How to deal with relationship age gaps, and why they’re not always sexy

When we look back at past loves there is always one that we mentally kick ourselves over. Mine was a six foot, four inch blonde, blue eyed, broad shouldered giant hailing from Melbourne. He was perfect for me. He loved art, long lunches, a good laugh, travelling and the occasional boisterous night out.
But oh how I messed it up!
You see, when we first started dating, he was 45 years old and I was 25. Yep, if we want to get technical, he was 20 years and 10 days older than me.
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I had just broken up with ‘the farmer’ who was the bad boy of my dreams. We were horribly matched but I was heartbroken when it ended.
The older gent had been semi in the picture for a couple of years, so when I became single again he decided to make his move. It was refreshing to have someone pay attention to me and I lapped up his old-fashioned flattery and adored dating someone who seemed to have his affairs in order.
The only problem was, I did not. I was in the middle of switching careers, still living in a share house and he was in another state, meaning I could go out and run amok whenever I liked.
For a 25 year old, it was the perfect scenario. A boyfriend in the picture when I wanted him to be, a whole city to play in when he wasn’t.
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There were times when the age gap really stood out. Like when went on a road trip to a country town for a charity ball. It was around the third CD of my choice that he screeched the car into a petrol station, took off like a man on a mission and came back with an Eagles CD ranting “Enough! I can’t take anymore of this pop music!” I realised we had reached the first bump in the road.
For the next hour he belted out every lyric to the Eagles and I mentally clawed my way out of the car.
Another rather awkward incident was when we flew to Bali for my birthday. We arrived at the gorgeous hotel and checked in, ready to throw our cares to the wind when someone screamed out his name. We turned around to three of his former teammates with their wives and kids on a family holiday. As he awkwardly introduced me to these ready-made families, I felt the age-appropriate wives give me the ol’ look up and down. Cringe.
Then we took to the local markets to have a potter around, but quickly retreated after one-too-many street sellers started saying to my boyfriend: “You buy your daughter a present, yes?’
Gaaah being mistaken for my DAD. Not sexy.
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Then there were the times we went out and I got carried away with friends and he would be ready to go home. Of course, at 25, I didn’t want to go home which then resulted in an argument and at least one of us in a bad mood.
Finally it all got a bit too much and unlike the mature person I like to think I’ve grown into, at that age I didn’t have the emotional intelligence to end it properly so let’s just say the break-up was a hot mess (I still shudder thinking about it) and we didn’t talk for a year.
Am I ready to date someone like him now? Good lord yes. I’ve grown an appreciation for ‘70s music, I adore a really big dinner followed by a big comfy bed rather then a bar (well more, times than not) and with a career I’m now well established in, I think I could bring mutual intellect and funds to the table.
Sadly, he went on to meet the age-appropriate woman of his dreams. It seems it was the perfect relationship, just at a very wrong time.
So next time you see the older bloke with a younger woman, just know there is some form of an ‘Eagles CD’ waiting to be sprung on her.
Jana Hocking is a podcaster and collector of | @jana.with.a.j.podcast