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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How young is too young?

As open minded as I think I am, and try to be, I do have limits. Part of what builds those limits is personal preference. But part of those limits is in understanding my own.

Several years back after a few failed attempts at having relationships I realized the failure was actually mine. I had been engaging in relationships with women at least 10 years younger than I was. After a short time the relationships failed due to differences in goals, desires, general outlook on life, physical differences, and more. It took me a while to figure out that age was a problem. Not that my younger partners were defective in the least. They were just at a different point in their lives than I was.

What came next was a bit of soul searching. I'll admit the male inside of me was reluctant to give up the idea of a nubile young 20-something-year-old who hadn't yet suffered the effects of gravity as I have. Once I got past that I realized that as delicious as a younger woman may be, not all of my time is spent enjoying her physically. A lot more of my time is spent doing things like shopping, cooking, entertaining, watching movies, or many other things. And not having stress during those times is quite important to me. I realized the trade-off between youth and maturity had benefits in many areas. I thought maybe it was time that I started to focus on women with maturity. Now I'm not saying that younger women aren't mature, some are, but in general younger people simply want different things out of life than older people.

The inevitable next question was the one posed at the beginning of this article; How young is too young?

Well, I can't answer that question for you. Obviously your age and tastes will dictate your needs which are likely different than mine. What I will do though is encourage you to examine your tastes. Particularly if you find yourself in a position similar to mine with relationships that seem to be failing for the same reasons over and over. Maybe age isn't even the factor that seems to be affecting your relationships. Maybe it is religious background, how they were raised, geographical differences, financial differences. The point is to know yourself well enough, and to evaluate your relationships deeply enough, that you can recognize what may be a relationship red flag for you. Figure out what the common factor is between any failed relationships you may have had, how to recognize that factor in future relationships you may contemplate, and devise an effective way of handling the situation. Maybe it becomes an automatic "deal breaker" for you, or maybe it is something you can negotiate away. Either way, at least you are aware of things up front.

The real challenge comes when actually executing your new master plan. Sometimes the heart gets in the way of the head and the best laid plans fall apart with a kiss. Seeing the bumps in the road is one thing, while actually avoiding them is something quite different. When I figure that one out I'll be sure to let you know!

Until then, love well.

PP

6 comments:

  1. I think age is irrelevant and maturity is key. If two partners are mature in terms of self awareness, then other differences are easily communicated and managed. I think you hit it on the head when you talk about knowing what your own personal red flags are and then acting accordingly. However, if only one partner has the maturity to do that, in my opinion things are often doomed. One person can only do so much if the other partner isn't similiarily engaged/aware.

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  2. walkietalkieooo,

    Thanks for the comment!

    I agree that maturity is key but not that age is irrelevant. Even those with maturity who are young may begin to believe they have missed the fun of youth as they age and decide they want to go back and "sow their oats" as it were. (I've had that happen more than once). When they do, maturity seems to go out the window in a hurry.
    You are right, if only one partner has awareness there may still be problems. What I'm talking about though is realizing your red flags, and realizing them before or as you enter a relationship, rather than applying them to an existing relationship. For me, it helps me weigh the choices I have and (hopefully) make better ones.

    Nice comment!!
    PP

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  3. From Lilach:

    Nice post, beautifully put and so true on many levels.
    I believe the emphasis should be on tastes and maturity rather then
    physical age, based on personal experience as my primary partner and I are
    12 years different in age and have been together for 20 years. I know that
    age can be a hinder if not recognized and addressed, but in many many ways
    it can also add so much to the relationships, in ways that same age
    relationships can never do, the support, guidance and wisdom that one gets
    from an older partner is second to none, and the chance to go through
    life's adventures again with a younger partner and a new perspective are
    opportunities unfortunately missed by many.
    I agree with you on the point that different ppl want different things at
    different times in their life and here an older partner can sometimes feel
    quite alone as he/she has to go it alone, to me Polyamor is the answer to
    that :)
    Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts I really enjoyed
    reading and thinking about your blog :)

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  4. Hi Lilach, and thanks for the comment :)

    Excellent point about an older-younger couple and polyamory being the answer to the older partner not feeling alone if the younger partner decides to go back and explore life.

    Thanks for pointing that out!

    And something I forgot to mention. . . one of my partners is 8 yrs my junior, most have been about 10 yrs younger. I am also contemplating a relationship with someone almost 20 yrs younger. Although I do believe in taking age into consideration, there are a lot of other factors in that decision as well :)

    PP

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  5. From Brett:

    Wow... age and relationships... or age and "unconditional love"? nice topic.
    K, from experience Love sees NO age... weight,scars,warts,color,race, numbers of lovers or anything else... love just loves. Age differences obviously play a very big role in relationships... the sadest maybe the time one loses the other at the end of life... I do think/feel though that if "Love"(unconditional) is the backbone of the relationship and if that relationship is "mature" then "age" must never be a factor of whether or not to explore and share ones truths with another.
    PP you said 20yr difference... :o i feel for you both so much and lol if it's "falling in love" then it seems we will never be able to say no... no matter what red flags we install... if it's " yummy physical attraction" then possibly once we work out the pros and cons...
    But if it's "unconditional love" then our relationships simply form around what "unconditional love" always does... and that is always thinking of all parties involved for there benefit and not just our own. Which means our relationships can become anything... lover, brother, father, friend... or :( blah... strangers.
    But if you "love" then that will never be your choice no matter your red flags... "love" always makes those choices for us we just follow or hurt and lol , from our experiences "love" makes some darn good choices... and breaks some darn silly belief systems along the way and lmao can never ever say no to another once it recognizes itself in that other. In "us" i truly know that love knows or recognizes no rules or red flags... nothing will stop it trying to express and nothing or no one should ever be allowed to prevent "loves" expression... and yes "love" will/can and does break our hearts and in the process it grows us to be able to love more... thus Polyamor x(:

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  6. Brett, thanks for the comment!

    I agree with what you are saying which is essentially "Love is blind to age" (if I understood you correctly). I would never suggest someone discard a potential relationship due to age, only that recognizing your own limitations and desires should be a part of deciding whether or not to enter into a relationship.

    At the same time I disagree a bit. Love as an emotion can be blinding but at the same time it can be painfully aware of things. I think we as humans often dismiss the warnings love sends us and pay attention to only the pretty, fluffy parts and hop along on our merry way. Sometimes straight into a brick wall at full speed.

    For myself, I try to listen to everything love is telling me. For example, becoming enamored with a pretty young thing is an incredible feeling. At the same time there will often be little blips on the radar indicating the relationship might not be durable. Do I walk away due to those radar blips or red flags? Not at all. What I do is adjust my expectations for the relationship from something like "Long term, live together" to "Let's just have fun and see where this goes". That way if it works I'm very happy, but if it doesn't I am able to let the relationship dissolve gracefully, without inflicting a lot of damage to either party in the process because I had realistic expectations (hopes).

    Looking back at my post I realize I was trying to convey a concept and used age as an example. Maybe age is a more sensitive subject than I expected and is becoming the focus of things here rather than the concept. Although, in hashing out the age question I hope the concept is becoming clearer to everyone.

    Thanks for your comment, that one got the brain working nicely!!

    PP

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