A Young Gay Man Loves an Older Man
I just received this correspondence and felt it was important enough to print it as an essay rather than to leave it buried in the comments following another essay. It comes up frequently, and I know many others will want to read it:
I am 22 and my partner of 5 months is 44. We really love each other and get along so well but there are a few things that we run into when we think about our future and hope to get some other point of views than ours.
The first obstacle is that neither of us are out yet. We are both very masculine and are not flamboyant. We met on an online site that came up when I searched masculine gay online. We didn’t know each other that well but decided to meet up and haven’t looked back since.
The second would be the long distance aspect of our relationship. Most people advise me not to try the long distance because it is too hard. I have found it is very hard but we have seen each other 4 times in 5 months and while this is not very much we still have a great relationship. The great part about our relationship is our communication and our trust. I completely trust him and he trusts me. We talk everyday and skype often as well.
I am graduating from college in May and with this coming up it is all starting to sneak up on me soon. We talk about moving in together after I graduate and it is what we are both looking forward to since we want to be together. He is very professional and has a career that keeps him busy. I will graduate college and am looking to start mine.
This is where the third obstacle comes into play. As if coming out to my friends and family weren’t enough, the age factor makes it so much tougher. So I’m supposed to tell my parents, who I’m dependent of as of now, that first of all I’m gay, I have a boyfriend that is 44, and I plan on moving across the country to live with him when I graduate? I am already anticipating shock to say the least. My parents are very loving and don’t think they’ll have as much a problem with the gay part as the age difference part. My mother is pretty protective as parents go, so I am positive she will be very concerned.
When we are together it seems like none of this matters because we are just so happy. We just spent a week together in Florida on vacation and didn’t leave each others side for 5 minutes. We did everything together and were happy the whole time, I don’t even think we fought about anything. This is how I know we will be compatible.
Another thing that we talk about is some people like the certain kinky aspect of being with an older man, such as the “daddy” parts of it. Neither of us look exclusively for older or younger but it just so happened it worked out this way this time. Our sex life is fantastic and I am actually more assertive in bed and like to take over most of the time.
I also worry about the way people will view us. I am not looking for someone to take care of me as I know I’m intelligent enough to make it on my own and will be successful in life. It just seems like people will jump to that conclusion and it bothers me. I am graduating in a few months and do not have a job lined up yet, so it is possible he will be supporting me at first until I get one. He says he doesn’t have a problem with it but I just worry if I don’t find one soon.
There are just so many things that I need to deal with before I feel like we can be together. I am looking for some advice, opinions, or any kind of feedback to ease my mind. I love him very much and am willing to do whatever it takes to be with him, but it just seems so hard.
Congratulations on your new relationship and your approaching graduation from college. This is an exciting time in your life.
My partner/husband and I are fifteen years different in age, and we rarely realized the difference. I look at age as more than a number. It is, of course, your chronological age, but it is your health age, your sexual age and your psychological age all put together. It really just tells you how many candles to put on the cake.
But realistically, some issues do come up. In our case, for example, we are approaching retirement at different times.
Some gay men have told me that when they are in an older/younger relationship, they have had to come out twice. First they come out as gay, and then they come out as someone who prefers a relationship with an older/younger man. Some have said that their friends are more critical than their families, making comments like, “It’s like buying milk that’s well past its expiration date!”
Coming out is a process, not an event, a process by which individuals come to realize, act on, and privately accept their same sex orientation, even if they do not disclose to others.
You can choose to tell some and not others. You are fortunate that you have a loving and supportive family, and while they may not understand it, chances are good that their love for you will cause them to respect your choice – even though it may take a while for them to do so. After all, your boyfriend is probably about their age.
No one can explain why we are attracted to whom we are attracted.
A new relationship is always a time of discovery. Although you’re over the moon at this point, both of you will discover things about each other that will cause tension and conflict. Learning how to resolve conflict and work through these differences is what will make the relationship stronger.
A failure to learn conflict resolution will undermine every relationship, no matter what ages you are. The fact that you are communicating about your concerns is important. Many of the younger/older relationships are quite successful, but as with any relationship, it takes work.
Long distance relationships are difficult, for sure, but modern technology has resolved many of the problems related to communicating and it even allows for at least a two dimensional expression of your sexuality.
All good relationships are based on trust. Trust is sometimes difficult to establish and it is easily lost. Honesty is essential. Once trust is damaged, it can be difficult to re-establish, but it can come with work and communication. Your trust in each other is a good foundation for the relationship.
Changes, even when they are good ones, present stress. If your partner is not out, he will have some explaining to do. You will just be beginning your career; jobs can be difficult to find. You may be dependent upon your partner financially for a while, but all relationships are based on shifting dependencies. One is often in a stronger position than the other, and then it shifts in the other direction.
When my husband and I got together, we had a big disparity in our incomes. We couldn’t split expenses 50/50, so we split them based on our relative incomes; it worked fine for us. That way we could do some of the things we wouldn’t have been able to had we split it 50/50, and he felt he was paying his way. You don’t sound like someone who is looking to be taken care of and I believe it is dehumanizing to be taken care of more than is essential.
Your parents are loving, but they are also going to be protective. They will not want you to get hurt, so they may have some objections. Becoming an adult who feels good about themselves really means making choices that are right for you.
No one ever learns self-esteem by making choices only because others will approve of them. Acknowledge their concern and ask them to trust your judgment. But remember, you have been struggling with coming out for a long time, and they are just going to be beginning the process. Give them time. Hopefully in time, they will see the things about your partner that you love and begin to love them too. The age difference will then disappear.
I don’t consider the “Daddy” issue “kinky.” There are some who enjoy a “Daddy/Son” sexual role play, but in most younger/older relationships, the dynamics of the age difference is much more than sexual role playing.
As I said, attractions are not something that can be explained. Think of the term “Daddy” and what it represents; maturity, stability, caring, compassion, warmth. One young man said to me, “I like older men because they have all their corners rounded off.” I love that metaphor.
You must let go of worrying about what others will think. Some will say you are only looking for a “sugar daddy;” ignore them. Many younger men get justifiably angry about being accused of seeking someone to take care of them. They know, as does Joe, that they are fully capable of taking care of themselves. Joe, only you know your motives and you don’t need their approval. You are accountable to no one except yourself and your partner.
No one ever finds happiness by trying to gain approval from others. If you live your life to please others, they are in control of your life; you have abdicated that role. You must live you life to please yourselves and hope that others will approve of your choices. It is the most critical step in feeling true to yourself and developing lasting self confidence and self esteem.
Coming out is about saying, “This is who I am! I hope you approve, but if not, I regret it, but I cannot live my life to make you happy.” Those who love you will come around. If they don’t, you must question their value to you as a friend.
Thanks for your question. I hope this has been helpful. Perhaps others will want to comment, too.