The Age Factor

The first time I ever dated a considerably younger guy, I repeatedly asked myself “What in the hell are you doing?”

It’s not like I was new to dating younger guys. In fact my first boyfriend was younger than me, my ex-husband was 7 years younger and my most recent LTR was with a guy 12 years younger. It wasn’t exactly new to me. But then out of nowhere it seems, the 20 year olds started appearing. I’d been hit on by 20 year old guys before, but none of them were ever able to truly capture my interest. There’s nothing remotely appealing about “Heyy whats up babe?” or “How r u?”  If he can’t string a simple sentence together, you kind of already know the deal.

But then twitter happened and it opened up a whole new group of guys – of all ages – who were actually thoughtful and funny and intelligent. Then add tinder (no explanation needed there) and the flood gates opened.

That’s when I decided to rethink the whole age thing.

I started out with just simple conversations.  I’d often ask these younger guys why they were interested in older women? Their answers were always the same:  Girls their age demand too much. They get upset if you don’t text them 20x a day. They don’t give a guy his space. They need to know where you are every minute of the day. They’re too dramatic. She was only interested in money. She wanted a serious boyfriend. She wanted to get married.  She was insecure. She was extremely jealous. The list goes on. All huge turn offs to a guy of any age.

Which brought me to why they were drawn to older women: Older women are confident. We don’t need to know what you’re doing every second of the day. We don’t care about that girl who you were talking to at the bar. We’re too busy to text you every single day. We don’t care how much money you make. We are busy with our own lives and careers. We’re more open minded and experimental when it comes to sex. And we certainly are not looking to get married.

Maybe dating a 20 yr. old would be fun.  I decided why not.

One guy in particular made me change my mind. It all started with a few sweet words. Not only was he articulate but extremely intelligent. Two things I can’t resist (even though I tried). Instead of partying with his friends, he chose to spend time with me. He was emotionally mature and genuinely interesting- both extremely sexy- which made him irresistible.

One of my flaws is that I sometimes try to end things at the first sign of trouble. Even if the “trouble” doesn’t actually exist.  I’m like the Runaway Bride of dating. So after only a few months of amazing sex and great conversation, I told him I could never see him ever again.

WHO DOES THAT?

Me, apparently. Well, I used to. (But I’m getting better.) It’s easy to let your head overthink and complicate things, but sometimes you need to think with your heart, which is kind of the same as NOT thinking.

Then a friend told me “Just let the relationship run it’s natural course.” Words I sometimes forget but should definitely try to remember. It’s sometimes difficult to enjoy time with someone when you’re constantly thinking “This can’t last.”

Luckily, he wouldn’t let me end it, so we continued to see each other.

And each time I would start to overthink it, friends would weigh in with “Just have fun. Who cares how old he is?”

It’s our experiences and the people we meet and share time with who ultimately shape who we are and who we become. So I did my best not to overthink it and just enjoy it.

Here is what I discovered. Age really is just a number. Your brain doesn’t say “You cannot be attracted to this person because they’re not the *right* age.” It’s all about chemistry and connection. It’s probably true that a guy in his 20’s isn’t looking for a girlfriend and is more interested in just having sex.  But that’s often true about guys in their 30’s and 40’s, too. And it’s a common fact that women reach their sexual peak in their mid 30’s to 40’s. We think about, enjoy and want sex, too.

I had dismissed many guys simply because I thought they were too young.  But there’s a difference between someone’s age and  emotional maturity. And just because a guy is older doesn’t mean he’s emotionally mature either (I’ve been down that road before, too).

Age doesn’t determine chemistry. If you connect with someone who’s fun and interesting, why not just enjoy it?

It’s all about mutual respect and how you make each other feel. If he makes you feel sexy and beautiful, and he’s respectful and honest, where’s the harm in that?

It doesn’t mean it has to turn into anything serious. Having fun together does not always equal love. It’s not a promise for forever. (I admit that’s a beautiful and romantic notion, but it’s simply not realistic.) It’s just fun and enjoyable and one more life experience that makes you a more interesting person. I mean the world could END TOMORROW. Would you really say no to having fun and good sex if you thought you only had one more day to live? I THINK NOT.

Find a person who you connect with, who you feel comfortable with, who you respect and trust. That’s when the sex really becomes amazing. If those pieces are missing, then you’re probably just having mediocre sex.

And age has nothing to do with finding that connection. Connection has to do with chemistry. And you never know who will have chemistry with until you actually spend time with someone. You shouldn’t dismiss a person simply because of their age.

