Motivation: Understanding Your Reasons for Dating an Older Man

It would be absolutely wrong to write anything about May-December Romances without discussing some of the emotional aspects involved with dating an older man. As I stated before, I have enjoyed more than my fair share of older gentleman callers, and my intentions (just as often as theirs) have not been about having a great relationship.  So, in writing about dating older men, I want to honest about my own experiences and how I came to finally appreciate and enjoy the love I have now.

There are lots of reasons why you can choose to date an older man, but most of them have nothing to do with finding lasting love.  In my life,  I have had to work through all of them to successfully be with my husband.

older-man-give-gift-young-woman-450a081008In Need of Sponsors.  During my college years, my friends and I always had older men around–it is how we financed our lives.  We didn’t call it “sponsoring” back then, but we were well taken care of.     The sole purpose of these older men in my life were to: pay my bills, buy me clothes, give me spending money and take me to nice, expensive places-all while I looked good and made great impressions on his friends and colleagues with my charm, wit,  and grace (nice ass and legs didn’t hurt, either).  There are older men out there that will accept that type of arrangement from you–for some it is what it is and for others they hope that they can change your mind.  But don’t ever fool yourself into thinking that you can make yourself be with an older man for life just for the stuff.  it gets old after a while.

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In Need of Rescue.  Towards the end of my career as a pseudo call girl, things started to fall apart.  I had experienced great devastation in love and weathered an unbelievably painful loss that left me pretty joyless.  I began to seek older men for safety-older men are stable and drama-free.  Older men don’t hurt you–they might use you, but they don’t hurt you.    The “rescue me” stage required little except my needy devotion  and his greedy desire for it.  Men in midlife crises often love a needy girl who needs them because it provides them with a new sense of purpose.  The second your needyness bleeds over into his real world, though, you’ll never see a man back away faster.  Rescues aren’t real-they are make-believe.  There is no Captain Kirk beaming broads off brokenhearted lane.

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In Need of a Father.  As I struggled to come back from that painful period, I went looking for my very absentee father.  I found him, we talked, he left and I lost it…again.  After attempting to keep up contact on my end, I realized that he had very little interest in keeping it up on his end.  I felt rejected like I had felt all my life, and that’s when I began dating older men to replace the father that I never had, found and lost all over again.  I wanted guidance, acceptance.  I craved a father-figure to tell me that he loved me and to give me the fatherly affection that I didn’t get growing up.  I was willing to give up the little self-worth I had to receive the approval that had eluded me my entire life.  I indulged in hero-worship.  What man could resist that?  The problem with this mode is that we want to grow up.  If you begin a relationship with a man where he has that authoritative role, he will not soon relinquish it.  The give and take becomes a push and pull becomes a struggle of you wanting to be an adult and him wanting to keep you at little girl status.

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In Need of a Friend.  About as unlikely a friendship as you can imagine, my husband and I met under some pretty unusual circumstances. We started hanging out because we both enjoyed this little New York styled bistro in the middle of nowhere that had lunchtime jazz and classical music performances. For the first time in a long time, I met a guy who didn’t pressure me to do or be someone else. But  friendship is only good for friends.  If there is no chemistry, this kind of relationship will peter out.  You cannot force love where there is only comradery.

In Need of Love. Ultimately, I found lasting love-lasting because  we became friends. We hung out for a whole year before we were intimate.   I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had run into someone who loved the wife in me that I didn’t know existed.  He could see the pain I walked in and rather than run, he nurtured me and gave me room to grow while I figured out if I really wanted us.  Sometimes, despite ourselves, we run up on the real thing.  As unique as the situation is for May-December romances, when it comes you have to be willing to do the work it takes to get to it.

While my description seems pretty cut and dried now, the reality is that it is mostly hindsight.  I did not attempt to understand myself or my patterns until I had to make the ultimate decision-whether or not I wanted to stay with him for life.  I had to work through my reasons for being there: did I really love him, or was I looking for someone to fill some predefined role in my life?  Once I could honestly answer that question, I could know if this love was meant for me.

Many people would say that any reason other than true love is the wrong reason to be with someone-especially somebody older than you.  I don’t necessarily agree.  I think that any relationship is worth exploring–as long as everyone is on the same page.  The key is the terms of agreement–both people have to be upfront about their intentions. If you are considering  dating an older man or are now engaged in one,  I urge you to spend time alone searching your heart to see what your motivation is for the relationship.  The more honest you are with yourself and your partner, the better.  You may start one way and end up somewhere completely different.  Just know your status.

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