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Is he too young for me?

(32 Posts)
realistworld Mon 18-Sep-17 08:47:40

I've been seeing a 24 year old man. I just turned 36. We met several months ago, when I was in South Africa for work. His father is from South Africa and his mother from Colombia. He grew up in both countries as a child. But he went to uni here and now lives here - he was also in SA for work when we met.

My husband and son died two years ago in a car accident. I survived the crash. In the aftermath, I fell into deep depression and the abyss that is alcoholism. A night wouldn't go by without me draining a bottle of wine. I couldn't sleep if I didn't get blackout drunk. I haven't had a drop of wine since meeting this man. Ever since I came back home, we have been in constant contact through facetime or texts.

Last week, he came to the UK. He was here for 8 days. The project he is working on in SA will be done in November - he went back on Friday evening sad.

He makes documentaries and is also a photographer, so he travels quite a bit. I miss him already. He lives 3 hours (on the train) away from me and when he came back, we met. Had such an amazing time - he ended up staying with me for 6 of the 8 days, something that just happened. Something we didn't plan. But something we definitely enjoyed. It was so nice to come back from work and not be all alone.

I honestly thought I would never feel any semblance of happiness after my family died. The pain is still here, sometimes I still cry myself to sleep and the guilt of being with this man, is present. But I'm trying to work through it. And this man is definitely helping. A few months ago it would've been inconceivable for me to go a night without drinking. Now I don't even feel the urge. He's been so supportive.

On Saturday I was at my parents' place. My mother remarked on how different I was. On how much more content I was. I told her about about this man. She was supportive, but my father (who I have never had a good relationship with) said he's too young for me and that it will end in disaster. He said I should be with a man my own age.

This has heightened my insecurities, fears and guilt. Like I wrote, I haven't had the urge to drink for ages. But after what my father said, I did feel the urge to buy a bottle of red. Only getting in touch with this man stopped me. I can't go back to the way I lived. That was not life. It was the definition of hell.

Bluntness100 Mon 18-Sep-17 08:53:33

I'm so terribly sorry for your loss. I can't even begin to fathom what you've went through and are still going through.

Have you had any councilling to help you work your way through it?

My concern is you have switched your dependency on alcohol to dependency on this man, and that's not healthy. You need to be kind to yourself and get help to work your way through this awfulness.

As for the relationship, you should be able to enjoy it for what it is, no one can see into the future, and the age difference doesn't mean it will end, or it will last, it's just like any other relationship in that regard.

SuperBeagle Mon 18-Sep-17 08:56:13

I'm so sorry for your loss, OP.

My concern would not be with the age difference, but with the way you're speaking about your relationship and correlating it with your alcohol dependence. It seems to me that you've become to rely on this man for your happiness in the same way that you relied on alcohol, and that is not healthy.

ShatnersWig Mon 18-Sep-17 09:02:33

I think the first two posters have summed this up spot on.

I think you need a lot more counselling about what happened two years ago and get yourself in a good place for yourself and by yourself and not use this young man as an emotional crutch.

The likelihood of what you have with this young man lasting isn't impossible but it is unlikely.

ohtheholidays Mon 18-Sep-17 09:02:47

I'm so sorry what you've been through is a nightmare and the fact that you've found some very well deserved happiness is brilliant and anyone that cares about you can't begrudge you that.

My DH is 7 years younger than me which doesn't sound alot but when we met I was 30 so he was 23 and I was a single Mum to 4DC we'd both been in abusive marriages and were both divorced.

On paper we should not work at all!But we do and really well, not long after we'd started dating I met my DH's Mum and stepDad (a big deal for us both and they live a couple of hundred miles away from us)and at the end of the night his Mum told me how lovely it was to see him so happy again,that made my year smile

My Mum and Dad have since passed away sadly but they adored my DH,they called him they're son and he grieved for them both as much as I did but without his strength I don't how I'd have got through it all.

The only thing I would say is have you spoken to anyone,had any counselling?If not I hope you consider it,when I was 13 and still at school a friend of mines sister died and she'd left behind a young baby and a week later her Mum died and my poor friends Dad turned to drink and it took a good few years for him to get any help.

