Marrying Someone Significantly Younger Or Older Than Yourself ?? . . . Here Are Some Things To Consider.
(I Did It; . . . And While I Wouldn't Change A Thing, There Are Some Realities That I Probably Knew Instinctively, But Hadn't Really Thought Through)
At the age of 44, after being married once, I married a woman of 22, who, after 15 yrs., is still my wife, and the love of my life, as am I hers. (We've had good lives together, own a beautiful home. and are quite happy with the prospect of our future together.)
The reality is, however, that I am now 59 yrs. old, while she is only 37. Because of this, the dynamics of our relationship have changed significantly, without us really realizing it.
While neither of us would change anything that we've done, there are some realities that I suppose we knew instinctively, but had never really stopped to consider.
1) - She Is Now Coming Into Her Prime, While I'm Now Nearing Retirement Age,
Again, as we knew would happen, I have aged 15 yrs. over the course of our marriage, almost into my senior yrs., while she, simultaneously, has aged 15 yrs. into the intellectual and physical prime of her life.
When we were first married, I had so much more life experience, or "wisdom", as I jokingly described it to her, that decisions were much more mine than hers, or even ours. Money matters, real estate decisions, vacations, were all decided by me, with her going along out of lack of experience and ability to have valid input. Now, after 15 yrs, our relationship has evolved to the point where she has quite a bit of life experience, is at that age where she is just brimming with confidence, and has much more energy than I do, to the degree that I defer to her decisions on many matters, mainly from a lack concern, and a great trust in her as an individual, and her intelligence.
In my opinion, and those of many of my friends, people change and mature more from their twenties to their mid - thirties than any other period of their adult life, and don't settle on their final direction until they've reached their mid - thirties.
2) - Our Ideas On Fitness, And Our Descriptions Of "Fun Activities" Have Changed Completely.
When we were first married, I was 44, and playing racquetball 5 - 6 days per week, and inline skating 10k a minimum of 4 days per week, along with swimming and other activities. She, on the other hand, worked a full time and a part time job so that she could establish herself, which left her little or no time for exercise and / or athletic activities.
Now, 15 yrs. later, she has a great job, and is a fitness fanatic, being very regimented in what she eats, walking on lunchtime every work day, hiking on her days off, as well as solo canoeing 3 - 4 days per week, while I now hike occasionally, kayak occasionally, and am nowhere as concerned about my diet as she is, although I do try to adhere to a healthy diet.
When we hike together, she literally walks me into the ground, and then continues on by herself, and when we go to Boston for a few days, we walk 10 - 12 mi. per day, and then, after we get back to the hotel, she wants me to go back out with her to "get some exercise", as she no longer has much use for sitting around having a drink or watching television, seeing it as a tremendous waste of time. (At that point in the day, going back out to "get some more exercise" generally has no appeal to me.)
3) - Watching Television Or Movies As Opposed To Other Activities
As our relationship has evolved, over the course of 15 yrs, our attitudes towards free time and relaxation have flip-flopped to a certain degree. She has lost all need for television, whether to watch movies, sports, weather, news or any of the other programming that television presents to us 24 / 7. She, instead, goes to her i - Phone for almost everything, from news to current events to weather, etc.
I, on the other hand, have the TV on from the time that I finish my evening meal until it's time to go to bed, where I try to read for 30 min. or so. (While watching TV, I always have my lap top on my lap, as I run several web sites that need to be managed on a daily basis.)
The point is that this is another area that has changed completely for both of us, with her evolving, and coming into her own in her thirties, and me becoming less fanatical, and more casual about things that I was once fanatical about.
4) - Our Romantic Needs Have Changed As Our Relative Ages Have Changed
My wife is in the peak of her romantic prime, while my romantic needs have tapered off to where they're much less than they were in years past. (Fortunately, we still manage to be very affectionate to each other!!)
This is a tough issue to circumvent, as it fits in the normal expectations of aging.
She also has no reluctance to go and sleep in a spare bedroom, if I'm too restless while sleeping , or snoring obnoxiously, which I sometimes do. ( There was a point where she would never have considered sleeping in another room, but now her sleep is critical to her, as it greatly impacts her job performance.).
5) - Our Ideas Of Fun Now Differ Somewhat, Whereas When We Were Younger, Whatever I wanted To Do Was Okay With Her
While I understand that every couple has divergent ideas concerning entertainment, fun vacations, etc., when there is a big difference in age, ideas as to music to listen to or concerts to go to, or plays to see or movies to watch, can be very different. This is not a huge issue, as long as both sides are willing to compromise, but is something that is definitely there in the background.
We find that at this point in our lives, we each do our own thing in the evening, with her doing the nightly book work for the household, and then using her i-phone, or reading, while I watch one of the couple of shows that I watch, and simultaneously working with my laptop on my websites.
6) - Separate Vacations And Spending Time Apart
When we were first married, the idea of spending even a night apart was not something we were willing to discuss.
Now, after 15 yrs., our interests have changed, and we find that an occasional vacation apart is not necessarily a bad thing. (To spend a vacation together, doing something that only one of you is passionate about, while the other partner is apathetic, is potentially a real issue). (We've discovered that occasionally, it's better to take a short vacation apart, if the vacation is about doing something that one of you really doesn't care about doing, while the other one wants to do it)
(We also find that the time when the vacationing person arrives back home is a very happy and rewarding time for both of us.)
7) - Aging vs. Respect In The May / December Marriage
As I've gotten older, one of the things that I've noticed is that my younger wife, to a small degree, sees my ensuing loss of energy and mobility as a sign of weakness, rather than taking it for ehat it is, a natural part of the aging process.
(Now that I'm 60, and she's 38, she sees her superior energy levels almost as a sign of her superior fitness, rather than considering that when I was her age, and even when we married, the shoe was on the other foot.)
She now believes that I should be as dedicated to working out, at age 60, as she is at age 38, rather than wanting to understand that at age 60, I simply don't have the need to stay as fit as she believes that she should be.
As she now wants all of our vacations to be hiking and fitness oriented, I don't look forward to them as much as I used to, because I don't feel the need to run myself into the ground to have a good vacation.
I Will Add To This Hub Page, As Other Pertinent Thoughts Come To Me
There are many facets to this idea of marrying someone significantly younger than yourself, and I will add to this hub page as I discover things that I feel need to be mentioned.
Also, everyone and every relationship is different. I am simply telling my experiences and observations, so that you, the reader can consider them if you wish.
The one thing that my wife and I adhere strictly to is the idea of not going to bed angry with each other. Going to bed angry, in my opinion, is a sure fire formula for marital disaster, as grievances tend to magnify at night if left unaddressed and resolved, (Get problems addressed and resolved before you go to bed, even if it means staying up half the night.)
The Status Of Things 17 Yrs. Later
We're now 40 and 62 respectively, and while we still love each other, I think that my wife is coming to wonder whether marrying some one 22 yrs. older than her was the the best move in all regards.
She is incredibly active, doing a lot of hiking, canoeing and other outdoor activities, while I, on the other hand have slowed down a ton from when we were first marries, and I was the age that she is now.
She is also quite successful career wise, and is seeing that while my income has leveled off, with little upward trajectory, hers is climbing at an astonishing rate.
I believe that we'll stay married, but I wonder if she would do it again, after seeing it from the inside for 18 yrs, and understanding more clearly the reality of our May / December relationship.