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Seeing a much older guy, not sure where to go from here? I'm a little scared


Medus88321
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I really hate to go into so much detail when I really don't need to.

Essentially way back in January I was working as a barista and this customer came in and at first it seemed like a normal transaction but somehow he struck up a fun conversation with me and we talked for awhile and then ended up giving me his business card and asking me to call him sometime.

He was very charming but also down to earth and a very yellow happy free energy about him. After a week I called him, and he wanted to meet at a bar. Now, he didn't look 35 but that's what turned out to be the situation and I'm 22. We met up and chatted for hours, he was not as surprised about my age as I was his since he knew I was in college. We played some pool and laughed a bit, he's very comfortable in almost any situation, intelligent, and open minded. He owns his own successful Arborist business he started when he was 24, he has traveled all over the world. He just was intensely interesting and fun to be around, and I was really confused as to how he got into me, I am very average and I don't have nearly as many interesting life adventures as he did.

He is a mountain man but with a BA in literature and his own business, he likes to hunt and camp so we don't have a ton of time together, he avoids situations where he would have introduce me and I don't know if it's because he is scared to, ashamed to, is he hiding something, is he hiding me, does he have a girlfriend he's lying about, is it just too soon maybe? I picked him and a buddy of his up from a party and spent the night at his friends house, and he took me out "hunting" (kinda but not serious hunting) with his uncle and friend, but I don't know if that means we are "dating" or "just friends" or are we exclusive or just experimenting? I don't know how to even go in that direction, he did mention his ex wife coming around him now that she is getting divorced again, and he said he was so done but could that be a thing? I live at home still and don't make much money and still go to community college so I don't have a TON going for me, so we are just in very different spots in life but I really enjoy his company and want to start getting closer I guess he's funny and very real yet humble and kind, and I'd like to think if I was just a hump and dump he would have quit me after the numerous times I ignored him for dating other people. I'm scared he only wants me for one thing, but he doesn't outwardly act that way all the time but I'm not 100% sure either, because he's not the type to convey his thoughts or feelings so openly. I was thinking about inviting him to a casual dinner out with my sister and some friends to introduce him, is this a good idea and first step into the "serious" category or maybe not? I just know the ambiguousness kinda gives me anxiety and is nerve racking for me. Should I wait or just tell him how I feel? I literally don't know, I am on a certain level intimidated by him in the success department. I just need advice, I feel kinda out of water and a little in uncharted territory. I am scared of wasting my time, but even more scared of rejection too, I have serious trust issues from being lied to and cheated on so I am usually hard to tie down relationship wise. Thoughts?

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Well, you're 22 and having fun with the guy. Do you have to get serious? Divorced guys are skittish when it comes to making commitments, and this guy may run away if you make him uncomfortable. That's also why it's not a good idea to introduce him to your friends. It's too much pressure. You still have school to finish, why not just enjoy the friendship? For now.

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I would talk to him before taking the step to invite him to dinner with your sister. It could be very awkward if he turns down the invitation, or goes but still keeps his emotional distance from you.

 

But I'm curious - when you spent the night at his friend's place, and went hunting with his uncle, how did he introduce you? As his friend?

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You could in so many ways be describing my last relationship, only I was in his role.

 

My ex was 23 went we met, I was 35, and I swear she could have written your post verbatim at the same mark in our relationship.

 

Looking back, I think what drew me toward her was that she didn't push, that she was "cool" with the ambiguity. I wasn't using her for the obvious, wasn't cheating on her, but I was hesitant about the whole thing for a number of reasons: the age gap, some personal stuff, etc. I wasn't totally ready for an intentional commitment (oh, men!) and so we "worked" because we were able to be "casual" even when we were anything but.

 

I knew on some level that she was "intimidated," as you said, scared of losing me, of rejection—that I, essentially, was steering the ship. We sometimes found ways to address that, but the first year a lot of things were communicated passively. She felt "good" about things when we were physically together—on trips, in bed, hanging with my friends—but uneasy when we were apart, as if I'd disappear back into the world of older people with big lives and careers from which I came. That tension was always there, the elephant in the room.

 

I fell in love with her, and after a year or so we were very much a traditional couple. We spent 3 years together total. Still, that tension had set in, never vanished, and it eventually was the undoing of us in a lot of not-so-pretty ways that neither of us are proud of. The power balance could never level off because it had been so off for so long early. In other words, everything that made us "work" was ultimately what made us not work.

 

Truth is, I always wanted her to step up a bit more, assert her needs, express herself. It was almost like I needed that to take it seriously, with the irony being that she needed to feel safer in order to express herself. A classic Catch-22, that, often seen with big age gaps.

 

So I'd say to you: be straight with him, have a talk, seek whatever it is YOU need to feel safe and secure in this. You are EXACTLY as valuable as he is; he's just a person, like you, not some god or hero. You bring all sorts of magic to the table, magic he should be cherishing and celebrating in a way that makes you feel ecstatic and calm. If you don't feel that, you're simply not in the right relationship.

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It sounds like an adventure for you, unfortunately it sounds like he's married. Do not go further unless he invites you to His home.

