How I Handled My Older Man’s Kids Who Were Almost the Same Age as Me

There’s a pretty good chance that if you choose to be with an older man, he will come with bag­gage. Sam was 46 and had been mar­ried over 25 years by the time he divorced. He had four chil­dren with his wife. I was 24, so with a lit­tle math, you can con­clude that his eldest child was around two years younger than me. “Cold” is too soft a word to describe my first meet­ing with his son. I spent 10 years with his father, and the sec­ond time I saw him was 11 years later at Sam’s funeral, where he looked right through me.

The sec­ond child, another son—now we’re talk­ing four years younger than me—I did see a few times. He was not as dis­tressed over the 22-year age dif­fer­ence, because he was quite pre­oc­cu­pied with his own life, and fur­ther­more, he told Sam I was nice! I guess “nice” only gets you a few meet­ings in 10 years.

As if that wasn’t enough, I also had to meet Sam’s two daugh­ters. You’d think after meet­ing his sons I would be pre­pared, but even still, my unusual expe­ri­ence with his daugh­ters caught me by surprise.

Next were one daugh­ter and then another daugh­ter born five years after her, whom Sam described as a “sur­prise.” She was the sur­prise that prompted him to get a vasec­tomy. (No more chil­dren for Sam. So, think hard about what you want in your life!) These last two chil­dren were just young enough that the age dif­fer­ence was not as appar­ent to them as it was to their older sib­lings. What they rec­og­nized was that I was good to them and that their dad was happy. I saw a lot of both of them, and I have to say, I have some very spe­cial mem­o­ries of those times.

Let us not for­get the ex-wife, how­ever! Chances are you will share some of your man’s time with issues regard­ing the ex-wife, like issues about money, hous­ing, and kids. He may also see a lot of her since they did have kids together. For­mer spouse mat­ters can also lead to argu­ments between you and your older man, which, years later, I won­dered why I expended so much time and energy on.

Now, back to those younger chil­dren. While we were able to do things together, what about those many times when I was not part of their events? Spe­cial occa­sions like grad­u­a­tions, birth­days, school events and when they wanted time just with their father. That will hap­pen, and you will feel hurt and left out. You will feel like you have just taken two steps back regard­ing your rela­tion­ship with those kids, and you will feel ani­mos­ity not only toward the “ex,” but toward your man, as well.

Only you can decide if the rela­tion­ship is worth it. Look deeply into your heart and first fig­ure out what you want for your life. Go over the pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives in your rela­tion­ship with your older man. Con­sider if you are hold­ing your­self back from any­thing that could make your life fuller or more sat­is­fy­ing if you were not in this rela­tion­ship. Remem­ber, you are in the driver’s seat, and only you are in con­trol of your destiny.

Not every first meet­ing with your older man’s kids will be like mine, but it doesn’t hurt to pre­pare for both the best and the worst.