I’ll admit it: I’ve always had a thing for older guys. I don’t know why. People have told me before it’s because I’m an “old soul,” a phrase I hate but seems to fit sometimes. One of my first boyfriends was ten years older than me, and my current partner, who I’ve been with for a couple years, is 17 years my senior. In my defense, I had no idea he was that age when we met! And he thought I was a bit older than I was. It didn’t matter, though, because we were head over heels for each other from the start.
Any woman who has an older boyfriend can tell you that there are still a lot of stereotypes about this particular pairing. A lot of it is still wrapped up in the whole damsel-in-distress trope, like girls are just waiting for someone to sweep them off their feet and take care of them forever.
And while sometimes it’s a guy who has the older girlfriend, these annoying tropes just aren’t as common (in my experience).
Here are nine things a lot of people hear when they’ve got an older boyfriend.
1. “You got yourself a sugar daddy!”
This phrase is apparently STILL around — even though it shouldn’t be. No matter what variation is used, it implies that we’re only with our SO because they’re older, rich, and out to spend their money on some young woman. This is such a tired cliché, and it’s time it’s put to rest, because it makes whoever you say it to feel incredibly uncomfortable. Even worse, it diminishes the love they have with their partner. And it’s not your place to do that. Also, it’s totally sexist and uncool.
2. “You must have daddy issues”
Ugh. This stereotype is just as overused and annoying as the sugar daddy thing. Here’s the thing: I’ve never had an issue with my dad. He was the best father ever, in fact, and he and my mom are still happily married. Yet, I like older guys. The two don’t have to be connected.
Even if someone does have what you would crudely call “daddy issues,” it’s not your business to bring it up or poke fun at it. If they want to share these personal anecdotes with you, they will, in their own time.
3. “I bet your parents are going to have a hard time meeting him”
Nope, wrong, and it’s not a very nice thing to presume. Bringing home a boyfriend, regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status, is always a stressful thing. To give someone a warning like this is cruel (particularly if you’re an anxious person like myself) and totally unnecessary. Sure, there might be some parents out there who would be uncomfortable with the fact that their daughter is with someone a bit older, but we don’t need you to remind us of this fact.
4. “Did you guys meet online?”
There’s nothing wrong with online dating (heaven knows I’ve done my fair share of it), but asking this right off the bat implies that we just sat down in front of our laptop, chose the 40+ age box, and waited for an older dude to arrive in our inbox. We’re interested in the actual person we’re with you know, not just the demographic.
5. “He doesn’t have that much time left to have kids, you know”
For starters, please don’t assume that we want kids unless we’ve stated that clearly to you. Secondly, his age and his health aren’t up for anyone’s scrutiny. I find this question especially invasive, and there are no ways to answer it that aren’t code for Step off. It usually comes from nosy family members, which makes it all the harder, because you don’t want to be too rude with your response.
6. “You’re like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas!”
It’s sweet in a way, I guess, but I’m not a fan of hearing this. I don’t want to be compared to some celebrity couple. We are who we are, and it’s not like we’re trying to be trendy or Hollywood-like with our choice in men.
7. “You have to think about whether you’re ready to settle down”
This is another false assumption that just because a dude is older he’s trying to buy a house and have kids. Sure, it might be true for some people, but it’s unfair to think it’s the same for everyone. Besides, nothing is more annoying than someone bringing up the topic of “settling down” in a social setting.
8. “He’s lucky to land you”
To say this to me perpetuates the idea that value and beauty are only possessed when you are young, like I couldn’t possibly be the lucky one because my boyfriend’s, like, old. On the contrary, I feel like I’m the one who got the better end of the stick.
9. “He’s going to look way older than you later on”
It’s funny how there are so many people out there who are way more concerned about our future appearances than I am. This comment also just reinforces the flawed idea that looks are the primary reason that we’re together. And that couldn’t be farther from the truth.