In Season One of her new Love Letters podcast, Meredith Goldstein explores what happens when love ends in a breakup. Listen to the podcast now, and subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and RadioPublic.
Q. I’m 30, and in love with a man who’s 25 years older. I didn’t mean for it to happen, but I can’t help the way I feel. I just have so much fun with him and we relate on such a real and honest level. Things feel so easy and natural between us, and we work great together. I love him and want to be with him and have a family, and he seems very serious about being with me and wanting to start a family with me.
But I’m worried; he worked so hard his whole life and he deserves to be able to enjoy his retirement/golden years, but I love my job and I know I’ll be busy working while he might want to do other fun stuff. I know that because of the age difference, we are at different points on our life paths. He says that he has always wanted to have a family and is willing to give some stuff up (like traveling all the time, which I know he really loves), but will he really be happy giving up so many things to start one with me?
I don’t want him to miss out on the things he deserves just because he wants to be with me. Also, what are some of the other potential problems we might not have thought about? — Happy
A. At 55, he knows what he wants. If he’s telling you he’ll be happy skipping a life of travel to have kids with you, please believe him. He’s had plenty of time to think about this stuff.
You mention some of the things he’d be giving up, but what about you? If you stay with him, you’ll be making your own sacrifices. Some people in our comments section will tell you that you’ll be missing out on the chance to be with a real peer who can experience things with you for the first time. Others will warn you about what might happen when you’re older.
But these are not the issues you bring up in your letter. You feel lucky to be with this person, and that’s that.
I could make a list of potential problems for your future, but . . . I could make a list like that for any couple, no matter the age difference. Building a life with someone is complicated, and there are always challenges. You seem set on this person being the right partner, and you’re both happy. That’s the most important thing.
My father was 20-plus years older than my mom and while I am biased, they were the happiest married couple I have ever come across. He was completely in love with her until the day he died. WARMACHINE
If he says he wants to be with you and you are making all the plans, why can’t you trust that he’s actually interested in doing all these things with you? Listen when people tell you things. SETTINGTHEWORLDONFIRE
There are many ages where the difference doesn’t matter, but there are others where they do. I am even seeing an enormous difference between my 70-something stepmother and 80-something father. ASH