A twenty year age gap

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
I'm 24-years-old and I have a (male) friend who's 44. We've been friends almost 3 years now. Lately, I've been feeling like he's flirting with me (nothing sexual). He always seems to notice what I'm wearing and has complimented me several times. (He even noticed that I cut my hair last week and I only cut off an inch!!) He's always teasing me (in a good way), and I've also been running into him a lot in unexpected places.

I have a couple other male friends with that wide an age gap between us, but they treat me like a daughter (and I think of them as father-figures). Things are different with him, though. Any advice?

RomanceClass.com Advice
This isn't an easy situation. On one hand, relationships certainly do work between people who are 20 years apart - but it takes a TON of work and it is almost always founded on a solid love of common ideals - a love of horses, a love of community service, something. On the other hand, there are a LOT of relationships that happen with guys in their 40s who still yearn for the fun-and-loose days of their 20s. So they chase women in their 20s to recapture that fun. I've been in both kinds of relationships.

I know it's fun to flirt with an older guy, for all sorts of reasons. They know all sorts of things, they tend to have money, they understand (through years of practice) how to treat a woman, how to have fun talking about all sorts of topics. They tend also to be (ahem) very good at kissing and so on. And at least for the initial stages of the courtship, they can keep up with a younger woman if only through sheer force of will.

So it depends on what you have in mind. If you're thinking of a fun playmate, an older guy is fine! You can go out to neat restaurants, have fascinating conversations and flirt your fool heads off. Guys will think he's cool for having 'snagged a young one'. Girls will think you're going for his mature suave charm.

But you need to realize that the long term relationships are the ones that are founded on strong shared interests, not on flirtations. That's because, as much as he may be young at heart, he's in an older body. It just doesn't have as much energy. After a year or two of courtship, he'll settle down into his normal life. And that maybe fine with you ... or it may not. I know many, many women who have tried exactly what you're trying right now - and while some did last almost 10 years, all of them called it quits after a few years because the difference in lifestyles was just too large. The guy would come home and want to watch TV or a movie. The girl would come home and want to play pool or go dancing or biking.

The girl would want to have a family - but if a guy has his first child at 50 - is he even going to be alive when the child graduates from high school? I know many children of older parents and they spent their childhood constantly worrying if their parents were going to be there in a year or two, spending family get-togethers worrying if their parents were hearing everyone OK or such. Yes, they loved their parents! But their childhood was full of a lot of angst and concern that is rather unfair to laden a young child with.

So sure, have fun flirting. Date him if you want! You're an adult, you can choose who to spend your time with. But if you start to think of more than that, then get yourself ready for a long, difficult road. The flirting and fun make it seem like it'll be easy. But that 20 year gap relationship is incredibly difficult and for most people, it just doesn't work, no matter how much time and energy people pour into it.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at RomanceClass.com

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