Is Having Grown Up in the Same Decade Important in a Relationship? (On Dating Older Men)

by OneTaste Living Library  Mar 25, 2014
Is Having Grown Up in the Same Decade Important in a Relationship? (On Dating Older Men)

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Originally posted by the Style Con, written by Melissa Stetten

It only took three relationships and lots of dates to finally accept that I need a boyfriend who isn’t twenty years older than me. My last boyfriend was 48. His world was completely foreign to me but I’m easily intrigued by people who are into things I don’t know about. Also, I clearly have issues with men stemming from childhood that I’m currently working out with a therapist. I’ll let you know how that goes. For some reason I convinced myself that age wasn’t an issue. It started with a 50 year old and it’s all been downhill from there.

I tried dating someone two years older than me for about six months. He was a contemporary artist who put dirty blankets on top of an old television that was playing a documentary about caves and called it “Sadness” or something. He felt so young to me, so I left him for an older man. But, I’ve FINALLY realized it’s not good for me. Here are reasons why:

You need to understand each other’s references.

Were you disappointed by the episode of Home Improvement where they finally showed Wilson’s face and he didn’t look like Rocky Dennis? Yeah, me too, and the guy that I’m dating should be also. I’m always reference pop culture from the 90s. I asked my ex how many times he’s seen each episode of Saved By The Bell, and he said, “What show?” Anytime we drove somewhere I had to listen to The Who (I’m not a huge fan of classic rock. It brings back memories of my dad smoking with the windows up in his Chevy Caprice making my eyes burn and my life smell like throat cancer). My ex called the music I liked “hipster garbage.” I think growing up in the same decade is important. There’s nothing better than bonding with a guy over the episode of Punky Brewster where Cherie got stuck in the refrigerator.

You need a boyfriend who your friends don’t refer to as “That weird old guy.”

I’ve always felt uncomfortable about bringing my boyfriends around my late twenties-early thirties friends. People my age go to concerts, house parties, comedy shows, and bars. My old ass boyfriends would never go to Brooklyn for a loft party where the DJ is playing remixes of En Vogue and The Cranberries. He’s not going to drink cans of PBR and dance with people wearing ironic Jared Leto shirts. I relinquished more years than I should have to stay home with my boyfriends because, ya know,” love” or whatever. When you’re in a relationship it’s so easy to confine yourselves in and do nothing but watch the Twilight Zone. Especially when your boyfriend has grown out of his party years. You need a guy who wants to meet your friends and do things that make YOU happy, not just him.

He should look up to you, not the other way around.

I’m not saying he should worship you ( he totally should), but he needs to be inspired by you. Older men have already survived their twenties and thirties, which is when most people develop their careers. He may be supportive of you and give good advice, but it’s unlikely he’ll see you as an inspiration. You need encouragement from your boyfriend. Guys who are close to your age are on the same level. They know exactly what you’re going through and will even look to you for advice. You’ll be more of a team this way, and that’s what being in a relationship is all about. A 33 year-old guy recently told me he wants to hear my opinions and thoughts because he was genuinely interested. I didn’t know men like that existed. We already had sex so I know he wasn’t saying that just to fuck me.