It started on a perfect Summer night. I was at a bar with a friend, I looked over my shoulder, and there he was — a silver fox with bright blue eyes. He was too good looking to be interested in me, I thought, but I checked his ring finger anyway. I was relieved when it was empty.
I can still remember the face he made when we made eye contact — I got this huge smile, his eyes twinkling, and then it was almost like he was embarrassed I caught him. More than a year later, the memory of that face still makes me smile.
"I want him," I said to my friend.
"Girl, you like 'em old," she said back.
He eventually made his way over to me and made small talk. I made him guess my age and he came within one year. He told me he was too old for me. I asked him how old he was.
"I'm 52," he said.
"I've dated men older than you, you're like a spring chicken," I told him.
I have an affinity for older men. I believe this is because of several things — my life experience and my maturity level. I've always had quite a hard time finding a man my age who really, truly gets me. Funny, but before I met my now ex-husband (who was my age), I always dated older men. I have since resumed that pattern.
At a lunch date two weeks or so after we met, we decided that we would continue to see each other — we had an energy that was undeniable — but it would only be for fun. No feelings.
Eventually, there were feelings.
Now, spending a life with a man 20 years older than me is not only something that I am considering, it's something that I want. But it's not without challenges and answering hard questions.
Do you have daddy issues?
This is, by far, the one I get the most and is the most annoying to answer. No. My father is a wonderful, adoring man who taught me how to be a "bad b*tch." (Shout-out to my mom; she IS a bad b*tch!) There are no daddy issues here. My parents are wonderfully mature, level-headed, practical people, and I happened to grow up with a mind that was more adult than child. This has continued to translate into adulthood.
But what if you want kids?
Yes, I'm 32. No, I do not want children. I never had the urge to have a child, and the older I get, the more I realize that this is not my path. I had a very heavy hand in raising my siblings, and in 20 years time, I am going to be helping my aging parents. Let me please have some time to myself. The man I'm with now makes me so happy that being with him is enough. And if one day the tide changes, it's worth a conversation.
What happens when he can't have sex anymore?
This one always makes me laugh. I feel like a lot of women my age and close to my age always ask this question because they think once men hit 50, it's all downhill. I'm here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, it is not.
In his condition, I'm looking at 20 years of amazing sex. Count them — 20. That's more years than times I had sex when I was married. I will take that. And if a little help is needed at some point, it's needed. No judging here!
But it's not just about the sex with us. Yes, it's amazing every time (humblebrag!), but it's about the way he holds me under his arm while we're watching television, the way he brushes the hair off my forehead before he kisses it, the way he reaches for my hand just to hold it, and the way he makes me feel like I am the most important person in the room to him. I will take that over good sex any day.
One day, you're going to be alone again.
Yes, I will. And so will you or your significant other, unless you're lucky enough to be like The Notebook. But here's the kicker — I will be alone after living a fulfilling life with a man I love. A life that, I hope, includes laughter, date nights, and vacations in addition to the mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, and walking the dog. Maybe I'll try my hand at being a cougar one day. And, not to be morbid, but no life is guaranteed — I could be the one to go first. I just know that five good years with someone who checks all my boxes — emotional, mental, and physical — is worth 50 years with someone you settled for. I know. I lived it.
Doesn't he worry about you leaving?
No relationship is guaranteed, regardless of age, but the short answer is yes, he does. He has openly said that he worries that he's not going to be young and hot and be able to give me the things that I want in life. Maybe he worries that I'll find someone else and leave him at a stage in life that's delicate. And, as much as I tell him that I'm staying put, he has to trust me enough to believe it. But, baby, I'm staying put because you make me smile. And laugh. And make me feel like the best version of myself. I don't want to lose that until I have to.
For the record . . . I worry about him leaving, too.
What do your families think?
This is uncharted territory for me. We haven't done the meet the family thing yet, and I'm glad it hasn't happened. I know that I want to be secure in our relationship before I start bringing him around my crazy clan. I also feel like this has allowed me to develop feelings that aren't clouded by the need or desire for family approval. I know that this will be a long haul, but I would hope that all parties involved (ahem, Dad) will understand that we make each other happy — and that's the most important thing.