I hope you have good people around you that are loving you and supporting you flowers

realistworld Mon 18-Sep-17 09:12:07

Yes, I have had therapy. Extensively so. It has helped with some aspects of my life (in the beginning, I was unable to leave the house due to crippling anxiety) but not all. Even when I was seeing the most helpful therapist I have, I was still hopelessly hooked on the booze.

realistworld Mon 18-Sep-17 09:12:13

Yes, I have had therapy. Extensively so. It has helped with some aspects of my life (in the beginning, I was unable to leave the house due to crippling anxiety) but not all. Even when I was seeing the most helpful therapist I have, I was still hopelessly hooked on the booze.

ohtheholidays Mon 18-Sep-17 09:17:16

It sounds like you've done so well the fact that you even manage to put one foot in front of the other after what you've been through makes you amazing in my book,I don't know how your doing it!

It sounds like that therapist helped alot would a different therapist that focused more on the alcohol be something you could look into?

MollyWantsACracker Mon 18-Sep-17 09:24:08

I've just come out of a big age-gap relationship. It was the happiest year I've had in a long, long time and I was bereft (still am).
My advice to you is to take this sense of positivity and use it to build yourself up in other ways now.
Expand your life. Don't allow the relationship to be the panacea.

You've gone through something truly awful and no one could ever blame you for clinging to some happiness when it comes along.

But this is a chance to try to push on with your recovery- don't just fall into the rabbit hole of the relationship and wind up like I did, heartbroken and still trying to deal with the original issues

I wish you every bit of good luck xx

AnnieAnoniMouse Mon 18-Sep-17 09:25:51

I'm really sorry to hear about your loss 💐. It's still very early days, so you need to be very careful.

What is his residency status? I'd be worried he's taking advantage of someone very vulnerable to gain residency.

He's 24. It's not so much the age gap (although I think that does cause issues) as the fact he's so young.

Personally I would take this as a massive sign that life will get better & that drinking isn't the solution, but I would stop this relationship before it really starts. I think you getting hurt is 99.999% is the most likely outcome. Sorry.

realistworld Mon 18-Sep-17 09:29:56


He already has residency here - he has an indefinite stay visa. Can stay in this country for however long he wants, so me being in his life doesn't make a difference to him on that part.

I do understand your other reservations, however. I have been feeling the same recently.

AnnieAnoniMouse Mon 18-Sep-17 10:14:59

Do you happen to have actually seen his residency or are you just trusting his say so? It's 'normal' behaviour just to accept someone's say so, but sadly, people do lie in these situations.

(I'm not saying it's not possible he's totally fallen for you 🌷)

You're 12 years older than him, you've been married, had a son, gone through the trauma of losing them & a lot of other 'life experiences'. I just don't see how a 24 year old is going to be the right person to be with.

I honestly think it's GREAT that he's had this affect on you, that he's made you realise that you can be happy, you can build your life again & not be drinking yourself to sleep every night. But you're at very different stages in your life and I think continuing to see him will only bring you misery in the end. Then you'll be dealing with the loss of your DH & DS and the loss of him/your relationship and I fear that would have you in a very bad place.. Whereas if you stop this now & use the experience you've had so far to help you get in your feet again, then you can remember him fondly. I know that's FAR easier said than done when he's making you feel so good, but think about the long game 💐

realistworld Mon 18-Sep-17 11:41:08

Yes, I have seen it. I didn't probe on the subject - I took his word for it when he said. Unless he's a world class fraudster, it is genuine because I have seen it with my own eyes.

Your last paragraph hurts and the heart is totally saying it's not the truth, my mind kind of agrees. It's just a very complex situation, with so much baggage and background. But at the same time, I don't want to let him go. I haven't felt like this in what feels like forever.

Josuk Mon 18-Sep-17 20:20:19

OP - please let yourself feel happy.
I can't imagine what you've been through. And better than most of us you know how precious this life is.

You are happy with him now. Live it. enjoy it. Really. None of us know what tomorrow will bring.

Somehow - society is perfectly happy with men being older, but for women it's all - he is using you; he can't possibly be really attracted to an older woman, or he won't be in the long term; it will end in tears; and all that.
Relationships with men the same age can also end in tears. No?
Solution is not to NOT have relationships. Or is it?

Ragwort Mon 18-Sep-17 20:31:00

Enjoy the moment, after what you have been through who could deny you happiness, even if it is brief, just try and have fun, be a little bit happy, don't think about the long term as Josuk says.

I have two good friends who got together - she is 20 years older than he is, they don't live together, but they have fun, everyone including me was shocked when they got together - but nearly 20 years later they are still a 'couple' - not by society's conventional view - but they enjoy each other's company & have some great times together.

