Translate

Monday, August 15, 2016

Intergenerational Relationships Can Work

Are you in or considering an intergenerational relationship? Are you against such relationships?

By “intergenerational,” I’m talking about ADULT generations. I’m talking about CONSENTING ADULTS. I just wanted to get that out of the way. I’m not talking about adults preying on minors, pedophilia, etc.

The Bad

Although not illegal, nonconsanguineous relationships between adults with a sizable age difference do face prejudice and discrimination. Stereotypical assumptions, expressed as though they are automatically negative, are made about both the younger and older people involved in such relationships.

The older person, depending on age/gender, is often said to be:


  • In denial about aging
  • Trying to relive their youth
  • Taking advantage of” or “using” the younger person(s)
  • Having a midlife crisis
  • Immature
  • Incapable of relating to people their own age
  • Controlling
  • Looking for a nurse
  • Cradle-robbing
  • Avoiding “real” commitment
  • Just looking for sex
The younger person, depending on age, is often said to be:
  • Trying to feel older or more mature
  • Flattered by the attention of an older person
  • Having mommy or daddy issues
  • A gigolo or looking for a sugar daddy 
  • A gold digger
  • “Taking advantage of” or “using” the older person(s)
  • Looking to be controlled or taken care of
  • Avoiding “real” commitment
  • Just looking for sex
While the gossips and finger-waggers might see each of those as pejorative, the people in the relationships might not see all of those as bad. For example, what if it is “just” about sex? That goes for many relationships between people close in age. What’s wrong with consensual sex? There’s nothing wrong with an older person looking for a sexual partner with more energy and tighter skin, or a younger person looking for a sexual partner with more competence and confidence. Also, many of the same criticisms can be credibly applied to relationships between people of the same age.

Regardless, there are people in these relationships who have a healthy relationship and are happy, fulfilled, and getting what they need and want. Some of these relationships last for the long term. Discriminating against people who are in these relationships often involves jealousy, envy, ageism, sexism, and sex-negativity. There is this idea that a relationship has to be monogamous, lead to marriage and baby-making, and last until death, and intergenerational relationships are not seen by people asserting this notion as ideal for that, even though it is possible for such relationships to be monogamous, lead to marriage and baby-making, and last until death. But that doesn’t stop the sex police, who also bash cohabitation without marriage, polyamory and other forms of ethical nonmonogamy, being childless by choice, gay and lesbian relationships, and often consanguineous and interracial relationships.

Although I don’t talk about myself a lot on this blog, I will say that I have had multiple long-term relationships with older women. I was not specifically seeking older women; it is just how things worked out, in part because I’ve always had friends of different generations. I do not regret these relationships. The first was when I was still a teenager (although of legal age) with a woman in her mid-40s. That started out as a friendship. It lasted as a sexual relationship for about a year and a half. In my 20s, I was with a woman in her 50s. There are other examples, but you get the idea.

In the past, especially with women being treated as property, incubators, domestic servants, and needing males to represent them in public life, it was somewhat socially acceptable for certain men to marry women much younger than them. Now women who freely choose to be with older men are seen by some as setting equality back. On the plus side is the increasing acceptability of relationships between older women and younger men.

Those who express their prejudice against such relationships will often say something along the lines of…

“She’s old enough to be your mother!”
“He’s old enough to be your father!”
“She’s young enough to be your daughter!”
“He’s young enough to be your son!”

But when asked, “So what?” the person objecting to this consensual relationship between adults will almost never have a rational answer. The real answer is usually either that they wouldn’t want such a relationship for themselves, or, conversely, that they wish they had a relationship like that and are envious. Neither of those should have any power over anyone else’s consensual relationships.


The Good

There are some advantages to intergenerational relationships, depending on whether people are looking for a deep and lasting relationship or something more casual.

The couple or polycule will have the perspective, experiences, and likely a circle of friends from at least two generations, instead of just one.

Younger participants may bring vigor, vitality, and fresh perspectives while older participants may bring experience, understanding, and stability.

Older participants may impart reassurance and guidance to younger participants, and the younger participants may provide the older participants with help getting out of a rut and a feeling of renewal.

Male and female libidos are often not at the same level at the same ages, and sometimes an intergenerational relationship brings together people who would not be happy if they were restricted to only being with people their age.

Male fertility generally lasts longer than female fertility. That means someone who wants a child can still have one with an older man, and someone who doesn’t want a child doesn’t risk unwanted pregnancies with an older woman.

If it makes them happy, isn't that good?



Considerations For Those Considering Such a Relationship

For anyone:


1. Recognize you are in different phases of life. That can have advantages and disadvantages. If you do pursue this relationship, make the most of the advantages and prepare for the disadvantages.

2. Be forewarned that you're going to get some judgmental, jealous, and envious people wagging their fingers at you.

3. These relationships are often entered into by someone who has one or more children. If so:  a) The other parent(s) of your lover’s children, if alive, are likely to always be involved somehow in your lover’s life, and therefore your life; b) Any child and their parent might not like you (or your own children) or the idea of your lover having a new lover; c) Even if your lover’s child likes you, those feelings may change as they get older, especially if you and your lover have a child together; d) If your lover pays (or is liable for) child support, depending on the laws where you live, YOUR income can be figured into that if you get married, meaning that you could be legally required to help pay your lover’s child support.

