My husband of almost six years is 25 years my senior. Our age difference might influence our choice in music, but in no way does it affect our arguments, personal goals, or love and admiration for each other. I’m 28, and I can’t imagine having a relationship with anyone other than my 53-year-old husband — who has been told on numerous occasions that he looks like Billy Joel. Go figure.
In celebration of large age-gap relationships, here are five ways my marriage to an older man has made me a better person:
1. I listen more.
My husband has had many wild years of life before me (like when his house blew up as a child, his time in a band, and the tragic death of his four-year-old daughter in a fire), so I’ve learned to become a dynamite listener. Hearing about my husband’s life experiences — both positive and negative — has helped me make my own decisions.
2. I’m more open-minded.
Yes, relationships between younger women and older men are much more common than the reverse, but that doesn’t make them any less taboo. When Tom and I first met, I was only 18 and was extremely insecure about my new relationship. I certainly didn’t want my peers judging me, thinking that my “parent-aged” partner was “weird” or “disgusting,” or wondering if my boyfriend was going through a mid-life crisis. I truly learned to treat others the way I would want them to treat me.
3. My partner makes me feel connected.
Our relationship slowly progressed from sideward glances and intellectual conversation over lunch to long kisses and passionate embraces during afternoons spent in bed. Unlike with younger guys, my experience with my husband was more about the two of us than just him and his desires. Maybe like a fine wine, men also improve with age.
4. He helps me relish today.
My husband constantly teaches me to savor the moment I’m in instead of focusing on the future. Today’s society may focus on accomplishments and titles, but thanks to my husband, that mindset no longer resonates with me. He reminds me not to wish my life away because in the blink of an eye, I’ll be his age.
5. I’ve learned to follow my heart.
Despite others telling us that our age difference would tear us apart, my husband and I have both learned that those 25 years apart have brought us closer together than anyone – including us – could have imagined. Since the beginning, we knew that our love is real and didn’t let the naysayers influence our relationship. Understanding that you need to live your life for yourself is so important, but we often forget it. My relationship subtly reminds me of this truth every day.
Age gap relationships may be stigmatized, but my older partner has taught me so much about life and love. If you’re in an age gap relationship, don’t give up – you’ll learn so much, and your life with your partner will be worth your time.