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January 12, 2005

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MetaMetaX

olguy - Well you didn't ask me for my advice, but I'll throw it in anyway.

From risk / reward perspective, you do realize that you are taking all the risk, and she is receiving all the rewards, right?! I mean, one false accusation, or even one well-intended flirtation can lead you to a world of legal hurt. So from strictly that perspective, the answer is clearly, don't do it.

But since life is more complicated than that, ask yourself this: why? Why are you attracted to her? Only don't answer it in a way like you're trying to explain it to someone else. Be honest with yourself. Why the attraction? I mention this only because often enough when you can analyze the attraction, and explain it in simple terms that neither diminish nor unnecessarily praise the attraction, then it becomes more manageable. Telling yourself it's wrong (or it's right) without really understanding it can lead to an obsessive quest to prove that it's right (or wrong), and that just leads to inner turmoil.

Is it sex? If so, don't feel bad about it. It's natural. Hell, that's probably the best one to evaluate in terms of risk / reward analysis. You merely get to choose if it's worth it to risk X in order to get to sleep with her. Simple, straightforward decision. Plus, it's also the easiest to walk away from if you decide to walk away. You can just tell yourself that you met this attractive woman, wanted to sleep with her at first, but decided not to. Happens to every guy all the time. So your unique situation fades in to ordinaryness.

If it's not sex, then what is it? This is where it gets to keep you up at night thinking what the hell it could be! :) Is it love? Hah, I said love!! No, really. Is it?

If so, what type? Is it that friendly love that just enjoys each other's company? This is the easiest love, because you can just keep seeing her, make no moves, and enjoy her company. You can carry that love in the pocket of your heart, your own little secret, and feel more alive because of it.

Is it that obsessive love where you just want to possess her? *chuckles* You know that type of love doesn't happen much nowadays with women being so strong and independent and everything. It isn't often you can find someone over whom you feel - and are - stronger than in every way. You know more. You care more. You've survived more. You've developed a complex personality, a mixture of feminine and masculine that can see so much of the world. You can offer so much!! Or you can hurt so much!! That - is the root of possessive love: where you can choose to give honor or heartache at whim. Drunk on your own power, you can truly be shown what it means to be a gentle-man - to use that power and experience to give her the kind of love she can't have with anyone else...

Is it protective? Does she remind you, in an odd way, of what you might be like if you could be born a female 18 years ago yet keep hold of what you know now at the age of 37? Do you feel like you're looking at *YOU* when you're talking to her? Subsequently, do you feel heroic - like only *YOU* can see this girl for what she is? Like only you can show her how to walk the path of her life because so much of it overlaps what you have gone through in yours?

If so, my friend, you're going to be disappointed...and elated. There's so much contradiction in that type of love. You'll feel so close to her in personality, and yet so far away. One minute you'll be talking to a young woman, the next an oversized girl. You'll want to teach her everything so she can grow, but want to teach her nothing because of the pain that always accompanies true learning. You'll want her to stand independently of you, but you'll want to be so close to her so you can experience her as...yours. Your hopes, your fears, your wishes, your disappointments, your accomplishments, your shortcomings, and your highest and most passionate efforts. And because you're smart enough to know your time with her is limited, you'll try to distance yourself as best as you can - but you'll want to stay close so she can learn as much as she can from you.

That love never ends "well." She either learns what she can from you and moves on, or she resists your teaching and ends up hating you. Or you, her. It's an unspoken contract. You teach, and she grows. If you don't teach, you're taking advantage of her. If she doesn't grow, she's using you buddy!

And if you both succeed, she leaves, and your heart breaks! But even though she leaves, she never forgets you. She looks in the mirror, and sees you. She uses her skill to accomplish something amazing for herself, and it's you she first thinks of to thank. She experiences heartache, and it's your strength she thinks of to guide her through it. Twenty years later she'll be bored in a seat somewhere, and it'll be your name she traces with her finger on the desk before her. Congratulations, my friend, you've achieved a painful form of immortality. ;)

Or is it *JUST* protection? Is the only thing you want to do is prevent her from being hurt? You don't feel like you can teach her anything - all you feel is that you can be her shelter. It's platonic. It's strong. Hell, most would call it noble. But it's empty, dude. To keep a woman a child, because that child is so beautiful? Don't do that. Let her grow up.

I suppose, you *could* analyze it from her perspective. What does she want from you? Is she scared of getting hurt? But that just seems counterproductive to me. I've always been a go-getter and trying to decide for someone else what they want inhibits that go-get-em personality. I'm always a charge-ahead-and-see-what-happens kind of guy...

Unless of course the risk of X is too much. Hah, I just talked in a big circle! ;)

But seriously, read my post and consider it. One of the best parts about discovering the root of your attraction to someone is that once you completely know the why, you can choose to live the desire by acting upon it. Or you can choose to live the desire by *NOT* acting upon it. It can be your own private fantasy.

