I sometimes get asked about what it’s like dating or living with an older gay man. I also get asked for tips and advice on how to deal with family and friends or how I dealt with my family and friends when they found out I was dating and in fact now living with a man 22 years older than myself.
I have actually written about many of these questions and problems in my other articles here as the articles are all based on my personal experiences of mainly dating older men, as well as my life living with one for seven years now.
However, a recent email inspired me to write some more on this subject and to try and address a few specific points that I may not have covered quite so clearly before.
One of the problems or hurdles that you will face if you are involved in a relationship with a gay man where there is a significant age gap is how others will perceive that relationship.
Another hurdle that you may face is how you think other people will perceive your relationship with an older or younger gay man.
In my own life, the later point is actually the one that gave me the most problems.
I actually gave myself more grief and worry about what other people might think than what actually happened and what these people actually do think about our relationship.
These days, I don’t worry about people thinking negatively about our relationship because in the first place it’s not theirs and in the second place most people are too busy with their own problems and relationships to really be too concerned.
I took me many years to get to this comfort point in my life; it wasn’t easy and I will admit that even to this day I sometimes have the occasional bit of anxiety.
How could I have made things easier on myself? That’s something that I sometimes think about and the answer that keeps repeating itself is that I should have come out to my parents a lot earlier than when I did.
But I was young and scared of what they might think or do and what my friends might think and do. As it turned out, I came out to my parents when I was older and at a pretty low point in my life, still scared of what everyone might say and do.
To make thing just a little more interesting and difficult, the day I came out was also the day that they officially found out that I was living with an older man who was the same age as they were.
Yes, they got a double whammy that day!
I broke the news awkwardly to my mum first. I don’t remember exactly what either of us said, it’s all a blur but it basically went something like this…
“Mum, you know how I’m renting a room from Ian and how I invite him to all our family get-togethers? Well he’s not really my landlord. He’s my lover and has been since I moved in with him”.
A short pause of silence greets this revelation and then my mum responds with, “It’s OK; I kind of figured that might be the case”.
After I left my parents place, my head still spinning at what I’d just done, I received a phone call from my Dad; “It’s OK son”, he said.
I was elated! Years of guilt started lifting from my shoulders.
I had begun the next phase of my life as a gay man of thirty something.
I honestly don’t know what I would have done had this opportunity presented itself when I was younger, and in my early twenties; or nineteen for that matter.
I do know that it was important to finally come out to my family and formally introduce the man who was my lover and partner.
I was quite literally getting sick from hiding in the closet and hiding a relationship that was extremely important to me, as Ian wasn’t just some guy that I was occasionally going out with. My entire life was and is to this day revolving around him – we’re partners.
Do we get strange looks or questions? Sure sometimes. But for the most part people are too busy to really concern themselves. For others that we meet it’s often a case of, “Oh well, that’s interesting, looks like it’s been good for both of you.” And still others are down right envious.
In any event, it matters not what they think; what matters is us and our happiness.