Last week, I spoke with the mother of one of my clients, a 15-year-old who got a curfew violation. Client was a freshly-scrubbed, good-girl type of kid, and mom looked like the type of parent who would raise such a child. I asked mom what Client was doing out so late without a parent.
Mom told me while fighting back tears that Client met a 23-year-old male on Myspace who lured her out of the house to meet with him because he "just needed someone to talk to" (mandatory eye roll goes here). Mom wasn't too happy that Client snuck out of the house, but she was understandably elated when the police brought Client home and had 23-y-o in custody. God only knows what could have happened had those officiers not pulled up to a parked pickup truck in the middle of nowhere when they did. 23-y-o now sits in the county jail, and may very well end this year as a registered sex offender.
With us adults, nobody's going to jail - not for going out with someone much older than ourselves, anyway. But we are booking ourselves a whole litany of issues once the age difference gets into the double-digits.
It seems so hip when the celebrities do it, doesn't it? I can't pick up a women's magazine that doesn't laud Demi Moore for hooking up with Ashton Kutcher. But it's important to note that Demi Moore is worth, at last estimate, $50 million dollars. She does not have to go to work everyday. She does not see retirement looming on the horizon and think "Damn - better get to savin' some cash so I don't end up greating people at Walmart!" When she had small children, someone did the unpleasant stuff for her. She's had an estimated $600,000 worth of plastic surgery, and can easily afford to keep going.
But all of us non-celebs deal with reality, and the reality is that it's not always going to be smooth sailing for Older and Younger when they somehow hook up. Here's just a few of the items you have to look forward to:
1) Older is who he is by now. The older we get, the less likely we are to dramatically change our lifestyles. If I'm fifty years old and I'm in debt up to my eyeballs or have a long history of employment or legal problems, that's more than likely how it's going to be, and Younger needs to accept that.
2) Younger can still be anything she wants to be. This is the converse of #1. Younger typically has a world of career and educational opportunities out there. It's difficult for Older to estimate where life may take Younger, and Older needs to accept that.
3) Both need to get clear about having children. Younger and Older should be clear with each other about the concept of having children. When Older is male, this is typically a matter of whether the couple wants children, since men are fertile most of their lives. However, when Older is female, this is a physical issue. Conceiving becomes difficult after 40 (assuming Older is healthy. Smoking, poor diet and other poor health habits make this even more difficult). After age 45, half of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Menopause typically begains at 50. If this couple wants children, they need to save for the estimated $5,000 to $40,000 needed to adopt (and that's per child).
4) Jealousy and insecurity will be a much bigger deal. Older is always going to be insecure about the fact that he's, well, older. Younger needs to get certain phrases out of her vocabulary, such as "for your age" and "back in your day". Youngers should also not bring home things they feel might be helpful to Older, such as wrinkle cream, Viagra, hearing aid batteries, or disposable undergarments. Motive doesn't matter there - that's just an instant arguement.
5) Then there's money. If Older is financially successful, she's going to bankroll Younger to some degree. If she's not, Younger needs to be prepared to support Older through the most expensive years of life: retired from work, but still need to eat and take care of these mounting medical bills.
6) Ewwww..... If the age difference is greater than ten years, people are going to notice, and many will be creeped out by it. Rude and wrong, but true. Both need to prepare themselves emotionally for some social rejection, especially if they are into PDA. Anyone want to see the couple in the picture above get down? I rest my case.
Oh and, in the interest of disclosure, there is a 2.5 year age difference between BF and me. We are both pretty much who we're going to be, we have all the children we want, and we both fear greeting people at Walmart one day.