I met my boyfriend three years ago as a friend online. We talked about travel and decided to meet and had a great time!
I went home thinking that I wish I could meet someone like that- since we were many years apart. I was 48, and he said he was 28.
I have friends of many ages, backgrounds, etc. So comfortable with that. We went out again, and it was apparent he was attracted to me.
I liked him a lot, and he seemed quite serious. He wanted to date and have a romantic relationship. I resisted the idea. He basically convinced me that we should try. I thought about it and considered if I took age out of the equation what else would stop me from dating this person? Nothing. Why not?
It’s so hard to meet someone. He seemed sincere, we got along so well, so we started dating. At first, I held back, believing after a few months it would likely end.
Instead, he said he loved me.
I started to believe the relationship could work and tried to keep in mind that relationships fail for different reasons, and it’s not like I had a “destination” as I do not want to get married and have children. He did not either, which would be my main concern. It was a relief. What I find is that other people seem to want this for you, asking if you’ll move in, etc. Things went well. So I introduced him to some of my friends, and they all liked him. My friends are supportive and open-minded.
I mean, the age difference “disapproval” especially when you are the older woman is a pressure created by society. I am independent and resilient and positive. If I want to be with him, then I can handle it. What some stranger thinks isn’t their business anyway. It’s something you cannot control. Live and let live. When we were together, it honestly didn’t seem to be an issue. We could be seen in public.
I am an attractive person with everything going for me. (I am often taken for much younger, but for sure the age difference was obvious) Our relationship was really good, honest and enjoyable, lots of laughs and learning from each other. He was stable and seemed mature. We were safe in our cocoon. He was originally from another country but (came here at 20) now a citizen.
At the citizenship ceremony last fall I discovered he lied about his age. He was 25 when we met. I didn’t understand that either. So really we are 23 years apart.
In his home country, the age difference would not be accepted. His parents lived there, so I didn’t think it should be a big deal. It’s not like they lived around the corner. He had a couple of friends though, (same culture) who when we first started dating, he mentioned I was older, (and I believe he lied to them and said 7 years) and they were very judgemental. Almost outraged from the sounds of it. So he didn’t want to talk about it. He said that if they said something bad about me, then he would have to stop speaking to them. This bothered me. And I thought, well, they don’t really sound like friends. But I accepted that. That was a red flag, and I was making excuses. That was dumb.
I thought any new friends should not be a problem. He was taking a college course and just finished. He was actually working on edits to his final project, and I stayed over. The next day he was going on a road trip with school friends. I took him to the bank and bakery, and we went back to his place for coffee. Then he said that I didn’t have to wait around. His friends were coming to pick him up. I said I wasn’t in a rush, but then noticed he seemed fidgety, and he said something else. Suddenly it dawned on me that he didn’t want me to be there when they came, didn’t want them to see me. So I said “You’re asking me to leave?” Was he actually ashamed to be seen with me? And I called him on it.
Why was he worried about what they would think? Some people he has known casually for less than a year? I couldn’t understand. More worried about them than how humiliated I now felt? So disrespectful. After three years, his true character was like a rude slap in the face, and there was nothing I could do about it. I don’t stay if I’m not welcome. Goodbye.
He went away for his weekend and called me when he got back, (Monday night) and we discussed it some. He knew what he did was wrong/felt badly. The thing is, he was still exhausted from the all-nighters from his final week and was also about to leave in a day to his home country for a month. Bad timing for a heavy discussion.
Tuesday he was supposed to come for a nice dinner, but apparently got busy (preparations for trip, his friend may come by) and then said he would come later. I mean, I was expecting him for dinner, and get home and see a message at 5:30 (when I had just left work) He should’ve told me earlier. That warrants a phone call. That wasn’t nice either. So I called him. I could come now he said - but I said no, just stay home, get some rest.
Wednesday we spent some time before I took him to the airport, but didn’t talk about what had happened. I asked, and he said we will, but didn’t.
I was just going to drop him off. Then he said: aren’t you going to park? Huh? Ok....So we went in, checked in, and he had a bit of time before going to chat, and inside I was just burning.
It’s not like I want to break up before he goes on holiday. But I want clarification.
I calmly said that I don’t know why you would want to continue this relationship. You have a problem with how other people see it, and I don’t think that will change.
He said all the right things: I love you, I am so happy with you, I want this to work. What I did was wrong. I can make it up to you, sorry, we can talk more when I get back...and off he went.
His words were white noise. I was deeply affected by his disrespectful behaviour. You can’t enjoy being with me as long as we’re alone. And dismiss me because of what you presume others might say. You can’t treat people like that. It’s wrong.
You should assess people by their actions. Some things are just black and white. He crossed an important line, and I don’t see how it can be undone. His own insecurities are what he should be ashamed of. At that point it would’ve taken a lot to win me back. But I like to believe people can learn.
Anyway, about a week after arriving, there were several days with no messages.
At first, I thought that’s fine, since in my heart I am thinking it’s over, and really awkward now that he’s away. I can use this distance to process the breakup. We will sort it out when he returns.
Then I thought well, what if something happened? I would never know since I am a dirty secret.
I mean, I know you get busy, but in this day and age...we communicate every day. I know he’s with family and don’t expect him to feel obligated to “report in” but didn’t know what was going on. It was worrisome.