4. Children of the older lover may have an attraction to or crush on the younger lover and may resent their parents because of it, or may be jealous of the affection their parents has for the lover. Parents of the younger lover may have an attraction to the older lover, causing certain tensions.


If you are younger:

1. Understand that because your lover has more life experience, your lover may have certain power advantages over you, but almost every relationship has power differences.

2. Understand that if you want to have (more) children and grow old with someone, you're not as likely to do it with a lover multiple decades older as you would with one your own age. (Even if you don't feel right now that you'll want those things, your feelings could easily change in the future.)

3. Be aware some people look for younger lovers for reasons with which you might not be comfortable, but that can be true of relationships of any age; as long as you look for warning signs and stand up for yourself, there shouldn't be a problem.

4. Understand you're still young and you've got a lot of life and personal growth ahead of you.


If you are older:

1. Be aware some people look for older lovers for reasons with which you might not be comfortable, but that can be true of relationships of any age; as long as you look for warning signs and stand up for yourself, there shouldn't be a problem.

2. Understand that your younger lover may not be as set in their ways as you are or know themselves as well as you know yourself. He or she still has much personal growth ahead of them and what they want could change more easily than what you want (especially in terms of getting married, having children, and long-term goals) making you no longer compatible. He or she make think they can be happy with an aging partner, but they’re less likely to truly understand that really means than someone your age or older than you.

3. You shouldn’t assume the younger person knows as much as you do, will relate to in-your-lifetime history like you do, or will get your cultural references. But nor should you assume they are ignorant.


Conclusion

As with any other relation that is subject to stigma and discrimination (casual, interracial, international, interfaith, gay/lesbian, polyamorous, open, consanguinamorous, D/s, etc.) intergenerational relationships shouldn’t be dismissed or discriminated against just because they aren’t what someone else sees as ideal. Consenting adults should be free to have the relationships they want with each other. It is up to them to decide if a relationship is right for them or not. Sure, there are some bad intergenerational relationships, just like there are bad relationships of any circumstance. The bad relationships should not mean that nobody should be supported by family and friends or discriminated against because of who they love and how they love them.

Those who object to these relationships because of a personal belief that lovers should die within a short time of each other are ignoring that fact that people who are about the same age could have very different longevity, and the surviving lover(s) can find new loves.

Whether they last for life or for a season, these relationships can be beneficial to all involved.





Should I date an older woman? Should I date an older man? Is it OK to date a younger man? It is OK to date a younger woman? What about intergenerational dating? What about intergenerational marriage? What about intergenerational sex? Is it OK to have a younger boyfriend? Is it OK to have a younger girlfriend?
— — —

18 comments:

  1. I don't think I have seen you talk about this type of relationship before, but I do agree with you. My number one concern with people in a relationship is that everyone involved is happy. Age differences should not keep you from the one you love.
    -Liz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Liz! Always good to hear from you. You're right, I haven't focused on intergenerational relationships; I've only written about them as they pertain to consanguinamory. I'm thinking about making this the first in a series and covering other relationships I haven't focused on, such as in-laws who get together, stepsiblings, etc.

      Delete
    2. Hello! My name is Alejandra and I'm new to this blog and very open to the ideas presented here!
      However I couldn't help but notice that you only represent people in relationships that are considered *wrong.*
      Have you ever thought of expanding your support towards folks that indulge in certain behaviour frowned upon by others but that doesn't harm anyone? Something like cannibalism and necrophilia, both of which I find utterly appalling BTW and would *never* participate in something like that, but you yourself said that personal disgust shouldn't get in the way of support! This is just a thought that suddenly popped into my mind and I wouldn't mind if you refused.

      Cheers from Spain! I look forward to your reply!

      Delete
    3. Alejandra, thank you for reading and for commenting. The focus of this blog is on consensual sexual, dating, romantic, or marital relationships between living consenting adults. As such, it does not address cannibalism or necrophilia, or many other things that may be considered taboo or illegal.

      Delete
    4. @Alejandra

      Corpsefu**ers should be hanged publicly. How the hell can they look at themselves or anyone else in the eyes with any shred of dignity I'll never understand. How would you feel if you somehow knew that some twisted freak would dig out your corpse right after you died and proceeded to have sex with it? That's not something I'd support in a thousand lifetimes.

      Delete
    5. I hesitated to publish this comment because of the call to public execution.

      Delete
  2. Just throwing this out there: The 1971 movie Harold & Maude has this as one of its central aspects and depicts it as extremely rewarding for the participants, though everyone else looking at it is disgusted.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My wife and I, both 62, are in a committed relationship with a 34 year old man. This has been the most energizing invigorating experience imaginable. Jealously has never been an issue, and my wife believes that she is the luckiest woman on the planet because we love spoiling the crap out of her. Although we two guys are not bi, we are completely comfortable hugging, kissing and cuddling in bed with my wife in middle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds wonderful, Anonymous. Thanks for your comment. I would like to hear more about your relationship and how it happened.