I picked him and a buddy of his up from a party and spent the night at his friends house he did mention his ex wife coming around him. I'd like to think if I was just a hump and dump
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Looking back, I think what drew me toward her was that she didn't push, that she was "cool" with the ambiguity.

 

I fell in love with her, and after a year or so we were very much a traditional couple.

 

This is so interesting and makes so much sense! I understand it completely.

 

JMO and experience, but there is always a bit of uncertainty and ambiguity in the very early stages. Well maybe not always but often.

 

When women (or men) begin to push (which happens more often than not), it only serves to push the other right out that proverbial door in many cases.

 

I do see it happening more so with women than with men though; women (generally speaking) seem to be in bigger rush to secure that "relationship" label; whereas men need to ease into that gradually, in their own time.

 

For me, I don't push, never have. I used to be "cooler" than I am now, but have learned to speak up more about what I need and want, but I always wait a bit regardless, to give us time to "gel" if that makes sense.

 

My patience, flexibility and non-push attitude has nearly always resulted in the man wanting a "relationship" with me, and eventually falling in love with me.

 

In fact, both my last bf (short term RL) and my current bf both said the same thing to me! Most, if not all, their prior girlfriends were "pushers."

 

 

Truth is, I always wanted her to step up a bit more, assert her needs, express herself. It was almost like I needed that to take it seriously, with the irony being that she needed to feel safer in order to express herself. A classic Catch-22, that, often seen with big age gaps.

 

Hmmm, I see it too, but don't think it's limited to big age gaps. Women in general need to feel safe emotionally before expressing this type of vulnerability. I know I do, and have read about and actually know women who feel the same. Regardless of ages.

 

It's a yin/yang thing, just like sex. Women (again generally speaking) need relationship first before sex, and men need sex first before relationship.

 

 

So I'd say to you: be straight with him, have a talk, seek whatever it is YOU need to feel safe and secure in this. You are EXACTLY as valuable as he is; he's just a person, like you, not some god or hero. You bring all sorts of magic to the table, magic he should be cherishing and celebrating in a way that makes you feel ecstatic and calm. If you don't feel that, you're simply not in the right relationship.

 

I agree! :D

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He just introduced me as my self but with out any kind of label. But when we left the next morning his friend said he was super happy to meet me and was glad I came, and hoped to see me around more often. The same kind of happened with his uncle who made the comment that I was lucky to have around and he should bring me more. So, good I think?

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With respect to being "scared": of what? Nobody, not even the two of you, can agree to stay together forever. Nobody can guarantee which of you will end it first, assuming it ends.

 

Stay in it because it works for you in a way that advances you towards you goals - of whatever sort. Stay because you are learning relationship skills. Stay involved because it meets your current needs in enough ways that the returns exceed effort + opportunity cost.

 

Trust that if and when it ends, you will be okay. Make sure you will be smarter, more self-aware, better at managing yourself, your career, your life... whatever it is that you learn, make sure you see it and develop that knowledge.

 

Why? Because your experience is yours. Nobody can claim it but you. Make it good.

 

Leave the rest to be revealed some other day, as it should be. You can not know now what will be clear later, right? Nobody gets that privilege. Trust issues are really about coping skills, resilience, and acceptance. Work on that. The rest will solve itself.

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He just introduced me as my self but with out any kind of label. But when we left the next morning his friend said he was super happy to meet me and was glad I came, and hoped to see me around more often. The same kind of happened with his uncle who made the comment that I was lucky to have around and he should bring me more. So, good I think?

 

It's nice, but other people's opinions aren't what's most important. It's what your guy thinks.

 

He's old enough and experienced enough to know that 9 months is plenty of time to understand if there's a future or not. I would talk to him. If he's not on the same page as you, it's better you know now rather than investing more.

 

I would be a little curious in what capacity his ex-wife has been coming around again, though. Do they still see each other?

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A 35 year old businessman with a BA in literature who randomly picks up a 22 year old barrista...Imo, he is only living in the moment and that is a very skewed dynamic to have at the outset, where he chose someone over whom he would hold the upper hand. He sounds immature.

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This sounds good, Medus!

 

Sounds like he's into you, that you're both having fun, feeling things out. But just remember that you're bringing a lot to the table, too, and that's why he's interested. Sure, he's got more on the resumé, has traveled more—that's just because he's lived longer. Reading back over your original post it sounds like that's the source about your anxieties, as it was my ex. I simply thought she was a terrific woman and didn't care at all about that nonsense.

 

katrina (and Medus): I agree with you about that little male/female dance that often occurs in the first few months to a year. Almost (broad brushstrokes here) like the woman needs the label to relax and be vulnerable, and for the man the label comes once he's relaxed enough to get vulnerable. What I found, in dating younger, was that she found it a lot more stressful than she let on, me being her first big trip to the rodeo—and, man oh man, did that buried stress eventually surface in some unhealthy ways.

 

So guess I'm just saying that you want to be cautious about how much you're actually "cool" with and how much you're playing "cool." It's never pushy to have a "cool" chat about intentions, a little check in; in fact, it's cool!

