I have a friend who is 21. She began dating a man who is 45. Her family is refusing to support her choice. They feel like he's going to keep her from her famiy. He says family is important to him and he won't do that. Her mom says she doesn't like him.

Is there any advice to give them to help her family be more accepting of her decision?

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Once the age of majority is reached, is it still such an issue? Or is it more a factor of maturity?

Men say the same thing though:  If I were a woman...

People even go as far as calling it pedophilia if the age difference is too great for them to handle.  Even if both parties are adults.

 I dated a guy who was in his forties when I was in my twenties. People look at him as though he was a dirty old man and at me as though I had daddy issues. That kind of pressure can take it's toll and really put a kink in a gals relationship.

So speaking from experience, your friends family is only pushing her away. The more disapproving they are the more uncomfortable it's going to be for her to be around them. This pressure is going to make her have to choose. And she will eventually, but with that choice will come resentment. Resentment is a hard thing to get over.

They need to let her make her own decisions and not force their fears upon her.

 

Thanks to Rose for sharing her story.  I was wondering whether folks would have a different opinion if the woman was older than the man. How does that change things? Is is more or less acceptable and why?  

If she's just dating the guy, have fun!

But it won't last for anything more.

You may want to ask yourself what a man over twice her age has in common with a young woman who has life experience of maybe 3 years before she's back in high school.

How can you say it won't last for anything more than just a relationship ? So there's a 20 years difference, big deal. You don't know these 2 people well enough to say that. Women mature at a faster rate usually, so maybe men her own age just aren't a fit for her. From my own personal experience I will not date a younger man. I'm sure they thought about the age pros & cons before they began dating. They could have tons on interests in common that keep this relationship alive and going; Sports, camping, gardening, traveling, reading, art, etc. Maybe he's just a mature, sweet older guy, maybe she's a mature, down to earth girl. Whatever the case, it's truly not for you, or I, or anyone to say really. They're both consenting adults who could date short term, long term, or even marry and be together till one of them dies. It's not anyone's business except for theirs.

Because they almost never do.

Women mature at a faster rate, but they're still very immature at 21.  At that age they just became legal in all 50 states.  The year before she couldn't go in a bar with him to drink.

She is reading and discovering new things that chances are, he's already experienced.

Face it.  His biggest attraction to her is probably that she's 21.

He's having a mid-life crisis.

He has plenty of women his own age who would share so much more with him, generationally so, than a 21 year old, 3 years out of high school, but he's not choosing them.

I wonder why?

You still don't know them well enough to say that. I met my husband when I was 15 and he was in his early to mid 20's. Not quite that drastic of an age difference, but I was technically illegal AND still a high schooler. We have tons in common, he's mature and funny, and yes, my life experience pales in comparison to his, but we don't care. We teach each other new things all the time. Next month will be our 6 year anniversary. People said the same things about our relationship, we basically said a big "Fuck you!" to them and went on with our lives together. Just because it's not common for couples like this to make it, doesn't mean they won't. Like I said before, it's no one's business but theirs. We don't know them enough to judge them, every couple is different. She could have a worse relationship with someone her own age. He probably has had relationships with women his own age and it didn't work so he's trying someone younger. You just don't know their personal situation well enough to give accurate judgments.

I agree. Sadly yea. A couple can be together 20 years and it still goes to crap......As my hub would say "As long as they had fun while it lasted, it's worth it."

Your own experience is not much of an age difference.

You really don't have to "know" them to understand the dynamics of such a relationship.

Most older men like younger women for physical reasons.  Fact.

They also like younger women because they don't come with baggage.  They have little life experience, so they usually don't have kids, ex-in laws, ex-husbands, divorces, debt or anything else that might hamper their relationship or be something he has to deal with.  She's all but a clean slate.

Or as someone once very pragmatically put it "Their stories are shorter".

And if she does have issues?  They're usually minor so he can help her resolve them, so she thinks he's brilliant with his maturity and experience and she looks up to him...instead of being his equal.

Such relationships are rarely on equal footing.  This is why they don't last.  Eventually she grows up and starts to lose what he found so charming about her in the first place. 

You do have to know the situation and the people before you judge it, I don't care what their ages are. Okay, here's one, my grandparents on my fathers side were 60 and 40 when I was born, they were married and had 7 children, my dad being the youngest. They were married for many years until his death shortly after I was born and then hers a few years later. A 20 year age difference can work, my grandparents worked it. Most older men like younger women for physical reasons? No, men can like ANY woman for physical reasons, age aside. And even if he did like her for physical reasons, is he not supposed to be with someone he's attracted to?? He can like her personality, and her looks, that is possible. Plus, we don't even know what she looks like, she could be unattractive to most people. That's why you can't judge this situation. You don't know what either of them even look or act like to be accurate with your judgements.....So she's a clean slate, is that supposed to be a bad thing? Maybe they both hate kids, maybe he doesn't wanna deal with a psycho ex-husband. Her problems are usually minor? Have you been around any young people lately?? Young people create more huge disasters than most people can handle. What if she does have a problem with something? Doesn't mean she'd going to go to him with it. I don't go to m husband for every problem for him to fix, I'll fix it myself. I still think, having seen plenty of couples like this make it, (mostly other friend's grandparents or other older generations), they have a chance. You can't judge one situation based on all the other ones. Yes, the chances it'll last aren't great, but there are chances that it will also. I hope they beat the odds, but if they don't, it's their choice.

 Okay, here's one, my grandparents on my fathers side were 60 and 40 when I was born, they were married and had 7 children, my dad being the youngest. They were married for many years until his death shortly after I was born and then hers a few years later. A 20 year age difference can work, my grandparents worked it. 

At what age did they meet?

Making it 'work' isn't the problem  A relationship can work, if one person is completely submissive to the other person.  He's older, she's younger and she lets him 'be the man'.  If you look throughout history, those relationships "worked' all the time.  They do so because one person dominates.

I wonder more about modern relationships when both people want equal footing.  Do they still work long-term on average? 

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