16+ Year Age Difference - Advice?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2014
16+ Year Age Difference - Advice?
12
Thu, 01-23-2014 - 2:14am

I just stumbled on to this forum tonight, and I'm happy I found you.  

I am in a relationship with a man who is a little over 16 years old than me (I'm 38, and he's getting ready to turn 55.)  We have great chemistry, great conversations and we seem to really "get" each other.  He is so kind to me and we love each other.  He has made it clear to me that he wants me to move in with him in two months when my lease is up, and he said all I have to do is "say the word" and he will buy an engagement ring and propose to me.  So in other words, he's ready to get married.

I've been married once before for eight years and divorced several years ago.  I don't have children, and I haven't decided whether I want children or not.  My boyfriend has made it clear to me that he doesn't want children.  Our life together would be just the two of us.  That may or may not be a dealbreaker for me.  I'm just not sure yet.

My more pressing issue is the age difference and what I see coming down the road.  My boyfriend had testicular cancer over 10 years ago and after surgery and radiation went into remission.  He hasn't been to the doctor in years for a checkup.  He is not in the best of shape physically - he eats almost all of his meals out, drinks a little too much and hasn't been to the gym in years.  He's not obese, but he probably has a good 25-30 lbs. to lose.  His father passed away from a brain tumor when he was in his early 60s.  My boyfriend's hands shake all the time, and I have no idea what that is about, but I wonder if it could be some kind of an autoimmune issue.  (His sister is a couple of years younger than he is, and she has an autoimmune disorder and is now in a nursing home.)  I beg him all the time to go to the doctor for a checkup. He says he will, but he never makes the appointment.

Sex is ok, but not great.  He can get hard and has no problems staying hard during oral sex and having an orgasm.  Regular sex can be a different story, though.  He either orgasms way too quickly or he goes soft halfway through and we have to stop.  Either way, I've never had an orgasm during sex with him because it doesn't last long enough.  Thankfully, he's really good at oral sex.  :)  I've just never had to deal with these sex problems before as I've always dated men my age who had no problems getting/keeping erections.  I miss really good sex.

All of this being said, I don't know what to do.  I fear that I will be childless, sexless and will have to take care of an older man when I'm in the prime of my life.  I know how horribly selfish that sounds.  Any advice from others in this type of situation would be welcome.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Thu, 01-23-2014 - 10:58am

wow I cant tell you what to do but if you are venting and complaining now about him it wont get any better until you change the way you are feeling and thinking. Maybe you could coax him to eat better and exercise. take walks together. make an appt. for the doctor for him.. cook healthy meals..

If he doesnt start taking care of himself then he will have health issues but he has to want to do it. I have seen healthy older people who take of themselves and unhealthy younger people who dont take care of themselves.

So this is going to be a hard choice for you......either accept him for who and what he is or move on to someone around your age or who takes better care of himself .

If it were me i would probably move on because at 38 it is still pretty young to find someone else without the baggage this guy has that you say................unfortunately the sex wont get better but will get worse with age. then you get into viagra and all of that stuff.

Its just the nature of the beast but he can take steps to feel and get healthier but does he want to.. so again either accept or leave.

Good Luck

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 01-23-2014 - 4:33pm

People embrace their infirm, elderly spouses because they had each other in the good days.  They've grown old together, and now they are at the same place in the road.  People RARELY AQUIRE infirm, elderly spouses, especially when THEY are not, unless they are expecting a big payday.

The minute you said "I'm not sure", and "I miss really good sex", and "I fear that I will be childless, sexless and will have to take care of an older man when I'm in the prime of my life" was the minute you should have realized you need to walk away.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 01-23-2014 - 7:01pm

I don't think you are being selfish, I just think you are being honest and expressing your fears.  Which, by the way, are real concerns.  

I don't know how much of this is truly age, because even someone younger could be exhibiting some of these same issues.  But like the others said, I also believe this is about acceptance.  Sure, you can "accept" who he is, but can you live with it?  

Do remember though that your fears may, or may not, come true.  I am a firm believer in NOT making decisions out of fear.  

Cancer runs in my DH's family and he smokes a pack of cigarettes a day.  But you know what, I married him knowing all of this.  I could die in a car crash tomorrow, or he could die in 5 years of 30 years.  We just don't know.  

So, with all of that said I ask you this: Can you live the rest of your life with him exactly the way he is.  The good part is that you have some time to think about these things.  I think clarity will come when your lease is up.  Doesn't mean you have to break up with him, but it will definately send a signal to him of where you are at in this R with him.  

My opinion?   This isn't the right guy for you marry.  If he was, you wouldn't be worried about the things you listed.

My advice?  Follow your gut.  You have to live with your decsion, we here on the board do not.  :)  

Good luck and what ever you decide, be fair to this guy.   

Serenity CL making a second marriage work

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2014
Thu, 01-23-2014 - 7:16pm

For me, more than the age difference is the fact that your boyfriend seems to have some  serious health issues and he  isnt dealing with them in any helpful or realistic way. He has symptoms and a family history of an auto immune disorder,and he is a cancer survivor, but he wont go to a doctor for a check up.  I would think that a man  who loves a woman  would do everything possible to stay healthy so that he and his love can have many  good years together.  The age difference is not the issue here, its his health and his approach to difficulties.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 01-23-2014 - 7:36pm

I think it's wise for you to think about these things.  By the way, I'm 56 and I hardly think of myself as old.  Most of the men who are around my age don't seem that old to me either, but then again, I'm not looking at it from the perspective of a younger person.  I agree that it's not the age difference--it's that he's a guy who doesn't seem to take care of himself.  It's crazy to be a cancer survivor and not go to the doc for regular checkups--maybe he's afraid of what he might find.  The hand shaking is interesting--I'm not in the medical field but the people I know who have auto immune diseases don't have shaking hands--I'd be thinking of Parkinsons disease first or even the alcohol--but how would he know what it is since he doesn't have an exam?

You also say you might want kids--hey, you're 38--if you want kids you really have to make a decision about that very very soon.  You know he doesn't want kids so if you want your options open, you need time to find another guy to have kids with or at least to be able to adopt.  I think if you aren't sure, you shouldn't marry someone who has already said that he definitely doesn't want kids.

The bottom line here is that you're not sure about your relationship so it would be a mistake to get engaged when you aren't certain about it.  It would be easier to break a lease than to get divorced.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2014
Thu, 01-23-2014 - 11:00pm

Thank you everyone for your comments!  It has given me a lot to think about.

Just so everyone knows, and it probably goes without saying, but I'm definitely not a gold digger.  I'm an attorney, and while it's not my dream profession, it does allow me to take care of myself and not have to look for a man based on money, thank goodness.

That aside, I found the comment about Parkinson's interesting as I started thinking about that last night after I posted.  The other night we went to a movie, and he held my hand throughout the movie.  I noticed that it was trembling and kind-of jumping around while his fingers were laced in mine.  That concerned me, and when I researched Parkinson's last night, I read that that could be what is called a "resting tremor," which can be a sign of Parkinson's.

I have told him repeatedly that it is crucial that he have a full checkup at the doctor - seeing his former oncologist just to get checked out, seeing an internist for full bloodwork, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc., etc.  He is terrified of shots, and he said when he goes to the doctor, he will want me to come with him to keep him calm.  I told him I absolutely would do that.  But still, he keeps putting off making the appointment.  I have nagged him (which I hate to do!) to the point of him getting annoyed with me.

I think my next step is sitting him down and telling him that I would not even consider marrying him unless he goes to the doctor and starts taking care of himself physically.  I have talked around this by saying that he needs to understand how terrified I am of him dying and leaving me and that he needs to do whatever he needs to do to keep himself in good physical condition.  He says he understands and will do something about it, yet he doesn't.  I am also going to point blank ask him about the trembling hands.  They tremble so badly that he can barely get my bra undone, for example.

One more thing for me to throw out here, that I think you will all think is a huge red flag:  In over a year's time, I've never been to his house.  He's only been to mine.  Since his divorce, he has lived with two different women over the years, the last one being about five years ago.  Since then, from what he has said, he has let his house fall into shambles (and he lives in a very nice neighborhood, in a house worth around a million dollars), he describes his situation as nearly being a "hoarder" and that he needs to get things in order before he would let me come over.  He said he's currently working on it so that I could move in with him in a couple of months.  The whole thing feels very weird to me.  

Anyway, the crazy part is that we leave for a 10 day trip to Maui tomorrow.  The whole thing should be eye opening, as we've never spent this many days together uninterrupted.  I'm going to try to let all of this go while we're in Maui and then once we are back, tackle it all head on.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2014
Fri, 01-24-2014 - 12:41am

One more thing I wanted to mention: I don't consider 53 old in the least, but I consider my boyfriend to be an "old 53." My four siblings are all in their 50s and 60s. (I was a late in life baby - my mom was 40 and my dad was 41 when they had me, and they had my siblings very young). My brother is my boyfriend's age, and the last thing I consider my brother to be is old. But the difference here is that my brother is vegetarian, he rarely drinks and is not the least bit overweight. He doesn't seem fragile to me like my boyfriend. My dad is 79 years old, and he does cardio daily and lifts weights every other day. My parents have no substantial health problems. My grandmother lived to be nearly 95. So I'm used to my family members taking care of themselves and having long, healthy lives. With my boyfriend, I have this strange premonition he won't make it another 10 years if he doesn't make some drastic lifestyle changes. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Fri, 01-24-2014 - 8:59am

If you don't have 100% confidence in marrying him, he's not the right man for you. If you are not totally content with things in the present, and have contingencies about his changing before you can be happy, he's not the right man for you. You have to be happy with how a man is right now, for him to be right for you. If you want a person to change, then he's not "the one." He has a right to be who he is, and you have a right to say, "This isn't working for me" and leave. A life of sexual frustration is misery. That would be a dealbreaker for me. A man who doesn't take care of his home and calls himself a "hoarder" would be a dealbreaker for me. You will probably be making your decision within the the next 4 years if you want a child or not, and if you've spent all these years with him and then decide you want a child, the breakup will be that much worse with all those years together. Better to get out now and only choose to date men who may want the same things as you. In my opinion, it's much better to stick with someone around your own age since it's more likely to be going through the same life stages together. Why burden yourself to a likely future of brining him to doctors appointments and a poor sex life and not being active with hobbies and traveling with someone you say is aging a lot faster than he should be? There are other men you can find who you will have chemistry with and can grow to love who you don't want to change. When you feel mostly frustration, disappointment, and angst on a daily basis with someone, it means they are not "the one." Take care.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 01-24-2014 - 11:36am

That is totally wierd about the house too.  How can he invite you to move in to a house that you've never seen?  I think that is a huge red flag.  Suppose the house is falling down and in need of massive repairs.  Not to mention that if it's been filled with junk I'd be worried about mold, vermin and who knows what else?  I'm a lawyer too and I have an older woman friend who is a lawyer.  The street she lives in is one of the richest waterfront streets in the area--houses are multi-million dollar mansions.  Her husband is such a hoarder that she says they have 13 garages on the property all filled with his junk!  I can just imagine the neighbors aren't thrilled with that--maybe she puts up with that so he keeps his junk out of the house. 

So maybe this guy is really nice and kind to you and you have things in common--maybe he would be a really good friend.  But for a husband, I just think there are too many problems and you should find someone better suited to you.  If it's important to you to take care of your health, then there are plenty of guys who are like that too.  I have a guy friend who is 65 and I was shocked when I found that out because he is super fit, runs, bikes, surfs.  So it's really not the age, it's the lifestyle.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 01-24-2014 - 7:31pm

Hi again.

I agree that you should let this all go and enjoy your trip with him.  Ten days with him will be very telling.  He sounds like a great guy, but if an engagement is contingent on anything, I would take great pause.  

I have a feeling that this trip will help bring you clarity, either way.  I LOVE Maui!!!

Serenity

Serenity

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