And above all else, good luck Dude. I hope it works itself out. I'm going through something similar myself, and it certainly isn't easy. Best of luck!

Hugo Schwyzer

Actually, oldguy, that's Meta's best post here by far. I don't agree with all of it, but it actually captures some of the joy and the heartbreak of what I like to call April-August romances. (Screw this May-December shit, I say!)

You are not, presumably her teacher. If you are not in a position of authority over her, then I don't see anything inherently unethical about your age disparity. But I also believe that it is possible to mentor and teach and guide without sexualizing that relationship. One problem we have is that many don't know how to handle the mentor-mentee relationship without sexualizing or romanticizing it. That's totally understandable, of course -- and human -- but it doesn't vitiate the fact that at 18, her brain is still developing and she is still discovering who she is. Meta is right about how enticing it is for an older man to cast himself in the lead role in her discovery process -- but as he himself admits, it rarely ends well.

Keep us posted, will ya?

Meta MX, dude, get yourself a blog. I don't know if I love you or hate you, but you've got so much to say -- good stuff -- that others ought to be reading.

MetaMetaX

To Olguy - The real kick in the stones of the whole situation is that you might say to yourself, "Alright, I'm just going to be protective and nurturing, but we'll keep sex out of it." But one day you'll meet her for coffee or something, and just *something* about her will turn you on and you'll spend even more uncomfortable time trying to fight those urges as well. So even when you discover your motives, you'll find they shift - with little explanation as to why.

To Hugo - Thanks for the compliment. It's fairly obvious that I come from the more aggressive and mean side of the MRA tracks - but I didn't like the one-sided hatred in some of the things they preach.

In short, I am on the dark side of the yin-yang picture, trying to find that small spot of white to temper the aggression and make my perspective more deeper and more complete...

jen

I am really happy that you wrote about this topic. I have been very confused about an older gentleman (44 years old) that I (21 years old) have been hanging around with. I now know that I am normal, but I also realize that I am looking for love and care from an man other than my father. I need to find a safe man that isn't going to sexualize me. I need a man to accept me. Thank you.

Kath

My first post here.

Seems a lot of you are really caught up in the 'age' thing.

I just fixed up two best friends...she's 22 and he just turned 43.They're getting along fabulously.

Another friend called me 4 years ago to say that at age 32 she'd fallen in love with a 61 year old. Her friends and family advised dumping him cause of the age issue... their rationale that he would die and leave her widowed at a young age. I advised her to follow her heart and think quality over quantity. They've now been married for 3 years and have a wonderful 2 year old.

And on the flip side...I'm 49 and my last boyfriend was 28...the one before him was 25.

Age is just a number...really.

mythago

If age is just a number, you're saying that you expect to learn nothing from your experience, and improve not at all over your lifetime.

But consider that throughout most of history, and throughout most of the world today, a 50 year old man dating a 20-something year old woman is not considered a big deal.

Neither was it considered a big deal to execute a ten-year-old for stealing a loaf of bread, or to leave a baby to die of exposure if it had a birth defect. Be wary of relying on history for morality.

The Wisest One

Hi there, I'm shocked to see someone be so biased about older men and younger women as you seem to be. Have you ever taken any formal courses on human sexuality sir? Or are you just giving us your opinion on things? Can you back up what you believe with facts from turstworthy sources?

Don't you know that the bible is full of stories about young women and older men? I've lived all over the world and in most of Europe and Asia they simply don't attach the stigma to it that you do.

I'm 58 years young now. Both of my young wives, my first one was 18 when we married and I was 28, my current one was 35 when we married and I was 53, Both women have had problems that prevented us from having children.

I'm the last male on my fathers side of the family. I'll be damn if I let my name become extinct because of sexually inhibited folks like you. I look at and seek out women from 17 to about 30. Women older than that have already had all the children that they want and they have tied their tubes, or had their plumbing removed rendering them useless for making babies.

That is not my fault... They did that to themselves. I would never reccommend to any women to sterilize herself.

There are many simpler to not have children besides permanent sterilization.

So men in my position are forced to seek younger and younger women. Remember this sir.Nature determines when a woman is ready to have sex. She goes through something called puberty. When a woman develops breasts, underarm hair and pubic hair that is natures way of telling men this females is ready to bear children. I happen to think nature is a lot wiser than folks like you on these subjects.

I'll bet you are one of those people who got upset when Janet Jackson showcased her lovely breast didn't you? Adam and Eve came to Earth naked. They didn't wear clothes until GOD confronted Eve about her making Adam eat from the forbidden tree.

Did you get upset when California kicked out a duly elected governor and elected a clown whose only claim to fame was that he killed more people per movie, in make believe that, any other actor ever has.

