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October 09, 2006



Dude, you are a world-class Puritan and killjoy. Is everything about suffering, effort, and self-denial with you?


I am interested, knowing your academic background, if you have any comments on Rev. Susan Russell's monkey-bishop pictures:





Quick answer, Bubba:

I wouldn't have done it, but I'm not Susan. (She's ENFJ, I am ENFP.) But offensive? Hardly. Everyone needs to sit back, have a banana, and find more important issue to debate.

Let's make sure this tender thread is on topic.


I was 28 when I married a 54 year old man. He is very different than me, but I don't revere him for his knowledge or wisdom (I'm better with details, money, patience, and getting along with people than he is). I married him because we mesh exceptionally well, and he treats me as an equal, something I didn't run into in men my age. I am not a thing, an accessory, a status symbol, a convenient source of sex or validation for him. I am a partner, with my own strengths and weaknesses. His age was not an attractor or a turn on for me. We got involved in spite of the age difference, not because of it. He was hesitant to get involved with me because I was so much younger than him.

I really do believe that different things make different people happy. I am wary of the idea that all age disparate relationships are a bad deal, or exploitative of one or both partners. When I read your post, it made me feel like here is one more person telling me what I should want, what is acceptable to want, and why what I want is not good for me (because silly young female, you just don't understand what you want/need like someone else does). I'm 34 now, we've been married for 5 years, going on six, and involved for 8. I have never regretted my choice, and I made it well aware that I would not be spending my golden years with my first husband. There are down sides to my choice, but I could have married someone exactly my age who had an aneurysm and died a year into our marriage. There are no formulas that guarantee a happy marriage, and I think it's a mistake to invest too much in proscriptions about what kinds of relationships are acceptable.

Are some age disparate relationships exactly as you describe? Of course. And those people need to work out their lives and sort their mess. I, of course, get to live my life and sort my own mess.


You make a very good point - that culturally, women have been conditioned to sexualize older men. That's so true.

I also find it abhorant that the Church continues to speak of women almost exclusively in sexual terms...which I think is relevant to this discourse. I think when women are viewed through a sexual lense (everything a woman is supposed to do in a traditionalists world is sexual - wife and mother), older men are also going to be conditioned to be sexually attracted to young women of a more fertile age and those young women are going to equate sexual attraction with the strong, wise and able to guide. When complimentarians and patriarchists (2 sides of the same coin really) speak of marriage, it almost always sounds as if they're speaking of a daughter and father when they speak of husband and wife.


Kate, my reply was to Louise, not you. I was replying to a young woman who acknowledged that what I had said in the past was true, and that she was struggling with the line between admiration and desire. If that's not true for you, then no worries.


Once upon a time, I made a list. In this list was a list of attributes and characteristics that I wanted in the person I would share my life with. I was lucky. I found the person who fit the list but also fit into my life and vice versa. Finding a person attractive or even beautiful is not the same as the intimacy and commitment that a relationship has.

I hope there are men who are capable of seeing the young men and women he teaches as students and not as sexual beings is a trend that grows. It is too often that young women, young girls find themselves unable to find a male figure to esteem.

Kip Watson

I think you're over-analysing, Hugo.

In fact I think you're applying a moral filter that gets uncomfortably close to mirroring the sexual objectification of our depraved culture.

"Love's not Time's fool..."

You could be 50, your beloved 15. If it's true love, and you're both faithful to it and each other, who dares to criticise.

True love is of the soul. The mountains are old -- all our souls are young.


Kip: "true love" is often deceitful. I as a married woman might feel "true love" for another man (thankfully I have not). Those feelings might very well be "real" but to act on them would be folly. 50 and 15?! are you serious?

Kip Watson

Yep, I'm perfectly serious.

But unless your marriage is a sham, I don't think you can feel 'true love' for another.

I don't think our generation even knows what True Love is. It's not 'the hots', that's for darn sure...

Kip Watson

By the way, if it really is True Love. Then *not* to act on it would be folly.

True Love doesn't just spring up after every rain shower.

