I’m in love with a younger man

Posted on: 21 January 2008 by

Annie’s fallen in love at 52 but her 38-year-old man wants a family.

Annie Writes:

I really need help. I was married for 32 years and have two grown up children and a two-year-old grandson, but we’re now in the process of getting divorced. After 29 wonderful years together, we became quite distant three years ago. I guess you could say he became a “Corporate casualty," putting success and career before our relationship.

Suddenly he said he wanted out of our marriage, as he no longer wanted commitment and he wasn’t prepared to put in the time and effort to turn the marriage around.  I tried to fight for the marriage, but eight months ago, I conceded defeat and filed for divorce.

Now, I've met a wonderful man and we are equally attracted to one another.  It’s an emotional as well as a physical thing. We both really admire each other’s qualities. He is 38 years old and was recently engaged but it didn’t work out. Because of the situation both of us are in, we were seeing each other strictly as friends until New Year‘s Eve.  Then we made love. But I don’t want it to happen again until I know whether there’s any future in this relationship. 

I wish he was older or I was younger, but it’s not just the age gap that worries me.  I also know that he would like to start a family. I am still having periods, so I wonder if I can still get pregnant.  If I can’t, I am not opposed to starting another family via adoption, as I am a very young 52, very energetic, and extremely fit.  I run between five and six miles, five times a week and love children. I am a teacher as well. I know this is another whole issue.

I don’t want to get involved in a relationship without commitment, but I can easily see things going this way if we don't define our feelings now. Should I break off this friendship-relationship? Am I travelling a dangerous path?   He and I have gotten so much from each other's company. We obviously enjoy being with each other, but both are aware of the complications that exist and the reality of our situations. However, we are falling in love. I can feel it. What should I do? I am so confused.

Andy Advises:

You seem to be questioning a number of issues here.  First of all, the fact that you are older than he is makes no difference at all if you are truly in love.  The age gap is totally immaterial if the emotional, physical and mental attractions are there. 

If you made love and enjoyed it, what’s holding you back from doing it again?  You are both mature adults. Neither of you are about to lose your virginity.  Why not enjoy this relationship to the full.  It wouldn’t matter if you were younger or he was older.  Being similar ages would be no guarantee that the relationship had a ‘future’.  Do you really love him?  Have you told him so?  Does he really love you?  Has he told you he does?  These are the vital questions you must ask yourselves and one another.

As you know after 32 years of a marriage that has unfortunately ended, no-one can guarantee any relationship will last a life-time, whatever your age.  When you make a commitment, you are taking a chance.  I’m a firm believer in grabbing at opportunities when they appear rather than deliberating about them for so long that by the time I’ve made a decision, it’s too late!

As for the pregnancy issue!  If you are still having periods, it’s more than likely that you could fall pregnant.  You remain fertile until two years after your last period.  That’s why the medical profession advise all women to continue using birth control for two years after they stop menstruating. 

However, it generally does take longer to fall pregnant as the years pass.  And again, as any fertility specialist will tell you, at 52 and no matter how fit and healthy you are, your eggs are older and may not be as efficient as they were 20 years ago.

Your chances of giving birth to a Downs Syndrome child or a child with any one of a number of genetic disorders rises dramatically over the age of 40 and however you feel, and despite the fact that you may be a ‘very young 52’ and physically very fit, having looked after baby grandchildren at your age, I can tell you from experience that God had a purpose designing women to be at their peak of fertility in their 20’s and 30’s rather than in their 50’s and 60’s.

Small babies and children are mentally as well as physically exhausting.  You need the patience of a saint to cope 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a demanding baby or toddler.  If you are 52 now and have a child in nine months time, could you really face the disruption caused by a recalcitrant and noisy teenager when you reach your 60’s, or seeing a child through University or further education in your 70‘s?   As for adoption, local authorities would almost certainly consider you too old to adopt a baby now, and if you applied to adopt, you may well be offered an older and possibly disabled child.

If you are falling in love, enjoy it for what it is.  If children are so important to him, and his desire for them is more important to him than his love for you, you’d better end the relationship now for both your sakes.  Otherwise, ensure you both enjoy your grandson as much as you can, and revel in the joy and love your new relationship.  Life is all about taking chances and if I were you, I’d grab the chance of new love you’ve been offered with both hands.

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