Reader Question - Can your soulmate be much older than you? I’ve recently started dating an older man and we are perfect for each other. He is 30 years older than me, but I am in love with him. His children are all my age and hate me and my friends say we have nothing in common. Can we make this work and live out a soulmate life together or are we doomed from the start?
Older, younger – age doesn’t need to be a factor in soulmate relationships of any kind. On the other hand, there are important age-related questions that can help you mindfully enter into a relationship or just as mindfully move on.
Though soulmates come in very kind of relationship imaginable, not just romantic, we’ll stick with romance for this particular conversation.
Why Do You Love Him?
The first and most important question to consider is “What is the attraction I am feeling?” The temptation is to answer, “It’s love, of course, silly!”
Not so fast.
When we meet someone and click, we naturally assume it’s love. In that first flush of connecting with someone, we feel a giddiness. You know – chemistry. That’s the connection celebrating itself, but unless you take a moment to look at that connection and see what it’s really about, you could end up with a Karmic Mate or Ego Mate. Those are both necessary for our personal growth, but they rarely make good candidates for the long-term loving relationships we really want.
In your case, your friends have already observed that you two have very little in common so it’s even more important to figure this out.
Consider the following:
7 Reality Checks for Your May – December Romance:
1. Are you still in your 20s or even 30s? If so, make sure you are relating adult to adult, and not young adult to mentor, parent, or teacher. Those are important relationships, but rarely make good long-term love connections.
2. Even if you are in your 40s or 50s, you two are in very different stages of life. He may be already retired or ready to retire while you may be in the prime of your career. How will you handle his need for you to be “on call” and your need to continue working? It is not necessarily a deal-breaker though you both need to be clear on how your day-to-day will play out. He may be youthful, you may be mature. You may have so much in common that age is completely irrelevant. Talk about it together.
3. You said that you are in love with him, but didn’t say anything about him being in love with you. Go there. Ask yourself - What is he seeing in a much younger woman? What is attracting him to you? Look beyond his words. Is it an ego thing? Are you a “trophy”? That can easily masquerade as love, especially in the early stages. As long as you make him look good, he’ll be good to you, maybe even treating you like a Pampered Princess. Just know that if you want to mature the relationship, he may go running to find the next Little Girl who makes him feel like a Big Man.
4. Does he have friends, male and female, his own age? Having young friends is a fantastic way to stay vibrant. On the other hand, having mostly young friends may signal a Peter Pan issue. It isn’t your job to help him grow up. That robs you of your own youth and puts tremendous pressure on the relationship.
5. Does he shower you with gifts? Trips? Jewelry? So tempting! That may be his Love Language or it may be Ties That Bind. Does it ever feel like there are strings attached?
6. Compare pop culture knowledge and preferences. Seriously. As the initial attraction fades, as it always does regardless of age, you’ll need topics for conversation. Pop culture is pervasive and plays a huge role in our lives. It isn’t necessary at all to agree 100%. You’re looking for common ground for things like movie and music choices, books, and activities.
7. Are you willing to be a caregiver someday? While it’s easy to say "yes" now, you’ll want to give yourself a reality check. Your heart may say “yes,” but remember he may be needing that care when you are in the prime of your life, wanting to go and do and achieve. It’s very noble to say you would be up for it, but it’s even more important for you to be honest with yourself. Do the math – when you are 50, he will be 80.
If you do decide to commit to your May - December romance, you’ll want to keep these 5 Tips for a Happy Relationship in mind:
1. As you’ve already noted, one of the first barriers you may face is the reaction of family and friends, yours and his. For instance, they may make stereotypical comments about cougars, gold-diggers, or trophies. Be prepared. Thicken your skin and don’t succumb to name-calling. Don’t force your Beloved on family and friends, but do gently and firmly let them know he/she can’t be excluded. Don’t get caught up in defending your Darling, but present yourselves as team, a couple. Of course, that begins with actually being a team!
2. A related issue is dealing with the children from previous relationships. Even if they are adults, put yourself in their shoes. Chances are they didn’t ask for a step-parent, especially not one their own age. Even if they wanted dear old dad to find someone to keep him from being lonely, you are not what they had in mind. It falls to you to be respectful towards them. Don’t force yourself on them. Be open and friendly, and allow them to like you in their own way in their own time. The same “rules’ apply to your Beloved. If he tries to ram you down the throats of his children, they will just resent you more. The more the two of you build a solid visibly loving relationship, the more they will thaw towards you. By the way, the same general guidelines apply if either of you has young children from a previous relationship.
3. With every good relationship regardless of age, there is something that just makes sense as you get to know them as a couple. It has nothing to do with age and everything to do with genuine connection. Relax. Help your family and friends get to know you. Let them see how you are blending individual preferences into who you are as a couple. Live in a way that helps them understand why the two of you together just makes sense.
4. Age can affect your sex life. Are you ready? Just because everything is peachy now, doesn’t mean it will last. Age, health, and a myriad of other possible issues can have an impact on your sex life. It’s easy to say that won’t matter, but you need to be crystal clear with what that actually means. Could you handle being in a sexless relationship in the prime of your life? Could you do it without being tempted to have an affair? As hard as that might be to imagine now, you need to.
5. Don’t fall into the trap of blaming age. Being in a committed relationship can be tough at any age regardless of the age difference. No matter how much you love each other or how much you have in common issues will arise that have nothing to do with age. That’s just human nature. Remember, even couples who are close in age are dealing with many of the same challenges, so get clear on the real issues and their real causes and avoid blaming age for everything. Find your common ground and build on it. Choose your battles. Be kind.
So sit yourself down and ask yourself some tough love questions. No, you aren’t being over analytical. You are being wise and thoughtful. The good news is that all these issues can be handled, just like any other relationship issues -- regardless of age.
May-December relationships can be lovely and long-term. As with any other loves, it’s the quality of the relationship, not the age difference that counts.
Anne Wade is Teacher, Writer, Mentor, and Coach for courageous women in midlife and beyond who want to disrupt their own status quo and design life on their own terms, even in turbulent times. She has developed the Becoming Found process of going within to find and address the inner barriers we have all inadvertently built up against love, happiness, health, wealth and any other desires of our hearts. Teaching women to unapologetically shine like a superstar and live their legacy is Anne’s mission.
You can follow her on her Facebook page “Anne Wade – Becoming found” or join her “Becoming Found” Facebook group.