Recently, I've seen a few stories on the Odyssey discussing age gap in relationships.
They all seem to be written by girls who are dating men who are 20 years or more their senior. The articles talk about how love is love, the heart wants what it wants and that no one will change their mind about their relationship. I respect everyone's right to their opinion and their happiness. If you really think it works for you, then go for it. However, you should know what you are getting into completely before fully committing to this.
I am a child of parents with a large age gap. My dad is 23 years older than my mom. They got married when he was 50 and she was 26. My dad was 65 by the time I was born. I love my parents but here's why I think we should be wary of large age gap relationships.
Disclaimer: My parents both know and understand my feelings on this. They know I wrote this article and that they are mentioned. I wouldn't trade or change them or their relationship. My parents have provided me with a wonderful life full of love, family, and happiness. Because of them, I've been given financial stability, a safe environment, an education, and a huge, loving family. Things have worked out for our family, especially given the circumstances. However, that doesn't mean I would recommend a large age gap relationship. It may seem like nothing now, but the years between you and your significant other will catch up to you.
My dad is now 86 and struggling. He has trouble taking care of himself.
He needs help with almost everything. He can't be left alone for more than an hour or two. He has nurses come three times a week to help with his care. He needs someone present when my mom leaves the house to work part-time. His memory is fading, his health is declining and it seems that he slips out of lucidity more often these days.
My mom is now a full-time caregiver more than a wife.
She does an amazing job making sure my dad is content and taken care of. However, it is draining. She is still young enough to want to go out and do things. She wants to go on vacations and hang out friends. But most of the time, she is at home watching my dad. She is following her wedding vows to a tee but that doesn't mean it is easy. She struggles with guilt sometimes over the entire situation.
Then there is me. Because of my parents' age gap, I have been put in a difficult place.
I've had to watch my dad slip away physically and mentally for a good portion of my life. I try to help out but it is not always an easy thing to do. I will go watch TV with him so my mom can get out for an hour. Unfortunately, I usually end up calling her home because something arises that I can't handle alone. I have gone over to their house many times to help pick my dad up because he fell and refuses to let someone call the EMTs. I have changed college and life plans in order to stay close to home. I have known since I was little that my dad most likely won't be there for my wedding. He won't meet my children. I have struggled with my relationship with him due to the immense age gap. It is all I have ever known but it is something that still greatly affects me. I love my dad with everything I have, but that doesn't make the situation easier.
So my warning to you is this — be prepared for what is down the road.
Know that your age difference of 18 and 40 doesn't seem like anything now but it will at 60 and 82. It will be difficult for everyone involved. As a wife, you will slowly watch the man you loved slip away. Your kids will have to deal with struggles that no one else will understand. It is a lonely and painful situation. Before you make any drastic decisions, please understand what is coming.
If you decide that is what's right for you, then, by all means, go for it! but just understand the consequences of your choices.