I want them. Email your questions to: [email protected].
All relephant questions will be answered with loving kindness. (Yes. Every one.)
Authors remain anonymous. No judgments, just soulful answers.
Q: I have always gravitated towards older men.
I remember being the only kid hanging around the “grown up’s table” because I had zero interest interacting with the other kids around me. I have no past history of any kind of abuse nor anything just as traumatic to lead me into such a personal preference.
Every romantic relationship I’ve had, short and long, my partner was at least 10-years-older than me. Any guy younger than that was an inexperienced, bare-chested little boy to me. My inner beast hungers for a manly man—facial hair and crows feet, hair on his chest, after-shave and strong hands, masculinity in every form. A strong man who can take charge of me in the bedroom, I become the ultimate submissive when he knows what he’s doing and he’s not afraid to do it. Simply put, I love grown men.
Today I am 26, my boyfriend of two years is a 45-year-old divorced father of a 12-year-old son.
So it’s pretty obvious we’ve had our fair share of obstacles and hurdles, and sure, I guess we asked for it when we both entered into this relationship knowing we didn’t meet society’s ideals. There’s been a lot of pain, sacrifice, compromise, patience, understanding. There’s been a lot of passion, the souls merging feeling, inflated like I’m high on cocaine for two straight years, you can try to split us apart in a room of 1,000 people and we will synchronize and magnetize straight for each other.
For two years we have ignored the stares and whispers, we have reassured each other when the outside world feels like it’s caving in. Yes, we think differently, the way we were raised and what we were taught but we want that to be a commodity for us, something to take advantage of to create balance, harmony and stability. It’s been a rocky road but he is my rock and I am his sun.
It’s not hard to become discouraged in a relationship like this when people, filled with negativity, constantly criticize us and fuel any pre-existing doubts placed by a judgmental society. Even though we have an age difference of 20 years, we are still two human beings with beating hearts and valid feelings who truly love one another for their crows feet and freckles. My lack of wrinkles or gray hair does not discredit my love for this man. I don’t want to lose the man I carry closest to my heart to a cookie-cutter society.
How can we flourish, what can we do to support our growth, what helps us, what hurts us? Is this a survivable relationship capable of lasting success?
A: Thank you, dear reader, for bringing up an important subject: love—in its varied forms.
What I gather from your post is that you and your partner have a significant age difference, yet you love each other and support one another. Love, respect and support are the cornerstones of any healthy relationship, traditional or not.
The opposition you find from society is, in part, based on your age difference. There two predominant reasons for this.
There is the obvious concern that you as a 20-something may not have the life experience to connect deeply with someone who has been on the planet for two decades longer than you have. There is truth to that. However, that fact is one that concerns the two of you as individuals, not the rest of the world.
There are actually two directions in which this projection works: first, those who eschew your relationship may be projecting onto you their view that your relationship resembles that of a father and daughter. A big, hairy, taboo no-no in our society. Of course, that belief may have nothing to do with the two of you, per se, but we cannot deny that any time we see a great age difference between partners—older men with younger women or younger men with older women—it brings into question whether the couple is really just working out deep paternal/maternal issues or actually having a healthy relationship as equals.
On a side note:
Now, it may very well be that older men turn you on. And younger women may do the same for your partner. So what? As long as no one is getting hurt and love is being generated in the world, there’s nothing but good happening! Besides, sexual proclivities fade after a while (if they don’t die outright). What we are left with is the stark reality of being in relationship. It’s about two human beings, not surface appearances or behaviors. If you both can put in the time and work it takes to elevate each other as well as the third entity of your relationship, age becomes entirely irrelevant. At that point, it’s about souls, and souls are ageless.
The second projection is good old-fashioned envy. For some, seeing a happy couple reminds them of their own unsatisfactory love life. Their disapproval, then, is based not on the two of you as human beings, but rather it is based on their own shadow of repressed passion, rejection, and sense of self-worth.
Regardless of why your relationship may be misunderstood by society, your peaceful path within it has to come from the strength of your love itself. That is to say, keep nurturing your love, as it will be the strength you need to move through your lives together.
The devotion between you and your partner will be the light you shine in society, proving that love truly has many faces.
It is not necessary or recommended to see society as the enemy—rather, see those who do not understand your love as an opportunity to educate by example.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Be kind to those who disapprove—they are clearly in pain, and you don’t know where their pain is coming from. Remember that love truly does win in the end—the love you have for your partner and the love you express for your fellow human beings. We’re all in this together.
Author: Rachel Astarte
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock