Thursday, September 24, 2009

Resistance is futile?

I got an email from a very good virtual friend. We've never met in person, but he's a blog reader and very supportive. So I know he sent this with care and affection:

To tell you the truth if I were 42 today and free, I would be looking for somebody between 32 to 36. If you want a hubby you will have to be willing to settle for a man 10 to 12 years older than you. I mentioned that before but you seem determined to stay within your defined standards. I got married the second time and successfully by thinking outside of the box.

Believe me I am a guy first and a Rabbi second in writing to you like a big brother.

I asked one friend, a few months my senior, and she agreed with him. "It's a man's world, Ayelet," she said.

You would think I'd get the message after that. But I just had a conversation with a friend who's in a horrifically toxic marriage, with a man who's a decade her senior. That cannot be the answer. Can it?

I wrote to another friend. I'm not sure her precise age, but her oldest child is 7, so I believe she's in her early 30s.

I'm being told that I need to give up on the idea of marrying someone close to my age (39) and to start looking for someone 10-12 years older than I am. The idea horrifies me, but maybe that's just my damn luck.

She responded almost instantaneously:

give up?! They're meshugeh. NEVER GIVE UP!!!! And never think that you'll be forced to marry someone older because of your age. This is only commentary. And if you look anything like Frida... You have probably a lot more beauty and talent than the ordinary gal running around the place. NEVER GIVE UP!!! What is your hebrew name? (ayelet bat... ?) I'll say tehillim for you.

Have an easy fast...and remember...NEVER GIVE UP!!

I sent her my real name -- I'll send it to anyone who wants to daven for me, since I'm pretty sure everyone else's prayers are at least listened to, whereas mine disappear into the void.

So what do the rest of you think? Should I give up trying to marry a man who is close to my age? (Forget about younger -- I'm still planning to go out with SOS, but I'm not anticipating any other interest from that demographic.)

Right now I have three opinions -- two that say resistance is futile and I will marry a much older man, and one that says I'm not crazy for wanting to be with someone close to my age. I think I'll let majority rule, the way I did with the Arrogant Jerk. Of course, that vote was virtually unanimous. I look forward to tabulating this one.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. i say you can still try to find someone close to your age while being more open to men both younger and older than you. And don't let one person's horrific experience color your perception...i know 2 awesome couples who have a 12+ year age difference and who have awesome marriages.

    Anyways all you would be doing is opening up more options, which is never a bad thing. It's not like you HAVE to marry a dude 10 years older than you if you don't like him. :)

  2. I hate to say it, but he may be right. That doesn't mean you should give up on the idea of marrying someone your own age, but broadening your horizons may open up a much larger dating pool for you.

    I still would recommend against dating guys 20 years older than you, but there are plenty of guys in their late 40's who are very youthful and in good shape. There are a lot more, unfortunately, who seem as old or older than they are, but by rejecting them all, you may be missing out on your match. You just need to be selective.

    How about setting the cutoff at 49 so you don't have anyone in their 50's?

    Don't get me wrong - you're a wonderful woman who deserves a guy closer in age to you, but the demographics and men's evotbiases work against that.

  3. How about not paying attention to age, and instead try to find someone who you like. Find someone who has emotional and intellectual qualities you admire. Talk to that person about everything you have ever dreamed of, and ask them about their dreams.

    People are multi-dimensional. There is much more than looks and age that make up a person, and I think if you look for the qualities that actually matter, you will have a higher chance of finding a lasting relationship.

  4. What you want is not as relevant as what you need. You need to have a loving relationship with a human, and to mother some younglings. You want it with a dude of age x, attitude y, looks z, etc. When you get what you need, you will be happy. Don't let what you want get in the way.

    You and most of the hundreds of other singles I have met and befriended sing the song "I look so much younger than my age, so I should be able to date and marry someone younger than me" but since everyone sings that tune, including 50 year old guys, it cancels it out for EVERYONE.

    You best bet is to date men who are around the age of 45, up to 50 and down to 38 - period. Use you flirting and chatting only on them! Stay away from younger time wasters. Find a man with old wrinkly balls! - Aaron :)

  5. I don't think you'll necessary HAVE to marry someone 10-12 years older than you are, but I don't think being open to the possibility is necessarily a bad thing either. For years I refused to consider men who were more than 10 years older than I am, and I dated quite a few who were younger than me. A few months before I met my husband I decided that I needed to open my mind and age limits and I ended up marrying a man who is 12 years older than me. He's mature and responsible but a total goof ball and very young at heart. He had learned a lot of life lessons and totally knows the importance of commitment and putting effort into a relationship. And I would never have met him if I hadn't been open to men outside my typical age range. I'm not saying that you should go out with every guy who is suggested if you really feels like it's not a good match but you might think about really looking at the characteristics that make a person a good husband, rather than just demographics.

  6. I think that age should not restrict you either way. The right person for you MAY be 10 years older, the same age, or 10 years younger! The problem with great age difference is that people of different generations tend to have different expectations and goals. As long as your values, goals, expectations, and such mesh, don't worry about the age.

  7. I'm not a guy, but I personally think it depends on what the guy wants. If he is 40 and has never married and wants kids, he is probably going to want to sat someone around 30 or younger even so that he doesn't have to "rush" into a marriage so that she can get preggers ASAP because of her age. He can take his time.

    If he is 40 and is divorced and doesn't want any kids, or any more kids, then he might be willing to date someone closer to his age because he is no longer concerned about her ability to reproduce and is more or less looking for companionship.

    Still I am sure there are guys who don't judge someone based on a number and are focusing more on the person. That is obviously the guy you want to be with and unfortunately, those are the ones that are few and far between.

  8. Not to be harsh, but I find it ironic that you want a guy who doesn't care about your age and sees it as just a number, yet you won't date a guy over a certain age. You often complain about your weight and want a guy who won't mind when you think you are too heavy, yet you refuse to date a guy who is out of shape. From your own accounts you are not always on your best behavior, yet your blog posts show you being very turned off by a guy who has any quirks to his personality. Personally, I'm a 39 year old guy who dates women from 29 to 44. I've dated women who were nearly anorexic to women who are seriously obese. Giving people a chance doesn't mean that you have to date everyone who is interested in you, but you do need to be more flexible. Trust me, once I gave up on having a type or whatever you want to call it and I stopped ruling people out on very superficial things I was sometimes surprised at who I was most attracted to. Give people a chance and loosen up a bit.

  9. Agree with Aaron and Shoshana, but here's my take on it:

    NEVER settle.

    That doesn't mean you can't marry a guy outside your preferred age range. It just means you shouldn't force yourself to go out with someone simply because you want to be going out, or because you want to get married. Giving people chances is terrific. Downplaying what you want the most because you're panicking is a BAD idea.

    Make a list of the things that are MOST important to you in a man. Can be 5 things, can be 10 things. None of them can include age. Now look at that list.

    Number one, figure out your main priorities in a mate. Look for those qualities with all your might. Accept that the rest is preference and not necessity.

    Number two... figure out what qualities you look for as most important in a mate. See how you can improve YOURSELF with regard to those important qualities. We can all use some personal improvement in middot, even if we are great people to begin with. And may that be a zechut for you to find a beautiful and holy neshama as your zivug.

    Shana tova, gmar chatima tova, tzom kal and very best wishes from your fellow soldier in the dating trenches,