Ttbb Mon 18-Sep-17 20:40:56

Your father is a cunt. After what you have been through how could he say that?

RandomMess Mon 18-Sep-17 20:54:58

I think after what you've been through someone without the baggage of long term relationships, children etc is probably more what you need. Somewhere to be free to find the new you.

I agree your father is cunt though!

Costaricachica Mon 18-Sep-17 21:05:39

I totally agree with what first few posters said! Nothing wrong with the age gap per se. Just a danger of putting the key to your happiness in his pocket.

Good luck. Be kind to yourself. You deserve to find happiness again.

AnnieAnoniMouse Mon 18-Sep-17 21:09:49

I'm sorry if it hurt to hear that 💐, but as you say, your head agrees. It's so easy to fall hard & fast when you're sad & lonely. It's all too easy to attach yourself to someone, even if you know it won't work long term. It feels great 'in the moment' but then you're left dealing with the original pain & the ending of this relationship. It's your life & your choice, we'll be here whatever you choose 🌷

Joshuk basic biology makes it less of an issue if the man is older than the woman. Younger women are often called 'gold diggers' or accused of just wanting a 'sugar daddy'. It's not a one way street. I'd ask either a man or woman if the other person had residency in their own right - I have known both men & women who have been used in this way. My issue isn't that he's 'younger', it's that he's 24. 24 is very young to be the kind of man a 36 year old woman who has lost her DH & child, needs.

It's all very well encouraging realist on, to 'live in the moment', but given how fragile she is, how vulnerable she is, I think the risk of this not working out could do some serious damage and I think the chances of it working out, in this situation, with a 24 year old are microscopically small and it's pain she really doesn't need. I think it's better to use the 'buzz' of this to realise she can build a different life & in time she can be happy again, but she needs to do that herself. She needs to be her own person, she needs to find an equilibrium in her own life, not be reliant on a young man (or any man) to do that for her.

Anyway, that's my opinion, everyone else is entitled to their opinion & more importantly, it's realist's decision to make.

Time40 Mon 18-Sep-17 21:10:10

I'd just go with it and see what happens. It's not a massive age difference, and it could work.

Time40 Mon 18-Sep-17 21:10:51

By the way, OP - you may not believe it now, but you are still so young. Truly.

Costaricachica Mon 18-Sep-17 22:52:59

Very well put Annie

numbmum83 Mon 18-Sep-17 23:00:10

Isn't the general rule they say, half your age +7 if he's younger than that he's too young ?

Myself personally I say if you haven't got a problem with it , fill your boots. But I agree perhaps you need therapy right now because grief and loss can make people act very differently to what they normally would .

I hope you work out whats right for you .

Josuk Tue 19-Sep-17 01:44:25

AnnieAnon - how do you known what another person 'needs'....
And especially another person who went through what she went through....

Maybe he is exactly what she needs. Someone to make her happy and loved right now.

And basic biology. Please.

Men and women of many age combinations and attractiveness get together, and stay together or not. All depends.

We don't all need and want exactly the same things.

realistworld Tue 19-Sep-17 08:08:03


Yes, you are certainly right about not knowing what tomorrow brings. I know that all too well.


I had a long talk with him last night over the phone. I told him about everything that's been going on behind the scenes and about my reservations. One thing I realized about it all (I was heading towards breaking it off last night) is that I have lived my life in fear for the last 2 years (which have felt like 2 decades). Fear of being in public, around crowds, of messing up at work and now fear of the future with this man. I am so sick and fucking tired of that fear. We have a good thing going on right now.

I can't predict the future (something I was so brutally reminded of 2 years ago). But right now, I just want to live. Right here, right now. I agree with yours and others' assessment of not being to dependent on this man for my happiness - something I let him know last night, and something I plan on rectifying through going back to therapy. But for now, I'm just going to live. I can't go to a theme park, look at a rollercoaster and not get on it for fear of wondering whether the entire structure will fall down, anymore. I have lived my life like that for the last 2 years. It's no life at all.

He understands what is going on and he is being so supportive and caring. I don't know where the road will take us. However, for now, I am willing to find out, even if the rollercoaster may tumble. Like another poster wrote, relationships between two people of the same age are ending all the time. That does not mean one shouldn't go for it.

I am gonna go for it.

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