I don’t often meet guys who can capture my interest. So when I do, why would I dismiss him simply because of his age? It’s all about how he treats me, how he makes me feel and how we interact together. And if all those pieces click, then why not just take it for what it is and simply enjoy it?

 

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Broken Hearts

I remember the first time I ever had my heart broken. Jay was tall, incredibly handsome and a perfect gentleman. He sent me roses every single month for the entire year we were together. He bought me my first bottle of expensive perfume (a scent I still love and wear). He sent me cards and wrote me beautiful love notes. I rarely save anything from old loves, but I still have a few cards he sent me. In one, he wrote “I love you, I want you, I need you.”  It’s still one of the most romantic things a man has ever given me. We were both barely 18. It’s crazy to think that a guy that young could be that thoughtful and romantic. But he was.

It was an idyllic first love. He completely adored me and we had an amazing summer together. But like most first loves, it came to an end.  The week before Christmas, he came to my house to drop off my gift. And as he stood in the doorway, somehow I knew he had cheated on me the weekend before. I’m not sure how girls know these things but sometimes you can just feel them in your bones. He admitted he had slept with someone else and I fell apart. I cried for weeks. I didn’t think I would ever get over him.

But I did.

But I can’t listen to The Payola’s You’re the Only Love without remembering that summer.

There are only two other times I ever felt that kind of hurt. And both occurred in more recent years.

The most memorable one and the most painful by far was three summers ago. I’ve written about it here, so I won’t rehash it all again. But instead of crying in bed for weeks (okay, I may have done that, too) I was more like Diane Keaton’s character in Something’s Gotta Give, sitting at my laptop and writing it all out. Writing and crying. I literally wrote – and cried –  for weeks, maybe months. I was completely inconsolable. I remember feeling a genuine physical ache that literally lasted for months. It felt like the pain would never go away.

But eventually, it did.

It’s impossible to go through life without experiencing loss. At some point, we all have our hearts broken. And no matter how many times it happens, it’s one of the few things in life that never seems to get any easier.

It always fucking hurts.

And it’s not something you can prevent although some people think you can control it. A man once told me he would never fall in love with anyone ever again, after having his heart broken by someone else. Then he fell in love with me. And I didn’t mean to hurt him (no one ever plans these things) but after a few years, I decided I needed to end it. The relationship had taken a toll on me, both physically and emotionally, and uncertainty in any relationship can be just as damaging as infidelity. Sometimes it feels like if we end things first, that will make it easier or less painful. But the truth is if you still care about the person at all, it’s never an easy thing to do. And even though I still cared about him deeply, I knew it needed to end.

I spent months questioning my decision. Looking back, I know it was for the best, but at the time, I was too immersed in mixed emotions to see it.  It’s almost impossible to separate logic from love when you are completely caught up in the middle of it.

Falling in – and out – of love is completely uncontrollable. You can’t stop your heart from feeling something it feels.  And you can’t make someone feel something if they don’t. That’s the tragic beauty of love.

But what if both people still care? What if we held onto that person, instead of letting go and decided to work it out before throwing it all away? That only works if both people want it badly enough and are committed to each other.

Is it easier to walk away and start over fresh with someone new? Or do you stay and try to lovingly mend all of the broken pieces?

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling

of letting go and holding onHenry Ellis

Love is the most amazing feeling in the world. So it amazes me how some people are so quick to throw it away.  Once a man has captured my heart, I am completely devoted to him. I have lived long enough to know that finding love is rare and I don’t think you should ever throw it away.

Everything could be falling apart around you, but if you have someone who loves you, somehow it makes everything else seem better. Having that one special person on your side can make all the difference. And when they suddenly disappear from your life, it can feel like your entire world has come to an end.

But it doesn’t.

 

Heart break is inevitable. You can’t stop it from happening if it wasn’t meant to be. And you can’t put all of the pieces back together after everything has fallen apart. And it’s pointless to hold onto to something when the other person has already let go.

Life doesn’t end just because love sometimes does.

That’s when letting go gracefully seems to be the only option.

And no matter how much it hurts when you are going through it, we all heal and we all move past it and we all survive. But even better than that is that we always find love again.

Everyone survives a broken heart.  But it still hurts like hell.

After my divorce, I said I would never marry ever again. But the truth is I still believe in true love. I still believe in the fairy tale. I still want to lie in bed with someone at night and kiss and hold hands and make love and fall asleep together.  I want to fall in love with every part of his mixed up soul. And I’ll always believe that the only reason we were placed on this earth is to love and to be loved.

I will never stop believing that love is the most amazing thing in this world.

But just to be safe, I think I might sit this next game out.  ♥

Image from Pinterest.

Image from Pinterest.