Angela from Fort Worth, Texas asks:
I have been struggling this last year with an important decision I have not yet made. Three years ago, I left my comfortable life with a husband of twenty years that was unfulfilling in many ways though he was a good provider. After leaving this marriage, I met a man eighteen years my junior at an event and felt physically drawn to him in a way I have never felt before. We began a sexual relationship filled with passion, adventure and fun. We kept it casual. After about a year, he wanted exclusivity. So I did it, and cut off all other dating. But last year, I found out he was still involved with his son’s mother. He begged me to wait, and let him take care of the situation. I have tried to extract myself from this situation. Yet, I continue to be sucked back in after a few days sometimes weeks, because we want to see, be and love each other. I feel foolish in many ways, but don’t seem to have the power to stop! Please help by giving me a man’s perspective, as I have heard all I can stand from the women in my life.
Greetings, Angela. Thank you for sharing this. Any situation that flows against the current stream of social “normalcy” is prone to various tragedies, pregnant as they are with alienation and loneliness. I salute you for not turning away from the burn and sting of forbidden fruit. It’s an experience that will enrich you, bruise the flesh of your character and expand your world. However, you’ve asked for a male perspective, so I feel compelled to educate you on a few points of male behavior, as well as the highly problematic nature of the situation in which you find yourself.
Relationships with significant age differences face serious obstacles from the very start, and even more so if the woman happens to be older than the man. We can’t afford to hide our heads in the safe sand of PC ideals when it comes to this simple truth. Your life is at stake here, and the decision you make will affect you for years to come. Diversity in mating, including age difference, is highly desirable. The archetypes enacted by it are valuable on both sides. But realistically, the older a woman is than her partner, the less likely it is that the relationship is going to continue in any long-term fashion. These pairings are often very hot and very passionate, but they seldom manage to be more than transitional or initiatory interludes for the participants. Such lovers are meant to take the chalice, sip the nectar of the forbidden, ingest its poison deep in climax and then turn away to find rebirth in more creative endeavors.
This young man sought you out as a source of stability for his chaotic life. You are easily old enough to be his mother, and make no mistake, there is an Oedipal fixation at work. You are an anchor of maternal harmony in the turbulence of his existence. A mommy to wipe his nose and cuddle him close. It’s all so very safe and sweet, and he keeps coming back to you. The problem is he’s not coming to you as a man. That part of himself, he takes to the younger woman… the one who has borne him a child. We aren’t so very far removed from our Serengeti bid for survival, and men will always unconsciously favor younger, fertile women as a rule. He isn’t in love with her, but he also isn’t going to give her up. She’s imprinted on him as a pair bonded mate. You are a surrogate mommy. The boy in him is yours, the man belongs to her.
As for you, like many people, you are youth obsessed. You are in love with this young man, because he represents an ideal you’re trying to establish for yourself. He makes you feel young. You want to be young. You had a mature, stable relationship in your marriage, and it wasn’t exciting, it wasn’t adventurous. What it was, was real… and honest… with all the sags and bags of its age. You are chasing the phantoms of your girlhood in this relationship, while the richness and wonder of an experienced and sophisticated life are passing you by. Now, I hope you never stop wanting to taste love and feel pleasure, but do stop trying to possess something that’s no longer yours. Your lover’s youth is not your own. There is elegance in age that youth can never appreciate. I see that you’re a very interesting woman. One many a man would be glad to know. I advise you to send the baby packing, and reclaim your life.
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