Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Fine Line in May-December Romances

When you're in the dating world, it's easy to be bogged down looking for all your dating requirements: height, looks, eyes, job, build, personality... And of course, age. Ideally, we all have an ideal age range that we'd like our mates to be. Some prefer slightly younger or same age, while others prefer just a touch older (say, 5 - 10 years). But what if the gap is a little larger? Then you have the making of a May-December romance, (May referencing a younger person in the "spring" of their lives and December referencing the "winter" or older age of a person's life)

I know I've addressed the age thing before...But I've managed to somehow avoid side of the topic, even though I have done it before. 

It was a couple of years ago. I was 24 and he had just about 20 years on me. But, it was hard to resist him. He was handsome, smooth, well-dressed, charming and affectionate -- spoiled me rotten with attention. Needless to say, I loved it. 

While it only lasted a couple of months and we stayed friends a little while afterward, it was even, with all of our differences, a lot of fun. 

In hindsight, I realized that as we continued to spend time together, our age gap was harder to hide... And even though he never expressed discomfort, it was hard to avoid the elephant in the room.

In any event, this was the same issue I encountered recently when I was out recently and met a dashing older man named Donovan. Beautiful eyes, salt and pepper hair, a charming smile, a quiet persona and an easy-going approach made him an immediate catch. And, as the night progressed, and he got increasingly assertive, I found it appealing. 

Later that evening, as we did some one on one talking, he seemed surprised by the fact that I returned his attraction, expecting me to be drawn to someone younger. And, he mentioned it had been a while since he'd been out of the dating scene, thinking that things were a lot more direct than he's used to and thinking about his own daughter out on the dating scene in a similar situation...

At that point I have to admit I was a little thrown. A mention of his 17 year old daughter did cramp things a bit. So, how do you deal with that?

That's when I told him that every situation is unique, but you can't explain who or why you're attracted to someone. It just happens.

The night ended quickly but I found myself thinking about it afterward. He seemed uncomfortable with our age gap, much like I had been a couple of years ago. And while I admit, he did have quite a few years on me, at that point, I was really just running with what I thought was an obvious vibe between us. But that only gets you so far. I mean, once you get that out of the way, what about the rest of it? The shared experiences, the common interests? If you don't have time to build those things, it can be hard, regardless of how old a guy is. 

I mean, many Hollywood A-Listers make it work. But there has to be so much more there...

Lesson learned: May-December romances have to be about more than the initial physical chemistry if they're going to last. Sure, physical fire is important... It most often is. However, being able to get past the hang-ups is what determines whether it will last. Because if you don't get past that hurdle, how can you weather all the awkward other hurdles that emerge from these types of relationships?