I Dated A Man Who Was 10 Years Older Than Me And I’ll Never Do It Again

My ex-boyfriend is much older than me. We met when I was in my early twenties and he was in his mid-thirties. At the beginning of our relationship, our age gap didn’t seem like a big deal, but over time it became clear that it really, REALLY was. When we broke up, I swore I would never date an older man again. Here’s why:

  1. He was jealous of my success. When I met him, I was in the beginning stages of my career, I didn’t make very much money and I was new to the corporate world. He was relatively seasoned and more advanced in his field. This dynamic worked for us until I started making moves in my career, and quickly. Suddenly, his support was sprinkled with what felt like jealousy. He was less interested in what I was achieving and more interested in how he measured up to me. For example, when I told him about my bonuses or my promotions, he was always more interested in where he stood in the life of his career relative to where I was.
  2. He often compared what I’d achieved in my early 20s to what he’d done in his. Sometimes, he’d say things to me like, “Man, you have it together. When I was your age, I was eating ramen every night and sharing a bedroom with a friend.” At first, these comments were funny and even somewhat endearing but over time, they became more frequent and clearly laced with his insecurities about his own career. Our age gap made his insecurities more obvious.
  3. His friends made me feel like a baby. His friends were his age and older and many of them married. When we hung out, I felt like the little kid crashing the grown-up table at the family reunion. They were all 401Ks, wine nights, and politics and I was all online shopping and tequila shots. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that stark, but it totally felt that way. Comments about my age were constant and I never really felt like they took me seriously. It sucked.
  4. He wanted to settle down and I wanted to get drunk with my friends and eat late night pizza. Honestly, though—I was in my early 20s! I was living through this “not a girl, not yet a woman” phase. I had one foot out of college and one foot into my career. I didn’t want to grow up so fast. In fact, my favorite times during my two and a half year relationship with this dude didn’t involve him at all.
  5. He thought my friends were immature. My ex would comment on how immature he thought my friends were. These comments always puzzled me because we are all the same age. More importantly, though, we were in our early twenties—of course we were immature. No, we didn’t make fart jokes, but talking about dating and sex blunders at dinner or at the bar was absolutely par for the course (and still is). As a result, my friendships suffered because I felt insecure about my friends and didn’t bring them around as much.
  6. It was clear that he wanted kids when I wouldn’t be ready for them. Sometimes he would talk about how much he wanted a family of his own before a certain age. During these conversations, all I could think about was how having a baby would ruin my body, drain my bank account, and disturb my Thursday-Saturday night rendezvous at the bars with my friends. If we’d stayed together, I know he would ask me to sacrifice my lifestyle to give him some babies. No thanks.
  7. He really didn’t have it together as much as I expected. Not going to lie, I had my own expectations when I entered a relationship with an older guy. I expected him to have his finances in check, I expected him to have a strong idea of who he was, and I expected him to know how to communicate effectively. My ex-failed miserably at all of those things. Now, my expectations for men are not based on age. Younger or older, a guy needs to have these things down-pat, otherwise, I’m out of there.
  8. His sex game kind of sucked. For as many women as he (allegedly) dated and slept with before me, my ex’s sex game left much to be desired. Now, maybe this isn’t just because he was older than me, maybe he was just really bad at sex… but I really expected him to be better in the sack than he was when we were together. Plus, anytime I gave him suggestions on how to satisfy me better, he would just shirk them off. As much as I don’t want to believe that his attitude toward pleasing me was attributed to his age, it did seem like he was set in his ways and that I feel was the result of years and years of doing things the way he wanted.
  9. Growing older at different paces made me feel uncomfortable. I know this sounds super shallow but it was weird to me that he was going to physically age a lot sooner than I would. I was attracted to him in the way that he looked then, but I don’t think I was prepared for that to change at a faster pace than would occur if I dated a guy my age.
  10. He was less open to change. And it was a total turn off. I find that even though guys my age can be childish, they’re much more open minded than older guys. As a guy in his mid-thirties when we met, I noticed that my ex-BF was relatively set in his ways. Sure, as we get older, some of us become less idealistic, more cynical and start to develop a semi-permanent view of the world as we know it, but it was a total turn-off for me. Anytime I challenged his views, he’d usually retort with some version of “I’ve lived this long and this is how I see it,” as if his age is the appropriate reason for him to be closed minded. I hated it.
Marie is an ambitious millennial woman, leading a corporate life by day and doing her best to live, laugh and love.