you do worry about kids, be reassured, FIL had a DD with his younger woman. He was a much better, more involved dad with her than he had been with his others. He apologised to DH, was saddened to realise just how much he had missed. It made him very, very happy to have her and be her primary care giver.
Their split has been amicable, he is currently dog sitting whilst they are off soaking up
men the sun in Spain. They often pop in and make sure he is eating etc (he is 82 now). They still like each other, just not as man and wife. She needs the space but is happy to still be part of his life.
In my parents case, my dad died when mum was 50 (he was 62). That was 22 years ago, and she was young enough to "start again" with another man a few years later.
I agree with your mum. I know there are no certainties in life but there is a very high probability that you will end up caring for him whilst you are still relatively young.
The body declines at an amazingly strong pace after a certain age. Even if you are fit, your body simply cannot be as young as you would like for ever.
A friend of mine married a man 25 years older than her. They had a good, happy marriage but for the last 10 years of his life she was his carer. She developed a full social life with friends and independent activities because he wasn't able to go out with her (tiredness, incontinence, preferred to stay home). It was definitely a compromise for her, but I think one she didn't regret because of the happy years. She was fortunate that he stayed mentally alert even as his physical health deteriorated so they were still companions at home. They didn't have children. She says that was a mutual decision and doesn't seem to be unhappy about that. She is now a widow in her 50's.
I have a friend who is now in her sixties who married a man twenty years older. Now he has various health problems it is an issue. He doesn't like going away from home, so they never go on holiday together. He has had falls at home, so it's difficult for her to leave him to go away with her own friends, or even go away on work related trips. They have no other family to help out. My friend is not yet at the point of being a carer, but she does find her life quite restricted.
That said, of course one never knows how things will turn out. But I do think it's something to think about.
I'm 41 and DH is 68. We've been married for 10 years and have a 7 yo.
Absolutely no sign of him slowing down or seizing up yet
If you're intent on making a long-term commitment with this man please ensure you have an adequate pension provision for your own old age.
My father married his second wife who is only a few years older than me. They had two children who she stayed at home to care for full-time until they left home. The last decade found her practically house-bound because of his very poor health. He died last year and she isn't anywhere near retirement age yet. His three pensions died with him, so she has to continue working full-time, and when she does retire she'll only have the state pension to manage on. I honestly believe that she hadn't fully appreciated what it would be like to have to look after an old man while she was still relatively young when she marred him all those years ago.
It aged me before my time, OP. I would be sad if my DD will make the same mistake I did.
People that I know who have been in age gap relationships have eventually split up due to differing energy levels and interests. But I think the chances of anyone happily being together forever are fairly slim so I always think it's best to go with the flow and be together for as long as you are both happy - regardless of age gaps.
A good friend left her DH a few years ago, because at 70 he was in a very different phase of life to her (late 40s). It was very sad for him, but I guess was for the best as the things that had brought them together in the first place were no longer there.
My brother met his second wife when he was 48 and she was 28. He is older than her mother
They're still together 15 years later.
She works full-time in a good job. He retired at 52 but is very busy.
No children...he has some from first marriage and always made it clear he didn't want any more.
They have a great life...loads of socialising and holidays and he is very active.
Who knows in 15 years? But who knows anything ?
I'm in a similar situation to you but a few years further on, in that I'm 32, DP is 49 and we have an almost 1 year old DS. We've been together 6 years.
Obviously you have to consider your own circumstances, but if it helps at all to hear it, we're very happy, DP is very youthful and takes a lot more care of his health now than he used to (he's perfectly well, but he now exercises and eats very healthily to keep it that way).
I did have the same concerns as you, and I suppose I have prepared myself to be widowed younger than I might otherwise expect, but I just weigh that against the truly lovely relationship that we have and it's worth it. DP is also a devoted and hands-on father, and he says himself that he doesn't think that would have been the case to the same extent if he'd had children when he was younger.
There's a lot to weigh up, but when I was worrying about it all I just knew that I didn't want to give up the certainty of the best relationship I'd ever had for the possibility of another relationship with someone else, just for the sake of a smaller age gap.
I know someone who is 55 and has a much older DH, at least 20 years older I think. When you meet them, he is clearly ageing physically, hard of hearing and a bit unsteady, however they are very close, share a sense of humour and have a lot of fun together. At 55 she seems young for her age but he doesn't seem "old" in his outlook, they make a really good couple.
Sadly, it probably will happen that she will lose him with quite a lot of her life left to live, but then with so many marriages ending anyway, I'd say it's better to be with the right person than worry about that IYSWIM.
We have. 17 year difference. I'm 30 dh is 47. We've been together 8 years and have 2yo ds. He's fitter than me (does lots of sports and eats well).
I try not to think what may happen in the future but enjoy our lives (although have pensions etc so not completely in denial).
It helps that he's Young looking and fun and current if that makes sense.
18 year gap here I'm 47 and he's 65. nothing happens you just go on enjoying life together! been married 25 years and still making plans for the future together. If he makes you happy go for it
My cousin was 30 when she married her husband who was then 60. He was already semi-retired and she herself took vol. redundancy in her late 40s. They had a terrific life together - loads of travel, lots of voluntary work. Both of them had had great jobs and had bought property in decent areas of London (Chiswick, Notting Hill) when it was still affordable, so with index-linked pensions/great redundancy payments they had no real money worries.
Cousin's DH remained fit and "young for his age" well into his 80s; then sadly was diagnosed with Alzheimers. Even then, they had lovely times together, although towards the end of his life, he didn't know whether my cousin was his wife, his sister or his mother. He passed away peacefully aged 88. My cousin recently turned 60 and says her only regret is that she waited so long to marry him. (They first got to know each other when she was 23.)
This thread makes a good point that many marriages end anyway, so you might as well spend time with someone you are happy with regardless of age.
Personally I don't think age really becomes an issue until after 70. Men in their 50s and 60s can still look relatively young, and lead active lifestyles. My DF is in his 70s now, and despite playing tennis every day, skiing, hiking, and travelling I notice him now as old in a way I didn't when he was in his 60s.
Sorry, cousin took vol. redundancy in her early 40s not her late 40s.
You will most likely end up as his carer and be widowed young.
Your mum is uncomfortable you are dating a much older man but its your life to lead. Even if you did split up when he is in his 70s/80s, I am sure you won't look back and regret all those happy years.
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