I'll bet you were upset at president Clinton for getting some face from a willing adult Monica Lewinsky weren't you? Now tell me are you upset at the Bush regime for lying to the world attacking and killing over 100,000 innocent Iraqi's plus over 1,500 of our own beautiful men and women? 25,000 wounded.

A devilish regime that continues to lie and murder putting the lives of the American public in more danger every day by their psychotice need to kill everyone who is not white.

Those are the mountains that you should be conerned about. Don't spend your time worrying about age differences between men and women. Older men/women have been getting it on since the beginning of time with younger men/women and I strongly suspect they will continue to do so.

Your mind is a terrible thing to waste.

And so it goes.

The Wisest Ine

Jen

To "The Wisest One"

You give me an ill feeling in my stomach when you speak of young ladies who have underarm hair and pubic hair being ready for sex. I had all of that when I was 11 years old and I certainly wasn't ready to have sex.

You have also made a number of rather ignorant comments towards Hugo's values and ideals that you have no place assuming.

Apparently seeing as how you have not had children yet, I am thinking that is fates way of saying you are not meant to procreate.

I hope that you look deep inside yourself and ask whether you wrote what you wrote in a subconcious plead for approval.

And you are not "the wisest one". If you were you wouldn't feel a need to state it.

La Lubu

Wise One, for someone who dislikes a scrutiny on age, I can't help but laugh at the "58 years young". Me, I'm 37 years old, plumbing intact even, who is damn proud of those years and has no reason to use coy expressions like "years young". Maybe I'm far off base here, but I was raised to think that expression indicated a certain shame or embarrassment about one's age. Hell, every day above ground is a good one; don't subtract a day, or allude that you would if ya could. And plumbing? Must be that smoldering sensitivity that brings all those fillies to your door, huh?

And I can't believe that someone who has actually spent 58 years on the earth hasn't yet figured out that the presence of pubic or underarm hair, or breast size, is not a reliable indicator of whether a girl has had her first period. Or that a girl who has had a period is "ready" for childbearing physically, let alone emotionally. (I think my hip measurement was something like 28" when I had my first period. Not very likely a seven or eight pound baby is going to pass through hips that size, no?)

Now, if I was in a cynical mood, I'd probably make some crack about how one shouldn't go shopping for future wives in the Garanimals section of the local department store....but then again, they're not still making Garanimals, are they? ;-)

talking in circles

Ageism... the last socially acceptable, indeed politically correct, PREJUDICE. Spin in anyway you want, it is what it is.

The 'problem' with it is socially constructed. No doubt there are still people who see a problem when people of different race or religion get together. The issue is had by the observer, in all their woundrous gossipping sanctimoney about the relationships of others.

Bigotry lives.

mythago

Me, I'm 37 years old, plumbing intact even, who is damn proud of those years and has no reason to use coy expressions like "years young".

Word. What's so awful about being old? It sure as hell beats the alternative.

talking in circles

It never ceases to amaze me how mother nature has got everything so wrong. Everything from the age of sexual reproduction through to nasty mind atlering plants. Then again nature did produce human beings, so l suppose that anything that a human being is capable of rationalising is in fact natural.

lm getting dizzy, spining around in circles.

Then again, human

mythago

Derrick, you could have sent this stuff to Penthouse and tried to get money for it.

Anon

One thing that I'd like to point out is that an older man's perception of his power isn't necessarily accurate. Certainly, teacher/student or employer/employee relationships have a power imbalance that makes sex within them a very bad idea. And guys who pay desperate women for sex (like the one whose obnoxious comments Hugo recently deleted from this thread) are definitely being economically exploitative. But not all relationships between older men and younger women are like that.

When I was 18, I had a brief affair with an older man. He probably thought I was stupid (I wasn't) and naive (I was), and he was obviously only in the relationship for the sex. But his opinion of me did not materially affect my life: my college education and part-time job continued completely independently of his existence. He thought he was exploiting my naivite, and to some degree this may have been true. Had I been older, I would have pushed for a relationship on more favorable terms, and that would likely have resulted in his not getting into my pants. But really, the fact that he did get into my pants wasn't all that significant. He got to feel like a Big Dangerous Girl-Exploiting Man, I got some decent sex, and then I broke things off with him and my life continued relatively normally. He wasn't really all that Big and Dangerous, because the worst he could do to me was think of me as a slut. And why should his opinion be so terribly important, when he wasn't controlling any of the resources I needed?

mythago

But why waste your sex life on a jerk who thinks badly of you?

(BTW, the person whose comments Hugo deleted was probably more like 17, not 50.)

Andrea

Seeking out younger women primarily as a reproductive container to carry on the family line, and (at least implicitly by the tone of this post) discarding the 'defective' containers for failure to procreate seems like the most egregious failure to me. His view of women as objects is mortally disgusting. There are some things more important than carrying on a family name, as understandable a cause as that might be.

