Marrying A Much Older Man Made Me A Better Person


Billy Joel and Katie Lee
One woman explains what she's learned from her husband, who is 25 years older than she.

Billy Joel and his wife of nearly five years Katie Lee are splitting up. A "friend" of the couple told the New York Daily News that the age difference of 33 years drove the couple apart ( 15 Common Divorce Mistakes). I doubt it. Maybe, like so many couples that end up divorced, they just weren't meant to be. You never hear anyone say "Dick and Jane are the same age—that must have had something to do with their breakup." I call BS on blaming the age difference when it comes to divorce. Though, admittedly, I'm biased. Older men and younger women?

My husband of almost six years is 25 years my senior. Our age difference might influence our choice in music but in no way does it affect our arguments, personal goals, admiration for one another or our love. A marriage is a relationship built on love and I can't imagine sharing my life (I'm 28) with anyone other than my 53-year-old husband—who has been told on numerous occasions he looks like Billy Joel. Go figure.


In celebration of large age-gap relationships, here are five ways my romance with a much older man has made me a better person:

1. I listen more. My husband Tom has had years of crazy life before me (like when he was eight and his house blew up; his time in a band; the tragic death of his four-year-old daughter in a fire), so I've learned to become a dynamite listener. Knowing about his life experiences—positive and negative—has been helpful in my own decision-making.

2. I'm more open-minded. Yes, relationships like mine are more common than the reverse, but that doesn't make it any less taboo. When Tom and I first met, I was only 18—I certainly didn't want my peers judging me, thinking my being with a partner older than some of their parents was "weird" or "disgusting;" or by older women who thought he was only with me for the sex or that I was one manifestation aspect of a mid-life crisis. The old saying "treat others as you would like to be treated" really comes into play here.