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Ok, I’m in a very similar situation, except I’m the older guy and she’s the very pretty younger girl. I’m 40 she’s 20.

Much like you and your guy we have a lot to talk about when we are together and lots in common. And the conversation just flows very easily and she’s the first person in a long time I’ve been able to feel comfortable around. But our reality just like yalls reality is we are in two very different places in life. I’m in a very established job, planning for retirement and she hasn’t even gotten close on figuring out her career path yet. All that being said I wish y’all the best of luck, some times it works out, most of the times it won’t. Just remember one thing, if your serious about him, there can’t be a bunch of drama, us old guys won’t deal with it for long. All the best

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It's nice, but other people's opinions aren't what's most important. It's what your guy thinks.

 

He's old enough and experienced enough to know that 9 months is plenty of time to understand if there's a future or not. I would talk to him. If he's not on the same page as you, it's better you know now rather than investing more.

 

I would be a little curious in what capacity his ex-wife has been coming around again, though. Do they still see each other?

 

 

I'm not entirely sure if they do ACTUALLY see each other or they just have some kind of communication flow going? He said they ultimately split because she had a music career in Tennessee and his business is in the state we live in and it was too hard on top of all their other problems to work through the distance. Then she remarried right away, but that was five or so years ago and she got divorced and came around to him again? that's literally the entire extent that I know about it. I didn't want to pry too much by asking all the time.

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This sounds good, Medus!

 

Sounds like he's into you, that you're both having fun, feeling things out. But just remember that you're bringing a lot to the table, too, and that's why he's interested. Sure, he's got more on the resumé, has traveled more—that's just because he's lived longer. Reading back over your original post it sounds like that's the source about your anxieties, as it was my ex. I simply thought she was a terrific woman and didn't care at all about that nonsense.

 

katrina (and Medus): I agree with you about that little male/female dance that often occurs in the first few months to a year. Almost (broad brushstrokes here) like the woman needs the label to relax and be vulnerable, and for the man the label comes once he's relaxed enough to get vulnerable. What I found, in dating younger, was that she found it a lot more stressful than she let on, me being her first big trip to the rodeo—and, man oh man, did that buried stress eventually surface in some unhealthy ways.

 

So guess I'm just saying that you want to be cautious about how much you're actually "cool" with and how much you're playing "cool." It's never pushy to have a "cool" chat about intentions, a little check in; in fact, it's cool!

 

Well I'm really grateful for the insight, from the other side it seems so simple now that I find it funny. I know in reality it's still very complicated and I despise the silly "dating game" we humans play at times. I hope you're right about some things, I want to be able to even get the chance to bring more to the table than I have ever gotten the opportunity.I am very independent, I can go weeks without hearing from him and I'm okay. It's hearing from him and making plans with him that puts me in a tizzy! I just don't know exactly what I would ask him if I did try to talk about it, don't guys hate it when you ask how you feel about them? Especially grown men, who have been on this marry-go-round so many times?

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don't guys hate it when you ask how you feel about them? Especially grown men, who have been on this marry-go-round so many times?

 

No, where did you get that idea?

 

I am a little older than him, and in all my relationships, I have never hesitated to ask a guy where he saw things going if we'd been dating a few months. Generally, they were the ones to bring it up first, actually.

 

Since this man has also been married, surely he realizes that communication is important and won't run if you bring it up - unless he was never all in to begin with.

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No, where did you get that idea?

 

I am a little older than him, and in all my relationships, I have never hesitated to ask a guy where he saw things going if we'd been dating a few months. Generally, they were the ones to bring it up first, actually.

 

Since this man has also been married, surely he realizes that communication is important and won't run if you bring it up - unless he was never all in to begin with.

 

If we ask questions with a curious and caring feeling, we are more likely to generate an informative conversation.

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If we ask questions with a curious and caring feeling, we are more likely to generate an informative conversation.

 

I wrote the foregoing comment because I think the Where are we going? question has some gender typing undertones.

 

If we look at the question as an open ended conversation starter, then it becomes a question that is reasonable and respectful.

 

The topic is often laden with fear/expectation/accusation --- all of which create pressure and would cause someone of any gender to resist the conversation.

 

In fact, it would cause someone to resist a conversation whether posing the question or being asked to answer it. And therein lies your clue: prepare yourself for any answer, and you will be able to ask the question.

 

Remember: nobody knows the future and also, there are many nuances between involved and not-involved.

 

Relax.

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Don't try to prove to him how independent and grown up you are by lowering the bar this much. A guy who won't see or contact you for "weeks" is not that interested, involved with someone else or can't be bothered maintaining your interest.

I am very independent, I can go weeks without hearing from him and I'm okay.
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I think it's worth it to go out with him a bit more and get more of a feel for what he's about. It's worth it to talk to him properly about it as well to see his intentions.

 

Sometimes older guys are hard to figure out - some of them are single at that age for bad reasons, some go for younger girls to treat them like playthings. I'm around your age though and I met a 32 year old guy while traveling before - he was a really good person and had never married before, but due to him being an actor and working until 11 PM each day he never got around to having a relationship.

 

I'd say sometimes instead of focusing on your mind go with your heart.

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