Extras May 1, 2008 at 4:00 am


When I was 23 years old I dated an older guy..he was 33 years old. He behaved like a jerk, I was a virgin and told him so still he tried to pressure me all the time. He wanted to hang out all the time. 4 x per week and talk on the phone for hrs. When I told him that things were moving too fast and slow down he made fun of me and made me feel childish..what an ass!!! I finally dumped his sorry ass and he never got to have sex with me. BUT he left me hurt since I put too much effort in this and he never wanted a relationship at the end... I wasted a few weeks of my life. Lesson...if they are too good to be true and in their 30s be careful..take things slow because the damage can be greater than the good time you could have in 1-2 encounters
Nice article and stories. Actually some of the stories are heart wrenching. Still, a good read. Thank you to all contributors.

I'm currently in an open relationship with a companion who isn't a domestic partner, but we've been sort of default primaries for a while. She's five years older than me and it sometimes comes as a bit of a discomfort (mostly in pop culture awareness, haha, but there have been more embarrassing public situations of people making weird assumptions...). Five years isn't bad but it's noticeable. Of course it seems like nothing compared to 10, 15, etc years.

i had serious issues with an immature young woman only four years younger than myself (she got most of my 20s before she left me for another guy I gave my blessings for her to explore). I had tried to resist getting involved with that young woman, but caved in to her "argument". I regret being monogamously bound to that situation through my 20s. She was my first sexual relationship and was my longest relationship (until very recently), but she wasn't as mature as she seemed. I now take age differences very seriously. The younger the age, the more critical the gap!

Nearing 40 and feeling self-conscious about it, I've gotten despondent about finding someone to have a lifelong domestic partnership with. I thought I was falling off the radar for women for various reasons (poly being a huge one). Imagine my surprise (and anxiety) when a 25-year-old monogamous married woman expressed interest in me. Self-confidence and ego boost! But there's more to it than that. It's about relating, and relating as well as possible.

It was supposed to be a platonic friendship, but she came to feel other things. I was super cautious. She took a while to come to terms with what poly was all about, but realized she was, at her core, very similar. I took a while to figure out that maybe age isn't a solid brick wall, so long as there are parameters:

She did everything respectfully by being open and honest with her husband about her interest. He eventually gave his consent (I was so concerned about not being "that guy" that I constantly asked about the health of their marriage and wanted to see the statement of consent from her husband; it's an ongoing negotiation and exploration). She had "conversed" me into respecting her as an adult, rather than someone "seriously earlier in life". It turns out that age differences don't make us different species ;-) Sharing life experiences and getting to know someone is a bridge to build.

So does the age difference matter? Holy crap yes. Does it preclude having an respectful intimate friendship and great sex? Not at all. It's been quite interesting, if stressful at times. We are constantly conversing and often revisit the parameters, to check to see if everyone is still in the same place. I have no idea where this goes, long term, but we aren't looking to each other for anything more committed (the only commitment is to be safe, honest, respectful, and kind). There's safety in knowing the limits and keeping them in mind.

Her life experiences gave her an edge on seeming to be mature, but she's still in a very different part of life compared to me. It really shows at times, but we are enjoying the friendship (and the sex, despite limited occasions to visit across long distance), and I'm glad she's in my life.

I learned a lot from my relationship with my 5-years-older companion about being patient and gentle and it pays off every time i get involved elsewhere... such as here, because this young woman has had considerable awful experience with men. The "camping" rule... I think I've tried to behave that way with women for a very long time, without ever having heard the term. As a contributor said: those rules should apply to all relationships, shouldn't they?

... And Then...

I met another 25-year-old at a local social gathering. Not only did I (distressingly) find her to be hot, she reciprocates the feeling. It took us a bit of time to bring that interest into the open. I'm glad she was forward enough that I could be my very careful self and not totally shoot her down unintentionally (i really assumed there was no chance, but I was still pretty preoccupied thinking about her). She might put an end to it at any time, and I'd not begrudge her choosing her life carefully. But we spent some time getting to know each other and it has been nice.

Why mention this part?

Had I not been learning to socialize with the other 25-year-old, had i not had a mostly positive experience with her, I probably would've written off any chance here for another new life experience. I think I'm going to end up without a lifelong domestic partner, and I'd rather not feel like I wasted the rest of my life not getting healthy experiences (how I feel about my twenties). But I reject selfish hedonism and wish to do no harm to anyone in the process of having life experiences. I wish to do good. Lots of angst over doing things right and being "proper"...

I sometimes forget to recognize that wisdom isn't just knowing when to keep out of things. Sometimes, as long as everyone is being respectful, careful, open, and responsible, wisdom is also the ability to let others make decisions about what THEY want, rather than precluding options for both parties. It's hard to follow up bad life experiences without some fear, uncertainty, and doubt whispering in the ears. Sometimes wisdom is to not shy away from experiences that might be healthy and positive. That sounds good, right? Still learning...

As with all things, your mileage may vary. Be careful, honest, and kind (to others and to yourself). Presume nothing (other than consent being required in all things), and always keep communication open.

Please wait...

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