Bridging the age gap – real story
When Rebecca first met Anthony she thought there was no future in being with a man 12 years her junior. Four years later they are in a happy relationship with a new baby.
I got together with Anthony a couple of years after my marriage broke down. I knew him from work and thought of him as nothing more than a friend and colleague.
I’d just come out of an 11-year marriage and had three young children. I was nearly 40, he was in his 20s it never occurred to me he would be remotely interested. I slowly started to get the message when colleagues began suggesting things to me, saying that he liked me and was flirting with me.
I certainly hesitated because of the age gap. Why would a 28-year old want to get involved with a 40-year old divorcee with three kids? But I remember discussing with a friend and they said, ‘you’re not marrying him, you’re just having a bit of fun’. So I decided to get over any hang-ups and just get on with it.
At first I did find things quite hard. When I hit 40 and he was still in his 20s the gap seemed even bigger – I certainly didn’t celebrate my 40th in a way that many people do. And I did used to wonder if people were looking at me on the bus trying to work out if I was his mother. Coincidentally, Anthony’s best friend also has relationship with a woman with virtually the same age gap as us. I think that made it a bit easier, though I did find myself looking at them wondering if I thought she looked like his mum.
My eldest daughter, who is now 14, was very vocal about it. She said from the start she thought he was far too young. My ex-husband said it too. But recently he has got together with someone 20-years his junior, so they have both stopped commenting. Everyone else was really supportive. My mother thought it was great.
I know at first Anthony was quite concerned about people at work finding out and he definitely tried to keep it quiet. I work in a more senior role than he does and I think he was worried about my standing. I wasn’t so concerned though. There are lots of couples in our work place – the vice president, for example, is married to a girl in human resources, it’s very commonplace. That probably made a big difference.
The question of children became an issue for us pretty quickly. We became serious quite fast and it dawned on me that if I didn’t commit to having his child then I would possibly be depriving him of having one of his own forever. At the time he said he didn’t even know if he wanted kids, but his mum kept telling him they were one of life’s greatest pleasures. It worried me that he might hit his 30s and realise she was right, by which time I’d be too old to give birth.
Without any doubt we were forced into a situation in which we had a child prematurely. Because of my age the pressure was on. I made the decision that if I hadn’t got pregnant by my 41st birthday that would be it. I got pregnant a few weeks before.
We now have a lovely nine-month old son and have been together more than four years. I feel totally comfortable with it now. My ex-husband was ten years my senior. I think being with someone so much younger is actually no different from being with someone so much older. I’ll probably feel bad again when I hit 50, and feel sorry for poor Anthony being with someone so old. But then again turning 50 is quite different to turning 40. I’ll probably care a lot less when I’m older – hopefully by then it won’t make any difference to me.