(...and by 'act on it', I mean marry, not jump in the sack)


I agree, true love is a choice, or a bunch of choices really. Which means that you can recognize the potential pit falls, as a 50 year old man, of marrying a 15 year old GIRL...which is not legal anyway...at least not in America.

Douglas, Friend of Osho

Hugo, I'd like to date this guy and I'm a straight man. And while I agree that socializing women to believe their sexuality should be exercised only in a transactional context is socialization at its most repugnant, there is little or nothing about relationships with older men that make the transactionality, if you will, any more repugnant than in other situations. Granted, teachers shouldn't get involved with their students (including female teachers), but I'll remind you and others that Charlie Chaplin was hardly Oona O'Neill's teacher, nor was I teacher to my daughter's mother, who is considerably younger than myself. Frankly, I think a certain set of women mistook palaver for real communication, lost the men in their lives to women who happen to be younger because of the aforementioned palaver and rather than do what they counsel men to do, which is to look at themselves, self-medicate by droning about how it was all down to the younger, firmer corpus. You, Hugo, are too good to carry water for that sort.


Douglas, I'm not carrying water for anyone. If a marriage between two forty-somethings comes to an end, and the fella marries a second wife who is age appropriate but with whom he is more compatible, no worries. But if he says to himself "Women my own age can see through my bullshit, let me find someone barely out of college who will still believe my crap", then we've got a problem.

And frankly, the desire for a much younger mate is often much less about sex than it is about fear of being unmasked. No matter how savvy she is, an experienced 25 year-old knows less about men than an experienced 45 year-old, most of the time.


In my own case, I entered into an affair with my major professor when i was 23 and she was 38. We married a couple of years later. Now, while that marriage ended in divorce, it wasn't because of the age difference, and we are still among one another's most trusted friends.

I learned a great deal from her (plus everything on the syllabus, too), which I *might have learnt elsewhere, or from women my own age.
Problem was, where I was shy, older women weren't.
I am grateful for that relationship. I suspect that others might not have been so fortunate, but as with everything else in life, ymmv.

I wonder if, in protecting some from potential abuse, we prevent others from having the relationships they actually need? Just wondering.

Curiously enough, one of my customers here lately is a young man of 22, presently involved with a woman of about 40. He seems pleasantly dazzled. He confides in me a little (he was a little guarded about it at first, trying to sound me out on a gift for an older woman - I work in a wine shop - but when I let him know I'd "been there," he opened up). Apparently his buddies have a hard time getting it. I wonder...

Austin, TX


I wonder if, in protecting some from potential abuse, we prevent others from having the relationships they actually need?

Well, no one, including me, is advocating protecting 22 year-olds from anything. I'm advocating a very high degree of caution about age-disparate relationships, particularly those that are explicitly or implicitly transactional.


the potential pit falls, as a 50 year old man, of marrying a 15 year old GIRL...which is not legal anyway...at least not in America

That's completely false.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

Depending, of course, on what state you're in. I understand, if he picks his state properly, that a 50 year old man can marry a 14 year old girl (but I don't believe he can do this in my own state, where the age of consent is 18). It may also depend on whether he can get her parents' permission.

Kip Watson

I think you missed the point with all this talk of 15 and 50 year olds.

My point was that people should look for true love, which can come in any form and bridge even the most extreme differences.

All this talk about 'compatibility', 'validation', 'needs' and 'getting' this and that from a 'relationship'.

I didn't notice the word Love come up very often.

You seem like nice people. You should know the ways of our world and not the True Ways.

There's only one question you need to ask (and this from a man's perspective, so apologies to you gals) - 'Is she your Juliet, or she just another Rosaline?'


Rosaline ended up alive, so she really came out ahead in the whole mess.

Kip Watson

Interesting reply.

It suggests you find the idea of True Love too dangerous?

Perhaps it is...


I loved this piece. I think that it's true that often in older partners we see who we would like to become.


I loved this piece. I think that it's true that often in older partners we see who we would like to become.

Buy Viagra

well is a good combination, but you have to be careful with the balance between age and desire, you know if you wife is to young and you have certain age, you have to keep a good...well you understand me jajajaja.

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