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I’m a 37 year old mother who has been divorced/separated from my ex of 13 years since Nov of 2009. Though I was not looking for love, it found me. I met a man that I have more of a connection with than I ever believed possible. He feels the same and believes me to be his soul mate as well. However, despite our feelings there is an age difference of 15 years, he’s younger. Though everyone who meets us doesn’t realize were not the same age, it’s been a huge stumbling block for our friends and some family. In fact we’ve both lost friends as a result and are often excluded to his friends functions, especially if their girlfriends are involved. While no one is perfect, he’s the most caring and sensitive, mature on a soul level man I’ve ever met. I suffer from a debilitating disease called RSD, the reason my husband said he left, yet he takes care of me when I need it, and loves me anyway. He also loves my son as his own and they have a great relationship, he even coaches his school football team. We’ve been together a year, and people still can’t/won’t accept it. The people we truly care about the most do, but society has double standards. When an older man dates a significantly younger woman, he gets high fives and his friends want all the details. When a woman does, she’s labeled an animal…a “cougar.” While no one is perfect, he’s taught me more about myself and love than I have from any other besides my son. Most of my friends have never even met him, a few even refused. An ex friend even went to great lengths to create viscious lies about his character, even emailing my friends and family things that were so far from the truth, that no one should have given it a thought. While we both had our reservations early on simply because of the age, even broke it off for a short time, now we no longer see it. But some people in our lives, that’s all they see. We can’t change societal prejudices, but is there anything we can do?
L.Dear frustrated L,
There is and at the same time, you will teach others, age does not matter. Both of you can hold your heads high and love each other, as many couples have had to do when they did not fit the society’s mold of a correct couple. You are right you cannot change society alone or the opinions and bias’s of your friends and family. They are conditioned with stereotypes of genders and their roles that blinds them from seeing how right he is for you. Some are probably bothered by the fact it is not the norm, while others are worried he isn’t mature enough for you and your son. Either way through time, their stereotyping will break if they truly care for your happiness. He sounds like he cares for you and your son deeply and is in it for the long haul. They will see he does not fit the stereotypical man in their 20’s plus he will reach his 30’s eventually.
Now for the people that stopped being your friend and the others that refuse to meet him. They are not real friends. I suggest you look at their reaction as a blessing that exposed their true colors.
As for strangers, the lack of consistency of observing you two together will make it hard for them to move past the conditioning of the society. The roots of double standards of men and women are layers deep in gender casting. The society will first have to move past the fears of women in a position of power. But for now stand tall and show the world love is not determined by age but by the heart.
May Love Prevail