Michele O'Mara

Age Disparity in Love

Filed By Michele O'Mara | January 08, 2008 2:46 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: advice column, love, monogamy, relationships

I'm 23, my partner is 60. Age disparity isn't really seen much and doing multiple searches on the internet I really didn't find much advice for someone who is in a relationship like mine. Are there others out there like me where the relationships work out? Or am I doomed to be lonely.... How do i relate to my older lover and how do i continue in a honest and monogamous relationship? (Monogamy isn't the "norm" in the gay community.)

~ from the cradle

Dear Craddle,

Whether or not relationships work depends on the people in it, not your age. Do you have common goals and visions for your lives together? Are you both able to get your needs met - whatever those may be? Age certainly impacts these variables, but it does not have to determine them.

If you feel like you can not relate to him, I'm thinking there's a problem, regardless of age. I challenge you to consider what your attraction is, if you find yourself concerned that you can not relate to him. What is it that draws you to him, that keeps you with him? I've said it before many times - our primary relationships are the single greatest investment we will make with our life. One of the most obvious liabilities you face in partnering with someone who is thirty-seven years your senior is that the time available for you to enjoy this investment you make with your life is likely (though there are never any guarantees, regardless of age) less than it would be with someone closer to your age.

Like a good wine or an antique, however, you may have more to experience with someone your senior - in a shorter period of time - than you would by spending time with someone your age. The bottom line here is that you have choices to make about what's important to you.

Monogamy is simply a personal choice. It is a stereotype that gay men are not monogamous. Many are - by choice. And many make the choice not to be. Whether or not you are, or decide to be, is a choice you have to make. Once you make that choice, you simply do the next right thing to insure the success of this commitment you make to yourself and your relationship, be that monogamous or open.

If you are looking for advice about love, stop searching the internet, and take some time to look inside; we all come equipped with everything we need to know about love, if only we take the time to pay attention to ourselves.

I wish you peace and a loving relationship!

Michele O'Mara, LCSW

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"Whether or not relationships work depends on the people in it, not your age. Do you have common goals and visions for your lives together? Are you both able to get your needs met - whatever those may be?"

Great response, as usual, Michele.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but me monogamy is not a choice. It is the way it is, or the relationship is over. Casual sex is one thing, but when it comes to romance, I don't share well.

I guess I'm the opposite, Rebecca, because I don't deal well being treated like a piece of property. But I completely understand where people who want monogamy are coming from - to each her own.

And I think that's what Michelle meant by "choice" - each couple can decide if it's important to them... and how to define it.