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June 16, 2005

Comments

mythago

Did you read my post at all?

Sure did. Do you remember writing the part about appreciating comments?

Keri

Scarlett's got a point, though-- I'm looking carefully through her comments and the excerpts from her e-mail, and I see no indication that she thinks she's "the only one who could possibly understand what [she's] going through." She says she's generally not attracted to men her age and, although she's open to the idea of dating a younger guy, she thinks she'll have better luck finding what she wants among older men. How that's equivalent to proclaiming herself a beautiful unique snowflake whose experiences are completely beyond the realm of human understanding is a total mystery to me. Is it really necessary to dredge up that stereotype every time this topic is discussed, even when it doesn't apply?

(I also don't think it's necessary for Scarlett to "appreciate" criticisms that come entirely out of left field, nor do I see what was really unappreciative about her comment-- she calmly defended herself against incorrect interpretations of her words. One need not agree with comments to appreciate them.)

Scarlett

Thank you, Keri.

I think a big thing to realize is that it's actually okay to agree to disagree. Keri definitely picked up on the point that I can appreciate comments without agreeing with them. I would just rather a person have all the facts before making a decision as to what side of the fence they are on. Cheers!

Caitriona

Scarlett,

The folks who posted about challenges are right. There are challenges in a relationship with a wider age-span that are different than the challenges in a relationship with closer ages. There are things my husband remembers happening that I simply heard about.

This morning, on the way to pick up more sheep, we were listening to the radio. One of my favorite songs came on - "Oh, What a Night." He started thinking about what he was doing in "late December back in '63." He asked me what I was doing back then, then said, "Oh, yeah. You weren't around." ;-) (He loves to tease me about things like that. But if he does it too much, I can remind him that he's closer to my mother's age than to mine.)

But other than that, there are emotional baggage issues. There are life experience issues. Sometimes there are health issues.

None of these are insurmountable. None of these are non-existent in close-age relationships. Heaven knows my ex, who is slightly younger than me, just could not understand some of the experiences I'd had in my life growing up. That was one of the issues of our marriage. I've found that my husband, and the gentleman 18yrs older than me whom I mentioned, were far better able to comprehend the emotional baggage with which I came into our relationships. Experience counts for something.

The best advice I think that anyone could give you is to know yourself well, and to know what you can, can't, and absolutely won't live with. Know your own personal "deal breakers." If you know yourself well, you'll be better able to know when the right person comes along.

mythago

I think a big thing to realize is that it's actually okay to agree to disagree.

Except that I don't actually disagree with much of what you've written. And if you didn't want comments that you felt were critical, then why not say so, instead of claiming you welcome them?

Keri, Scarlett said In closing, I'm somewhat certain that many of you aren't taking into consideration the criticism and sometimes cruel behavior that I have to endure because of my preference in men. This sure sounds to me like "you guys just don't understand me." I'm perfectly willing to stand corrected if Scarlett says I misinterpreted her, but can you please drop the wounded "you think we women dating men are all immature and alike!" routine? I don't, and I'm starting to wonder if my early impression of your high level of thoughtfulness earlier was hasty.

And Scarlett, I know that you didn't say you refuse to look at younger men. I'm just noting that kind of thing has a way of being a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you are sure that it's very very unlikely that younger men could meet your expectations, you're more likely to a) not notice it and b) overlook it.

But other than that, there are emotional baggage issues. There are life experience issues. Sometimes there are health issues.

So true. It's far more than just having watched different TV shows growing up.

Keri

Keri, Scarlett said In closing, I'm somewhat certain that many of you aren't taking into consideration the criticism and sometimes cruel behavior that I have to endure because of my preference in men. This sure sounds to me like "you guys just don't understand me."

It doesn't sound that way to me-- it sounds like she wanted to bring up an angle of these relationships that hadn't yet been discussed (the possibility of social condemnation). It was a fair point to make in context, because quite a few of the comments here made the "she could find a mature guy her own age" argument. (And again, saying "some of you may not have thought of this aspect of my situation" is not the same as saying "I'm the only one who could possibly understand my situation." That's why she's explaining it-- because she wants to ensure that everyone understands where she's coming from. If you're saying she should instead assume that everyone in this discussion is a complete and total expert on the subject and therefore she couldn't possibly contribute anything we hadn't already thought of, not even her own individual experience, I'm not even sure what to say to that.)

can you please drop the wounded "you think we women dating men are all immature and alike!" routine?

I'm not "wounded," nor am I bringing my personal situation into this discussion at all, thanks. It's just that when you say basically the same thing to/about every woman who admits to preferring older men here, and it always involves calling her maturity into question, it does start to sound like a stock answer and I don't blame them for beginning to wonder if you and others here are even listening to them as individuals. I'd gladly "drop the routine" if I could think of a single instance in which you haven't implied that a woman in this situation is immature, or "thinks she's special." At the moment, though, I can't.

mythago

It's just that when you say basically the same thing to/about every woman who admits to preferring older men here, and it always involves calling her maturity into question

Keri, I'm sorry, but you're now imagining things. I don't assume that every younger women who prefers older men is immature. You probably skipped right over the part where I mentioned that I am married to an older man, right?

That's why she's explaining it-- because she wants to ensure that everyone understands where she's coming from.

Which is fine, but when you overexplain, especially when it comes across as patronizing, it can have the opposite effect.

Lisa Roy Vox (The Apocalyptic Historian)

Hi Scarlett,

Thanks for jumping in. Personally, one of my primary concerns is that many women who talk about being attracted to older men do so in the context of being attracted to older men who serve as "authority figures" in their lives, e.g., professors. So I immediately have a real problem with that, because that is a relationship in which an older man has power and is one that should never become intimate, at least not while the student and professor dynamic exists. You know, I think there is some sort of rule to maintain doctors' licensing that doctors cannot start seeing patients outside the office intimately for three years until after said patient ceases to be a client. I wish something like that existed for students and teachers--to protect both.

That said, beyond a certain age, no, I don't object offhand and totally to age gaps in relationships. It's just how the initial attraction often presents itself, and how it has presented itself in the letters that Hugo has posted. But you know, I met my husband at a small liberal arts college. I have to say, if I had been out of school, or had been at a very large school that was isolating, I think my options for meeting men would have been much more limited, so I think I can empathize on that point.

I understand your attraction to older men. I was born in 1977. When I was in middle school, "New Kids on the Block," the first of the "boy bands" was huge. I hated them. Instead of posters of the "New Kids," on my wall, I had pictures of Indiana Jones and Han Solo etc. I've been told that's weird, b/, well, Harrison Ford was rather "old" even then. But I think the qualities we sometimes identify with "older men" can be found in men of youth as well. So I would urge you not to think of these qualities as being solely of characteristics of "older men," even if you haven't found them in men in their early twenties yet. Younger men possessing those qualities are out there--you may not have met them yet, but don't write off the possibility you might.

good luck, Scarlett.

Scarlett

Thank you, Lisa. I do keep the hope that one day maybe I will find a man closer to my age that can complete me. Like I said before, it would be a hell of a lot easier if I ended up with a guy my own age. Until then, I'll be eyeing the older men and my Mother will be chasing the guys my age. haha! It's almost a joke at this point between the two of us. =)

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