      Delete
  4. I was so pleased for the support offered here. My reply was too long for the system to post, so I posted the entirety of it at a new blog I created, whose address is at the end of this posting.

    I am a 61-year-old man in a relationship with a 21-year-old female. Not only is there the age difference, but I am a former Sixties person with a deep interest in growth and spirituality. She might be characterized as coming out of a Scene/alternative-music-aficionado background. So there are cultural differences as well. (Although I also like much of her music, albeit in smaller doses, and earlier at night)!

    In our 'favor':


    1.) She exemplifies an easy vulnerability and honesty I have labored for a lifetime to demonstrate, and I find this so refreshing.



    2.) I reflect back to her the good qualities I notice in her, based on my life-experience, in a way her peers seem unable to.



    3.) She suffers from a chronic illness, which I am patient with and have some insight into the mortality issues it raises with my background in religion and depth psychology.



    4.) I have also been of aid to her in seeking alternative therapies for the disease, which are beginning to bear fruit.



    5.)This disease also renders, at least for the moment, certain forms of sexuality unavailable to us. A fact she worries about in terms of what a relationship with a more hormonally-driven male peer might require of her.



    5.) She is financially stressed, even desperate, being unable to work and forced to survive on state assistance, which in the current political environment has failed to keep up with her needs.



    Many of the negatives I don't think I need to mention, as you have already documented them so well. The issue how to arrange our finances, and what role it plays in this is quite major. Some friends and relatives have warned me not to be taken advantage of by her. To my knowledge, no one has yet warned her of being taken advantage of by me, but the thought that I might be disturbs me, nonetheless.



    As does the anticipation, at least, of disapproval, envy, and snickering you have already alluded to. I HAD initially sought out an 'arrangement' with a younger woman, in part because I have been dealing with the descent of my actual marital partner into dementia for the past several years. I missed the intimacy of love and sex, but didn't quite feel I was up to the personal challenges and societal stigma of having a full-blown relationship while still being married to someone else.



    I did end up falling in love with this young woman in spite of myself. I think I am just built that way. Perhaps we all are. While I love her and the degree of financial support I give her is not excessive compared to my resources, I have at times been racked with the suspicion that the money was 'all' she saw in me. I have since climbed out of that pit of doubt, but have to acknowledge that my financial assistance is an important part of the glue that keeps us together.




    Continued at

    http://40-years-apart.blogspot.com/2014/02/my-story.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am currently in a relationship with a man 22 years older....the age used to bother me ALOT..when we started.. It still kind of bothers me but only because of what everyone(family,friends) are going to say...but the more I'm getting people asking what I see in a man in his 40s the more our love for each other is reassured..never did I see myself in a situation like this but I am really content..I'm more content now than I've ever been in my past relationships where the age gap was about 4/5 years...praying has Helped us a lot..

    ReplyDelete
  6. Is there a problem when a person is dating a man who is older to her by 19 years

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not necessarily. That's the point of this entry in the first place.

      Delete
  7. Hi!
    I dated a 48 year old man, I was 23. Sad story, we were deeply in love but the ridicule and severe negatively (and the massive amount of just sheer jealousy) made him very uncomfortable. It lasted for about a year before he couldn't take the critism anymore smh

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just want to thank you for this post. My husband is 24 and I am 58. We are not only a gay intergenerational but interracial. He is from the Philippines and I am from the US. Our families have been nothing but happy and grateful that we are together. Our friends have been supportive. We do get the questioning eye when we are out and about in the world, but so be it. We have started a blog about this so we can connect with others to offer support and get support. We are looking for groups to join as we are a silent minority in the world.
    Again thanks.
    David and Gerome

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have been with my husband since I was 24 and he was 41. That was many years ago I am now almost 41 and he is 57. We are not just from different generations but different races, religion, I was a small town girl he was from a city. I wouldn't trade him for the world. Sure we don't always see eye to eye. But we love each other and I will be blunt. Great sex life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear! Congrats. If you'd like to discuss your relationship and how you've dealt with any prejudice, I'd love to hear more. You can write me at fullmarriageequality at protonmail dot com

      Delete

To prevent spam, comments will have to be approved, so your comment may not appear for several hours. Feedback is welcome, including disagreement. I only delete/reject/mark as spam: spam, vulgar or hateful attacks, repeated spouting of bigotry from the same person that does not add to the discussion, and the like. I will not reject comments based on disagreement, but if you don't think consenting adults should be free to love each other, then I do not consent to have you repeatedly spout hate on my blog without adding anything to the discourse.

If you want to write to me privately, then either contact me on Facebook, email me at fullmarriageequality at protonmail dot com, or tell me in your comment that you do NOT want it published. Otherwise, anything you write here is fair game to be used in a subsequent entry. If you want to be anonymous, that is fine.

IT IS OK TO TALK ABOUT SEX IN YOUR COMMENTS, BUT PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY AS I WANT THIS BLOG TO BE AS "SAFE FOR WORK" AS POSSIBLE. If your comment includes graphic descriptions of activity involving minors, it's not going to get published.