I also do not chase people. I try not to make assumptions. Maybe he didn’t have internet who knows? That’s what actually happened to me; that weekend my router went down, so I couldn’t send anything. But he hadn’t for 4 days. I am not a needy or demanding person, but based on our routine, I don’t think he behaved considerately. It sadly demonstrated he wasn’t thinking about me.
It is usually better to wait. It’s not like I stopped caring about him.
Finally, he sent something benign. I responded very directly to his message and expressed my concerns, disappointment, and confusion about the sudden lack of communication.
Then the next few days ok. Now the next bit: he had an interview via Skype and he has been offered a job. A great job. In another city. The city is 5 hours away. The job starts five days after he gets back. So really, it’s synchronicity- a blessing from the universe.
Maybe his lack of messages was disengagement since he knew he was moving? Perhaps he already knew?The tough part will be the next two weeks he’s is away, since I know it’s over and yet not official. I don’t know what he’s thinking. What do you say? Short daily messages/photos on IG, just surface stuff, the weather, ugh. I don’t know what to do...
The move away would have been tough, but having this incident before is what really troubles me. I want to be respectful, and I do wish the best for him. I just think he needs to take a look in the mirror and especially not date anyone older again since I wouldn’t want anyone to ever feel like I did and be treated like that. Or whatever reason he feels embarrassed by. Or needs to keep secret from others. It shows that he lacks maturity, but age is no excuse. He is an adult and I thought someone with sensitivity for others. Instead he behaved in an insensitive manner to the person he is supposed to love. So the age gap itself is not the problem. It’s not about me. Whether it’s age, race, religion, hair colour...Acting on a presumed prejudice is hypocritical. His perception is the issue.
What I have learned is that he was willing to allow his fear of judgment from others to ruin a good thing. His presumption of other people being intolerant allowed him to mistreat me. Not standing up to potential bullies. That’s not acceptable.
Hopefully, he will learn from this experience. Or karma will come for him.
I don’t know what he wants or is feeling either at this point.
In his message about the dream job, he said: “I know this is upsetting for us, and I want you to know that I care about you a lot and I love you. It’s just I really need to take a step in my career and this would look great, ...”
This is a perfect opportunity him and the next phase. It is a 3 month contract with a year to be added, (and I doubt he will screw up). The move will be permanent.
His move ends things naturally, but I don’t think I could or should accept how he behaved in any case. Assuming he wanted the relationship to continue.
I want to be inclusive in my partner’s life. I don’t think it’s healthy to keep different parts of your life separate; especially if I’m supposed to be so important to you.
You should accept people as they are. He has demonstrated he won’t. Not me, specifically, but others perceptions, and he has to grow out of that fear of judgement. It makes no sense to me. And people would definitely think worse of how he treated me than our age difference/relationship or whatever he’s worried about. That’s the irony.
He is at a different stage in his life, too, so I would not date someone this much younger again. Too much risk of changes.
Usually, romantically, I would go ten years either way. I think it’s got a higher chance for success regardless of gender or orientation.
I feel foolish for allowing myself to feel comfortable and trusting him, and discouraged how it happened. I feel crushed. I should have seen this. Rather, I did see it (no parents, no friends) and ignored it. Third time was the charm. But it taught me a lesson:
Stop making excuses for others behaviour. This is a repeat for me.
Even if the next person I date is “age-appropriate” that’s no guarantee of any “happily ever after”. It works until it doesn’t. Things can happen. Feelings can change, people can move. Right now I am very sad. It’s just so very difficult to be disappointed. Heartbroken.
We had a lovely time until now. I love him, and have to let him go. I know I will manage and move forward.
It’s just until he gets back it will be hard since it’s not resolved. I feel sick. Having a conversation about it will probably help. All the things we wanted to do together, travel, will not happen. I wasn’t ready for this. I had invested. Now I have to let go. Ultimately, he is not ready for the type of relationship I deserve.
I don’t know what I want...no contact, usually that’s what I would do.
Is it possible to grow from this and (eventually) be just friends (at a literal distance). See how the scar heals? If he wants to stay in touch that is. We still care about each other.
He will be busy working, moving to his next stage in life anyway; maybe out of sight out of mind.
I am thinking no contact. If he wanted to let me know how he’s doing at the 3 month point that might be ok. If he reached out. Not me. No expectations.
Should we discuss that/I be open to that? Or just leave the campsite in better condition than I found it and call it a day? Close the door. Often it’s better that way. I want to move on too. I’m just saying whether to respond, to touch base if he did. I would feel guilty to ignore. But it may not matter. He may not. I don’t know anything at this point. And I am anticipating future feelings. Too many what ifs.
Too much to process right now.
We need to talk.
I have been reminded by friends not to base decisions on someone else, to stop helping, but to put my needs first, what would be best for me.
I don’t want to feel bitter or hurt; I know I must forgive him and time will heal. I just need to resolve what happened, try to understand why his love was conditional. Then to be grateful that it was enjoyable for the time we had. Isn’t that all we can ask?
You just try your best and enjoy happiness where you can.
The relationship would have ended with his move in any case. I was doing my best to just live in the present and see how it went. And it was going great. It’s too bad this happened but it feels like the universe definitely has another path for us.
I have to realize I have more experience and am stronger, more courageous, willing to risk/ignore judgement, and definitely would never ever do what he did.
Doubt is toxic. Compassion and respect is everything. Real love stands up. Proudly.