Anon

But why waste your sex life on a jerk who thinks badly of you?

Yeah, I figured this out eventually and dumped him. Just wanted to point out that his so-called power over me wasn't nearly as great as he thought it was. When they're not an actual threat to anyone, men like that are just pitiable, and it sort of bugs me when others think of them as dangerous or important.

I don't know how old Derrick is, but I imagine he's secretly compensating for the fact that he's not much of a prize, sexually speaking. Or at least he probably doesn't feel like one. So he has to be Big and Dangerous instead.

Matt

Often, when reading posts here, I've found myself wanting to comment on one or another thing you've said that I thought was misguided or incorrect, and subsequently been driven to (and beyond) the point of incoherent rage reading some of the other comments. At which point the one morsel of my brain still capable of expressing wisdom prevents me from commenting at all.

But here, I have to say that I think you're 100% right. These sorts of relationships are kind of like emotional dynamite. Now, sometimes dynamite is just what the situation one faces is calling for, and nothing else will do. But it is good to remember, even in such situations, that it's dangerous stuff.

Charla

Matt,
I welcome your comments, especially if you think they are misguided or incorrect.

Charla

Matt,
I know you are not going to belive this, but when I wrote some of those notes I didn't know you were from Mars. Seriously,... I'm really naive, (and you know it). I didn't know till the second year. When I finally realized we weren't from the same planet I was in shock, and then I adjusted to it.__ Matt, I've never liked people from Mars, you were the first. I've never had any inclination in this way. I know you think I'm
mixed up, I'm not, I still don't understand it, you're an anomaly, a paradox in my life.__And it certainly doesn't help that we have never talked about this either.

Matt, don't go ballistic, just try to communicate with me.

JC

although I have tried many times to determine why, I can not understand why my strong attraction to much younger women persists...I just turned 50, but I don't feel any differently in many ways than when I was 30, so being so attracted to 24-30 year old women feels perfectly natural...on the positive side, its not just their youthful appearance, but their vitality, and adventurous attitude toward life...most people become more resistant to change as they age, but I have always embraced it and still love sponteneity in myself and others...from the news and what's going on in Hollywood, it seems far most common place these days for the younger man, older women, and though I so enjoy the company of young women, few view me as potential dating partners.......

Betty

JC,
I think you are wrong about age being a deterrent for dating younger women. It's all in your mind....I bet younger women are attracted to you, you just don't think they are. __I know what you mean about having a younger attitude, and being older. I'm 50 and I act like a teenager sometimes.

anon

Speaking as a 21 year old females point of view I don't think that being 50 years old will deter young women. There are two kinds of older men that try to pick me up, the ones that are so forward that I think that they are dirty old men and the other are friendly, outgoing and that I don't feel threatened by. Just have fun and let the women come to you!

Caitriona

JC,

When I was 32, recently divorced, and a single mom, I dated a 50yo gentleman whom I still care for deeply (and my husband knows it!). This gentleman taught me a lot about myself, including the fact that I am worthy of being loved and loved well.

Because he was dealing with issues related to his aging parents, the 18 yr difference in our ages began to bother him, so the relationship didn't last. But the lessons he taught me are still with me.

Because of him, I didn't settle for less than what I need in my life. Because of him, I was able to see the person my husband is beneath the gruff exterior he presented when we met. Because of the lessons he taught me, I have had the determination to stay with this marriage through the hard times to come through to the care and understanding we now have.

God blessed me greatly by bringing that gentleman into my life. I wouldn't trade my time with him for anything in the world. I just wish my husband and I could tell him how much he means to us and to our relationship, but he's in another state and I don't have his mailing email address.

May you be blessed as we have been.

JC

Betty, Anon, & Caitriona.....thank you very much as I appreciate your comments and encouragement...
and I certainly am aware that approaching any woman, younger or not, can be difficult, and I am often overly concerned as to how I'll come across...(especially with much younger women), but there is no doubt that the best of any dating or romantic relationships, whether short or long term, starts out as friendships....I just ended a relationship with a 34 year old woman for issues unrelated to age....possessiveness is such a deal breaker....the ideal relationship is like three lives...you each have your own life that includes some alone time and time for separate interests, and then you enjoy your life and times together to share whatever common interests you may already have or explore new ones you've only just considered.....but then I also need some private time to write as I enjoy writing short stories... and just if not more important, I enjoy time spent together, for sailing, wave-running, dancing, hiking, etc....Funny, I never felt awkward when I was younger, but as I get older, even though I may look and live like I'm younger than I am, I'm still uneasy approaching younger woman sometimes, because its always more difficult without having that opportunity to develop a friendship first....but if I learned anything, it's to remain forever hopeful.....

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