I’m 26 he’s 40.

We live in an age focused, youth-obsessed world.
If you’re over 25 years old, you’re past your prime. Which seems ridiculous because the human lifespan is now well above 80 years old, almost 30 years more than in the previous century.
Our society focuses on age so strongly with images of youthful models selling anti-aging creams to 50-year-old women promising eternal youth. Beauty is somehow only associated with youth, no wrinkles and flawless skin. That beauty is only reserved for the young and the ‘old’ are just…..old.
I met Mark when he was 39 and I had just turned 25, there is a 13 year age gap between us. When we met we both knew that it was the start of something good, it was what every fairytale and happy romantic movie promised.
Our relationship turned serious quickly and within 6 months we were living together. I was relucent to tell people his real age, especially my parents because I knew that it would be a shock.
Mark does not look like he’s 40, he’s one of those men who age like a fine wine, so his looks are deceiving.  Eventually, people found out his real age and were shocked, comments like, “wow he doesn’t look it” and “whoa he looks good for his age” and my personal favourite “I guess he’ll want to settle down and have kids soon.”
Because apparently age is associated with certain stages in your life and you should achieve these stages accordingly.
I read a headline yesterday that stated: “13 reasons why you should get married before 30.”  One of the reasons was “you are only young forever once and you want to look good on your wedding day.”
Right, because there isn’t already enough financial pressure on this generation to buy a house, buy a car, work hard and succeed, we have to get married young and look ‘young’ as well.
When we became engaged my parents’ reaction wasn’t excitement, it was questioning. “Well, I suppose this means you’re staying up in Queensland now?”
“I guess this means he wants kids in the next couple years?”
I was deflated, to say the least, and the excitement to show my close family and friends my beautiful and unique Opal engagement ring deflated with it.
In my mind I went over and over other peoples reactions and opinions for months, hearing stories from my friends who said “oh my god such and such is dating a 35-year-old! That’s so old.”
And then I watch their faces change to apologise as they realise Mark is 40 and they might have offended me.
I was self-conscious and let those opinions trickle into our relationship. Asking Mark, “do you want kids soon?”
To which he would always reply, “no, it’s a decision for both of us.”
But I still thought about it constantly, letting other peoples opinions transform my thoughts.
People stating “there are complications with having kids when you get older.”
“He’ll be too old to have kids in a couple of years.”
I recognised this and knew I needed to stop letting these opinions transform what I wanted in our relationship.
We always tell ourselves and others “don’t worry about what people think.”
But we do worry, we worry a fucking lot about what other people think. Psychologically we want to be approved by our fellow man, our fellow tribe, because if we aren’t we feel outcast, that nobody understands and it leads to negativity. This need comes from a deep primal instinct of community when our ancestors used to live together to survive and if one person of the tribe was outcast into the wild, they would die.
It’s our ancient defence mechanism kicking in, it’s fear and its what stops us from doing things we love because we might be kicked out of the tribe.
I understood this from a book I was reading about anxiety and how having anxiety is a positive attribute because it is an ancestral trait we have carried down with us in our DNA.
I stopped obsessing over what people thought of my relationship and the age gap associated with it, I detoxed from social media for 30 days and completely focused on myself, my career and my relationship and the weight of other peoples opinions was finally lifted.
There is nothing wrong with dating somebody older than you, but there is the judgement from others, including friends and family that you have to endure.
Funnily enough, the roles are reserved on Mark’s side, with friends high fiving him for dating a younger girl and with that comes a set of its own biases.
People thinking I’m young, dumb, immature and possess a set of different value systems that can be only associated with someone in their 20s.
In some ways, Mark and I are at different stages in our lives, but only externally and on a material level.
He is working full-time, owns a house, has savings behind him and travelled the world, possessing knowledge and life experience I do not have. He has even had the privilege of being a step-father.
I’m at university, I don’t own a house, I still work in hospitality to make ends meet and live paycheck to paycheck. While I have travelled in the past I haven’t travelled as extensively as he has.  But we’ve both experienced different challenges in life that we share with each other and make us intelligent, knowledgeable and individuals in our own right and I believe that should be the focus of all relationships regardless of age.

5 Replies to “I’m 26 he’s 40.”

  1. Hello Haley! My name is Brittany & I thought I’d reach out by saying that I read your story about you and your man’s age gap. I just wanted to say that I’m in the same ordeal as you. I’m now 25 years old and my man is 40. I don’t know if you’re still 25 or not but I just wanted to spread light to you that you’re not alone. I get people saying that I shouldn’t be with someone who’s older than me. I ignore them because it’s my life and I have to cut people out because of it and that’s fine with me. That’s less torture I’m dealing with. (Cutting out those who judge are not accepting of my decision.) I first got with him at 19 years old and he was 33 at the time. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be with someone much older than me. I’d always say no because I was well brought up in the family. I just couldn’t help that I fell in love with this guy. He did not look his age and still doesn’t so I’m proud. Now I realize that it shouldn’t matter who you fall in love with because it’s two souls who are in love. Anyways, we’re still together going on 7 years now. We’re getting married in April of 2020. Who knew that it’d last this long and hope for many more years together?

    Are you and your man still together and happy? As I said I don’t know how long ago this was written so I still wanted to reach out and share the same similar story as you! I know you don’t know me but I just wanted to share the same love story that we both share. I hope you don’t find this awkward or weird by reaching out. Don’t hesitate to email me. I would love to hear back from you!

    Love & light to you,



    1. Hi Brittany, thank you so much for this lovely and kind message. I am so glad you have reached out to me and shared your story. It’s so nice to know that there are other people in the world who are going through the same thing, dealing with the same judgement and dodging the same awkward questions. I am still with my man (Mark) 🙂 and we are getting married this year in October! So exciting… we now own a house together and recently got a miniature fox terrier puppy for a lil more responsibility and to practice parenthood haha.
      I’m 29 years old now and people don’t say that much anymore now that I’m older and we have been together for almost 5 years.. it also helps that we are getting married just like you guys are. Congraulations by the way! April isn’t that far away so I’m sure there’s lots of planning and exciting times to be had in the lead up to your big day together.
      Love and light to you,
      Haley xx


      1. I’m glad you were happy that I reached out. I’m glad I did also. I’m glad to hear back from you! I’m glad I could also share my story! I’m happy you’re still holding on to you’re relationship! August 7, 2020 will make 7 years for us! I’m happy we both can over come rude comments made towards us because love doesn’t judge! Congrats on you’re marriage as well! Getting a dog definitely helps prepare for parenthood! We’ve got a dog together too but don’t want any children together. He’s got a daughter from a previous relationship so she’s enough and I accept her as my own. My dog is also my daughter, she’s just like a kid. I’m glad I could spread awareness to you and let you know you’re not alone in this situation. No one bothers me much anymore and sometimes when people ask our age they do smurky looks and say he could be put in jail. That’s comment was only made once. I tend to ignore it because I don’t care as long as I’m happy. It’s not like I’m a minor because I’m a grown adult like worry about yourself because it’s not you that’s in the relationship lol…Love doesn’t judge ever! I’ve got all my planning done for April so now just waiting on the big day 🙂 If you have Instagram you may follow me there! Here’s my user name: brittanyashtonlynne & reach out to me if you’d like from there! I’ll be glad you did!

        Love & light to you,
        Brittany xx


  2. That book you read about anxiety would be an awesome book. Please give me the name of the book I would love to read. And by the way the post is great. And it is awesome to see your life as an example for other individuals who want to live life on their own terms.


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