In my twenties, I dated a guy who was 12 years older than me. In my thirties, I went in the other direction, dating a dude 11 years my junior. (Don't you dare call me a cougar!) Although both ended rather badly, I feel like that while the gaping age difference didn't directly cause either relationship's demise, it certainly didn't help. Mostly because I wasn't very graceful about handling it.
So, learn from my mistakes. Whichever way your May/December relationship skews, there are certain pitfalls you should do your best to avoid.
1. Stay away from cute but ultimately disparaging nicknames. I used to refer to my younger man as "Junior Mint." I found it hilarious, but he was less amused. Looking back, I don't blame him. I certainly wouldn't have found any humor in him calling me "Old Spice."
2. Constant reminders of the age difference can be entertaining, but they can pass easily into the realm of creepy. "How could you not know who David Cassidy is?" is one thing. "I was having sex while you were in kindergarten" is kind of gross.
3. Don't assume older is wiser. I made this mistake with my much older boyfriend. I thought he was the smartest guy I'd ever met. He agreed wholeheartedly. Turned out, we were both wrong. "I sometimes felt overshadowed by him, and his stature, and fame," Missy says of her 14-years-older ex-mentor/boyfriend. "But he acted more adolescent than I did much of the time. Sometimes, I felt like the old one." I hear ya', sister. My elder ex hadn't filed taxes ever. When he got caught, he had his bank account seized and wages garnished. Smooth move, idiot.
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